On the writing of Sharia compliant wills

Oh, there’s going to be fury about this:

Islamic law is to be effectively enshrined in the British legal system for the first time under guidelines for solicitors on drawing up “Sharia compliant” wills.

Under ground-breaking guidance, produced by The Law Society, High Street solicitors will be able to write Islamic wills that deny women an equal share of inheritances and exclude unbelievers altogether.

The documents, which would be recognised by Britain’s courts, will also prevent children born out of wedlock – and even those who have been adopted – from being counted as legitimate heirs.

Anyone married in a church, or in a civil ceremony, could be excluded from succession under Sharia principles, which recognise only Muslim weddings for inheritance purposes.

Nicholas Fluck, president of The Law Society, said the guidance would promote “good practice” in applying Islamic principles in the British legal system.

And that fury will be wildly misplaced. For we are not like the Frogs and others who insist that the State should detail how your very own property is disposed of. We actually have a free and liberal system, which says that you can do what the hell you like with your cash. Leave it all to the cats home, hell leave it to the cat if you wish. So a will that disposes of property on the grounds of religious faith, gender, legitimacy, style of marriage or anything else your religious beliefs might require is already entirely legal under English law.

All this is is a set of guidance notes to make sure that the usual Islamic religious desires are incorporated into wills in a manner that is indeed consistent with English law.

It is not, at all, a change in that underlying law itself. It’s “if this is what you want to do then here’s how you go about doing that”.

Sure, we can all have lovely arguments about whether such a will is being misogynist and all the rest (but then so is primogeniture) but it’s sod all to do with bringing Sharia into English law.

This is why no one likes the Crimean referendum

It’s not really about whether Crimea should be part of Russia, nor an abhorrence of all things Putin (as valid as such feelings would be). It’s really about the nation state itself:

Activists pushing for the Italian region of Veneto to become an independent country have claimed that over two million residents backed their call in an unofficial referendum.

Although the poll lacks any legal basis, organisers said the high number of voters -56 per cent of registered voters in the region – meant a clear majority of voting Venetians were in favour of restoring the independent Venetian Republic, which dominated the Mediterranean for centuries until it was occupied by Napoleon.

The result was announced to cheers from supporters in a piazza in Trevisolate on Friday after a week of voting.

“It’s a huge party here, it’s like a reunion,” said Cristiano Zanin, one of the organisers of the poll, which was held online and through polling stations set up by local town halls across the region.

Organisers said that of a total of 2.36 million votes cast, out of a total of 3.7 million qualified voters, 2.1 million voted for independence and a quarter of a million voted against.

What paralyses politicians with fear is that if you just let any old group vote about whether to leave whatever nation state they’re currently crammed into then a lot of them will vote to leave. Crimea from the Ukraine (and does anyone doubt that the result would be different if the referendum was had all over again under more equitable rules?), Catalunia from Spain perhaps, Veneto (or even the whole North) from Italy, perhaps Bavaria from Germany?

Me, I’d be entirely happy with any and all of those outcomes. But the people currently in power wouldn’t be for obvious reasons. And it’s the fear at looking at their own people which makes them insist that no one can leave some other grouping.

Remind me, NHS Wales has had less market based reform than NHS England, yes?

Welsh cancer patients are flooding into English hospitals for treatment they are being denied at home.

The number crossing the border has quadrupled from just 3,471 a decade ago to 15,450 last year.

The exodus is fuelled by a lack of access to the National Cancer Drugs Fund, which funds treatments rejected by the NHS or awaiting approval.

And almost 50 per cent of Welsh patients must wait six weeks or more for vital scans and tests compared with a 1 per cent figure in England.

Further to the subject of Duncan Weldon at Newsnight

Some Tory Tosspot or other:

Newsnight were clearly so enamoured with Duncan’s politics that they turned a blind eye to the proper processes. Let’s hope they’ll distance themselves from his biased claims and scaremongering about the government’s economic policy as well as his fascist past.’

Jeebus. If we were all judged by the political ideas we had when we were 16 then we’d all be in a certain amount of trouble, wouldn’t we?

Back of the guy. Let’s find out how good he is at the journalism shtick, eh?

Erm, but why?

There is still a long way to go before the British public stops judging people by their looks, the broadcaster Fiona Bruce has said, as she unveils a new portrait of war veteran Simon Weston.

Humans are a visual species, stereoscopic and colour vision etc. Why should we stop thinking about things on hte basis of what they look like? It’s rather what we’re built to do…..


Merrill Lynch & Co. told the Irish government in 2008 it would cost 16.4 billion euros ($22.8 billion) at most to rescue its banks, a quarter of the eventual bill for bailing out its financial system.

Umm, from 11 % or so of GDP to 44% or so.

That’s a large mistake there…..


The senior lawyer for the National Security Agency stated unequivocally on Wednesday that US technology companies were fully aware of the surveillance agency’s widespread collection of data, contradicting months of angry denials from the firms.

Slightly cat among the pigeons there, eh?

