Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox

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      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      John if you are a member of the CABP or BPiA or sımply follow the International Consortium of British Pensioners on Facebook you wıll be able to see that this scandal is coming more and more into the public eye. If you have other positive suggestions as to how this campaign can be moved forward and brought even further into the limelight then do let them know.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      A bull in a china shop does not make waves...it just breaks and damages everything!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes, John, the site is pretty dormant but bearing in mind how long it has been running and the abandonment of it by 38 Degrees the appearance of new followers is now a rare event.
      As for the use of the spoof interview video in conjunction with the mailings and other publicity I do not agree that it - I presume it was that one to which you refer - was simply funny and made a mockery of the issue. When you have been battling as long as some of the pensioners have been then capialising on the reputation of Bird and Fortune and their style of ridiculing government is simply another way of trying to get the message across to the public.

      Some might not be amenable to your chaining to the railings, for example, but it is another means of attracting publicity and, like the videos, that must be the aim because, although you claim that the ICBP is "not achieving great strides" there are only two strides from being a frozen pensioner - those are from doing nothing to the current campaigning to being unfrozen.

      The pressure needs must be kept up and ideas are welcomed by the ICBP.

      Have you put forward yours yet?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      John, i think on looking back through the more recent postings they tend to come from just a few individuals...interest in this forum has tailed off mainly because of the total lack of support from the 38 Degrees Team.
      However, it might be worth giving your idea some airing on the ICBP Facebook Page and see if it is something that might able to be arranged under their auspices. Just a thought.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Chippy and Jane - please note that these are the only three that, at the time of publication, who had signified they wish to speak but other names can be added up until either 6.00pm on Friday 29th November if it is to be a morning debate on the Tuesday or up until midday on 2nd December if it is an afternoon debate. Given that Sir Peter Bottomley and Dame Anne Begg promised in the Commons debate that there would be greater discussion on Clause 20 "in the other place" I reckon there will be more names to come and, of course, there will be those who catch the Lord Chancellor's eye on the day.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Totally agree John...a complete discriminatory nonsense. The example of stupidity that I often quote is - not frozen in the US Virgin Islands but ten miles over the water in the UK Virgin Islands - frozen

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      John - and anyone else - please delete "but not" in the penultimate line; proof reader on holiday!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      John Jones if i may chip in here. Freda is correct about one's frozen pension being uprated to the appropriate level if visiting the UK or an an unfrozen country (apart from USA and Bermuda) but of course one must apply for it and within four weeks of the commencement of the visit. The DWP may well want some details to confirm the claim.
      As regards UK pensioners taking a holiday in a frozen country eg Canada they remain being treated as a resident of the UK and therefore eligible for the index linked pension to continue. There is a requirement to notify the pensions service of any permanent change of address or circumstances which may affect pension eligibility. I understand that the DWP consider extended but not periods abroad on the merits of the individual. Of course there are penalties for not obeying the rules!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I'm in Peter - although I am a member of 38 Degrees I had not been advised of this latest poll - so others, please don't wait keep bashing away at 38 degrees.......miracles do happen!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thanks for that news Peter. I have yet to try and access it myself - you were not the only one that was persona non grata before it was withdrawn!

      One hopes that with a new Chairman at ICBP (Sheila Telford) the opportunity for them to encompass all the major groups once again will materialise.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Freda - I am a member of 38 Degrees but i have not received anything from them about FIFA.

      Have i missed something or is it 38 Degrees normal "selective" democratic process at work yet again?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thanks Peter...it is also a given that governments pay little heed to the rules so I thought it worth checking!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you for that information Peter.

      Please can you tell us if the reply you received indicates whether or not the NI Fund is still "ring fenced" and that the government is still paying interest on the surplus?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Still here George and still battling!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Meg, my comment was based on your previous posting - it was typed but not immediately posted and hence missed the second.

      There is nothing, in my opinion, in your subsequent postings to alter my view.

      It is now clear that you are only engaging in puerile time wasting.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Hello anonymous...I don't intend to comment too deeply on your diatribes as there is nothing in them that is positive in the campaign against the freezing of pensions...indeed much of it is, in my humble opinion, ill informed rubbish.

      What I do find interesting is that much of what you say is a form of repetition from a previous poster on here.

      From memory she used the name Meg. The arguments she used were so easily shot to pieces it became almost laughable and, to sum up, she disappeared in a huff vowing not to reappear on this forum again.

      Her postings do seem to have been removed but perhaps, if she still follows this thread, the two of you could get together and start or find a forum which is relevant to you ramblings.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Nothing from 38 degrees as you say Freda but I understand they are to be featured in Sunday Times tomorrow, 10th March 2013. I wonder how reflective of the truth the article will be...you never know it might make the Degrees Team and David and Hannah in particular adopt a more positive approach to campaigns which are of real value.

      Meanwhile this forum has garnered some more votes....Thank you!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Freda - you jest - 38 Degrees take any notice of anything that does not fit their agenda? Haven't you noticed that so much of their Newsletters are taken up with requests for donations (usually to be "spent" on already lost causes) they haven't space to include worthy campaigns.

      Readers keep showing your support by voting and, if you wish, commenting.

      Hopefully you will also channel your efforts through one of the organisations fighting this iniquitous discrimination

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Freda and Jane you are of course quite correct in taking 38 Degrees to task over the totally chaotic and undemocratic way they select campaigns. This has been pointed out to them time and again but the cut and paste replies merely reflect that heads remain firmly in the sand.

      However, I have noticed that the number of votes has increased by a few which suggests new supporters do visit the site. I would not want them or indeed anyone to think the fight is over...cos it ain't!

      To that end, therefore, this site is a useful signpost for them to continue their interest and support - perhaps by contacting the CABP, BAPA or BPiA

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Freda, you are so right but I noticed that the Newsletter from Becky inviting suggestions for a new campaign contained several with both more and less votes than either the one on here for the banning of glass bottles and glasses in pubs and, indeed, this one calling for for the abolition of frozen pensions.

      Clearly the frequent protestations that I and others have made that the process of selection is far from democratic and which have been constantly denied by 38 Degrees are manifestly true.

      If people are able to vote elsewhere then it is obvious that voting can be influenced unfairly...perhaps even with people voting more than once.

      I have, therefore, put forward as a suggestion that 38 Degrees operates a truly democratic selection process

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      It looks as if both Anne and Jane received the same begging e-mail from David and Hannah at 38 Degrees as I did; really couldn't believe what I was reading!

      As Anne has pointed out it has now been admitted that the organisation is for residents in the UK. The plight of the frozen UK citizen abroad, or anyone else overseas, I suspect, was never a serious consideration for them to campaign on or one that deserved a more concerted effort by the 38 team.

      Now, having ignored, to all intents and purposes, the wishes and votes of people who topped the list for over eighteen months they have the audacity to beg a regular weekly funding to be used on supporting unspecified ventures and which might be diametrically opposed to my personal views and wishes!

      And they have the cheek to write and thank me for my support...but, without a major change in their parochial policies, I cannot reciprocate!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Should have said, of course, that while our battle is on a specific discrimination against just 4% of all UK pensioners world wide we, nevertheless, do have sympathy with all pensioners (and would be pensioners) who are struggling wherever they live.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I think, too, Peter that it should be pointed out to Sickofbeingsickofit that the frozen pension policy has been longstanding policy of successive governments for over sixty years and our fight has been with them all irrespective of their political colour.

      The progressive adjustment of the State Retirement Ages was also a part of the Pensions policy of all the major political parties prior to the last election although one may question the timescales. It was inevitable that those "concessions" would be a part of whichever party or parties formed the government.

      Our aim is as stated in the title to this forum...and nothing else.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Anne Puckridge - your assessment is spot on and the comment should be made compulsory reading ALL Members of Parliament and not just IDS.

      Although contributions to this forum have dwindled I hope that those who do keep following it or visit for the first time appreciate that the fight goes on and that any who have not voted will do so. The support, even if it does not wake up the 38 Team, is ammunition for other possible negotiations!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I hope you are not still holding your breath morgeo because, like Jane says, I, too, think your wasting your time with this lot.

      Irrespective of what one's views are on the campaigns they do take up it has been pointed out to the 38 Team (and not just by me) that their process of selection is seriously flawed and badly biased.

      But with or without a change in attitude by the 38 degrees organisation the fight for fairness, justice and equality for all British Pensioners continues and, unlike so many of the 38 degrees backed campaigns, we shall succeed.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes, Jane but I notice that he was replying to an MP in the House and does not, as some people seem to be interpreting it, quash the IDS/Macklin discussions. I see them as separate issues and, indeed, those discussions may have far more input from the Cabinet Office and Treasury than the DWP.

      He dismisses those reports as flawed as they are based on hypothosis which I find quite laughable coming from someone who is just about to produce a Pension Reform Bill which is nothing more than well supported (by government figures!) than ....hypothosis?

      And talking of flaws in the argument can anybody tell me what is more flawed than a frozen pension policy that discriminates against 4% of the total UK pensioners world wide and for which he offers no justification?

      I suggest that Webb's dismissal of the well researched and supported by independent surveys

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thaank you Anonymous for your comment. you are, of course, quite right - this discrimination is totally unfair and why this forum and the campaign for fairnes, justice and equality are so important. If you have not voted we would ask that you please support the frozen pensioner both by voting here and signing the e-petition on
      http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I was a bit surprised a couple of days ago to get an e-mail from Steve Webb to say he couldn't accept my request for him to be a friend as he had reached the Facebook 5,00 limit. Two things struck me - first I had not made such a request (although have corresponded with him) so how did get such a request? second - Steve Webb has 5000 friends??? - must be another DWP statistic!
      But Webb apparently has opened a page on Facebook so that he can "keep in touch"......

      https://www.facebook.com/steve.webb2/timeline

      I am sure he would welcome your comments from as it were the horses mouth

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter, I have refrained from commenting on the Google activity because, put it down to pride, I did not wish to show my ignorance. I have no idea how it works and, judging from both Chippy and Jane's comments it is not something they are familiar with either!

      So, please, for our benefit, explain how it works and if and how we can be of assistance either individually or as a group.

      I think, too, that on reflection, Peter, you will appreciate that we all, and especially those who have sought to keep this forum alive, are fighting a common cause.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I don't know about it being Friday 13th, Freda but for everyone's information and in particular those in Canada may I draw your attention to an article published by CARP (Canadian Association of Retired Pensioners) dated 15th June?

      It contains a number of inaccuracies not least of which is the statement that in order for (Canada) to achieve the uprating a bilateral agreement with the UK is required. This, of course, is quite untrue...the only obstacle is the intransigence of the UK Government; freezing could be ablished world wide at the stroke of a pen in Westminster.

      CARP has been notified of the mistakes and the article drawn to the attention of the CABP.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Item 2 line 3 of my posting should read "...did not need and do not need the ICBP approval to write..."
      I regret the error.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      James, I do not intend to be goaded into protracted arguements with you about my postings and the effectiveness of the POP Group as your comments invite.

      I will, therefore, confine these remarks to facts rather than opinions.

      1. You say this is not the right place to question the ICBP. If they are prepared to utilise ideas from the pages of this public forum they should expect to be prepared to field legitimate questions in the same forum on their operation. It is, of course, open to the ICBP whether or not they wish to answer but failure to address them will, as has been demonstrated in the history of the forum, increase pressure on them to do so and raise doubts when they do not.

      2. You suggest that I write direct to ICBP. In my earlier posting I pointed out that I had done just that and received no reply from any of the three separate contacts; I see no value in repeating the exercise. I am aware that I did not and do need the ICBP approval to write to the Minister. My approach to them was a matter of courtesy which was not reciprocated. It is water now a long time under the bridge.

      3. You question the part played by Hoffman in the ruling by the ECHR Grand Chamber. Lord Hoffman was the presiding Law Lord when the Carson case was before them; his statement produced verbatim in the ECHR Grand Chamber ruling contained many inaccuracies with which I could identify in my personal pension position. You may wish to avail yourself of the ECHR ruling - a summary of which is available on the internet.

      4. I have, like so many others, written to the Pensions Minister but, as I am sure you are aware, the replies tend to come from the DWP Communications Unit and, bluntly, are meaningless rubbish. I have, however, established a correspondence link with the current Minister, Steve Webb, through the MP for the UK constituency in which I last resided.

      5. As regards the success of POP I think I can do no better than refer you to the recent earlier posting of Morgeo, Jane and Chippy.

      6. My original posting in the Witney Gazette preceded yours and, therefore, cannot be considered to be a disagreement with you. My second posting adds rather more weight to your own by pointing out that the problem is not confined solely to Commonwealth countries but is world wide one. This, in view of the fact the Australian and Canadian governments, for example, subdsidise some of the frozen pensioners provides them with a stronger case to pressure the UK government than, say, Thailand which offers no help. Nevertheless it has to be remebered that it is the frozen pensioner which is the important element in this issue not the irrelevant country of residence.

      7. Anne Puckridge has confirmed to you that the POP Group also had dealings with Diane Finley. If we are to take your word on trust about the involvement of an Australian jounalist then it is only right that that trust in our dealings is reciprocated..

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      In connection with Anne's letter, James, I would just like to add that, in view of my earlier comments regarding the letter co-signed by the ICBP to Her Majesty on the celebration of her Diamond Jubilee it is unfortunate that they did not have a copy. Perhaps then they would have identified the campaign is a world wide one and not siolely Commonwealth.
      As Anne said through Chippy " it could (have been) a case of two (or more) heads..."

      My response to your earlier, James, comments will appear later.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      James you do baffle me at times!

      You appear to be suggesting that it perfectly legitimate for ICBP to use the ideas of non financial contributers but not for those individuals to ask questions, on what is a public forum, on the policies and activities of the ICBP (and which they themselves have first alluded) - This, to me seems rather unbalanced!

      You asked about my communications with ICBP. My request to ICBP was for them to vet a letter to the then Pensions minister Yvette Cooper following the ECHR ruling on the Carson case. It, in my humble opinion and having read the hearing transcript, pointed out in relation to my own pension position the, shall we say, shortcomings of that verdict and, in particular, Hoffman's diatribe. I did not wish to jeopardise any posssible action the ICBP were planning. I e-mailed it to three addresses which, as far as I can remember were, Markham, Champollion and Morris. With no reply from any and the impending general election it was never sent to the past or present minister.

      It was not intended as a dark comment to question what percentage of the ICBP funding has been spent on PROMOTIONAL activity bearing in mind that it seems to have been rather inactive in that area since the court case. With Chippy's billboard suggestion and trying to stir up public interest it seemed an opportune moment...are there any accounts that are available?

      I said you baffle me James. Now, having been well informed by Georgeo you seek to belittle the efforts of POP and possibly other similar groups in suggesting they are of, if anything, minor influence. I accept that 38Degrees - an ICBP idea of course - has not turned out as hoped but the response to POP has been tremendous. You then go on to say the main thrust was an Australian journalist. I don't recall seeing any evidence to support that claim and would like to think that it was far more likely a combination of events that prompted the Canadian Diane Finley to react as she did.

      Why am I baffled? Simply because having tried to write down the work of POP you are in the next breath seeking our help in providing leads into online comment sites!

      Oh, by the way, for all those who wonder what has happened to Dickie Bird and Michael Parkinson I understand that they are both currently in poor health and, regretably, have had to withdraw. One wonders why, if he knew, Peter did not disclose this. Surely no secret? Perhaps It should not be beyond the realms of possibility for other likely candidates to emerge. Maybe Champollion can help?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I suppose, Peter, if an absolute sure fire means of effecting the thaw we all are seeking appeared on this forum you would first wish to know if the suggester was a "financial member". Of course if they were not or even like Jane and had resigned her membership you would feel morally bound to reject the proposal.

      James you suggest writing direct to the ICBP....have you ever done so? I have and, after over two years, no one has ever bothered to reply but, as Peter tells us "they have no members as such" so perhaps I'm expecting too much. (Oh, but they did e-mail me to join the earlier forum and this one).

      James you also ask what this group (presumably you mean 38 degrees) and POP actually achieved. As regards this group it has achieved one major success - it has brought together a small but dedicated action motivated group called POP. What has POP achieved - I think Morgeo has given you the come-uppance on that one!

      But shall we turn the coin and ask what has ICBP achieved - and with all their financial backing and in god knows how many years?

      After the, some say self inflicted, disaster of the ECHR ruling the ICBP, through John Markham I believe, said it was the end of the road for the legal fight and we must now rely on the Court of Public Opinion.

      This surly has to be uppermost in the UK itself. While it is acknowledged that newspaper ads are both expensive and of short duration in the public eye - "tomorrows fish and chip wrapper" - never had bin liners in my youth - the suggestion of strategic billboards is not without merit..and you can implement this Peter because the idea came from a CABP member Chippy!. '

      I wonder what percentage of the income generated from members is actually spent on genuine promotions of the cause?

      Perhaps that stone is best left unturned!

      So rather than get all uppity gentlemen please remember you are not being subjected to any sort of challenging take-over bid but you have a group of like minded individuals dedicated to ending this discrimination.

      I think that as far as some of the more recent posters on this forum are concerned their frustration is twofold the freezing itself and the apparent complacency of the associations - for example 20,000 votes on the e-petition and how many members? Follow up letters?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      ...and a couple, Chippy outside each of the Con, Lab and Libdem Head Offices plus, of course, facing the DWP Caxton House Building.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Sorry James that is not a good enough explanation.

      Here was a golden opportunity for an influential and respected group of organisations to press the campaign on behalf of all frozen pensioners...and they blew it..
      I presume, therefore, that the congratulations to Her Majesty that would have come from her citizens in frozen non commonwealth countries are not, in the eyes of those signatories, worth a single jot and can be ignored.
      The important thing is not the ICBP and associate groups self satisfaction in believing it was acting on behalf of all frozen pensioners it is the effectiveness of getting that message across and here, in relation to Her Majesty, the ICBP failed.
      And, from the other comments i believe there are a number of others who agree with me.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Although there are a few errors in the list Chippy gave it does rather underline the extent to which the frozen pension policy is applied around the world.
      It also serves to undeline even more forcefully the incredible tunnel vision by the ICBP and those other signatories in promoting "the Commonwealth ones" and ignoring these frozen countries in the letter sent to Her Majesty.
      I am surprised Peter did not make comment on that aspect at the same time.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      James I cannot tell a lie.....I am RobtheFox....so, yes....ME!

      but it was several weeks ago. Thanks for putting it on here as it will hopefully convince many doubters that we do need to keep the pressure up and, sometimes, we can get into print!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 
      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      There is a copy of a letter sent by the ICBP to Her Majesty the Queen congratulating her on her Diamond Jubilee. It can be seen on http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/diamond-jubilee-frozen-pensioners-appeal-135607498.html
      Clearly it highlights the plight of the frozen pensioner and is co-signed by other pensioner groups - for example AgeUK.

