Daily Archives: June 4, 2013


Genius Wanted

Is anyone wizard enough to improve the contrast and definition on the small images of these letters, and enlarge them so that I am able to try to decipher them? This is a very important letter for my biography of Burnes; it is infuriating that such letters apparently disappear into the hands of private collectors.

Secondly, can anyone with academic access credentials (JSTOR or such) get me a copy of Mikhail Volodarsky, “The Russians in Afghanistan in the 1830’s“, Central Asian Survey vol 21 no 1 (April 1985). Wanted for genuine academic research purposes.

For those who don’t have my email address, the contact button at the top of the page will send me an email.

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Balls attacks Universal Benefits

New Labour’s “Big idea” is to cut winter fuel allowance for wealthy pensioners, thus saving £100 million a year, or 0.08% of the annual deficit. This is plainly irrelevant, but is given such prominence because the media have to maintain the fiction of significant policy differences between the three neo-con parties, and because at the same time we are supposed to get used to, in the words of Johann Lamont, New Labour’s opposition to the “Something for nothing society”, otherwise known as benefits for the needy.

In my own family, pensioners who would already be entitled to pension credit do not get it because they will not apply; they see the basic state pension as an entitlement to which they paid in their working lives, but anything means tested as charity to relieve poverty, the idea of which they find demeaning after a lifetime of work. I understand their attitude and find it, at root, noble.

I cannot understand why this country is unable to produce a single unified tax system, under which those with far too much money are relieved of a significant portion of it, ordinary folk pay reasonable taxes and those without enough money, including the unemployed, underemployed and pensioners, receive enough money for their needs, including looking after their children or personal care. A single, unified form every resident fills that removes stigma and removes overpayment, underpayment and the obscenity of the super-rich tax dodgers.

Meanwhile the odious Balls plans to find £100 million from pensioners while planning to blow that 1,000 times over and blow $100 Billion on the entirely worthless Trident missile system. Anybody who believes New Labour is the answer to any of our problems is certifiable.

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