As a small business, it's in my interests to watch out for new and sneaky ways people might use to steal money from me. The people in question being politicians, since they are the hardest thugs on the block these days.
Today, the speech Mrs. Queen was forced to read out included the announcement that any policeman can now stop me whenever he likes and demand identification - and if I dont happen to have any, off I go to pokey (not a police state, oh, nooo. Not yet, but a step closer every day). That law only applies to those who are visiting this country. So that's okay. Oh, and those who have been abroad. Ever. Except... how would the police know who's been abroad and who hasn't until after they have stopped and demanded papers be shown? I have a passport but the last stamp in it was a visa for China, and the passport's been renewed since then. Travel in Europe no longer gets your passport a stamp. So even if I show my passport, which in its current form is stampless, that still won't tell them whether I've been abroad or not. Are we to have our foreheads branded on the way into the country next? Otherwise, the only way to tell if someone's been abroad is to stop them, get ID, and check it.
In which case, the law necessarily applies to everyone. Everyone. We have to show our papers to the police on demand, and failure to carry ID is now an arrestable offence. But we're not turning into a police state, ooooh, noooo. Just ask all those immigrants who fled from police states. They'll tell you. If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, as long as you can prove you have nothing to hide and as long as you never get accused wrongly and as long as no policeman takes a dislike to you and as long as you don't forget or lose your wallet or have it stolen...how would you go about reporting that, I wonder?
Sounds bad, and it is, but it distracts from other issues.
Mrs. Queen also brings news that small businesses are to be hammered harder with new local authority taxes, and the local authority can decide how much to charge.
The bill would give local councils the power to raise revenues directly from businesses.
Another hand in the wallet. This doesn't seem to be 'instead of' anything. It's 'as well as' the rest of the taxes and charges.
The British Retail Consortium has been calling on the government to make sure that the new powers can only be used by local authorities to pay for genuinely business-boosting infrastructure projects, not simply to fund general expenditure.
It seems the current wording is such that the council can demand what they like, when they like, and use it for whatever they like. Isn't that great? No, it won't be abused. The councils aren't run by ravening lunatics hell-bent on bankrupting local economies so they can have lunch in Ibiza and retire wealthy. It's just a little vague in the wording. Just needs a bit of common sense and restraint in its application. Like RIPA and anti-terrorist laws. Like the new ID on demand law. So we're done for then. Whenever the council fancy a jolly trip abroad, they'll just go and shake down a few businesses. Government by the Kray's law.
The Ripper says there's a risk crime might rise as a result of the recession. Well, I'm considering dumping honest business and going back into the black economy. I'm not the only one. So she's right.
Labour will drive more and more out of legitimate business practices and into illegal ones because it'll be the only way to stay alive. Well done, Labour. Cameron won't fix it either. What we need are politicians who have spent a bit of time in the real world, and there aren't many of those now.
Best stock up on stuff you can barter.