      I do however, think it quite shameful that the ICBP has put its name to a letter which limits itself to pensioners in Commonwealth countries and fails to mention frozen UK pensioners world wide. Her Majesty may well be Head of the Commonwealth but, more importantly in my view, she is each individual UK citizen's monarch irrespective of where they reside.
      Not to identify this in such a letter is, in itself, discrimination against some of the associated pensioner groups that form and support the ICBP

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you for your comment Peter and I note that you do not deny that it was your goodself who announced on this public forum that Bird and Parkinson had been recruited.
      A proper reply to a question raised on the subject on this public forum would not seem to be out of place. After all, participation on this public forum is not the sole perogative of members of any specific frozen pensioner organisation.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane, if just 5% of frozen pensioners wrote to the Queen as you suggest she, and the DWP, would have over 25,000 letters to deal with...yes, I think she would take notice so come you frozen lot....DO SOMETHING AND GET WRITING !!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Good question, Jane. I think it was Peter Morris who first mentioned them on here but I could be wrong, of course! I have been back over the history of his postings but cannot find it. As I say I could be wrong about the original posting or, there again, he might have deleted it.
      Does anybody know the answer, please?

      While on here commenting Chippy asked a while back if any of the associate members of ICBP had attempted to enlist any of the now defunct SAABP members... If Peter does not know the answer off hand perhaps an individual officer from each association would care to comment?
      The Avaaz petition is approaching 1000 signatures and, as I said before, quite a number are from South Africa.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you Peter for the explanation of BME - I'm not sure if such an abbreviation was in vogue when I was in the UK last! Clearly, the recognition by the Cabinet Minister of the unjust and unfair policy should be sufficient to resolve the issue and the relevant factor would be that one is frozen irrespective of whether or not one is a member of the BME.

      You advise that comments/suggestions and criticisms should be addressed to CABP, BAPA or BPiA as appropriate. I would think that if the CABP Representative for New Brunswick finds it necessary to comment to you on a meeting even he has not been told about then perhaps you will appreciate the lack of confidence in the administrations of the ICBP Associates.
      After all, apart from yourself and James how often, if ever, do officers from these organisations put a word on here?
      And when you learn that a Director is saying at a Recruitment meeting that nothing will happen on the freezing issue until 2016 do you not understand the frustration that is felt and driving some of us to be "active" and not "passive" campaigners?
      And when one sees how much is spent on Newsletters and Meetings in comparison with Promotion (even though membership is under 3% of the frozen pensioner poulation) does this answer the question as to why you, Peter, get bombarded instead?

      As regards the confidentiality aspect you say it would require changes in budget allocation. All that is required is the sum required to uprate the frozen pension be withdrawn from the NI Fund before anything is passed over as surplus to Debt Management. Government borrowing, if necessary, from that source would perhaps need adjusting.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Interesting point there Chippy. I don't know if you have been following the Avaaz petition but it shows a list of recent signers and the number coming from South Africa suggest that support for the cause is still strong. I appreciate that ICBP does not have its own "members" but I really would find it very disturbing to learn that, in the knowledge that the folding up SAABP was a distinct possibility the other organisations, BAPA, BPiA and CABP, did not go overboard in getting their membership transferred.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      The e-petition now has 20,000 signatures; the Avaaz one 939. Keep pushing all those family and friends, folks!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter, thank you for your update on dealings with the Cabinet Minister
      There may be some who want "all or nothing" but I think that there are many who are not in favour of phasing and ICBP should not be making such offers to Government. It gives the appearance we are out with a begging bowl; we are not, we want what is rightfully ours -and now. It is the government who should be making the offers not the ICBP.

      Secondly, I must again be critical at the suggestion of "reciprocal agreements" and I think it quite wrong to nourish the idea that while discriminating against all frozen pensioners is wrong it is OK to do so against a minority if they don't live in Australia or Canada. The governmentalready discriminates against a minority of pensioners already, why condone it further by such agreements?

      Thirdly the question of adverse media comment is, in my view, a government red herring. I firmly believe that the majority of UK citizens would be far more supportive of unfreezing than, as Morgeo says handing over fistfuls of cash to the EU.

      A formal letter from HMG would be nice but only if it gives specific timeous committment. Who will decide when the economy has 'recovered'?

      I look forward to your advising what or who BME is or are!

      Also, perhaps divulging who this mysterious Cabinet Office Minister is..excluding the PM and his deputy there are only five to choose from; tossing a coin between Maude and Letwin, myself - probably the latter!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      But not as quiet as ICBP it seems...no response in 10 days from them. I see Dickie Bird collected his gong at Buck House today so what news on them and, while we are about it - a question about this working party. Simply is it actually working?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Sorry Jane, can't help here. This, I think, is one for the ICBP to respond to as I am pretty sure it was through their PR company, Champollion, that Dickie and Michael were recruited.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      James - a little tongue in the cheek there perhaps on withdrawing signatures? I suspect it is a bit like some of the campaigns that 38 Degrees actually do take on and the target figure is a moveable feast as it mounts (and some checks it!)
      Jane - I think the Roger Helmer link has a glich in it. My comment was made over 24 hours ago and is still awaiting clearance by the moderator. Each time I log in my comment is still there but with only two others posted earlier but i know others have sent in their views too but like yours, they do not come up on my screen.
      I have e-mailed Helmer and asked him to get it checked and sorted ...on roger.helmer@europarl.europa.eu
      Yes, Jane, I could not agree with you more that the major pension associations - like those in ICBP and especially as they have a PR company in tow - should be far more pro-active. I have said this all along; about the 38 forum and now we are more than six months into the e-petition campaign and although I have signed up I have yet to see anything by way of an e-mail reminder to thank me (if i have signed) but more to the point telling me to get moving (if i have'nt).

      MEANWHILE - everybody please scroll down the preceding pages and follow up on the relevant links to make sure your voice is being heard.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      It is quite amazing...I spent a good three hours this morning trying to get the AVAAZ link onto this forum and for some reason it would not accept it - now I come to back just prior to going to kip and lo and behold!

      Good move Peter and I'm already signed up to it and my message this morning was to exhort EVERYBODY to get signing. If 38 degrees is going to continue their ostrich like posture we, as Morgeo says, cannot afford to waste time.
      I am sure that the CABP are aware, Peter. There are those amongst our number who will stir them from their complacency I am sure!,

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes an excellent article , Peter, and one that should be made compulsory reading for all MPs.
      Recommend anyone visiting this site to follow up the Guardian piece...and perhaps add to the many well presented comments.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      The e-petition has just passed the 19,000 mark and while this is still someway short of the magcal number please do sign up if you have not already done so...and get all your friends and relatives to do so as well.
      It is all grist to the mill in getting the justice we seek.

      so http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387 is the link you need

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Quite agree Jane that the comments of the "Spokesperson" are really disgraceful and show a complete lack of understanding of the problem. Hague will be advised that this person is a liability in the Foreign Office and should be replaced...unless of course he was briefed by Hague himself in which case...

      Thank you and Morgeo for putting Sunshine Woman wise about 38 degrees so called democracy...as a member of 38 I can assure her that the evidence against it being democratic is somewhat overwhelming.
      Nevertheless we should all be thankful that this forum has given an impetus to getting the immoral discrimination abolished. The Fight Goes On.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Team at 38 Degrees ...answer, please. - as you don't reply to my e-mails....so

      If you could only choose one suggestion to turn into a campaign would you go for

      a) a suggestion that has the support of many of your membership but which is clearly morally unacceptable, unachievable or plain wrong

      or b) a suggestion that is supported only by a minority (but a substantial one) and is obviously justifiable?

      In category b) you will find the suggestion to support the 4% of frozen pensioners who are seeking justice, equality and fairness and a request to publicise the e-petition.

      Are you men or mice team 38???????????

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter there is no evidence AT ALL to support that his entertaining has influenced government policy.

      But OK, Peter, I presume you are going to cough up the readies to buy your dinner with him and influence him on the frozen pension policy?

      And I still say that if anyone really thinks this avenue is open - if it ever was open - is, after the publicity, in farawayland.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Interesting thought, James, but a non starter I think. There is no hard evidence to support what Cruddas claimed and it has (of course) been denied. But more to the point do you really think that now the accusation is out in the open Cameron would risk it?

      He may be daft but he ain't stoopid!!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Whoops - epetition is on

      http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      Sorry!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      It is good to see some new names among the comment makers and, indeed, to see the votes total is still creeping upwards - about 50 more since the beginning of February. Welcome to the forum and one hopes that you have all also voted on the e-petition on

      http://epetitions.direct.gov/uk/16387

      Perhaps with the NHS campaign loosing momentum 38 Degrees will look again at their biased selection process...although it seems they are more interested in what David Cameron has for Dinner- and who eats it with him!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Please note that the e-petition link given by Jane (below) is slightly incorrect and should read http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      (It should not have one, two or even three "full-stops" at the end!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes, could be quite a year to remember - Diamond Jubilee, London Olympics...and no more frozen pensions, please.

      The government could really make this a year of celebration for half a million pensioners but we must continue to pressure them...and that means half a million people WORKING FOR IT and NOT SITTING BACK and waiting.

      Just over a month ago, on 4th February to be precise, I posted on here a challenge to 38 Degrees to e-mail a Newsletter to all their members asking them to sign the e-petition. I have also followed this up with a letter and a reminder. No response.....zilch...no manners.

      It is good to see the votes on here are creeping up still. Maybe, just maybe, it will eventually dawn on the 38 Degrees Team that they are the government's equal in the discrimination world where pensions are concerned and then recognise the wisdom behind the suggestion!

      Meanwhile we must also keep pushing the e-petition itself, musn't we ICBP and associate groups?

      MUSN'T WE ICBP AND ASSOCIATES???

      Please make sure you have signed and persuaded all your family, friends and whoever else is eligible to do the same on

      http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      As regards whether or not frozen pensions are to be included in the forthcoming budget is, of course, known only to the Chancellor. We shall not know, although speculation in the newspapers about what is and what isn't in the budget will be widely discussed, until he produces the details from the battered box on Budget Day. We do know from the Autumn Statement the % increase as it is based on either the average earnings % or cost of living % increases or 2.5% whichever is the greater in the previous September...for those who get it! Even the cabinet will not know until the morning of the day what the contents is so I don't think Peter is party to any inside infrormation....but I bet he is right about the frozen!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morgeo I realise that it seems the UK is trying to force money on a country that says it does not need it but I seem to recall this situation arose last year and there is more in it that meets the eye. The money from the UK is apart of the International Aid that was agreed to be given to India - and I don't think anyone would deny that India has an acute poverty crisis - The UK however, is not satisfied that the funding is being properly used and accounted for. Most of it being taken up, how shall I put it - in financing the expenses of the officials rather than those for whom it was intended. THe UK required more control, India said no and has tried to turn the tables by saying it does not need the peanut money when the evidence clearly indicates that the poverty stricken people do but the well to do officialdom do not.THe Indian stance is designed to put the UK in a difficult position...to pay it out when under pressure at home or to withhold it and be accused of neglecting the starving world. It is the greed of Indian Officialdom that is the major problem - they want the money without the controls.
      I do so agree about the comments related to the Falklands; it is ironic that someone who actully fought there thirty years ago could have by now retired there only to be told "thanks for defending our rights ..oh by the way your pension, second class citizen - is frozen".
      This is one reason why I have in effect challenged 38 Degrees to recognise that there are many UK citizens spread far and wide who are, probably, quite unaware of the campaign and that they are also ignored by the parochial UK atttitude. The challenge is to take up the fight by promoting support for the e-petition among its members. Are you there 38 degrees?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Earlier today I posted a comment during the course of which I reminded people of the e-petition link and the difficulty in convincing 38 degree members to support what was to the majority "out of sight and out of mind".
      In the course of an afternoon of supermarket shopping I tried to think how our cause could gain momentum and support.

      Clearly if the members won't come to the mountain of 38 degrees then the mountain needs must go to the members. The means of doing so is so obvious and so simple!

      All of us who are members of 38 Degrees receive quite frequently Newsletters requesting support in some way or another, petitions, donations, e-mailing and so on. With the knowledge that that our cause is almost cetrainly a "one-off" because those that we hope will benefit are no longer in the UK but, of course, are citizens of the old country then surly a Newsletter from 38 to the members urging them to sign the e-petition is the answer? With 800,00 to a million members the 100,000 target should be achievable. It must be realised that we are not asking for a vote to support the campaign against freezing but to support the campaign to at least get the issue debated in parliament.

      So, what say you 38 degrees ..you have a lot to gain and nothing to lose in setting this up.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Come the end of the week this forum will be one year old so "Happy Birthday to Fairness, Justice and Equality from Thailand!"
      It has been a bit quiet of late on this forum but I suppose that that is understandable, It must be the source of considerable embarrasment to 38 Degrees that it has been at number one all that time but does not get selected because, one assumes,of the "out of sight out of mind" attitude of their UK membership.

      It is pleasing to note however that the forum is still attracting votes and we have gone past 7,600,. Please also rember the e-petition and I bring it to the top of the postings once again. It is

      http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387. Please

      make sure you have joined in and of course persuade all you friends and family to do likewise.

      So once again - Happy birthday Forum from Thailand!!!!!!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Well done to Lisa Nandy MP who made it 102 signatories on the EDM!
      You can check out if you MP is there by clicking on

      www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/1895

      Don't forget to sign and get all your friends and relatives to do so as well on the e-petition. Thats on

      http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      and of course give us your three votes here, please!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you Peter, I'll follow up on that after the holiday break is over. Meanwhile...on the strength that Pepsi Cola would not have the sales figures it has on just one advert...remember to sign the petition and tell your family and friends to do likewise. It is on

      http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      and for another e-mail address if you need it www.hushmail.com

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Possibly, Peter, but as the ICBP seem to be at the forefront and, indeed,to be participating in the working group together with the fact that this forum was, allegedly, their brainchild it seemed a logical place to start.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes, Peter, I was aware of Anne Begg's role in the DWP Select Committee and that she also sponsored the EDM tabled by Penny Mordaunt. I am sure I read it somewhere but perhaps I was wrong as I have gone back over much of the info I have but cannot locate the reference. It will, however, be nice to learn just who, by name and position, is going to be on this Working Group as and when it becomes available and when it is scheduled to begin its deliberations

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you Peter...nothing is ever straightforward is it? I suppose what really rankles about this is that a form of bartering seems to be necessary between Treasury, the Health Dept and the Dept of Communities & Local Government Services and then the DWP in resolving the issue. The question of "Robbing Peter (sorry about that!)to pay Paul" should not even enter the equation; it is a matter of simple justice.. I am sure I saw the name of Anne Begg MP being made leader of the Working Group somewhere but I cannot recall quite where I saw it. Perhaps someone can confirm my belief...even if she has not yet lifted her pen in anger.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I am no authority on the subject,Jane, but I reckon that there have been meetings within the cloisters of DWP about this issue and the conclusion is the need to set up a Working Group. They do not need therefore to meet again as matters will now be discussed by that Group. I believe this is to be chaired by Dame Anne Begg MP and in all probability the membership of the group and its terms of reference have yet to be determined. One hopes that they will set a realistic timescale for their deliberations (which, if justice is served will be quite short) but, without doubt, pressure on the government and the MPs must continue.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morgeo I think the position of an EDM is a little different from what you say. I don't think there is any minimum number of MP signatures required to cause a debate; in fact very few EDMs ever reach the floor of the House but it is a means of drawing to the attention of government matters that warrant closer attention. Unfortunately some MPs do not take it seriously and some very trivial EDMs are tabled.
      It is entirely at the discretion of the government whether or not to debate an EDM.
      However on the e-petition a minimum of 100,000 signatures are required in order to make the government consider debating the issue - they would be unwise not to do so - and even then if the petition motion is passed it is not binding on the government to introduce it or even set a timescale.
      This, I think, is why it is vitally important for the Working Group to really put together a foolproof report ...but even then, this does not necessarily spark a debate or government action. The Working Party is a move forward; it should not be necessary with all the information passed to governments over the years but we must use the opportunity wisely and increase the pressure on MPs and, perhaps, when we know the composition of the Working Group ensure that they have the benefit of our views - we the individual pensioner.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter I suggest that what negativity you perceive in the comments is not born out of questioning what the Working Group may or may not achieve but out of the undeniable fact that all the evidence has been staring successive governments in the face for over fifty years. It is therefore very difficult to appreciate why it is considered necessary for such a group to be required to study what parliament already knows.

      Nevertheless I am sure all those who have commented welcome that some light may be on the horizon and that their efforts to right this wrong may yet be rewarded.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Chippy, Jane, Morgeo, of course you must have a Working Group - I mean you can't rely on the Select Committee for Social Security to have thoroughly explored this issue in all the umpteen years they have been operating, can you?

      So remember everyone - you and all your friends and relatives need to visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387 and sign up and if you havn't got an e-mail address www.hushmail.com can set you up with one.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Oh and, Peter, may I suggest that the largest part of the problem actually LIES in Westminster???!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter - I was actually being facetious! Such an idea would only be good if it clearly seen to be a part of ICBP. As an individual entity campaigning solely on behalf of Commonwealth countries it would, I suggest, be seen as discriminatory in itself and against the very fundamental principle fairness, justice and equality for all British Pensioners.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      James your suggestion that a Commonwealth wide treaty is needed is simply condoning the discriminatory freezing practice in non Commonwealth countries and flies directly in the face of "fairness,justice and equality for ALL British Pensioners".
      Equally,Peter, Jane is quite correct in drawing attention to this being a world wide campaign and the numbers living in Commonwealth countries as opposed to non Commonwealth ones is irrelevant - unless, of course, it is not now the aim of the ICBP to pursue it world wide and to become the CCBP - (Commonwealth Consortium of British Pensioners)?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane may I endorse your concerns about the number of signatures on the e-petition? It has been running three months and, by my calculations should be around the 25,000 by now. My concern is the ICBP will neglect to remind members - just as they did with this forum on 38 - and with about forty to fifty thousand members there are a lot of missing autographs!In many ways James Nelson's comment reveals not only the apathy among members but also in the hierarchy. There are more ways of contacting people than by the internet and, if they are not connected themselves there are cafes available - usually with some helpful staff. As for those who say "Your doing a fine job, folks" and contributing nothing more I'm afraid one needs to be somewhat brutal in reminding them that campaigning for over fifty years and with nothing more than a lost ECHR case to show for it is far from "fine". Just as the UK Members of Parliament have moral obligation to cease their discrimination I suggest that ALL pensioners have a moral obligation to actively fight as best they are able for not only themselves but also their fellow - and perhaps less well-off -pensioners.
      Time for the various organisations to adopt a more agressive approach to the many apathetic ones sitting on their backsides... don't just invite them to sign tell them it is their mral responsibility.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you to whoever increased the vote to 7,580. Your comments are equally welcome and may I also add the hope that you have signed the e-petition and, if necessary,are chasing your MP to sign the EDM.