Pensions reform

Have to say I’m not all that sure about it. For it’s very difficult indeed to work out how long you’re going to live and thus at what speed you should spend a pension pot. And thus the use of the insurance industry through an annuity.

On the other hand this makes clear one thing:

The individual will have a choice of three simple routes to withdraw the remainder: taking it as cash, subject to ordinary rates of income tax;

Tax relief on pensions contributions is not in fact tax relief. It’s tax delay. So, if Ritchie and his ilk want to cut that amount of delay then they’ve also got to work out some method of compensating at the other end of the process. Some special rules on tax relief on the payment of the pension itself.

This is a bit of a surprise

The number of families saying they are going hungry has fallen over the past five years – as the number of food banks has risen.

Britons were among the least likely in the developed world to say there were times when they could not afford food, an international report found.

Only 8.1 per cent reported this in 2012, down from 9.8 per cent in 2007 – before the economic crisis and when Labour was in power.

The study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, which represents industrialised nations, flies in the face of Left-wing claims that cuts in public spending are leaving thousands of families going hungry.

OK, so that’s real numbers there. OECD survey results.

The number of people going hungry has fallen over the past five years. We might be able to suggest a reason why too: the number of food banks has risen. That is, giving people free food via charity reduces the number of hungry people. Quite amazing how that works really.

Try counting….

A graphic designer who was ripped off by an internet seller got his revenge by texting him the entire works of Shakespeare.

Edd Joseph, 24, was furious when he bought a PS3 games console on Gumtree for £80 and the vendor failed to deliver the goods.

So he decided to take his revenge by texting the entire works of the Bard to his nemesis – all 30,000 words.

Mr Joseph discovered he can simply copy the words from the internet and paste them into a text message – without costing him a penny on his unlimited mobile phone package.

He sends it as one text but his victim can only receive them in 160 character chunks – meaning the 37 works of Shakespeare will buzz through in 29,305 individual texts.

30,000 texts ain’t 30,000 words, is it?

Ritchie doesn’t even understand his own arguments

At the same time as this situation has developed some long known, but disputed economic understandings have received recent endorsement as key planks for economic development. The first is that cash is, as has long been denied by many economists, is literally made out of thin air by banks, and that was how QE funding was created.


Thirdly, the IMF has confirmed inequality imposes real cost on a society, and fourthly has suggested both tax revenues and government spending play a vital role in the redistribution that provides the foundation for sustainable growth.

Good grief, the BoE did not say that cash is created by banks out of thin air. It said that broad money, or credit to give it its other name, is created by the banks. It also said that the BoE creates base money, or cash to give its other name, and that’s what QE is, the creation of base money, not broad.

And the IMF also said that modest redistribution is a good thing and that excessive is not. The dividing line between the two being, apparently, at changing market gini by more than 13 points. Given that the UK currently changes market gini by just over 13 points we’re already at the limit.

Can’t he even get his own arguments right?

The Royal Society rather needs to get its act together

Sir Paul Nurse tells us all about a new Royal Society report:

That is why two of the world’s premier science academies, the National Academy of Sciences in the US and the Royal Society in the UK, recently got together to produce a balanced and accessible account of the science of climate change.


So, the link is to this holding page at the web hosting site.

Not good lads.

Oh dear God Polly

Let’s look at the smaller frauds in this budget. Osborne will announce more of the low-paid to be lifted out of tax: that sounds so admirable that the former Lib Dem minister Chris Huhne, writing in the Guardian, quarrelled with Osborne over which coalition party deserves the credit for what they both know is a synthetic policy. As Resolution Foundation research shows, 5 million of the low-paid get not a penny more. Only 10% of the high cost of this policy goes to lifting anyone out of income tax. Only 15% of the money goes to anyone earning less that the £26,000 median, the rest all goes up the scale to above-average earners. Universal Credit sees every penny of a tax cut taken away in lower credits. National insurance kicks in at £8,000 and is more regressive, yet Clegg wants the tax threshold raised yet more, positioning the coalition as egalitarians. The staggeringly reckless cost is £11bn a year: if genuinely spent on low-income families, it might have avoided the extra 700,000 children descending into absolute poverty that the IFS predicts by next year.

Ex-chancellors Lawson and Lamont join the Daily Mail in protesting against raising the personal tax allowance on the lower paid – but not for the right reasons. They want the “middle classes” on £41,866 to be saved from being dragged into the 40p tax bracket. We must presume ex-chancellors are not innumerate, in which case they must know what they say is balderdash. Those recently pulled into paying 40% are still gaining more through the rise in their personal tax allowance than they lose from paying 40p on the top small slice of their earnings.

But the point
of the two tax changes together is to lift some of the burden of taxation on the low paid and put it instead on the shoulders of the well paid. That’s what the lowering of the 40p rate (through fiscal grad) and the raising of the personal allowance (to compensate for past fiscal drag) is all about. It’s actually a unified and deliberate policy.

It’s entirely possible to disagree with it, fer sure, but do try to realise that it is indeed planned.