what is a free country?

Odd topic I know but what is the truth? Is the Philippines free? Because although it has a lot of government issues at the lower level people pretty much leave you alone. But in the UK it reminds me more of East Germany these days as it slows casts a net round its population and before I get people objecting to my views.. here are a few articles of interest that you may not believe if you live outside the UK.

Wheelie bins with micro chips

 wheelie_bin_tag Hundreds of thousands of wheelie bins are being fitted with special microchips to monitor the amount of waste discarded by householders.

Councils say they are necessary to gather data about people’s rubbish disposal habits and are also a vital tool in settling disputes over bin ownership. But experts are warning that these bugs, which transmit information to a central database, could be used to fine those who exceed limits on the amount of non-recyclable rubbish that they put out.

About 500,000 bins across England already carry the electronic devices which are slightly bigger than a one-pence piece and are screwed into a plastic recess in the lip of the wheelie bin. As the bin is lifted up for emptying by council workers, a sensor on the refuse truck scans the chip, which carries a serial number assigned to each property in the street. This then enables the monitoring equipment to identify the bin’s address and record the weight of the rubbish that is in the bin.

According to The Mail on Sunday newspaper, a computer inside the truck weighs the bin as it is raised up, then subtracts the weight of the bin itself and records the weight of the contents on an electronic data card.

Once the truck returns to the depot, all information collected is downloaded onto a central computer. Householders can then be billed for the amount of waste that has been collected from them, even though they have already paid for rubbish collection services through their council tax.

The chip itself costs around £2 to make but the cost of fitting the equipment to a council dustcart is around £15,000.

(There is already discussion on the costs of waste and the amount to charge per household for “Extra” waste).

UK ID cards "defeated" yet still going ahead

Steve Watson | January 24 2006

240106uk_id_cardThe London Independent is today reporting that the government has been "defeated’ on the ID card scheme and that a victory for freedom has been won.

However, this is only the surface appearance. If you actually read into the situation you will discover that in actual fact the scheme will still go ahead, we will all have compulsory ID cards and our personal information will be recorded and stored.

The House of Lords overturned government proposals to place everyone who applies for a new passport or driving licence on a database that will underpin the ID cards scheme.

Not one member of the house spoke in favour of national ID or the biometric database, all uniformly denounced the idea as backwards looking and dangerous.

The Independent reported that Lord Stoddart of Swindon, a crossbencher, claimed ID cards were among several Government policies that were undermining freedoms built up over many centuries.

He said: "Some of these measures have the elements of a fascist state – and this country is preaching to many countries about democracy."

Others invoked images of totalitarian regimes demanding citizens carry their papers.

Current proposals even outstrip this in that they would see everyone who traveled anywhere being biometrically scanned and put onto a giant electronic database. This amounts to an unprecedented level of intrusion and could kill off the notion of anonymity and privacy in this country in the future.

Although we are told the scheme will initially be voluntary, the government has made it quite clear that they intend to make it compulsory in the future with huge civil penalties to be handed out for those who do not fall into line.

240106biometrix

Earlier this month we exposed how the government is to give local councils and town hall bureaucrats sweeping new powers to search homes for identity card evasion and to impose heavy fines on occupants found without a card.

Although we are told that the Lords have voted to defeat the ID scheme in actual fact they have voted to simply make it more official and secure. Peers voted by 186 to 142 – a majority of 44 – during the Bill’s report stage to enable people to get biometric passports without going on the database.

So we still have to get ID cards and we still have to biometrically scan even though we may not hear about the database. Perhaps the scheme will have a stealth database such as the growing DNA database which is gathering samples from young people aged 10-18 across the nation.

A second vote made clear that an amendment requiring a separate Act of Parliament before ID cards could become compulsory was passed by 198 to 140.

ID cards are still to become compulsory in the future should an act of Parliament be passed.

Two more votes demanded a secure and reliable method of recording and storing citizens’ personal data, and the curbing of the use of the register for provision of public services.

So in actual fact they are just demanding that the database element of the scheme be more efficiently designed and more secure. This does not mean that there will not be one and that our information will not be stored.

So what exactly have the Lords "defeated"?

Im not sure where this topic is these days as it was cancelled in one area but I read about “ID cards for foreign nationals in the UK elsewhere”. In reality though its called opening the gates.. UK people wont object to Foreign nationals having to have one and the next thing is the government then say “Due to its successful use for controlling borders etc. on foreign nationals we have decided to roll it out to all people in the United Kingdom”. Freedom is moving further away by the month and the UK sits closer to Stalin than it has ever done before.

A council has spent £30,000 using a spy plane carrying a thermal camera to determine which homes are wasting energy.

By Andrew Levy
Last updated at 2:40 AM on 24th March 2009

article-1164091-06810BD60000044D-722_468x286

A scheme is already under way in Broadland District Council in Norfolk, which has spent £30,000 hiring a plane with a thermal imaging camera.