      We must keep up the pressure!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Remember also to vote on this forum if you have not already done so, please. Top left hand side - click on Votes" select "3" please.

      If you need another e-mail address to vote on the e-petition - see below - then www.hushmail.com can provide

      and don't forget to get badgering your old MP if he or she has not signed the Early Day Motion. Check it out on www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/1895

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Sorry - my mistake the link for the e-petition should read http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I read this, too. It is a Lib Dem thinking and not one that will find favour in the current coalition. I believe the Lib Dems will use this as one platform in fighting the next General Election. They have not specified what they consider to be a "well-off" pensioner. They will need their Merc, Jane, if they are over 75 to go and pay their TV licence.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      James - and, of course, anyone else who wants the bell book and candle as issued by Capita Harthead.

      You can access this on line as follows:
      www.csp.capitahartshead.co.uk
      On left handside of Home Page find "Pensioners" - click
      Near top of page find "View latest CSP Pensioner Newsletter for April 2011" - click.

      The information is on Page Two.

      Hope this helps!

      And if 38 Degrees don't fix the scroll down problem when commenting I shall scream!!!!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Oh hello - 38 degrees seem to have changed the layout...and our "Ranked 1st" has disappeared; must have been as a result of the red faces in the team at being there for nine months (and still there) but, because of a dubiou selection process, not launched into a fully fledged campaign.

      Anyway, thank you Peter and James on your contributions to the GMP issue; think between us we have it covered! A couple of points. I am involved on an unrelated matter but could involve GMP in the Private sector. If there is anything to report back I will of course do so.

      Second - my civil service pension is administered by Capita Hartshead. I would like to think that it was because of my pursuing the matter with them in mid 2007 and their letter of September 07 (from which I gave my information) that they, with effect from April 2008 include in their Information Notes issued annually to each pensioner a section covering this aspect. In short Pensioners need to contact the International Pension Service Tyneview Park Newcastle upon Tyne NE98 1BA requesting them to arrrange to tell Capita Hartshead that their pension is not increased because of where they live and to adjust the GMP calculations accordingly. My advice to anyone is that if you think you may be eligible...ASK.

      Hope this helps...and if 38 can't get this new system to scroll down and hold automatically when typing then lets get back to the old one PDQ.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Hello everyone - nice to be back! Thanks to Jane and James for your good wishes; it's not fun having to evacuate is it? Fortunately our hastily built chest high brick wall sealing the porch off served its purpose...even if it did rival a certain tower in Pisa!
      So - I see Jane and George that the question of civil servants getting special treatment in respect of freezing has raised its head again. In a nutshell, folks, they do not!
      James, your article is, of course, accurate but it is very important to distinguish between the OCCUPATIONAL PENSION which you feature and the STATE RETIREMENT PENSION with which your writing has no connection.
      Were it not for this so called "special treatment" a civil servant retiring to, say Australia or Thailand, would have their OCCUPATIONAL PENSION frozen simply because the UK Government does not pay increases in frozen countries on ANY benefit, pension or allowance for which it, the government is responsible. The action you describe James merely brings the Civil Service Pension in line with other company OCCUPATIONAL pension schemes and which, of course are not frozen. Believe you me I wish I had a £ for everytime I, a former, Civil Servant, had been told "It is alright for you, your frozen retirement pension is made up by the government." OH yea? Where do I go to collect the arrears, please?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      The shortlist by 38 Degrees was issued to a random selection of their members to make their choice - whether it appears on the 38 Website I have no idea but would doubt it.
      The question as to whether the frozen pensions issue was debated in Perth was answered by Peter Morris six days ago.
      This purpose of this forum is not for the airing of anti/pro monarchy or anti/pro religious beliefs.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Whoops!! looks as if the link for Early Day Motions has changed...sorry...try www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/1895

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morgeo, Jane you are so right we really do have to make our presence known...within the law of course.
      Good to see the votes here are still creeping up.Keep 'em coming! (Top left hand side of this page click on votes and follow the instructions)
      38 Degrees have shortlisted for campaign consideration "an increase for British Pensioners abroad" but whether this includes us I'm not sure.
      One hundred MPs have now signed EDM 1895 - has the one in your constituency (or the last one you lived in)done so? If not e-mail him or her (see ICBP web site for e-mail addresses) Remember this is not a constituency matter or a party political one but a matter of moral justice and the individual conscience. Remember too that recent experience has shown many MPs are totally ignorant when it comes to the National Insurance Fund and Pensions. So don't be put off by rejection - although Govt ministers, Whips do not sign EDMs. You can follow the progress of the EDM on www.parliament.uk/edm/12/1895
      Lastly, Don't forget the e-petition. It is moving towards 11,000 signatures; if we are to make the 100,000 needed we need an average of just under 2000 new ones every week before September 2012. You can sign it on http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      Do it now...and get your UK citizen friends to do so as well....need a spare e-mail address? www.hushmail.com is all you want to set up one.

      The battle continues!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes, Jane, thanks for pointing that out; my mistake but, as you say still not enough!
      Always worth checking if the amount is correct...even the Pensions people have been known to get it wrong!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you James. The reason I asked Graham if he was getting an allowance for his wife was because I am (my wife is Thai) and the figure of £112 per month seems rather low. As you say his wife need not be British or have even been to the UK.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes Graham, I know the problem! I am also in (a rather soggy) Thailand with wife and son. Does you State Pension include an allowance in respect of your wife?. Your comments highlight the problems but would you care to give us your votes - three if you could! Just go to the top left hand side of the page and click on the word "vote" and then follow the instructions.
      AND if you have not already done so a signature on the e-petition...see my entry just before yours of a few days ago for the link.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Just to say the e-petition has now passed the 10,000 signatures - well done but still a very long way to go!

      Remember - votes and comments here, please BUT ALSO SIGN THE E-PETITION on

      http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      Need an e-mail address? www.hushmail.com

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane - we are still heading the "TOP" list by a street. Unfortunately when you log on it takes you into what they call "HOT". There does not seem to be any criteria for selection...after all one "HOT" issue has attracted 21 comments and 20 votes and no one has commented for 18 days.....clearly a burning issue we should all be concerned about. This issue has been taken up with 38 Degrees.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morgeo - someone other than me agrees with you - the vote has gone up by an "anonymous" three! Thank you whoever you are.
      I amsure that 38 degrees have a more scientific and refined means of campaign selection than such evocative terms as 'Save' or 'Stop'.....I wonder what it is!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Hey - I think I woke the hampster that powers this thing, Jane!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I am not sure if this forum has stuck but the comment from Jane Davies (below) has been showing "about 1 hour" for over a day now!
      Anyway a timely reminder to all our friends out there about signing the e-petition. Log on to this site

      http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      and if you have not got an e-mail address but want to sign it log onto

      www.hushmail.com

      this could be very useful in households where the e-mail address might be a shared one.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thanks to whoever gave us a couple of votes in the past day or so; don't be bashful..leave a comment!!
      Good to see the e-petition is rolling along.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      A Milestone - the e-petition has just passed 8,000 votes. Still a long way to go.
      Keep working guys and gals!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Sorry, Peter - forgive my poor sentence construction!The "you" I was intending to remind was our mass following in general - not "you" as an individual. Sorry!!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thanks Peter, I was not far away from it being a closed shop with an agreed stitch up by the parties, was I?

      Time to remind you, perhaps, of the e-petition to get this properly debated in the House and the need to sign up please on http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morgeo...are you sure that these Orders actually get voted on by the House i.e all the MPs? My understanding is thst they only come before the relevant Parliamentary Select Committee and they simply rubber stamp.
      Many MPs only entered parliament in 2010 and are still wet behind the ears. But, as there were so many new ones, they could have very different views on uprating and frozen pensions from those who either stood down or lost their seats. I suggested to Duncan Smith that an amendment should be put before the House on the issue. "His" reply was the usual DWP brush-off....but on better quality paper!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I had already included this in my response to him,thank you, Peter.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thanks James. It is not me that needs to read that site, of course, but the MP! You may rest assured he is being informed and, as he said that if there were such a fund it would be in in deficit he is being pointed to the relevant gov.uk websites of HMRC and CRND. I have also challenged him to prove me wrong and, if he can, to join me in a campaign for a re-trial of the Carson Case which of course relied quite heavily on the Fund being "Fact".......

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you anonymous for your comment. These facts have been made known to a somewhat doubting government many times....and we will continue to do so but, when you get a reply from an MP as I did two days ago and he says "...the National Insurance Fund does not exist." you realise the educational task ahead of us!
      By the way - your comment must be worth 3 Votes, please.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Don't forget to sign the e-petition which can be found on http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387.

      Despite what I believe to be considerable negativity and far from constructive comment that has appeared on this site over the past few days this forum is still alive and warrants support.
      Hard as it may seem to swallow we are fighting for "fairness, justice and equality for all BRITISH State Pensioners" and while I have every sympathy for taxpayers of a host country whose government subsidizes the UK citizen I do not think we should lose too much sleep over what is their problem with their government. If, of course, we can help each other a little in the battles with the respective governments then clearly it is in the interests of all concerned to do so.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Frankly, I don't think it matters two hoots exactly how many UK Pensioners living in Canada are subsidized directly or indirectly by the Canadian taxpayer. If, by virtue of "frozen pensions", there is ONLY ONE then our case is proven.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Just a couple of reminders to John Shaw and any others visiting this forum.

      RREMINDER NUMBER ONE - please comment ON THIS FORUM but also please support us by VOTING...3 votes, please. To do so go to the top left hand corner of this page and click on the word 'Vote' and then follow the on screen instructions.

      REMINDER NUMBER TWO - please also vote on the e-petition on http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      Many thanks.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter, I am sure no one mis-interpreted what you said...the UK Pensioner is an honest individual...pity the same can't be said for politicians...

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      One should not confuse the Guaranteed Income Supplement with the potential lost revenue to the Canadian government by virtue of freezing. The loss of this spending power by Uk pensioners in Canada has to be shouldered by someone somewhere and that I suggest is the Canadian taxpayer - all of them.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      May be worth repeating that e-petition link. It is http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/16387

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter, I think the point that Jane was making was that she has many CANADIAN friends who are NOT citizens of the UK but, nevertheless, are very bitter about the UK government scrounging of the Canadian taxpayer in order to subsidise the frozen pensioner...and cannot sign the e-petition to support us.

      Good to see the number of signatories on the e-petition has passed the 6,000 mark.

      Keep the votes coming on both this forum and the e-petition, folks

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Update Morgeo - now 5686!
      Those of you who remember the Early Day Motion (1895)may like to know that I have just e-mailed the proposer, Penny Mordaunt MP, and suggested that she, too, might like to sign the e-petition...and her 91 fellow supporters. No reason why the shouldn't do so.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane, the point I was seeking to make was that it was the ICBP who started 38, who e-mailed me to participate, who advertized it on their website and who then did the dirty and abandoned ship!

      My hope is that they don't do the same with the e-petition and they now realise how effective a proper campaign on 38 could have been with proper support....and still could be if they actually rejoined the band wagon.
      Sign up to both everyone - as Jane says "more irons in the fire"

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I have just looked at the e-petition and it has already has passed 5,400 signature - and in eleven days. Very pleasing but a long way to go! Newcomers to this site please cast your three votes for us here and then, together with any returning posters, sign in to http://bit.ly/BritPensions and vote on the e-petition and make sure you get all your friends, relatives and even your MP to do the same!

      It does make you think though, doesn't it Peter, that in under two weeks over 5,000 have signed up and yet on 38 only just over 3,000 in, what, six months? Just think where we might have been with such support; lets hope the ICBP don't wimp out again.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane and Morgeo we are still well ahead at number one in the list marked "TOP".
      When it was on page one of the "Hot" list it certainly moved up and down but never off that page. What criteria 38 now use to now move it onto subsequent pages is anybody's guess!
      Clearly the forums on the "New" list are just that; while I respect a person's right to suggest a campaign I am frequently left dumbfounded at some of the topics suggested!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      From to-day's Bangkok Post Newspaper :-
      "Somjet Paiboon (53) died on a train into Bangkok. The cause of death is believed to be a heart attack brought on by fatigue through overuse of Facebook."

      Poor chap was probably trying to work out why 38 Degrees use it to select their campaigns......

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Hello all you comment makers! I hope you did not think from my prolonged absence I had deserted the cause! No chance!
      Not going to comment, you'll be pleased to hear, on all that has gone on but it does seem the 38 Degrees has taken some flak; and from my experience rightly so. Had a reply a day or so ago to an e-mail I sent six weeks ago in which I pointed out that being a UK based organisation and dealing with mainly UK based problems and UK based residents a parochial bias was almost certain to result in the unbalanced selection of campaign ideas. What counter balances were used in cases such as ours where those affected were overseas and "out of sight and out of mind"?
      I suggested that if the government proposed to unfreeze our pensions but instead freeze those of UK, EU or Reciprocal Agreement residents the 38 would be quickly onto that bandwagon. Forget the numbers game the principle is the same only the geography is different.

      Their reply would do credit to DWP for vagueness and evasion.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you Peter and Morgeo for pointing out that the information posted by Mike Lennard is false...not only is there no basis for the figures about asylum seekers but the amount given in a Retirement Pension as a weekly spouses allowance incorrect..

      John Tristram, thank you for your votes and comment. It is an established fact that it would be more economical to the UK to pay an index linked pension to those who wish to retire abroad than to stop them from doing so and have to meet additional allowances such as the medical expenses as you are facing.

      Our campaign needs support from residents in the UK. If you are interested in joning the battle, why not read Chippy's earlier posting and email jcthepop@gmail.com and see if you can help?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      James - how many attempts were made at machine powered flight before the Wright Brothers succeeded? We are only interested in ONE Forum being "accepted' and in ONE Forum being "completed". THIS one!
      Jane I fully accept that, up to now the outcome of this forum has been...well, disappointing. Like you, I find the use of Facebook votes apparently counting rather than those in the forum and the lack of transparency on the selection criteria by 38 Degrees disturbing.
      Nevertheless, as I posted a few days ago, we are still in the mix, we are still picking up votes and support and we are so far ahead in FIRST RANKING that I do think we have a chance next time around.
      It is important that we keep this 'alive' and encourage others to not only vote but comment.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Sorry Jane for the error in the EDM link and thank you James for spotting the problem - when one types a comment such links only appear in blue when posted and I failed to pick up the rogue bracket.

      As regards this forum I think 38 only select periodically - they certainly concentrated on the NHS and did ask at one stage whether they should continue to push on that campaign before choosing another - that we did not get picked does not mean we won't be next time. I do however have some concerns over their manner of selecting and am writing to them to seek clarification...if I get a reply I will certainly post the content of their response here!
      In the meantime I do think votes and comments here are vital...this forum needs to be seen as still active next selection time.
      To that end it does seem to me to even more reason for the ICBP to really get behind this forum, e-mail notifications and or reminders to their members and so on. I am quite baffled as to why they are so luke warm and can see nothing in this campaign which might jeopardize any negotiations to bring about justice. Far from it I believe a successful forum can only add strength to the arguement.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thanks to those who have taken us past 7,450 lets keep the votes mounting!
      Good also to see that the Early Day Motion has attracted support from 80 MPs so far (www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-11/1895). Have you e-mailed your MP or the one representing your old constituency and asked him or her to sign up? Their e-mail address can be found on the ICBP website. Remember to say that this is not a constituency or party political matter; is a national disgrace and a question of moral justice and their individual conscience..should, for example, a 91 year old who qualified for a full pension still be expected to live, let alone live with dignity, on a frozen pension of just GBP 38.00 a week? We continue the fight for parity!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Good to see the vote count is steadily increasing! Who is going to make it 7,450? Remember, if you have not voted go to the top left hand corner of this page, click on the word 'vote' - you will then be offered a choice of 1, 2 or 3 votes. We hope you will click on "3" and the, follow any instructions that may appear on your screen.
      We also apreciate your comments for while votes improve the chances of full campaign status your comments spread the word..in which country,for example, are you now living?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morgeo - I am not surprised at the imbalance between the number of Lab MPs and Con MPs it being much easier to support motions against government policy when in opposition. I have little doubt that had the position been reversed (ie Labour were in power)the Con MPs would be far higher than Lab - especially as it was the Labour government that defended the current situation through to the ECHR final verdict. What I find encouraging is that a Con, Penny Mordaunt, proposed it and the number of Lib Dems backing it even though they are part of the government. If you get a reply from Cameron he will, no doubt, support Boles, particularly as they are old buddies, both being part of the "Notting Hill Set" (as was Chancellor Osborne)...and I have gained some interesting facts reading graffiti over the years!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you for your comment Ian Hall. Not sure I can agree with all that you say. Con, Lab and the Lib Dems have all backed off when in power and, of course, the freezing applies to pensioners in over 150 countries, not just Commonwealth ones and I cannot see where racism enters in to a fight for UK citizens to get justice in relation to their UK pensions.
      BUT while I do not necessarily agree I respect your right to your opinion...would you like to back it with THREE VOTES?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Well said Catherine Cox and thank you for your three votes.
      Remember folks comments apread the word - and why not say in which part of the world you are living? - but it is your votes that will keep us in the running for a full campaign. So - top left hand side of the page, click on "Vote" and then click, please, on 3 votes. Follow any further on screen instructions and thank you.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      The ICBP's submission to the Minister on the Government Green Paper on Pension Reform can be seen on the following link http://www.britishpensions.org.au Click on Enter Site and then on the link at the top of the page.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Hello Paul Greenslade. I too live in Thailand and have done for several years. My understanding is that to qualify for a one year visa you need either 800,000 baht in a Thai bank account or a monthly guaranteed income of 65,000 baht minimum or a combination of both to the value of 800k baht. With just under 50 baht to the GB pound I think you are looking at an annual income nearer 15,000 pounds if there is nothing inthe bank. When I first came here I could not satisfy these conditions and could only get a visa for three months. In order to 'renew' I had to leave the country and apply abroad for a new three months visa. Fortunately I am now able to get a yearly one and thus not have to travel to Vientiane in Laos anymore..a round trip taking between 3 and 4 days and a journey I made 14 times.
      However, the exchange rate is something we can do nothing about and our fight is to get justice on our State Pension. As Jane says, please come back and give us your three votes..we need them!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter - two points. First the news of the meeting between ICBP and government officials is encouraging.
      Second do you mean that 38 degrees streamlining their software is work in progress or that this is how this forum should be viewed...ie just keep it simmering?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you for your votes Jim and comment. As I am sure you are aware most, if not all, of us have suffered because of the variations in exchange rates through the weaknes of the GB Pound. This is something over which we have no say or control and is not connected with our fight with the UK government in respect of the annual pension increases. However, if paid, they would perhaps ease the pain just a little!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      If you go to the top of this page and click on "Go to 38 Degrees" and then on the Home page click on "Blogs" you will find details of how a list of about twenty possibles for the next campaign has been drawn up. At the bottom you will be able to "click" and see the list - we are not on it - and show your preferences. You will also see a space for comment... you may wish to record your views but I find it quite disturbing that there are people who place animal welfare above that of pensioner welfare.....

