If Labour had stuck with a promise to nationalise the trains they’d be on a winner but this idea is so badly conceived that it will give the Conservatives enough ammunition to spend the rest of the campaign painting them as mad socialists out to destroy businesses.

We’ve already progressed to the point where they’re now planning to nationalise Sky, Virgin and Talk talk as well. They’re just digging a bigger hole for themselves.


No one used to say that - they used to say it about party conferences, but i never saw the need to talk bollocks at those either.

The one thing certain about this election is we will have the worst set of politicians ever in the house of commons (in modern times, anyway), no matter what the split between parties. A cross-party pooling of the best talent would have trouble coming up with competent ministers, let alone shadow ministers too to keep them on their toes.


They’ve always said water is first up, haven’t they? One nationalisation at a time because no one has very much confidence that any services will actually get better … except the railways. So long as we don’t start trying to build rolling stock etc.

Also, any expansion of the railway network, sorely needed and spoken about by all sides, is now going to put money directly in the pockets of the Chinese after the Scunthorpe steel take-over for £70m.

How short-sighted was allowing that to happen just before a massive expansion of government spending on national infrastructure?


Agree. It seems the end of austerity has been replaced with profligacy.

The Labour ‘promises’ could backfire because some voters may think such wanton spending is too risky. Others may just want free broadband and are too stupid to realise that they will have to pay for it all in the end.

Government contracts never come in on budget…HS2 is a classic example or the 2012 London Olympics where the initial budget was a laughable £3-4 billion but the final bill was circa £9 billion.


yes Nicola must love this… do you want independance or the muppets for your gov?

not a fan of labour this wifi rubbish seems to be to change focus away from Brexit. imagine ppl on benefits - dont worry country will be worse off but we will be on broadband??

This video from them is good though…
just substitute the EU for ALI …


That particular drug is classed as one of the most expensive (by no means the most expensive), its just that that type of example is easier to find on a quick search.

I didn’t mention the following because I assumed that someone else would bring up the usual first response in an argument about the high cost of drugs in the USA.

The first standard defence from U.S. Big Pharma is that those prices drive costly research and development risk and this is why U.S. companies produce more new drugs than any other country.

That is arguable, but what isn’t arguable is that companies like GSK will readily pay fines from the U.S. Department of Justice of $2-$3BILLION after the accidental mis-labelling of two or three drugs simply to retain access to, by far, the most lucrative drug market in the world where they will get the very best return possible on any drug they develop themselves.

The other side of the argument is that ‘orphan drugs’ are so expensive as to be virtually inaccessible to most people outside the USA because other health services or health insurance policies wont cover the cost.

Another argument is that because health insurance companies pick up the cost for such expensive treatments that there is little incentive to keep pricing down because of the middle man between the drug manufacturer and end user.

This in turn drove Valeant (and others) to buy out small biotech companies who have developed orphan drugs and increase prices by up to 7,000%. It just so happens Valeant are the owner of the drug I named above at the time of that price being valid (it may still be, but the bragging by their CEO caused U.S. drug pricing to become a massive issue in the 2016 presidential election with both sides accusing drug companies of price gouging).

I think that the whole, price-driven R & D model is flawed and can’t be left to the free market. For example, the hunt for new antibiotics, a class of drug which have saved hundreds of millions of lives (including mine more than once) over the last 80 years, has been largely dropped by Big Pharma. Why? Because if they discover one, dosages will be strictly controlled to prolong their usefulness before bacterias adapt and become resistant and a standard antibiotic dose is usually just a few capsules over a week. Something they really can’t charge a lot for… therefore the rewards for discovery are limited.


BBC -The Lib Dems and SNP have lost their legal challenge to be included in an ITV head-to-head debate ahead of the general election on 12 December.

Nice to see the nobodies have been dealt with and dispatched with nothing but a huge legal bill.


The UK ID cards was a Blair idea where we would all have to pay for them, that’s why it was dropped. In the USA they use drivers licences for ID and the issue non-drivers licences to be used as ID. Very simple and very cheap we already have the infrastructure just lacking the brains in Westminster


Hi Eadwig,

I have been visiting Taiwan for 45 years, if are there for more than 90 days you have to pay income tax (even if you have not earn’t any money). During that time I have seen a lot of unhappy people either at the airport or sitting in hotel bars looking very cheesed off because nobody told them. When they check in at the airport the airline tells them that unfortunately they can’t leave until their tax is up to date. I used to be there quite often for more than 90 days. I had a letter fro the companies local merchant bank guaranteeing to pay the tax lodged with the tax office. I never had any problems. So it can’t be difficult to do.


So much so, that for years we had a driving license with no photo - and some people still do. then we issued a photo driving license … and it still needed a back up piece of paper too.