It said the exercise has been so successful other local authorities are planning to follow suit.

But critics have warned the crackdown was another example of local authorities extending their charter to poke their noses into every aspect of people’s lives.

Broadland, which covers towns including Aylsham, Reepham and Acle, hired the plane from a Leicestershire-based company for five days at the end of January.

The aircraft took images of homes and businesses, with those losing the most heat showing up as red, while better insulated properties appear blue.

The council’s head of environmental services, Andy Jarvis, said the original plan was to target businesses but it was realised the scope could be extended to include residential properties.

‘The project we put together was for a plane to go up on various nights flying strips of the district and taking pictures,’ he said.

‘Through those images, a thermal image photograph can be created in which you can pick out individual properties which are losing a lot of heat.

‘We do a lot on domestic energy conservation already and realised it would be useful to see if any of the homes which were particularly hot were properties where people had not insulated their lofts.

‘We were also able to look at very cold properties and think we might have picked up people on low incomes who are not heating their homes because they cannot afford to.’

More than half the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions come from the domestic sector, which includes property and transport.

Almost 60 per cent of a household’s heat is lost through uninsulated walls, lofts and windows, costing the average home £380 a year.

Insulation is estimated to reduce each home’s carbon emissions by around two tonnes annually.

The first city in the UK to make a heat-loss map was Aberdeen, while the first local authority in England was Haringey Council, in London – although environmental groups at that time said they viewed the practice as a ‘gimmick’ of little real value.

The Taxpayers Alliance has added concerns about the issue of privacy.

Chief executive Matthew Elliott said: ‘People are sick and tired of being heckled and spied on by local government and this council has shown an utter disregard for the man on the street.’

He added: ‘We’re in a recession and you would have thought this council had better ways to spend £30,000.

‘Taxpayers are already footing the bill for innumerable advertising campaigns at a time when families are struggling to make ends meet.’

But Conservative-led Broadlands insisted the heat-loss map would allow officers to pinpoint offenders and point out how to get help and grants to improve insulation to cut carbon emissions.

Council leader Simon Woodbridge said the project would ‘effectively pay for itself within a few weeks in terms of the amounts of money we can help people to save’.

Lib Dem group leader Stuart Beadle added: ‘Cameras are in place all over today and we have to accept them. So long as the right guidelines are in place and it will bring benefits, I think the scheme is a good thing.’

Britain now has more than four million CCTV cameras – a fifth of those in use around the world – and around 8,000 speed cameras.

Almost 500 local authorities have been using anti-terrorism powers brought in under the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to launch a string of bizarre investigations.

These have included checks on dog fouling, putting bins out on the wrong day and people trying to cheat school catchment area rules.

That article was written in march 2009. Its July the 19th today and I was sat in a restaurant yesterday and noticed a news headline “ Houses are likely to see a rise in tax by as many as 1000 a month as the council snoops in on home improvements such as conservatories and garage conversions”. My question would be this.. I have dealt with councils for over a decade on projects and although they waste money on strange things this isn’t one of them. Personally I think its offender mapping but I doubt its energy saving they are interested in as it wont be Taxable!

The UK voted in a Labour government that has systematically destroyed the economy and targeted middle classes. Why? Is it all the labour governments fault? honestly I don’t think any of it is a mistake anymore. Margret Thatcher wanted a return to “Victorian Britain” and I think we are heading towards it. The general population are sleep walking into a disaster for the middle class. There will only be rich and poor if things keep this way. Why else would a country not encourage small businesses which could blossom? Why else would we leave our borders open for invalid immigrants and migrants yet restrict ones that are a value to the nation? Why else than to lower the standard of living and to allow the rich to once more take the podium people look at the BNP party and see a racial party they dislike but still voted for them because they don’t trust the other parties. Scaremongering by politicians trying to tell everyone if those votes happened it would lead to a new Nazi way of life. But at what point has anyone stepped forward and said “enough is enough I will run for parliament I will make that change!” but then again in before Margret Thatcher we seen large union strikes that gave people a voice. But now everyone grumbles and just hands over the pay packet.

We are going Green.. which really means we will make you Green at the same time as adjusting laws and piggy backing new legislation that will change your life and one thing for sure it isn’t for the better.

So what is freedom?

I think its for every person to decide. For me its Cebu simply because its not robbing me at source allowing things to grow. The UK is frittering money in every direction but at the same time adding more and more taxes. I can hide and live out comfortably in the Philippines I will just come into the UK work, and run.. when I need to but I am pretty much dropping off the grid where I can. Nothing illegal but simply I am tired of how things have become in the UK and the fact there is no improvement at least for the next few years. Freedom is what you want it to be but in reality there is always something that restricts it.