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Still not seen or heard anything official about whether 38 have short listed our forum for campaign status. Has anybody?
      Keep the votes coming here and on facebook, folks!!
      and remember you have just four days left to comment on the Government Green Paper on Pension Reform.
      statepension.reformconsultation@dwp.gsi.gov.uk and you can see the actual paper via the ICBP website.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I think we should wait until Peter Morris advises the latest 38 degrees position on this forum. I, too, am a member of 38 and only 24 hours ago was asked my views on the situation on the NHS campaign - that is, should they concentrate solely on that and defer a decision on any new projects or should they go ahead with others in addition and, if so what?. I have seen nothing, yet, to say a decision has been made.
      Whatever the outcome, if we have not been selected on this round, then we are still in the mix for the next one...votes here are still importent.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane.....if they paid us what we are entitled to I don't give a tinker's what they call it....!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thanks for that explanation BAPA - does sound a bit like having to ask the members of a cricket club if they support the playing of cricket!
      Good to see the numbers supporting the EDM are creeping up - 38 - seems they update around 08.00hrs BST. Have you asked your MP yet?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      BAPA - excellent summary but, please, is there any reason why you cannot support this 38 Degree Forum with your Three Votes?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      May I just remind returners to this site and, of course, welcome newcomers to ensure you have cast your votes for us. You get "3" here - just click on the word 'Vote' on the top left hand side of this page and then click again on the "3" please.
      Also please vote on Facebook where you have one vote. Directions to Facebook are shown in Meg's posting some 18 hours prior to this one.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      MDW - what was the response from them when you followed up on not getting the promised reply from Cameron or Milliband?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Regarding the EDM it is interesting to note that one of the sponsors is Dame Anne Begg who also happens to be Chairman of the DWP Select Committee. Hope that turns out to be significant!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      BAPA - May we have your three votes please? If you can spare one for the No2AV campaign should you not be supporting this one?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morgeo - I think the "not being responsible for people outside his constituency" relates to those actually still resident in the UK...eg. a Liverpool MP will not handle correspondence from a Birmingham resident. I get round this by declaring where I am now living but also providing the address in the UK where I last lived and writing to that MP. Suggest others might do the same.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      And the UK Government, Malcolm, would simply bin the bill for something they had neither ordered nor agreed to pay. What might make them sit up is if the governments of those countries you mentioned gave advanced warning that Social Security would be withdrawn to ex pats and any whose annual income did not exceed a set amount would have their visa cancelled and be repatriated!
      My e-mail on EDM 1895 to the MP for my former constituency in the UK has been acknowledged (same day) when confirmation of my last UK address was requested. Now supplied.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I agree that there does seem to be rather a lot of voting and that is most confusing - especially having to switch from one site on to another and for which one has to sign up. I am not sure what criteria they use for taking things forward..there ar so many different factors influencing the different issues.
      By the way..did 38 actually advise by individual e-mail the facebook voting system was now operational? I have had nothing from them on this but do get "Save the NHS" updates. My tip off came via a friend's personal e-mail to me.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      As far as I know there are reciprocal agreements with Bermuda, Barbados and Jamaica.
      and John...may I invite you to vote for us, please. Top left of this page, click on Votes, select 3, follow any on screen instructions....and have the honour of casting the 7,350th vote. The figure 3 should appear in the orange box beside your posting. Thanks

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you to whoever moved our votes nearer to 7,350...hope you followed the directions given by Chippy/Meg to record your support on Facebook!
      Keep the votes coming on both here and Facebook - it is a battle to be won!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I note that the call for support for the Early Day Motion is a BAPA posting and, presumably, is their proposal.
      I wonder if someone from the ICBP hierarchy, other than a BAPA member, would advise if this has their FULL support. I ask this as there seems to be a lack of support for this 38 campaign in that quarter.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Meg - I could even forgive the Consortium if....

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter Wells - I don't think Meg was getting at you - and I presume the letter reproduced on ICBP's website was also your excellent exposition of the falsehoods of Lord Freud -but I think that your letter advising you of the 38 Degree Forum was dated 14th February...may I ask what follow up you and fellow members have received since then?
      It is the apparent initial failure to cover all the membership of each constituent part of the Consortium and the subsequent failure to promote the campaign that is undermining the effort. The effort I might add of other volunteers.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter - I have it in writing that BPiA put it in their Newletter in February and nothing since ..it is now June by the way...I was also advised that they e-mailed about 3000 of their members...out of a total of over 10,400. If, as you say "many have supported it" and Canada is saying 5,000 of their members were told back in February, how come our total support on 38 is (as I write) just 2,970 individuals and that on Facebook nowhere near that? The sales of Coca Cola were never achieved by just a single advert!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes, Anne and I am afraid it is the one I e-mailed over a month ago and again this Tuesday and both times has produced no reaction.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      My e-mail along the same lines went to Bockman and all the Associations within the Consortium yesterday (Tuesday).

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I have deleted all the link references I previously posted - hope to avoid confusion! I am a member of 38Degrees but had no notification from them of the Facebook Vote..did other members?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      John Parker - thank you for your comment. There are two things you can do, please, to further your support.
      1. VOTE on this forum by going to the top left hand side of this page and clicking on vote and then clicking on "3".
      Follow any on screen instructions.
      2. Then go to the posting below by PETER MORRIS and click
      on the link he has given and register your support.

      Hope this helps!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Just a quick reminder that in addition to voting here you can comment on the government Green Paper on Pension Reform on statepension.reformconsultation@dwp.gsi.gov.uk.
      There is a link to the Paper itself on the ICBP website.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane - I think James deleted his postings in order to remove the "instructions" on how to sabotage the voting system. I pleased he continues to support the forum with his three votes.
      If those others who have either posted similar "instructions" would also delete their postings and, where appropriate, leave just their genuine three votes, then perhaps it will reduce the abuse of the system. On that issue we look to 38 Degrees and the originator of the forum PETER MORRIS to close any loopholes.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Just to remind everyone that the e-mail address to comment on the Government Green Paper on Pension reform is statepension.reformconsultation@dwp.gsi.gov.uk and you can read the paper throughthe ICBP website...if your a glutton for punishment!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you to whoever took us past 7,300 votes.....please keep the coming!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      May I remind fellow voters and posters that you are able to comment on the UK Government's Green Paper for Pension Reform?
      Rather than repeat all the details please see my posting (currently still on this page) that starts "Seems to have gone a little quiet..." The e-mail address is given there...and before you scroll down and forget...have you cast your three votes to push this forum into a campaign?
      Top left hand side of this page and click on Votes. Thank you.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I think that anyone visiting this site and seeing remarks made in an attempt to belittle the efforts of others will, particularly after reading her other postings, quickly appreciate the value or otherwise of her contributions.
      If someone has been tampering with her postings without the appropriate authority to do so it is, of course, quite unacceptable irrespective of what one wishes to make of her comments.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Meg you never 'owned' POP. Those of us that were members at the time agreed that you should be designated as such simply to satisfy the requirements of Yahoo. The website belonged to and remains the property of the group...and any future disposal is for the members to decide and not at the dictate of any one individual and especially one who walked out... and who now contradicts herself and misrepresents the facts in virtually every posting she makes. You have, after all, advised so often that "this is my last posting" and yet seem to demand more farewell appearances than Frank Sinatra.
      Do yourself a favour, Meg, look at your own postings before you start accusing others of boasting; realise that your perception differed from that of all the other members and that, perhaps, the parting of the ways was better sooner rather than later.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Seems to have gone a little quiet on the comments front although thank you to those who increased the votes by a few.
      I presume everyone is too busy sending off e-mails in respect of the Government Green Paper on Pension Reform (see my previous posting). May I suggest that if you do send in you point out where the proposals fail the frozen pensioner rather than simply "blog" about freezing?
      You have until 24th June to submit and, of course, you are not restricted to just one e-mail comment...you may even want to send off one every day....?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane - I don't know if it would work on this particular case but when faced with the same problem on other surveys etc. I have used the last post code I had in the UK and added "when last resident in UK"...it worked in some cases!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      You are so right, Dennis and Audrey, and I would suggest that the soon to be pensioner pays special attention to the UK government's Green Paper on State Pension Reform. This can be accessed through the ICBP website (Home page, left hand column in red). It is over fifty pages long but, having scanned through it, there is no mention of "frozen pensions" and as the saying goes -if it ain't mentioned, it ain't going to change........ UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING!
      Between now and 24th June 2011 the Minister wants to hear from everyone who is interested in the simplification of the State Pension System..and that includes individuals and organisations. I take it for granted that the ICBP is hard at work preparing a submission, perhaps even pushing for a meeting with him but we all have the chance to comment.
      I have found three areas, and I am sure there are more, which don't, in my view, stand up to scrutiny.
      The Green Paper states: "In terms of Pension Reform we have four clear guiding principles".
      The second principle is -
      FAIRNESS - ensuring adequate level of support for the most vunerable, ensuring everyone with a full contribution record should be entitled to a State Pension above the level of means tested support* and ensuring all groups are treated fairly.
      * this is currently GBP132.60 per week.
      The second area is that the Paper states - Our first priority was ensuring fair levels of support for current pensioners through the introduction of the triple guarantee.
      The third area was the Green Paper states - Significant fairness issues remain - in particular groups such as women and the low paid tend to have poorer state pensions.

      I am sure you don't need me to point out where we stand on these aspects! So you can either make your views known on line via the ICBP link or you can e-mail your comments to statepension.reformconsultation@dwp.gsi.gov.uk
      Be sure to say you are an individual commenting or doing so on behalf of a group (and their views have been canvassed by way of their membership of the Pensioner Groups and, of course, participation in this forum).
      AND STRESS THAT ACTION IS NEEDED NOW TO PRODUCE FAIRNESS FOR THOSE PENSIONERS WHO ARE COVERED BY THE PRESENT DISCIMINATORY REGULATIONS

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      It is good to see the votes total has indeed passed the 7,250 point..even after a few false starts!
      Remember we appreciate your comments as this helps to spread the message but we do need your VOTES please to help move this forum into a full campaign....so please click on the word "Vote" at the top left hand side of this page and select "3". Many thanks!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you Emily..I have tried it and you are right and I now realise that I gave a lower case 'x' instead of the correct upper case 'X'...apologies all round!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Anne - I take your point about the difficulty in getting into 38. Because I have been posting for so long the moment I enter "38" in 'search' it pulls up the easy connection for me!
      I have tried several ways and the way I have been able to access it is http://fb.me/x2692fB3 and then click on Twitter/CABP News: Vote for and ad your supp... This brings you to a CABP page with the same http:// as before -click on it.

      Sorry it is still a bit of "round the houses" and if anyone has a quicker route in please post it on here.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I wonder how many of you belong to a club of some sort..golf, gardening, drama, keep fit.. even a card school?
      Why not print off a supply of small cards or slips of paper giving the 38 Degree Forum details, web info and highlighting 'fairness, justice and equality for British Pensioners'. When the opportunity arises, you have all you need to pass to potential voters...and they need not be expats or pensioners either!
      Worth a try..you never know who is in the same bus queue and they might just speak to you in an Oxford English!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you Meg, Dennis and Audrey...back I hope to business!
      James I am not against Facebook or Twitter but I do not have any experience or expertise in that area.
      I do, however, feel that there is a whole host of comments and votes out there to be harvested and cannot for the life of me fathom why the ICBP has removed 38 from its website, that CABP made no mention in its recent issue of Justice and that BPiA's Jim Tilley totally overlooked it in his April report.
      Why are they not prepared to feed the goose that may produce the golden egg?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Is Mark Anthony a frozen pensioner?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      You know when I log into this site I always hope to something encouraging. Today I initially was pleased to see an increase in the votes total...we are in touching distance of 7,250.
      However, I then read the postings of Malcolm De Winter.
      What negativity! Whatever our views of past UK administrations and whatever our views of the current one the simple fact of the matter is that it is those individuals who occupy the green leather benches in the House of Commons that we have to deal with and convince - no one else. The question is how? Perhaps the 38 Forum and campaign is the answer..time will tell.
      You say we are banging our heads against a brick wall. Well, maybe we are but if we just sit on our backsides and do nothing then that is what we will get - nothing. If however, we take every opportunity we can to push our case then just possibly the Walls of Jericho will actually tumble.
      KEEP THE VOTES AND CONSTRUCTIVE COMMENTS COMING!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you anonymous for your vote and comment..any chance of you giving us your other two votes, please? While I think we would all like a big increase our aim, at the moment, must be to achieve equality wherever we live in the world!
      The more VOTES we have the better the chance of this forum becoming a 38 Degrees campaign...comments are of course always welcome.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes Meg I agree - in Thailand we call it ballot rigging and it is an offence that is punishable by a long prison sentence.....would that.....
      No one, repeat no one, has any right to tamper with the voting.
      Now can we all get back to the business of this forum?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      rob - I may be on the wrong track but if your military pension is as a result of service in the UK military (nine years) and then UKAEA (for six) and paid National Insurance Contributions to cover both will you not be entitled to a UK state retirement pension based on those fifteen years? The minimum qualifying period was eleven - it may be less now as they have changed some of the rules. Worth looking into?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      ron - further to James Nelson's and my earlier postings. Your pension provider will only be able to confirm the extent of any freezing; they cannot unfreeze it, as it were, on your say so. They have to be advised by the Pension Service in Newcastle (the address I gave you)and they needs must have the appropriate form from HMRC because of the tax implications. In the course of my enquiries a year or two back I found HMRC at Nottingham, who can be reached on non-residents@hmrc.gov.uk more than helpful.
      Hope this is for you!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Ron - I must emphasise that I am not an authority on public service pensions and the information given here relates to me and my employment in the Civil Service. It will, I hope be of sme use but cannot, therefore, be taken as gospel!
      The Civil Service opted out of the State Earnings Related Pension Scheme (SERPS). For service between 6th April 1978 and 5th April 1997 I have a GMP (Guaranteed Minimum Pension). Under normal circumstances the GMP elements are paid as part of the CS pension but increased differently. Post 1988 GMP is increased to a maximum of 3% whereas the pre 1988 GMP is not increased at all. When resident in the UK or reciprocal country, all increases due on pre 1988 GMP and any increase over and above 3% on the post 1988 GMP are added to your STATE PENSION. As you are resident in a non reciprocal country your STATE PENSION will not increase to take these shortfalls into account. However, and I again stress this from the Civil Service information I have, so may not apply to all public service pensions, there is a form* available from HMRC which allows for the removal of the increase restrictions on the GMP elements and increase the whole amount in the same way as before state retirement age..minimising the impact.
      The latest pamphlet issued this April by the CS pensions administrator (Capita Hartshead)advises that to be able to apply the right GMP entitlement they must be advised by the Pension Service of your circumstances.
      I would suggest 2 things - firstly you make enquiries of your pension administrator i.e whoever is reponsible for actually paying your pension to you and secondly, clarify your situation through The International Pensions Centre, Tyneview Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE98 1BA United Kingdom. (Tel +44 191 218 7777 or 7280 or Fax +44 191 218 7021).
      This will NOT unfreeze your State Pension...that is what this forum and fight is all about but hopefully if you are entitled a bit more on your ordinary one this is of some help.
      * the form I had to get completed was PODSU 1131 and HMRC actually filled it in and sent it off for me when I asked for it!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      rob firstly thank you for your votes and support. I believe the ICBP did advertise this forum on both Facebook and Twitter....I do not know if they are planning anything else; no doubt they can advise and it is worth keeping an eye on their website.
      As regards your pension..are you sure that it is frozen? I am an ex civil servant and although my Civil Service Pension is officially frozen by applying to the Inland Revenue they were able (legally!) to at least "unfreeze" some of it. Have you enquired? - needless to say you don't get told - if you have fair enough. If not, repost and I will get back with what I know in about 24 hours (it is now midnight where I am and long past beddie-byes!)

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane, I am not certain but I think IE is a weekly publication that goes world wide..it may be that the Australian edition gets issued on a different day from Canada from South Africa..so keep patient...after all was it not you that said thirty days ago we might be running out of steam and look how things have moved since then!
      By the by did you mean your vote to be just two or did you hit the wrong button?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I agree with you Anne that Jane's success is worthy of congratulation and, if it produced some votes, even more so. It could be coincidence, of course, but the fact remains that the cause has achieved publicity and that is to be welcomed!
      As regards the Aussie PM going to the wedding and, perhaps, bashing Cameron's ear, she would certainly be aware of the problem as, I believe, her own parents are victims!
      You refer to Jim Tilley and I would like to point out that he, as Chairman of British Pensions in Australia (BPiA), has written a Newsletter on their website. It gives information about various meetings in London recently. As ICBP's John Markham was involved I hope we shall soon see a fuller report on their site.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you for your comment okecove we fight for equality around the world on this issue. Would you like to support your comment with your votes? In fact your three votes would push up to 7,200 - another milestone!
      Just click on the word Vote at the top left hand of this page and the select "3" if you please and then follow any on screen instructions. Thank you, again.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Sorry Jimmy, I don't fully agree with you on this. I accept that the repeated Voting Instructions do not need to remain posted and I accept that there is no place for personal attacks but I do believe that as a forum the individual has the right to express their point of view and that newcomers to the site should have the opportunity to see ALL the discussion up to that point.
      I find it very disappointing in fact that some people make a comment but subsequently remove it when questioned on the content. I believe one should either stand by one's case or concede gracefully.
      A similar suggestion to yours was made sometime ago by James Nelson - two "Jimmy's"!!- and I note he has removed his comments, as have others, which I find annoying as they served as good reference points. By doing so they have, in my opinion, destroyed the continuity of discussion.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      No, no, no!!! I can quite understand you thinking that but there are three reasons why I seem to dominate this page:
      1. Several lengthy postings made between mine have been deleted - I presume by their authors.
      2. I did a little enquiry work as a result of some questions and posted up the findings
      3. Because of where I live (Thailand) I tend to be awake when the western and eastern part of the globe are asleep! So I leave my computer on, dash in to refresh when I can and simply try to keep things oiled and on the move!