That has at last been dropped, or so you’d think. A few months ago i had to arrange for the executors of my dad’s will to sell some shares via an online account, but the registrar needed photo ID from both plus proof of address to transfer shares.

One executor had only a passport, paper driving license and all utility bills for proof of address were online - she printed them out and applied for a new driving license for her proof. Printed out utility bills were accepted. How easily forgeable is that?

The second executor was even worse, then refused to give his debit card details over for the online account anyway so it never mattered - except we are now dealing with paper shares and a 1%-1.5% charge when making sales.

Utterly pathetic.

In Poland everyone is used a card soon after their birth with a unique I.D. number, pretty much like a national insurance number. Everything is linked to it. ID cards, benefits, health checks, school places, everything. We could do the same with N.I. numbers but we choose not to, they just don’t get passed between departments.

I used to like that - as an ultimate safe-guard against big brother state. But it is almost impossible to get anything done that involves money transfers these days. Its pretty pathetic and Westminster pass laws that make it worse (just in case we’re all funding terrorist cells) but don’t think about making it easier in some way. It surely doesn’t take a genius, and relying on utilities is as bas as relying on air lines to do I.D. checking on those coming in and out of the country.


That isn’t the problem. 90 days is a standard cut off point for tourist visas, just like we have in the UK.

My problem is that i don’t spend 90 days or over at a time, but I do want to visit maybe 2 or 3 times within 90 days. When you leave on a tourist visa you are NOT ALLOWED TO RE-ENTER for 90 DAYS. This is true in the UK, Poland and USA to name just 3 countries.

That is my problem when I have a girlfriend and daughter that i wish to visit frequently. I don’t want to be forced to wait for a MINIMUM of 90 days between visits, especially when the visit is probably 2 weekends and the week in between, or at maximum, as now, about 9 weeks covering a load of birthdays, St Nicholas’ Day and Xmas and New Year.

If I leave Poland on 2nd Jan, I can’t re-enter until APRIL. That pisses me off and I have to find a way around it. I know where to cross the border without being caught, but I’d really rather not have to start with such stupidities at my age and in this day and age just so I can spend time with my family.


My wife is Taiwanese she had an ID card at birth, she had to get new photos every few years. But it was all she needed to get a Taiwanese passport a few years ago, not having lived there for 45 years.


same for the Polish PESEL card - at least until you are an adult. ame for Uk passports too actually, then every 10 years once an adult.


This does not appear to be what the relevant website says. Poland is a party to the Schengen Agreement so what is shown in the web page should apply…

It would appear that one is allowed to enter as many times as one likes as long as the 90/180 rule is complied with, at least on multi-entry visa. However, I defer to your experience of dealing with the Polish immigration authorities.

By the way, a standard UK visitor visa allows 6 months stay, not 90 days, and there does not appear to be any restriction on the number of visits that can be made. See HMG website.


A multiple entry visa isn’t a standard tourist visa (which is automatically granted without anything previously stamped in your passport. Any visitor to another country without a specific visa is usually deemed to be there on a tourist visa) and seemed to be the obvious thing to do despite the massive costs and administration involved and no guarantee whatsoever that I will be granted one.

You are making exactly the same mistake with the link to HMG website. The visa you refer to is NOT a tourist visa as described above, must be applied for at least 3 months in advance of the visit etc etc etc.

A ‘tourist visa’ as I refer to it above, is generally 3 months for just about any country I’ve ever checked and allows anyone on a list of countries (usually about 100) to turn up at immigration control without any prior notice, most usually for the purposes of a short stay holiday.

Typically, such visas impose a 90 day minimum period before re-entry to stop them being used as a means of staying indefinitely by the simple expedient of taking a day trip abroad then re-starting your 90 day allowance on your return. None of this is openly stated because there is no formal application procedure, however, if you search them out you will find these rules laid out.

Most tourists are never even aware they are on a tourist visa. I only became aware of such a thing when I visited USA approx 3 months after a previous visit and was asked if i was aware that I couldn’t return within 90 days of my previous exit. I think I had, but they let me off. As with the Uk, there was no exit stamp so they couldn’t actually tell when I left previously although i answered truthfully when asked how long I had stayed on the previous visit.

Polish Schengen visa requirements, and believe me this is just the beginning and NOT for multiple entry which is far more complicated.

I’m retired but not yet in receipt of a pension, by the way, which immediately puts me in a none standard position. Just take a look at this crap and compare to the preparation I have to do now before a visit… I.e. NONE


I have used TransferWise to move money into an EU account (admittedly small amounts & several years ago)…it was easy to use with a good exchange rate. Have new regulations stopped that?


No mistake! Only citizens of certain Countries do not need to apply for a VISA before coming to the UK. Visa-free travel to the UK is possible if you belong to one of the 56 countries shown on this Wikipedia page. As you see these visas are for 6 months. Obviously this list might be increased affter Brexit to include the EU and EEA.