      This 38Degree campaign is the brainchild of the International Consortium of British Pensioners and Peter Morris, whose name appears at the top of the page organised this forum.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you for your vote and comments Stan the Man. One hopes that in the course of this campaign supporters will come forward with suggestions as how to achieve that aim.
      If you have an idea, please don't hesitate to post it!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      There has been quite a lot of discussion over the last day or so which has not really helped in moving this campaign forum forward - and yes, I accept responsibility for my part in that!
      We must not lose sight of what this is all about..equal world wide UK State Pension rights. Peter Morris has related the U-Turn by the Minister Webb and the attitude of the other parties in previous administrations is no different. We cannot expect to change the stand point of government or parliament alone. We are appealing to the Court of Public Opinion and this Campaign forum is but a part of that appeal.
      We need support so, if you visit this site, remember the cause rather than the discussion and cast your votes and comments for us, please.
      Newcomers, please click on the word "VOTE" on the top left hand side of this page and then on the number of votes you wish to cast - hopefully "3" - then follow the on screen instructions.
      If you have visited before please ensure that your vote is shown in the orange box beside your sign in name.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Proper Charlie why have you suddenly deleted all your postings?
      Are you afraid that you have given too much away, already?
      Well let's be honest. You said that this was an experiment that failed..no one asked me to be part of an "experiment"; I was asked to support a campaign forum.
      You said that 38 Degrees would not accept it and that we were flogging a dead horse. How do you know that Proper Charlie..do you have inside information or was 'failure' a part of the ICBP logical thinking?
      You said that 14,000 were invited to support the 38 Degree Forum and that a 20% return was good. But this is not the true reflection is it? After all, has not Dick Hart said that in addition he e-mailed all the CAPB members - some 12,000, and is it not true that the campaign has featured on Facebook and Twitter, and is it not true that you supported a previous poster on this site by suggesting we all contact "our rellies" in the UK, and is it not true that numerous other postings have advocated the followers to drum up support? I would suggest that a return of 2,862 represents somewhat less than 20% perhaps nearer 5% would be nearer the mark. And that is not really very inpressive is it....but then, without getting a reminder, how many pay their electricty or gas bill on the first, and in this case, only request?
      You say ICBP would not further badger their members by sending another e-mail...but if they have not sent them one in the first place about 38 how can such a mailing be termed badgering?
      You say that I had, perhaps, not read my invitation to join this campaign as it clearly referred to the earlier on line one which I had supported. True, but where does it say that the invitation is exclusive to those who had voted on-line? It is a pleasant way to open a topic by reminding someone of something positive they had previously done but how was I to know that it related to just 14,000 and not to the complete membership, or that a differently worded e-mail had not gone to those who did not participate first time around?
      If this was an experiment by ICBP, and you said it was, I wonder how many of the others who have come on to this site feel as I do. That we are being used and the true purpose of 38Degrees is being abused?

      You like quotations, Proper Charlie. May I give one which, I think, is appropriate to ICBP on this issue. It is from 'Marmion' by Sir Walter Scott, and goes
      "Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive."

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      No Proper Charlie - what I am complaining about when I post is that others who actually do something like set up 38 Degrees, apparently make a complete hash of properly organizing it so that over 60% of the membership are not properly notified. Then, when asked repeatedly, to set about remedial action totally ignore the wishes and protestations of those who are aware.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Richard (Dick) Hart - firstly, my apologies for spelling your surname incorrectly. I admitted to not being computer literate and now it seems my ability to read and type is in decline.
      Secondly, you say you are appalled at what you deem is the inappropriate use of your words in what you describe as a personal communication. I do not think the information you gave was in any way personal and, indeed, should have been in the 38 Degree domain long since.
      Thirdly, but on the same point, if you genuinely believe that such information constituted personal communication why did you not raise the matter with me after my first posting and before I made my second? You had the ideal opportunity in your letter that actually comprised the second one. You did not take it. Is it not a case that you are appalled at this situation and that this information is in the hands of the membership?
      Thirdly, you asked if my organization has money to support a Facebook ad campaign. Perhaps, as you are in such close contact with ICBP, you should ask them if our organization has such funds.
      Fourthly, Harrison Ford (or florence Tudor, if you orefer) has underlined the discrepancies in the total membership and those actually e-mailed. Personally I was not aware that in order to be e-mailed about 38 one had had to have participated in a previous petition. By not e-mailing all members you relied on Facebook and Twitter to cover the gap but, be honest, everybody checks their INBOX but only some bother with the others which are nothing more than gossip columns. You thus, in effect, disenfranchised up to two thirds of the ICBP membership by not e-mailing them! The numbers who have actually supported this campaign, 2,862 as I write, is pathetic in relation to the potential market and I repeat what I said in my letter..."it is a shame that the first real positive action to emerge since ECHR is BLIGHTED in this way."
      Proper Charlie...I wonder why it is you appear so infrequently and then only, it seems, when ICBP is subject to a little criticism...who are you Proper Charlie?
      You chastise those of us who have spent time keeping 38 alive and have the cheek to suggest we should take some action. Might I suggest that, with the greatest respect, you look in the mirror and pose the same question?

      Regards to you all

      PS - Dick, your casting of three votes when you signed in as "Anonymous" did not go unnoticed. Thank you for your (belated)support.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Following the response I received from Richard Harte - see earlier comment - I replied making the following points
      - he has a hefty workload
      - frustrating so little support from Pensioner Organisations and especially ICBP who set up the forum through 38 originally
      - apparent lack of planning in going ahead with it without clerical backup.
      - the employment of temporary staff for a couple of days to get out all the initial invitations and send reminders should have been possible
      - I would continue to support 38 - a pity that the first really positve action since ECHR has been blighted in this way.

      I HAVE HAD A REPLY IT READS.....

      " Sometimes an invalid response, or criticism creates a fast reply of which emails offer the ideal vehicle.
      I support 38 Degrees, and sent out personalized emails to 14,000 people who responded to a previous ICBP Petition. Also over 12,000 individuals with CABP mwembership were contacted through emails sent by me; both within Canada and worldwide; many responded to the call
      The CABP and ICBP Facebook pages and Twitter also carry the survey
      I do not call this inaction or a blight on the campaign.
      If your organization has money to support a Facebook ad campaign, then I will gladly set it it for you. Just let me know."

      The man is living in cloud cuckoo land!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Sorry - I have never heard of Richard Harte either - can't find a trace of him on relevant web pages. Why not write and ask him, after all he handles all the social media etc he should know who he is!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Nearly forgot (see previous comment) Richard Harte can be e-mailed at cabp-news@rogers.com and the CAPB at info@britishpensions.com

      KEEP THOSE VOTES COMING - remember if there is not a 1, 2 or 3 in the little orange box by your comment - you have NOT voted. So everyone,whether you comment or not, click on the word VOTES at the top left hand side of the page, please, click on the number ("3" please)and follow the instructions on your screen.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Three days ago I posted on here a list of e-mail addresses for the Pensioner organizations meant to be suporting us. Unfortunately I may have misread the one for SAABP so I have today sent off to the revised one ericb0@tekomsa.net urging them to advertise and motivate their members.
      Of the remainder only CABP has replied thus far...it is interesting and I quote the writer, Richard Harte :
      " I manage ALL the social media, and web pages for CABP and the ICBP, as well as all the bulk of e-mailing for both organizations, sort out computer problems in CABP office and serve on the CAPB board as Director of Communications. ALL UNPAID"

      While I may have some sympathy for Richard I ask two questions -
      1. Why did he allow himself to be so overloaded?
      2. Why did CABP and ICBP not look to spread his workload? I do not recall seeing any job specific adverts on their sites for volunteers. He asked if I would like to take over management of the ICBP website. Sadly I must decline for two reasons my own personal circumstances do not allow and, more to the point, I am a complete computer illiterate!
      BUT ON BEHALF OF CABP AND/OR ICBP IF YOU, YES YOU, ARE IN A POSITION TO LEND A HAND PLEASE CONTACT THEM PRONTO!!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Glad to hear that, James, but as you well know there are times when it is necessary to remind people of their obligations...like suggesting to ICBP yet again that remedial action is needed by them to encompass ALL the membership in this forum?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Anne Puckridge - I believe Ms.Rein (wife of Keith Rudd?) is going to be involved with a lucrative contract to the UK Department of Works & Pensions..can't get much closer to IDS than that!
      Perhaps we should remind Jim Tilley (British Pensioners in Australia) who, I believe, is pursuing this avenue that it is a world wide problem and that any solution should be as such and not solely to the benefit of our Australian friends. I have visions of a devious UK government, if they agree to anything, might try and limit it to a "reciprocal agreement with Australia" and leave the rest of us still freezing! What do you, and indeed anyone, think is our best way forward on this?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Neville Budd thank you for your votes and comment..we are working to achieve parity world wide on the grounds that if you have paid contributions on equal terms you should be allowed, when the time comes, to withdraw on equal terms; it is as simple as that.
      NEVILLE I see you are from South Africa and I have been trying to make e-mail contact with the SAABP but the addresses I have are returning my attempts as undeliverable (namely ericbo@telkomsa.net ericbo@absamail.co.za and poolec@ukza.ac.za - these are the ones that are listed on their web) Do you have a current address for SAABP or are you able to make contact with them and ask them to motivate their members into voting here on 38 Degrees?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you David Beckinsale for you votes and comment. The UK government is, of course, not only ignoring the just claims of members now living in the Commonwealth but all those world wide who are either not in a country where the EU regulations or an obsolete and irrelevant reciprocal arrangement applies. It is simply idiotic and blatant discrimination.....we fight on!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Paul Zwierzanski thank you for your votes and comment. May I ask that you tell your soon to be incredulous family about this without delay...and get them to vote as well, please?
      Thanks for your support!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you venice Stewart for your comment but may we have your THREE VOTES please?

      EVERYONE please remember your comments help to spread the message but we also need YOUR VOTES to move this forum into a campaign.

      Just click on the word vote under the running total at the top left hand side of this page and then follow the instructions. Many thanks - we are going to win!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Earlier today I sent e-mails to the following addresses -
      bpia@people.net.au BPiA
      jimtilley@bigpond.com BPiA
      info@britishpensions.com CABP
      brianlg1937.gmail.com CABP
      contactus@britishpensioners.org.uk BAPA
      expats@britishpensioners.com BPACA
      altaplano@nucleus.com BPACA
      tony.bockman@primus.ca ICBP
      petermorriscpa@gmail.com ICBP
      info@pensionparitythailand.com Thailand

      I simply pointed that the coverage of this forum was either not mentioned on their web page or in the case of ICBP poorly signposted and asked why they were not pushing it. I suggested they should all take remedial action without delay and, if they have an e-mailing list of the membership to use it. The web address for 38 Degrees was included.
      Unfortunately the e-mail addresses shown on the South African Alliance of British Pensions website have all resulted in my e-mail being returned as undeliverable.
      It would not hurt, I think, if others followed suit and e-mailed them or, if you have other contacts approach them.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you to anonymous person who steered past the 7,150 mini landmark..why not come back and add a comment and perhaps tell us who you are and in which part of the world you residing.

      Next milestone 7,200..keep the votes (and comments) coming!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you Glenn Hardie for your support and votes and welcome to the battlefront!
      Newcomers to our forum please make sure you cast your THREE VOTES as it is those as well as your comments that will move this into a full campaign.
      And yes if you have simply returned to the site to see how it is progressing please do check that there is a "1, 2 or 3 - preferably a 3 - in the small orange box beside your comment.
      Who is going to push us past 7,150?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Chippy - I think if we pursue the idea of pressing the governments on the ICBP list we really need to prune it down. I cannot imagine that those countries that have, say, 10 or less UK Pensioners would be that willing to take on the UK government on behalf of so few - valuable members of our cause though they are.
      I suggest too that we then look at the credentials of the remainder to see what benefits they provide to UK Pensioners that the UK should rightfully bear itself through the annual increase of our frozen pension.
      In the case of Thailand, which has just over 1,400 pensioners, the answer to that is simple - NONE. Indeed one can only obtain a Non-immigrant visa which is valid for just a year provided the applicant is over 55, does not engage in paid or unpaid employment and produces documentary evidence of an income in excess of GBP 1,300.00 per month and this has to be accompanied by a confirmation letter from the British Embassy. On the expiration of the visa an extension can be obtained for another year but up-to-date income documentation is again required..and this carries on forever. There is no health provision and the like and there are legal obstructions in acquiring land or property.
      The UK would certainly be looking at "what's in it for us" and as far as Thailand is concerned the cupboard is empty, even though the current Prime Minister was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and educated at Eton and Oxford.
      Your views, Chippy, and of course anyone else who has a relevant comment to make, on this proposed course of action would be appreciated.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Several weeks ago Peter Morris posted a comment to the effect that this forum/campaign did not have the full backing of the ICBP. He was taken to task over the potential loss of votes but, despite repeated requests has not had the courtesy to even acknowledge let alone reply.
      I have now discovered that while the ICBP has a link to the 38 Degree site it is simply entitled "Vote for Pension Equality" but makes no mention of a forum and, if you are like me, it took some time to appreciate one had to click on the actual words to establish the link; it seemed to be part of the advertisement to e-mail one's MP!
      I have since discovered that neither BAPA, SAABP, BPAWC, CABP, BPiA nor Pensioner-parity in Thailand carry any reference whatsoever to the 38 Degree Forum.
      My immediate reaction to this is - "Why are these bodies apparently not supporting their own campaign and what should we do about it?"
      May I suggest that if you are a member of one or more of these organisations you raise the matter urgently with them requesting that a) they get details on their website without any further delay and b) if they hold a register of e-mail addresses for the membership they get one out to each of them urging them to please vote..and now!!
      And, Peter Morris what ARE the ICBP playing at?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you David Moffat but please note YOU HAVE NOT VOTED!!
      To do so go to the top left hand side of this page "click" on the word VOTE...you will then be offered the choice of 1, 2 or 3 votes...please click on 3 and then follow the on screen instructions.

      your comments get the message across but it is your votes that will help to get this foruminto a full blown 38 Degrees campaign

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes, thanks for that link Proper Charlie and certainly there are potential 'targets'. One would have thought that the ICBP would really be hammering away at them already, of course, but additional e-mails would help, I'm sure. I must confess to some concern about the ICBP situation..you will recall that about three weeks ago Peter Morris disclosed a serious shortfall in e-mailing members about 38 Degrees and although he has been requested several times for an update on the remedial action being taken he has only been noticeable by his absence both before and after the "Meg and Ann" debacle. What progress please, Peter?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane - glad your still up and running - I game for it, so lets go for it...and add webb@stevewebb.org.uk...come and join us everyone!!!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morning from Thailand to everybody! Seems to have gone a bit quiet but I see the votes have increased so thank you to those who visited the site, voted but did not comment.
      Jane - you kindly listed the e-mail addresses yesterday and I offered another in my last comment. Perhaps it is the schoolboy prankster still within me to suggest the following....Friday in the UK is a public holiday, public offices do not work on the weekend and next Monday is another public holiday...what a "nice" surprise for our e-mail contacts it might be if, on Tuesday morning, they returned to work and found that EVERYONE who has visited this site in the meantime has rattled off an e-mail each day to each of them and inundated the inboxes (BUT NOT TO PETER BOTTOMLEY WHO IS ON OUR SIDE).....and if one of those e-mails asked a specific question that had to be answered e.g "I am asking on behalf of a friend how he goes about claiming a bereavement benefit." they will be forced not only to answer but to open all the others - even if they do just delete them! What say you or, indeed, anyone?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane may I add another e-mail address to the list? It is lesley.taylor@conservatives.com and I found it on the Conservative Party Website under 'Conservatives Abroad' (That web is www.conservatives.com). Need to remember that this is the party rather than the government so perhaps we need to tailor (forgive the pun) our communications accordingly. I have looked at www.labourparty.com and their site but it seems that they want things like addresses, post codes and phone numbers...and I couldn't locate an actual e-mail address for them.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Well done Diane...this is the attitude we are looking for from all those who comment on the site..support and determination to muster others in the fight for justice!
      I am in Thailand...we are a world wide 'forgotten army'.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      James - I am sorry if I misunderstood your intentions when you made that posting...and I must confess I did look upon it as unfair criticism; my mistake and my apologies.
      I am pleased to see the odious postings by "Ann" have been deleted. My anger, paricularly when I read the response from Peter, I'm afraid got the better of me. Although, Peter, you kicked the ICBP situation into the public arena, Chippy, Meg, myself and others kicked it back to you for some positve action; over two weeks ago I proposed, if necessary, e-mailing all those of the I(CBP hierarchy with an e-mail address advertized on their Pensioner-Parity web page but from you....nothing... and ball it seems is still at your feet.
      Malcolm - I appreciate that e-mails and letters to MP's tend to be ignored but I believe also that a continual bombardment to the e-mail addresses we have will keep our campaign in a, if not the, spotlight...the problems we are no doubt causing will not be unnoticed! And forceful but nice and polite must go without saying!
      As regards using other member countries of the EU to back us I think it would be useful to know if any of them pay annual increases or freeze pensions to their citizens who live in a foreign country. I believe, but am open to correction, that Holland make just a single lump sum payment on retirement and that is it....anyone any information on what the EU countries do for their citizens living overseas?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter Morris - and what do you call the attacks made by James Nelson and Ann if not personal ...and where the hell have you been? I asked nearly two weeks ago what was happening with ICBP and the missing e-mails and you have not even bothered to respond!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Hi Proper Charlie - yes, strange that but Meg voted ages ago but all her previous postings seem to have disappeared, too. Hopefully just a computer glitch that can be rectified in due course.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Mr. De Winter - we appear to be agreed that the current situation is morally unjust. I do not agree that your analogy is comparable.
      However,I also believe that this forum is NOT the place to debate the relevant merits of our disagreement and that we should be concentrating on how best to correct this pensions injustice. I trust you will accept this.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Although, Mr. De Winter, I can understand your strength of feeling on this matter I do not think it is helpful to link it in any way with Nazism. Nazism was an offense against the world; the non payment of pension increases does not even contravene UK law - as confirmed by ECHR.
      We are fighting an immoral, but legal, situation and our aim must be to quite simply..convince the will of parliament. This I suggest is at the heart of many of the forums on 38 Degrees...but not all express themselves I am pleased to note in such the unfortunate manner you chose.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you Ken Brown for commenting so forcefully on behalf of justice, fairness and equality....please would you back up what you say with your votes - you have three - Comments will get the message across BUT VOTES ARE NEEDED TO PROMOTE THIS FORUM INTO A FULL CAMPAIGN. Thank you again Ken...look forward to seeing a little "3" in the orange box beside your comment.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes, yes..well done to whoever put in the one vote to bring up 7,100..why not come back and we comment and we thank you more personally...and tell us where you are now living, too - it helps to spread the word!
      BUT THE FIGHT GOES ON ....MORE VOTES AND COMMENTS, PLEASE

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Chippy - yes when I got my pension estimates in 1994, having said I intended to live in Thailand, and then again in 2004 and 2006 after I had moved here the information was, as you said, good, thoughtful and personal. However, does your estimate include anything about "freezing"? None of mine did and despite the fact that there was quite an amount of correspondence between Newcastle and myself over fifteen years, the first official notification came with my award notice. This is why I am so angry with the likes of Webb who say "they would have been aware of what moving to a country without reciprocal arrangements would mean for their state pension".

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Meg - We are Agatha's "tabbies' with Marple like claws that are sharp. Unfortunately we are dealing with ministers who think they have "little grey cells' like Poirot but run around like Clouseau.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Now, who is going to be the one to vote us past 7,100 and set us onour way to 7,200? No expenses paid holiday as a prize, I'm afraid; only the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a just cause.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Quick point Jane ...it is Easter this weekend so they - the MPs are on their hols till 26th April...and no doubt off again on 29th for "The Wedding" and then again Monday 2nd May..so a reply before Christmas seems unlikely..the DWP will be closed on Friday 22 and Monday 25....and Friday 29 and Monday 5th

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      TO PETER MORRIS
      Peter, a few days ago you disclosed that there had been mixed views within the ICBP hierarchy and as a result only 14,000 e-mails were sent to a membership of around 38,000 about the 38 Degree Campaign Forum.
      Can you advise, please, whether the rattle has now been returned to the pram and that urgent steps are currently underway to notify and remind everybody...and if not, why not?
      Many people have contributed both time and comment to this forum and I believed we were all pursuing the same objective. It seems some of the hierarchy in ICBP have lost sight of that.
      I am quite willing to extract all the e-mail addresses of the hierarchy from the ICBP website and mail them individually if it will bring them to their collective senses.
      WE SIMPLY CANNOT AFFORD TO LET THIS OPPORTUNITY OF A FULLSCALE CAMPAIGN SLIP BY

      SO...Please Peter..what news??

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Hello, only FIVE to breach 7,100....thank you anonymous supporter who voted after Meg's '8 to go milestone' message below. Please feel free to come back and comment if you wish..to know which country your living in would help spread our world wide campaign!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      As regards the e-mails to DWP I believe we should continue the bombardment. I think we need to remember that they are being handled by Civil Servants (and not at an especially high grade)and their responsibility is only implement the law as directed by parliament; they are not allowed to voice their own personal viewpoint when dealing with the public..and I am sure there will be some who fully support our claims but, within their rules of discipline, are not permitted to admit so when replying to our e-mails.
      Nevertheless I am sure that the discontent that we are expressing and the discontent that the staff have at having to respond monkey fashion will filter upwards to the point where the Senior Civil Servant who has dealings with the Secretary of State and the Minister will, if nothing else, alert him to the fact that the "frozen" pensioners are revolting! (although some of them are probably quite nice really}.
      May I give you another e-mail address? This is for Andrew Selous and is andrewselous@parliament.uk. Mr Selous is The Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Iain Duncan Smith..he will, almost certainly be in daily contact with IDS.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      To George David Blenkinsop CBE AM....thank you so much for your comment..you are just the sort of individual we are all fighting for...We must win this not just for ourselves but for the many more who want to emigrate but will be financially restrained from perhaps doing so by this injustice.
      NOT "Amen", please George but if you come, no when you come, back....may we have your THREE Votes please?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thanks too Mike...we need all the votes we can muster so spread the word about 38Degrees, folks.
      and, as I type, Crunchie60cjb, I see you have upped your vote...well done and thanks

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you Crunchie60cjb for your comment and vote - any chance of adding the other TWO? - if you have not allocated them already to another forum...you had a total of 10 and can use up to THREE on any one project. It would be nice and useful to know what country your commenting from - I am in Thailand, by the way, and are "CJB" your own initials or are they an organisation of some sort?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you Proper Charlie with your suggestion about e-mailing relatives and friends at home. Excellent. I am convinced that when I did it about a week ago (with a friendly reminder last Saturday) that it produced some votes without comments.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Meg I suspect that Liberal Democrat Voice withdrew the article when they got your comment so soon after mine. After all they couldn't have 'nasty' remarks about St. Steve of Thornbury and Yate* could they?
      * Steve Webb is MP for the Thornbury & Yate (which is in Gloucestershire) constituency.

      Because of other enquiries I was making I had, in September 2007, dealings with HM Revenue and Customs (Non -Residents Branch)and I raised the issue of frozen pensions.
      In a quite lengthy reply - not the standard DWP rubbish - they said -
      "I recognise that pensioners now resident overseas have paid into the NI scheme. However, the rate of contribution payable has never included any element for the indexation of pensions payable abroad."

      My comment - if that is the case why are some pensions payable abroad indexed linked but some are not?

      The letter continues -
      " The NI scheme is different from a commercial insurance scheme where premiums are linked to expected benefit. Instead it operates 'pay-as-you-go' basis. The NI contributions paid into the fund in any year finance contributory benefit expenditure in the same year. Although the individual's contributions provide a foundation for calculating personal future benefit entitlement, the contributions don't actually pay for those benefits."

      My comment - there is actually no difference between the NI scheme and a commercial insurance scheme. You pay in your premium either weekly monthly or even annually over a set period of time. At the end of that period you register your claim and are paid out accordingly..in some Commercial schemes it depends on the original contract if this is in a monthly pension or just as a lump sum.
      What the government or the commercial venture choose to do with your contributions or premiums between your starting to pay them and then claiming is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT.

      What is relevant is that you and I have paid in on equal terms and we all believe we should be able to claim and withdraw ON EQUAL TERMS wherever we live.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morning from Thailand. Sat here wrapped in a towel about to have a shower but I had to log on and see my what my fellow supporters had to say!
      Just quickly WE Smith and Margaret Hufty, please give us your votes - and if your not sure what to do either scroll down and their will be an entry from Chippy that will advise or comment again and ask for help!...good to see Malcolm De Winter after posting comments much earlier in the campaign has made a return visit AND Voted (any chance of those other two, Malcolm?)
      And Dai Bach....eloquence has nothing to do with just saying "Pay ALL PENSIONERS" their Bl**dy Rights!"... anybody don't just leave to others ..get in there and tell 'em! Again and again and again!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Dai Bach - sometime yesterday you commented about following the steve webb link to "Liberal Democratic Voice" which I did. To my surprise if one scrolled down one could post a comment on that site. I posted a comment of which the last line stated "Clegg and Webb have lied to the electorate (about frozen pensions)" As it said it was be cleared by the moderator before publication I anticipated it would never appear...but it has! I wonder if the two gentlemen ever read the comments on their speeches?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Hello Proper Charlie. First, thank you for coming back to the site and, secondly, for those three votes!
      I think if you have read some of the earlier comments you will appreciate that there is a bit of a mystery about how 38Degrees operates - and we have been trying without success I'm afraid to get them to be a little more explicit on their procedures.
      My own view is that at some stage they look at those campaign suggestions that are currently in the forum stage and decide within their criteria which to take forward. I am sure the total number of votes cast is not the only one as, for example, it is likely that the suggestion to ban sleeping rough in Victoria by the Westminster Council will really be of more local interest than say, ours which is of international importence. Having decided that, I believe they look at what form the campaign should take...some like save the NHS become a petition to sign while others suggest a local activity or e-mailing one's MP. The aim of "fairness, justice and equality" is to attract sufficient votes and comments to persuade 38 to turn this into a full blooded campaign (like the NHS) and they will then invite their members to vote on it. (To be a member of 38 it seems that all one needs to do is cast a vote on an EXISTING CAMPAIGN (as opposed to the Forum)). They say they have 600,000 members.
      Proper Charlie....this is my own personal opinion and should not be taken as gospel...do others have any views onthe process, please?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter, thank you for your information regarding ICBP's stance in relation to the activities of the webmaster in respect of this campaign. How pathetic, talk about throwing baby out with the bath water! It seems to me that some individuals have allowed their own personal ego to come between them and the objective.
      As the ICBP did not take immediate steps to halt the 38 Degrees scheme THEY HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO NOW PUT THEIR WHOLE COLLECTIVE WEIGHT BEHIND IT. It would, for example be encouraging to see the occasional comment from the Chairman wouldn't it?
      I fully support the views expressed earlier by Meg and Chippy and, I too, am curious to know if 24,000 of the members don't have email addresses....or was the email run stopped after the first 14,000. If so, it MUST be reinstituted PDQ.
      I suggested earlier that a thank you/reminder e mail should be issued. Peter, you have said that 14,000 had been notified of this campaign forum. The supporters of it number 2,800 and quite probably not all will be members.....WHERE are their votes? A reminder I think, Peter, is essential and again PDQ.
      It must be remembered that there are over half a million out here looking to the ICBP to lead the fight for us all - after the failure of the court case, there is a need for positive direction and action which has been distinctly lacking since ECHR. It is certainly NOT the time to allow minor infractions in protocol to cloud the main thrust of our grievance.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Sun just rising in Thailand...seems to have been quite a busy night! Some of which takes a bit of digesting! Don't want to appear to throw cold water over Jane and Anne's hopes of a response from that steve webb address but this is the one I flagged up ages ago! I first used it last July, had to go through the "spam" routine, have used it several times since.....and am still waiting for a reply! At least you know it is hitting the right spot!
      Ann - I think I am a member as I 'supported' telling Osborne to pay his tax....last Tuesday 38 sent me an e-mail telling me I had 2 days to apply to go on the Election Register in the UK to vote on the referendum. (38 suggested I was not on the Election Register because perhaps I had moved or was under 18!). As the application had to be returned by post, after being witnessed, it would clearly be too late!. The reason I am saying this is in case David Babbs e-mail is limited to only 38members who are on the Electoral Register in the UK, so not receiving one may not be a true indication of non 38 membership. My advice to anyone is to go into the 38Degrees Campaign Site (as opposed to this Forum Site)and vote for either the Save NHS or the Osborn Campaign. If you are a member already I think your vote is simply recorded and if you are not you have to complete a simple registration process. Hope this makes sense!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Sunny Thailand here - Dennis & Audrey first of all thanks for your comment about the ECHR...As i said i did not see or hear our the presentation of our case so am in no personal position to comment. I suppose different people see things from different angles - especially when they have lost! As I said how the inaccurate ramblings of Hoffman managed to be accapted at two levels of ECHR is beyond me. I think we all accept that the legal pursuit is over and now it is public opinion.
      Ref your e-mail to Webb - good work but you are right to not hold your breath. I wrote to IDS, Webb and Ministers@ (see my posting of 12 hours ago) immediatley after the future pension changes were announced by Webb. I pointed out the dictionary definition of "All" and specifically asked if to confirm or deny that in his statement "that it was to be a single, decent pension for all" that the word all included those in frozen countries.
      I did not get a reply and sent a reminder. I was then asked to resubmit my original e-mail which I did. On the same day I received an acknowledgement saying it had been "passed to an official to respond". Yesterday I got my fourth copy of the same letter from Wendy Jacobs. i have responded as per my earlier (12 hours ago) posting.
      I am today, e-mailing Sir Peter Bottomley, not only to carry on supporting us but to join 38degress with 3 votes and to personally take up with Duncan Smith and Webb the total lack of cooperation we are receiving from DWP.

      BUT DON'T BE DISCOURAGED ANYONE..ROME WAS NOT BUILT IN A DAY (I wasn't involved in that job!)

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morning fromm Thailand..just to add steve@stevewebb.org.uk to the list...I think it connects to his constituency offices. Be back later

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Evening from Thailand where it is Songkran, the water festival, where everyone throws water over each other as a sign of purification...it use to be just a sprinkling but now it is quite probable to have a large bucketful poured over one by a complete stranger! Thank goodness the temperature is around 95 degrees!
      Sorry I digress.
      Yes, Chippy I do so agree that interpretation of 38 is a problem which is why I asked PETER earlier today for help..........well, PETER?
      You may remember that I e-mailed Sec of State@,the minister, steve@ and the general "ministers@ last week well, after having been requested to send a copy, I have had a reply...from Wendy Jacobs and you have guessed - the usual blether!
      So I have just sent, marked for her attention, another e-mail advising her that I now have four such replies and asking her how many I have to collect for my free gift. I have asked her to answer the questions I actually asked and not the ones she would have liked me to have asked and, if she does not know the answers the TO ASK THE MINISTER. (Feel better for that!)
      I intend e-mailing Sir Peter Bottomley, who is very much on our side, and I shall raise with him the failure of DWP to act in a responsible manner in dealing with correspondence.
      Meanwhile I am trying to establish some sort of contact with pensionparitythailand as the apparent response from ex-pats out here seems very light. Also looking to get a letter published in the Pattaya Newspaper Where parity are based) So keep watching for Thailand AND KEEP THOSE VOTES COMING

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Sairung - this is my reading of it....Chippy do you agree?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      SAIRUNG AND CHIPPY - Please see my comment of about five hours ago. You are allocated 10 votes in total but you can only use a maximum of 3 on any one Forum suggestion. Once you have cast those three you cannot go in and cast another three; you are blocked (I know I tried!). If you want to use the remaining seven votes you have they must go to some other suggestion like, for example the building of an incinerator at Kings Lynn. Thus, if you wish to use all your votes you will need to vote on anywhere between FOUR SUGGESTIONS (3votes x 3 + 1 vote x 1) and TEN SUGGESTIONS (1 vote x 1 on each).

      I THINK!!!!!!!!!
      )

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      As it all seems to have gone a little quiet out there perhaps I can use a little space to respond to DENNIS & AUDREY PURVIS as I earlier said I would.

      I think everyone was surprised by the outcome of the final appeal to ECHR and I honestly believe the UK government expected to lose. However, the European Court showed itself to be one of LEGAL Rights as opposed to MORAL Rights and suported the existing law in the UK. As I understand it one requirement to receive a pension when they first came into existence was that the recipient had to be resident in the country. Subsequently,the government was charged with ensuring a minimum standard of living for those living within its shores was maintained by periodic review. Although they have breached these "rules" in respect of UNFROZEN countries it is still within the right of the government to cease payment of pensions to anyone NOT residing in the UK...although, of course, they would fall foul of the European Convention rulings on Human Rights and, therefore it won't happen!
      Your views on the quality of the way our case was presented differ from some that I have heard. I did not see or hear the actual presentation but words like 'shambolic', 'poor' and 'seemed badly briefed' have been uttered. But, clearly, I cannot comment.
      What I do find baffling is that the Grand Chamber of ECHR seem to have simply rubber stamped the House of Lord's verdict and that seems to have been the work of Lord Hoffman (see Baron 'Lenny' Hoffman in Wikipedia - he is no stranger to controversy!)and how his comments got past both the Lower Chamber and the Grand Chamber I simply cannot fathom. He should have been torn to shreds
      His comments showed no repect for the intelligence of the average tax payer,relied heavily on outdated obsolete historical data, an irrational logic to support his convoluted opinions and, to cap it all, was factually incorrect in several crucial areas.

      Hoffman said a little before the ECHR case that there is a case against the ECHR in that it has neither the legitimacy nor standing to interfere as it does in domestic law. It may be the cynic in me but I can't help but wonder if this verdict was some sort of appeasement attempt by ECHR!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Nicholas Fry you are so right and for the Minister - allegedly of course, to say 'they would have known before they went' is poppycock! I obtained a pension estimate in 1994 (when still in the UK)and advised I proposed emigrating to Thailand. Their reply made no reference to freezing....nor did replies to further such requests in 2004 and 2006 after I had actually moved here but before I became eligible for a pension - only a warning which specifically mentioned Thailand in respect of healthcare!

      Reference Peter Bottomley - he is already a champion of our cause - see Wikipedia entry for him - but I am sure that e-mails to him will encourage him to bash on. His wife, Virginia, use to be MP for West Surrey and has now been elevated to the Lords.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morning All! Sairung, I think that once you have cast your three votes for a CAMPAIGN SUGGESTION - which is the stage this one is at - any further attempts to vote again are blocked...you can only use the remaining seven votes you have on OTHER suggestions.
      I think BUT MAY WELL BE WRONG that to become a member of 38Degrees you have to vote on one of the FORUM Suggestions that has been accepted and advanced to CAMPAIGN STAGE - like Save the NHS or Make George Osborne pay his Taxes.

      How or when 38 make the decision on what Forum Suggestion to select I do not know nor do I know how they determine what is the best course of action to be taken for a particular grouse.

      PETER MORRIS...YOUR NAME APPEARS AS THE SIGNATORY TO THIS CAMPAIGN SUGGESTION.....DO YOU HAVE A "Bell,Book and Candle" on how 38Degrees operates....I have been backwards and forwards through their pages but cannot find the detail of their procedures. It is most frustrating and if people are looking at our FORUM voting figure and confusing it, as I think they maybe, with accepted CAMPAIGN votes it could well induce a sense of discouragement.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane i think there may be a glitch in the system. I am sure that between Ann Parker coming on board and my reply toher and Meg's comment 42 minutes ago the total number of votes increased..indeed I am sure at one time it went from 7038 down to 7037 before going to its present 7040! - but no comments appeared. We press on but yes, it WOULD BE NICE TO KNOW HOW THE 38 PROCESS WORKS!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Meg - My screen is showing nothing since i posted the welcome to Ann about 8 hours ago but i think it was longer ago than that,

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you Ann for your support and vote....we are fighting for Australian based pensioners... and, let me hasten to add all British Pensioners living in any "Frozen Country" be it Commonwealth or not.

      KEEP THOSE VOTES AND COMMENTS COMING...FOLKS!!!!!!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane - the e-mail address is bottomleyp@parliament.uk - you missed the "e" in his name

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morning all - the Dripper returns!
      Having read the comments that came in overnight - my overnight - I did at one stage fear we were heading into a party political debate and that is something I think we should avoid. Our argument is with the UK Government and our efforts are to overturn the intransigience of successive administrations since payment of pension increases became frozen. We have lost the legal battle and are now relying on the Court of Public Opinion to support us...and this, is it not, what 38Degrees is all about?