I visit Thailand on a tourist visa twice a year, which is valid for 30 days only. In 2017 I made two trips close together. The gap between visits was much less than 90 days, and I had absolutely no problems entering on the second trip. I have found an online link that states that there are no hard and fast rules for reentry, but more than 3 visits in a 6 month period might be questioned by the immigration authorities. Thailand has a list of 55 countries that are visa exempt, others requiring a visa before travelling.

I agree anything more than nothing is annoying, however applying for a 5-year multi-entry visa does not seem too onerous, especially as it appears you can show familial connections.

Obviously what will be needed in future, post-Brexit, is an unknown, but this should only apply once the transition period has expired. It all depends how much punishment the EU wishes to inflict on the UK.


Thailand isn’t on the standard list for tourist visas. Someone visiting from Thailand to the EU would need a sponsor and a large deposit, around 30k Euro, I believe. Still a very good chance they wouldn’t get in as a friend who posts here found out recently when wanting to take his Thai girlfriend to visit family in Italy.

You haven’t studied the requirements if you say that. Personal visit required to Polish embassy for a start to go through several reams of documentation including bank statements, health insurance, means of support, personal sponsor, reasons for multiple visits, records of previous visits to show the need (I have none), birth certificates (mine and family connections) and some documents I’ve never even heard of (I.e we don’t have them as Brits). Oh, and the crowning glory, a booked exit ticket before you enter … which destroys any chance of being flexible which will lead to much larger flight costs inevitably.

Good chance Poland will be leaving the zone, which with my luck will be just after I’ve actually settled - and paid - for everything. Cost of Polish visas link leads nowhere, by the way. I suspect it will be in the hundreds GBP if not 4 figures sum for a 5 year multi-entry visit. I would have to get a new passport for a start which i believe is £80 now, just to give 5 years plus additional amount required.

Remember that every businessman wanting to do business in EU post Brexit will have to do all of this stuff above as a minimum.

All that compared with doing absolutely nothing right now.


Just so you know… the US have an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) which lets you visit the US for < 90 days without needing a visa (for a holiday or a business trip). This is their the visa waiver program… the US has a list of program countries they allow to use an ESTA and UK is one… so is most of the EU.
They also operate a rule of thumb approach that if you stay for 90 days then you shouldn’t be coming back for another 91… even that is at the discretion of the US border officer. I was able to keep using it for over a year (as I forgot about it) just by having documents showing that I didn’t wish to permanently live in the US.

I’m not sure if the US are recording electronically when you leave… I always use the electronic gates anyway so certainly the data is there for them if they want to use it.

Similarly, the European Commission proposed a long time ago that British Citizens would be able to visit countries in the Schengen area or elsewhere in the EU for < 90 days in any 180-day period without a visa.
I assume that has gone up in smoke though given the UK’s stance on immigration… but then I don’t know as f*ck all has been negotiated at all yet… other than some goofy withdrawal agreement setting out departure terms… and about 20 pages outlining some of the things that will need to be negotiated.
How Johnson gets away with saying that the Deal is done and it just needs hot water added to it to be ready just shows how biased the Press are towards the twit.


I was aware of that, yes. in fact ESTA was introduced after a period when no such thing was required which was when i spent a lot of time in the states. I wasn’t aware when it was introduced necessitating a mad scramble at the airport to buy one online and returning to the check in desk just as my seat was being given to someone else.

I was thinking about that and I’ve done this as well in countries in S. America where no visa was required, but your passport is stamped on entry AND ON EXIT. Therefore they can see that although you have returned within a certain period that you only stayed briefly beforehand, so if there is such a rule in countries like Peru, Bolivia and Chile where I have done this, it wasn’t seen as a problem.

The UK and USA do NOT stamp passports on exit which may give rise to problems and the 90 day return rule being invoked.

By the way, with a multiple-entry Schengen visa the 90/180 period still applies which is a huge pain in the arse. technically i’ve overstayed a couple of times in Poland (certainly once due to an illness and there was no one else to look after my daughter), although after a week or two back in the UK I was then back to >90 days within 180 in the UK.

In theory, so far as I can make out, I briefly became resident in Poland for tax purposes etc and then within a few weeks was resident for tax purposes again in the UK. Needless to say i did nothing about it, not least because i doubt the paperwork involved would have been completed before i had to redo it which neither tax service would have been pleased about, especially as i wasn’t earning anything at the time.

I wonder how many of the 100,000s ex-pats living mostly in Spain will fall foul of such rules when they spend roughly half the year in Spain and the other half in the UK should we leave the EU under Johnson’s half-assed deal with a transition period less than half of what it is supposed to be and every chance such details wont be worked through.

I wonder how many of those retirees will manage to get health insurance cover to the required level once the EHIC card is no longer covering them.