      I posted earlier to Dennis and Audrey Purvis that I would come back on ECHR. I have not forgotten and will do so soon

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Meg I should have gone to bed hours ago but as far as i can recall if you said yes to being contacted or yes to being interviewed you had to give a means of contact - phone, e-mail, postal address...if you did not do so you probably will not hear!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      They also missed the pension capital city - Bournemouth!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Meg - you probably have seen my earlier comments and, although I am not one, a psychologist needs to vet a good quality questionnaire, especially if it is aimed at a "particular" market - and this is not a good questionnaire. Did you not know that nobody lives south of a line from London to Bristol except apparently in Plymouth? I thought everyone knew that!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Looks like the Canadian morning shift has started! Hi Meg!
      Sairung...it would be possible but very time consuming and whether someone like me who thinks it is a miracle if they can log on and off successfully could set it up.... I am also not sure if permission of the individual would be needed prior to any publicity. I think the ICBP (and CABP) would need to confirm to me that they would wish to use this in an forthcoming campaign before I embarked on it. I completed a questionnaire for CABP (didn't know Thailand was part of Canada did you?!!)last July outlining my story..don't know if they used it or if it is too soon to launch another.

      Peter - don't know if you know what the likely views of ICBP would be on this. Have you any thoughts on the matter?
      Also Peter have completed the monkeysurvey as best as I can...pity it does not permit you to enter more than one type of employment or stipulate what their definition of family is but hope my response helps.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes Mam, your votes are certainly are OK.....unlike the UK Government you won't find discrimination here!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Meg - yes I apprciate what you say about not all ICBP having access to the internet and 38Degrees but if, and I do not doubt your figures for one minute, they have an overall membership of 38,000 I believe there is scope for ICBP to jolly them along with a reminder....after all who does not wait for the "Final Demand" before paying the electricity bill?!!
      In a way I am heartened by the campaign "Say no to an incinerator at Kings Lynn"..in a referendum they claim 93% (65,000) say "no". Now whether 65,000 represents the 93% or is the total population they have covered I'm not sure -Wikipedia says the population of Kings Lynn is approx 34,000 - but whatever just look at the size of the geographical area potential voters are likely to be in (the county of Norfolk, at best) and the size of ours (the world). Yet, despite having a much smaller and easier campaigning area and, no doubt assited by press and local tv and radio they are still short of 4,000 votes on 38Degrees. So I think we should still keep on chasing potential votes and that ICBP has a vital role in pushing its members with periodic reminders....WHAT SAY YOU PETER MORRIS?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      ATTENTION PLEASE PATRICIA GREENWOOD - thank you for your comment but do you support us to give us your VOTE? If so we want to see a 3 by the side of your entry...see Chippy's entry just below this ifnot sure what to do

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Hi everyone - just a quick word regarding e-mail addresses the one for The Pensions Minister, Steve Webb I have is steve@stevewebb.org.uk they have not bounced back ..nor has it produced a reply, as yet.
      Will return later after digesting both breakfast and all those comments!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Meg - sorry to use up space (and you may have to post the VOTES PLEASE notice again quite soon) I will leave Jane to give you the e-mail data but if you can ask specific questions in them and indicate you expect a reply it is better, I think, than just sounding off about the morality aspect...e.g. Under the pension proposals announced last week will the minister please confirm what adjustments he is making to bring pensioners in frozen states in line with ALL others residing in the UK in respect of the annual April up-lift. If he has no proposals will he please confirm this and give his reasons for failing to practice 'fairness, justice and equality'.

      P.S I really must go to bed - half pastmidnight where I am!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Meg - thanks for your nice remarks but you know the reward I really want is those 2000 votes please!!
      I hope Peter Morris can and will get the word around through an ICBP e-mail follow-up, as I suggested earlier....... People some people do come back to see how things are - one is Malcolm De Winter, and I hope he does not mind me singling him out but he has been in and commented on several occasions yet not voted and, as I have said before, if you care enough to comment why not give us your vote??

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      t.w wright.......your votes please, please, please

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Thank you Peter and Rachel and at least three others who have voted since we passed 7,000. We must keep going folks and just think if all those votes I wrote about five hours ago (around 2,000) had been registered.....

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Oh boy! I have just completed the mammoth task of going back through 138 pages of comments and in particular those not showing a VOTE. I have sought to avoid counting repeated entries by the same person but also only counted as a single entry where it is under two names. There are 711 - yes 711 magnificent voices of support but WITHOUT CASTING A VOTE -(a potential loss of over 2,000 votes).

      So - if you have not got a figure of 1, 2 or, preferably 3 against your name please follow Chippy's advice below).

      And Peter Morris, Chippy suggested a congratulatory e-mail From ICBP to all affiliate members. May I support that idea and hopes that it includes a reminder so that all those 711 supporters can come back and hit the right buttons??

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      ATTENTION PLEASE EVERYONE!!!!!

      The Dripper has just gone back through pages 100 to 138 on this campaign ie from the oldest entry coming nearer to today. On just 38 pages there are 134 comments against which NO VOTES HAVE BEEN CAST and this is a potential 402 votes...and I still have a hundred pages to go!
      SO PLEASE EVERYBODY if you feel strong enough about this to make a comment why have you not got a "3" in the little box by your name?

      Jack the Dripper

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      To John S. Bell Thank you for your comment - although the campaign has now passed the 7,000 mark WE STILL NEED YOUR VOTES PLEASE!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Erika - three comments and three votes well done! And a big thank you!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      all I know about Karma is that it is very much linked to Buddhism and loosley means "responsibility for one's own action or deeds" - this is why when one reads in the paper about a bad road accident (and there are many here) the last line usually reads 'The driver fled the scene'.. because the area has bad karma for him or her..........and there is always Karma Sutra but perhaps we shouldn't go down that road! I think someone at 38 should tell us or do you happen to have the answer, Peter?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      and neither did brian williams...and I did ask you nicely...honest!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      brian williams - thank you for offering your THREE VOTES but in order for them to be registered you need to go to near the top of the page and the figure at the left hand side (currently showing 6,992).Underneath that it will show the word "Vote'..click on it and you will then have a choice of casting 1,2 or 3 votes..please click on "3". If you are then asked to go to your Inbox please do so as they may need you to confirm your e-mail address.

      The litle figure beside you name will eventually show the number three...although you may have to wait a few moments and, perhaps refresh the page.

      You will also know if they have been recorde as the large XX VOTES LEFT will have redued by three! Look forward to seeing it change and thanks again!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Chippy - it has come..........in my Junk Mail! I have replied, please check and confirm

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Sairung - Thank you. I did send a letter to both the Bangkok Post and The Nation newspapers but neither was published! I really feel that as the Thai branch of ICBP is in Pattaya then someone more local should be dealing with pattayamail and I don't want to tread on their toes. ICBP thailand have not responded yet to my e-mail to their info connection. I will hang fire for a couple of days unless Peter has and can, as I asked him, give me an individual's address to contact beforehand.

      Sairung (again!), Jane and Chippy: when I am faced by opponents (which is rare!) I adopt the following tactic
      "Tom, Dick and Harry are triplets, they all pay into the National Insurance Fund at the rate demanded for the full qualifying period for a pension. On the same day, therefore, they all attain the age of 65 and they retire.
      Had they remained in the UK after retirement they would have got the annual increases. Tom, however, went to Spain to live; he is happy as he gets the increases because it is an EU country, Dick went to live in the USA, there is a so called reciprocal agreement so he is happy as he, too, gets the increases. Harry now lives in Thailand and is very unhappy because he does not get the increases. They have all met the same conditions for paying into the fund do you think it is fair or just that only Tom and Dick can withdraw from it on equal terms?"
      And as for not contributing to the UK economy ANY income derived from UK sources is assessable for tax (including the state pension). There is no law which impels you to spend your income on UK taxable products and what you choose to spend it on is your own personal affair..not the governments.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Hi Jane - I heard by an e-mail direct from ICBP and this is precisely why I suggested to Peter about eleven hours before this posting that it might be profitable to e-mail reminders.I also asked if he had a contact other than "info@pensionparitythailand" so that either I or the Consortium could enquire what they are doing about a possible follow up among the Thailand retirees on their books. He has not reponded to that posting AS YET.

      p

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter - who is trying to start up another organisation?????? My point was to see if other pensioner groups in the UK would be in a position to encourage their members to support the 38 Degrees campaign...If ICBP is already in contact then all well and good. I threw in the Civil Service Alliance AS AN EXAMPLE and only because I am not only a retired Civil Servant but of the Emploment Department which now constitutes the "W" in DWP ...and am I proud of them? No I bloody well am not!!!!!!!

      dwpand I very much hope that

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Dennis & Audrey I actually have a info@ for the CS Alliance..but no actual names...the point was that I hoped Peter would pick up this and perhaps someone in the Consortium would be aware of an all encompassing organisation for pensioner groups..lets see what Peter can come up with.
      I am having a spot of bother with the internet at present ..hopefully back to normal tomorrow..and I will pick up on the ECHR case..although as you know there is no further appeal

      John Reynolds - as Chippy seems a bit tied up may I say welcome but it would be nice to know which country you are living in and even nicer to have your THREE VOTES.......please!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter - sorry to trouble you again but the blurb at the head of this campaign says "they could really do with a hand from people living in the UK to help them....". Most of the comments posted are coming from outside the UK so is there any means by which ICBP can identify and contact pensioner groups in the UK to encourage their members to come on board? I know, for example, that there is a Civil Service Pensioners' Alliance but are there National Pensioner organisations?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Chippy - don't know if you have tried to e-mail me but we are having a bit of internet trouble this end...I think Thais use the universal office modem during the week but overload on Sat and Sun when on their own at home! I have made a note of your instructions so can try again if needs be!
      Peter - I learned of this 38Degrees campaign through my previous contact with ICBP when they e-mailed me with it (otherwise I possibly would not have known). Do you think a reminder should be sent out along the lines of "if you have voted - thank you but if you havn't please, please record your support by voting - NOW"?

      Peter again - I tried to contact the Thailand branch of the Consortium by using their e-mail service. I got an autoreply to say they would contact me. They havn't so do you have a e-mail addresss to an individual that either you or I could try. They had 90 plus attend their inaugural meeting last August and, with the absence of other comment makers from Thailand, I think there is a potential 300 votes there to be chased.

      Meg - I am 66 going on 67 and am sure I could walk the 2.01 miles from Hyde Park (the traditional starting point)to Downing Street. And if an 85 year old sailor can cross the Atlantic (with a crew of three aged about 60) on a raft made out of old pipes I am sure sure to those who believe our cause age will not prevent them!

      Dai Bach - I think someone has pointed out St George's Day is in April I have had a quick check and 5/11/2011 is a Saturday (and is the weekend before Rememberance Day).

      Must stop just now but Anne and Jane keep the e-mails flowing....I have not had any response to mine sent last Tuesday to steve@stevewebb.org.uk or secretaryofstate@dwp.gsi.gov.uk or ministers@dwp.gsi.gov.uk but I ask some specific questions and did say I wanted a reply by yesterday..and not their usual blether.... the waiting is killing me!!!!!!!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Chippy..See I may be a computer illiterate and I may be stupid but I aint daft! Glad it got through. with the time difference - it is just coming up to 9.15PM (Friday)here -your e-mail may arrive in the middle of my (failed) beauty sleep, so don't be surprised if it is not an instant response!

      Jane - are you there? If so, please do get in touch with Chippy....

      EVERYONE - Please do not think we are trying some sort of hijacking. I know I'm not I'm simply looking to investigate courses of action like, for example, the London Demo and how we can set it up. I believe Chippy and Meg are thinking along similar lines.
      Meanwhile keep up the e-mails barrage on IDS and Co and don't forget to remind your friends who share our views to make sure they have voted.

      I remain still at large - Jack the Dripper!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Chippy - have just tried again - has it worked? If not I'll try and get my Thai "professional computer expert' ie niece to look at it asap.(Like tomorrow or Sunday.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      To Chippy - have tried - have you receieved? However, after completing the last action you indicated I got a screen which unfortunately is in Thai which I don't read, speak or write! It appeared to be requesting me to sign in with a password, which I did, and would not accept. I am a complete novice on computers but, if you can let me know if we made contact or not I can get my Thai niece or nephew to translate what I should have done. That may not be until tonight or tomorrow! Let me know but please don't delete your instructions...I may need them again!!!!!!!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Chippy - thanks and yes but having just got out of the shower and my boy waiting for his English lesson please bear with me- hopefully back in 3 to 4 hours!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Laurence - well said but may we have your three votes? please, please, please! and it would be useful in this world wide campaign to know your country of residence
      Thanks

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      THE DRIPPER RETURNS!
      Been a bit busy today but may I pick up on a few comments?1. Chippy, Meg and Peter have you had any feedback from 38Degrees on their process? I am still not sure if I am a member, will be asked to vote again if the project is taken on, when decisions are made as which project to adopt etc.
      2. Dai Bach - fully appreciate what you are saying about overseas aid. I am not against it provided UK citizens are not short changed because of it. In addition did you know that India is getting 4 billion...and has said it does not want it....and been told it has got to take it...and no accountability mechanisms in place to show where the money has gone! Did you also note that when making the announcement Minister Andrew Mitchell said "The reason...we made it clear we won't balance the books at the expense of the poorest people in the world, is because it is morally right to do so." Hey, hang on, what's this about a government minister talking abour moral rights (Government re-shuffle coming up!!)
      3. ron..the government has not been called on to top up the NI fund in over 12 years...it is flush and at the end of the 2009/10 financial year showed a surplus of....wait for it...GBP 48,456,638,000.00. DWP say to pay the increase (not back dated but just annually) is between GBP 500 and 600 million..a drop... or even a drip..in the ocean.
      4. Marilyn Christensen. I don't think there has been a decision on a London Demo. I have held back on this at the moment as I was rather hoping that either Meg or Peter would come back as I believe the intention was for them to communicate direct. Proper organization will be vital...it would be disaster if we went ahead and it became a damp squib.
      5. Chippy again - yes, please keep posting your voting and country of residence information request and, with the greatest repect to friends in the Commonwealth, lets hear it from the rest of the world!...................
      So it is goodnight from Thailand because as Zebedee in "The Magic Roundabout" said 'Time for bed'.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Well done Chris Williams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now what about everyone else???????????????????????????/

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      To Chris Williams ...your name has just been added to my list!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A potential 69 votes "lost' in the last week

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I have just gone back over the last ten pages of comments. The list below gives those people who made a comment but do not have any vote recorded against their name:
      ron, Kate Taylor, Leslie Bowater, Dave, anonymous, Roy Sells, Malcolm De Winter, beatrice M. jolly, Mrs P.G.Edwards, winifred Emmett, john mckittrick, James Smithies, SarzW, claude melotte, Martyn Davidson, Chris Webster, Simon Nicholson, caroline ettel, Alfred william Fletcher, Michael O'Shaughnessy, David N. Fern and Barrie Gutteridge.
      It may be that i have missed a later entry or you have responded to Chippy's exhortations (as below) and simply signed and voted but left no further comment. If so, my apologies....but this is a potential 66 votes and that would push past 7,000. Remember - comments are good BUT VOTES ARE VITAL.
      The Dripper will return later........!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter - 1.Have had a quick look at the surveymonkey site...it seems to be biased towards pensioners still in the UK and while it lists various countries there is no mention of THAILAND (or even an "Others" space for completion). Were you suggesting we should fill it in anyway?
      2. Have just e-mailed pensionparitythailand to remind them to get their 90 odd members involved - there is a lack of comment from here it seems - surely I'm not alone!!
      They have sent an auto reply and will get back...

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      sorry - the last sentence of my previous comment should have read "there is no bigger DRIPPER (not DRIP) than me".............on the other hand.....

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Just a quickie...Jane your reply from DWP is the steriotype... I have received three copies all virtually the same over the past ten months(one word for word)...don't know how many of these I need to complete a set and win a prize..I have not had any response yet to my e-mails but you probably got in before me (time difference around the world) or the monkey that turns the handle has gone to lunch. My e-mail asked for answers to specific questions relating to uplifting after the new changes come into force as well as our current plight so the bog standard reply does not cover them.
      I believe we must continue, however frustrating it becomes, to hammer away as the saying goes "Constant dripping wears away the stone"..and there is no bigger drip than me!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Anne - have you thought of replying to the dreaded Wendy Jacobs and asking her what the blankety blue blazes is the point of publishing an e-mail address if nobody is meant to write to it?
      I have had dealings with her and I ignored the "will not recieve attention" and suggested instead of procrastinating she simply got on with providing answers...her further reply was disgraceful and, incidently, is part of my complaint to Cameron about both the freezing and the totally unacceptable attitude of the DWP in dealing with this problem. It is being highlighted by members of the public and it is the duty of both MPs and Civil Servants to produce comprehensive answers when called upon to do so. I am using letter post for this and including photocopies of the offending documents - the Prime Minister's Office admit they don't respond to every e-mail but they have no choice on letter post.
      Despite this attempted brush off you may rest assured word will get back to IDS and Webb of the gathering storm. KEEP E-MAILING I SAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Hello agin - intended to come back earlier but tied up teaching English to my 10 year old...no child allowance for him, which is a saving of GBP 1,055 per year for the government..No comment, of course, as everyone knows raising a son does not cost anything and inflation is confined only to the shores of the UK!

      Anyway I have just sent off e-mails to IDS, Webb and Ministers and none have bounced back. As I write it is 7.30am in UK so hopefully they are all tearing their hair out!

      For the record i have said - In introducing the plans for change Webb stated "We want a single decent pension for all". The word "all" means, according to Webster's "to the full or entire extent or quantity". By definition therefore this covers all pensioners irrespective of their country of residence. will you therefore, confirm or deny that these plans include pensioners retired abroad in so called "frozen territories". will you also confirm or deny that pensioners who have retired abroad in such countries will receive any subsequent uplift as such uplifts will only maintain a "decent pension". will you also advise what transitional plans there are to bring current pensions to retirees up to the level that constitutes a decent pension - they, because of their country of residence, at present being discriminated against in respect of the annual uplift and, therefore, what was initially a "decent pension" has, in one year become an indecent one and, in the years following becomes totally obscene. an e-mail reply please (and not your ususl steriotype blether)....shall we say by the end of the week?

      It may not do any good but, by heck, do I feel better for it!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morning all! Just a quick comment. May I just remind everyone and especially those writing to IDS & Co that while I appreciate the majority live in Commonwealth countries this campaign is for WORLD WIDE equality and fairness...there are pensioners in over 150 countries that are being discriminated against.
      Sorry if the e-mail addresses have bounced back...the one for ministers is as per their letterhead and the one for Webb is taken from his website. Perhaps they have been evicted from their e-mail addresses as undesirable tenants. KEEP TRYING!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      I have just searched for anything about holding demonstrations in London on Armistice Day or Remembrance Sunday..may I suggest others do the same and in www.daily mail.co.uk ..two faces of Armistice Day..boy....and I think you will almost certainly find that no demonstration of any kind and for whatever cause will be allowed anywhere near the cenotaph after last year.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Meg - I have been fighting this battle (albeit in my own way) since July 2007 so I hope you will permit me to comment further. I do not think anyone is in doubt about your good intentions nor can I recall any dissenting comments about the general idea of demonstration, Branson and the like. The contentious point seems to be the date and I stand by my comment earlier. I am firmly of the opinion that using armistice day or Rememberence Sunday would achieve the exact opposite of what we are trying to do..it would ill feeling towards us, disgust among many and leave us wide open to allegations of disrespect.. and the politicians would love that wouldn't they?

      How about, say, St.Georges Day - he fought and slew the dragon and isn't that what we are wanting to do? (With apologies to fellow Scots, Welsh and Irish supporters, of course!)

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Peter, thanks for doing so...but you make the assumption that MPs read electronic newspapers or indeed can actually read!
      I have just logged on again so not sure if the announcement is official - still think a barrage of e-mails if there is nothing positive - especially if one demands a reply to a specific point - will underline our determination..don't you?

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      The BBC News website says that Duncan Smith pension change proposals are being published today - sorry I don't know what time exactly. We will almost certainly be ignored! On that assumption may I suggest that as soon as YOU know they are on the street you send of an e-mail to each of the following secretaryofstate@dwp.gsi.gov.uk, to ministers@dwp.gsi.gove.uk and to steve@stevewebb.org.uk and reminding that about 500,000 pensioners have been betrayed.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Oh dear..there seems to be a little conflict between Meg and Peter...I don't think we can afford to lose either of them and hope this can be sorted amicably, please.
      Remember, the D-day landings were not planned overnight and there is plenty of evidence to show that Ike and Monty did not always see eye to eye but, between them they didn't do such a bad job did they?
      Meg - I go along with your ideas but,to me,Remembrance Sunday Services are just that, non denominational religious services to commerate those who have given their lives (and sadly all still giving them)for freedom and their country. My brother was killed, not in WWII, but while in the armed forces in Aden. When I lived in the UK I went on Remembrance Sunday each year to the service at our local memorial to remember him and the countless others. I would have been outraged if any demonstration, whatever the cause,sought to use it as a means to protest. You say that the war veterans have the right to attend the Cenotaph ..I agree but I like to think that they make the effort to go for the same reasons as I did.
      I suspect, too, that the the majority of UK citizens still residing there are not even aware of our plight, would not understand the reasons and would be deeply offended at what they would see as an opportunist hijack attempt.
      Hope you take this in good spirit and, for now you will be relieved to learn...that concludes the sermon!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Good morning from Thailand! A few points -
      a) yes, agree the various campaigning bodies need to come together "united we stand but divided we fall"!
      b) James Smithies - I think the increase in Personal Allowance announced in the mid term budget (last September) was a proposal to come into effect in 2011/12 Tax year and the recent budget statement simply confirmed it. I have received my tax coding for the coming year and my allowance has increased (by GBP450.00). The other points may well be valid but, of course, either effect all pensioners or those residing in UK.
      c)James Nelson & Chippy - my understanding is that once you have cast your three votes you don't have anymore irrespective of the number of comments you make but the figure will always appear against such comments but are not counted again. Am I right only there are many comments that are showing a blank in respect of votes for example the most recent are John Mckittrick and Winifred Emmett)and this to me is like the birthday cake with no icing and candles - good so far but unfinished in a vital ingredient!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Tongue in cheek I trust SarzW. Illegal anyway but don't give them ideas!! AND YOU DON'T APPEAR TO HAVE VOTED IN FAVOUR OF FAIRNESS AND EQUALITY FOR ALL PENSIONERS. HAVE YOU???

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      to Anonymous Lynda R. I say get weaving!!!!!!!!!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Oh dear, here I go again! Chippy, no your not sticking your nose out as far as I am concerned and if we can't help each other who can we rely on - certainly not the UK government. I don't know Ann - she is in Phuket and I am in Bangkok (about 700kms away). If she or, indeed, any pensioner in Phuket sees this suggest they go to www.pensionerparitythailand.com. They have a facility by which you can e-mail them and perhaps they can help her or even have a local representative. Just a thought. As you say Chippy, a little off the thread but nevertheless another example of the government's forgotten army....and we will fight!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Hey, I don't want you to think I'm trying to hog the limelight but yes it is me again! I agree with Jane that we must keep bombarding the political world of Westminster because as Corporal Jones would have said "They don't like it up 'em!". I had thought Cpl Jones (Dad's Army actor Clive Dunn)would be a good figurehead but amazingly find he is now 91 years of age and has retired to Portugal! Keep thinking, everyone.
      I see that the new pension plan proposals are to be announced next week with the rumour that it will be a flat GBP 155.00 for everyone and only apply to applicants after the date of implementation in 2014 or 2015..those that have retired before then will be under the current system but I bet you that sure as eggs is eggs the frozen pensioner is in line to be ignored. Keep the votes coming guys and gals.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Morning all - me again! Just to endorse Jane's comment about e-mails to Duncan Smith and to add that the Minister for Pensions (IDS's number 2)is Steve Webb and his e-mail is steve@stevewebb.org.uk -flood him as well; he is a Lib Dem MP and we all know what his party leader said about this injustice

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Chris Webster - yes this problem effects people in many other countries not just the Commonwealth but I think we need to be careful not to level criticism at immigrants to the UK who, in most cases, are claiming what they are legally entitled to. We must, I feel, avoid any possible suggestion that there is a racist element involved; our fight is for UK ex-pats who satisfy all the requirements for receiving the uprate but are discriminated against simply because of where they live. We paid our NI Contributions on equal terms and are merely seeking pension equality with those resident in the UK, EU or a country that has a reciprocal agreement.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      To Sheila Eaglestone - the only information I have - supplied with my award notice - is that the increase is payable provided you claim within one month of your arrival in UK or any of the EU countries or those with the infamous reciprocal agreement.
      For the record I was born educated and spent all my 40 years working life in UK - full NI contributions and all relevant taxes paid - before coming to THAILAND. My wife is Thai with family committments here..it was emigrate or divorce!!
      There are many ex-pats here (I believe ICBP has a branch here now)and I am writing to the two English Newspapers hoping they will publish a letter advising of the existence of 38Degrees and our interest.

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      To Dai Bach - another guess who?! If Chippy's link does not work you may like to try www.dwp.gov.uk/international/social-security-agreements/list of countries.
      Keep up the good workeveryone - and get those votes coming in

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Yes, Jane Davies is correct as regards Sheila Eaglestone's comment. i am pretty sure that to qualify you must be in the UK for at least two weeks and claim within a month of your return. Your pension reverts to the original award level, thereafter and, of course, any increase you get is assessable income for tax purposes.
      Jane you are too polite if you think we are only being "screwed"...it is legal but immoral theft!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      To Eric Childs below - good luck but remember the reciprocal agreement need arguement is a myth and that this fight is for pensioners world wide.
      To Jane Davis & Chippy (and others)below. I wrote to Duncan Smith (and Steve Webb the Pensions Minister)last July. The eventual reply from the DWP correspondence unit,and ony after a reminder, was nothing more than a history lesson and ignored the points I had raised. I wrote again (by email)in greater and more specific detail...and got virtually a duplicate of the first response. I e-mailed again asking for the moral justification for this continued discrimination and, after three reminders, yes, the history lesson again. Another e-mail and, I quote, "I am sorry that you are dissatisfied with the responses.....I fear there is no further information that can be added to that which you have already received."!!!!!
      I am now waiting on a reply from Cameron complaing about both the plight of us all and the disgraceful attitude of the DWP.
      This is just to forwarn letter writers (the International Consortium of British Pensioners has a complete list of all MPS e-mail addresses you can download with an easy way to contact them all at one go.(www.pensioner-parity.uk.com)that they will try and fob you off...DON'T BE DISCOURAGED - REMEMBER KING BRUCE AND THE SPIDER..IF AT FIRST YOU DON'T SUCEED

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      For the record prior to 1929 pensions were not payable outside the UK when they became so in HM Dominions. After 1948 payment in a small number of European countries was introduced before, in 1955 they became payable world wide. However,upratings were withheld in certain territories unless a "reciprocal arrangement" was made. Revenue & Customs advise that the purpose of these arrangements is to coordinate schemes for people moving between countries during their working lives...which, by definition, cannot, therefore, include those retired. It is a myth! The last such agreement (with Barbados)was made over 30 years ago!The Government suggest that to pay back dated claims would cost GPB 4 billion - yes, 4 billion is how much pensioners have been robbed of over the years. As it is the annual ongoing bill to "unfreeze" is, they say, GPB 5 million..
      (but I believe it is somewhat less than that)..and this is what we are being robbed of without any moral justification being given by successive governments. Who says crime does not pay? It seeems to do so if you are in government!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Jane Davies is right we do need a well known personality to champion our cause - remember Joanne Lumley and he battle on behalf of the Gurkha soldiers? - but all pensioners and would be pensioners should visit the The International Consortium of British Pensioners website (http://www.pension-parity.uk.com)which has much information on action YOU can take. Why not write to your local/national newspapers correspondence column encouraging all ex-pats to do the same?
      AND REMEMBER GET YOUR VOTES AND THOSE OF YOUR FRIENDS IN!!!...................NOW, NOW, NOW!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Sorry to not have come back sooner...had hoped for some positive news in yesterday's budget...forlorn hope so have spent morning writing to Prime Minister Cameron complaining not only aboutthis blatant discrimination but also about the disgraceful responses I have had from Iain Duncan Smith's Dept for Work and Pensions. This situation has existed since pensions became payable world wide in 1955 but countries without a "reciprocal agreement" with UK were excluded from increases. The myth of the need for such agreements in relation to Retirement Pensions has long been exploded. We are not asking for anything extra...just equality and fairness of treatment.

      IF YOU HAVE NOT YET VOTED..GET ON AND DO IT NOW! USE ALL YOUR THREE VOTES!! AND GET ALL YOUR FRIENDS (need not be pensioners themselves)INVOLVED!!!

      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox supported this idea  · 
      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

      Anyone who has read the European Court of Human Rights case (Carson v UK Government)published in March last year will appreciate that the judgement is based on Human LEGAL rights and not Human MORAL rights...they will also appreciate that the basis of their judgement is on the offerings of Lord Hoffman (the House of Lords judge who presided on the case in the Lords)and that these were subjective and in many respects factually incorrect. All my working life was spent in the UK and on retirement I qualified for full retirement pension,I paid all the required NI contributions and taxes and all my UK retirement income is currently assessable for income tax. I am no different from my counterpart living in Tottenham or Toledo USA but because my wife, son and I have settled for family reasons in he home country of Thailand...I am "frozen'
      This is an indictment on The UK government both past and present.

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        Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

        Having inherited, in 1997, the strongest economy of any incoming UK government since second world the war and spent thirteen years selling off the assets, the last administration left office in 2010 with the UK practically on its knees, having been totally unprepared and ill equipped for any form of financial crisis - let alone a global one.

        Presume this forum is a rather early April Fool caper.
        The Labour party had the opportunity to either form a minority government or a coalition one in 2010 - they opted out.

        Today's revisioneconomic sastration

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          Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

          John, pensioners living abroad are not simply waiting, the International Consortium of British Pensioners is actively campaigning to end this discrimination.
          Have you put your ideas to them with suggestions as to how they can be organised?
          I see you have commented on the "Fairness, justice and equality for all British Pensioners" forum (See under "Tops" where it is second but constantly ignored by 38 Degrees) and maybe a posting on there directing any readers to this forum might stir things up as, too, putting its existence on the ICBP Facebook page might.

          Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox supported this idea  · 
        • 4 votes
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            Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

            Perhaps you should have thought of the implications for your family and hopefully your teenage son will benefit from the folly of his father. If you were over the legal limit then your driving ability was impaired and some would say that losing your license for eighteen months is a small price to pay. No sympathy.

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              Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

              And replace it with what?

            • 51 votes
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                Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                Presumably, Anonymous, your comment of 26th April would reflect your view of any Ceremonial State Funeral held at this time and has nothing to do with the identity of the deceased?

                Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                Clifford I, too, am battling with the government (with others).

                Indeed if you look at the list of "TOP" topics on 38 Degrees you will see that the campaign for "Fairness, Justice and Equality for all British Pensioners" is second on the list.

                Having lived and worked in the UK and contributed to the NI Scheme for the full forty-four qualifying years (as it was then), my State Retirement Pension is frozen at the level at which it first became payable. No annual index linked increases....ever.

                Good luck with your battles...I know about frustration...but be of good heart!

                Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                True but austerity means having to do without some of those things we take for granted; I acknowledge that in your circumstances the ownership of a computer would be higher on the list of priorities than for others.

                Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                I made no requests for details of your personal life and you know nothing of mine.

                I simply pointed out the incongruity of modern day life when claims of austerity go hand in hand with the ownership of sophisticated technology; somewhat different interpretation from the austerity one endured both during and in the early post war years.

                Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                I accept that you have been affected by the current financial situation and am genuinely sorry that an injury at work has left you with a disability.

                However, It intrigues me the number of people who are able to afford the equipment and internet subscriptions when they have been stripped down to the bone in the name of austerity.

                I do not think we will see eye to eye on this one!

                Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                The austerity cuts are a part of my life as was the absolute mess that Baroness Thatcher inherited in 1979. I too worked all my life and am now a pensioner.

                I accept that you do not agree with the concept of any State Funeral, although that agreement seems to be tempered by the financial status of the individual rather than their standing in society. That, too, might be deemed as hypocrisy

                Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                I presume that if similar austerity was being experienced at the time Diana Princess of Wales or Sr Winston Churchill passed away, Dan Harrison and Clifford would have protested at the cost.

                No?

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                  Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                  Michael - If you believe that deregulation was the cause I would point out that Thatcher had been out of office eighteen years when it happened; that New Labour came into power ten years before it happened but did not reimpose regulation - why?

                  Having already taken the country from prosperity generated by Thatcher and, to some extent, Major, the then Chancellor Gordon Brown happily sold off our reserves at rock bottom prices so that when the crash came the coffers were empty and it was borrow, borrow, borrow....

                  However, this forum was set up to discuss " a state funeral on the sly for Margaret Thatcher" and, as I have pointed out only the monarch can authorise a FULL State Funeral. The decision for a Ceremonial State Funeral was a parliamentary one, not government or political party, and was made and announced in 2007....nothing sly at all.

                  Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                  Given the mess that she inherited in 1979 she did save the country - from bankruptcy.

                  Her policies actually enabled John Major, on leaving office, to bequeath the New Labour government the strongest economic position of any incoming government since the war...it was their policies which left them nothing, and worse still, nothing with which to counter the effects of global recession on the UK economy that are responsible for where we are today.

                  This country has just honoured one of the two most influential Prime Ministers since the Second World War - the other being Clement Attlee.

                  I accept that not all her policies were popular but that is the lot of any successful leader.

                  Had the deceased been a Labour Prime Minister then I have no doubt that Maude's opposite number and the left wing press would have taken the chance to re write history culminating in what was, not a party political broadcast but a demonstration of parliamentary democracy working effectively and efficiently.

                  Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                  Full state Funerals are reserved for the Monarch. He or she may order a Full State funeral for a commoner - there have been five since 1800 - Nelson, Welllington, Disraeli, Gladstone and Churchill.

                  Ceremonial State Funerals are normally conducted for other royals but, at the direction of parliament, may be conferred on others - as was that of Diana Princess of Wales.

                  Baroness Thatcher's ceremonial state funeral was as a result of a parliamentary decision - not a political party one - which was made in 2007 and in the premiership of Gordon Brown (Labour).

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                    Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                    Please provide the evidence to support your claim that "at least half the country objected to the...."

                    The decision to grant her a Ceremonial State Funeral was not a Conservative Party or even a government decision but a Parliamentary one made in 2007 under the then Premiership of Gordon Brown.

                    As you have listed one of your reasons for your argument as being austerity I presume that had the economic state of the UK been then as it is now you would have objected to the funerals of Princess Diana or Churchill on the same grounds?

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                      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                      The decision to grant the former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher a Ceremonial State Funeral was not a government one but a parliamentary one.

                      The decision was made and announced in 2007 when Gordon Brown was the Prime Minister.

                      Did you raise your voice in protest then or are simply now trying to climb on a bandwagon that has already lost its wheels?

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                        Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                        ????????????????????????....Yes or No

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                          Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                          Albert - don't you mean "that a State funeral will inflame those of who regarded her as the enemy"?

                          And what protest did you make when the arrangements for it were announced - in 2007 by Gordon Brown on behalf of PARLIAMENT.

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                            Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                            Perhaps a better idea would have been to respect the feelings of those of her immediate family....thankfully the majority did...

                            If you want to demonstrate against against the government you might gain more sympathy on another day.....29th February 2014 looks to be free. .

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                              Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                              So you feel that if the country is trying to pay our debts to spend £5 million (?) on a funeral is obscene.

                              Presumably this would still have been your argument at the time of Diana Princess of Wales or Winston Churchill's funeral.

                              No?

                              Then this is just an anti Thatcher and Conservative party rant about a funeral that was a parliamentary decision (Not A PARTY ONE) taken under the premiership of Gordon Brown in 2007.

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                                Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                                Presumably you are opposed to any Full or Ceremonial State Funeral if the ecoonomic state of the country at the time so dictates.

                                Would you have taken this view, for example, in the case of Churchill or Diana Princess of Wales?

                                Or is this not to do with cost but merely an anti Thatcher rant?

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                                  Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox supported this idea  · 
                                  Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                                  Although I live in retirement overseas and therefore am unlikely to benefit from its implementation I fully support this campaign. Any positive action that reduces the possibility of injury or death as a result of mindless attacks like these should have no opposition.

                                  The campaign that I have been involved with most was for eighteen months the top one on 38 degrees until, that is, this one overtook "Fairness, Justice and Equality for ALL British Pensioners living abroad". We are UK citizens who live in frozen countries like Australia, Canada or Thailand and do not get our retirement pensions uprated annually as those living in the UK, the EU or some select countries like the USA or Israel do.

                                  Our campaign is now 2nd on the "TOP" list and I hope that in return for my three votes visitors to this forum will appreciate that many retired several years ago and are still expected to live on a "full" pension of about £10.00 per week and not the £107.45 they ought to be getting. Please use your remaining votes to support us. The criteria adopted by 38 degrees for selection of campaigns is as we all know badly flawed but we must battle on not only with our campaign but also in support of your own worthy cause.

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                                    Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox commented  · 

                                    Catherine McLaren, as Mons Meg has not been fired in centuries..the last time it was the barrel burst...I fail to see the connection with Stonehenge.

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                                      Andy Robertson-FoxAndy Robertson-Fox supported this idea  · 

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