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March 24 - 30 2010
μWorld News PAGES 14-17
μComment PAGES 18-21
μObituaries PAGES 22-23
μExpat Life PAGES 28-33
Double trouble It hasn’t been a good week for Conservative MP Nadine Dorries...
Miaow miaow Why the party drug can’t be banned until the summer
EXPAT LIFE P32
WORLD NEWS P14
Gaza missile strike Israel retaliates as US temperature rises over settlements
International health Peter Pallot’s round-up plus our expat guide to Spain
3 16 34 37 41 42 5 11 13 18 25 46
Bonus Ball 5
Bonus Ball 26
There were five winners of Saturday’s £4m jackpot and one winner of Wednesday’s £3m prize
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Pensions injustice on a global scale Read Emma Hartley’s blog on the European Court’s ruling blogs.telegraph.co.uk/expat
Joan Bakewell Champion of older people
LAST week around half a million pensioners saw their hopes dashed. Many of these pensioners had lived and toiled all their working lives in Britain, paying in full their National Insurance contributions. They did this in the natural expectation that once they retired, they would enjoy the same pension that their contributions, similar to that of other UK citizens, had earned them. But they were mistaken. Many get far less than the rest of us. For one reason only: in their retirement they have moved to live abroad.
There are many reasons why pensioners move abroad: one is the weather. Sunshine is kind to old bones, so many have moved to sunnier places to avoid the chilling cold and damp of a British winter. Another reason is to be with their children. Globalisation has split families across the world. Ageing parents left in the UK can feel a loneliness that risks declining into depression and ill-health.
Moving to be with their grown children is how they solve the problems of being old and bring some happiness to their remaining years. Some of them have been in for a shock.
Almost half such pensioners have had their pension payments frozen at the rate it was when they first settled in a foreign country. Despite having paid in as much as UK pensioners they do not get any annual increase in line with the cost of living. This means that if a pensioner began drawing a full pension in Australia in 1981 they are still only receiving £29.60 a week. Pensioners in the UK are currently getting £95.25 a week. So such a pensioner has been denied nearly £100,000 to date.
But what about those other pensioners living abroad — some half a million of them — who are getting not only their basic UK pension, but also enjoying a regular cost of living increase. How does it come about that a pensioner living in the United States receives full annual increases whereas one living in Canada does not? There must be an explanation. There’s surely an anomaly crying out to be put right.
Annette Carson thought so. She brought a case against the British Government in 2002, saying that British pensioners’ human rights were being violated. She lost the case. She went to the Court of Appeal: lost again. Then the House of Lords: again lost. Most recently her case was referred to the European Court of Human Rights: its Lower Chamber heard the case in 2008 and agreed with the UK ruling. Its Grand Chamber heard the case last September and issued judgment on March 16. Once again Anne Carson lost: but this time the ruling was narrow, six votes against five. Narrow enough to give her heart. The campaign goes on.
What’s the explanation? Why are some pensioners getting what they feel is their due, and others not? The answer lies in the law that governs relations between countries. Britain has reciprocal social security arrangements with many countries: all the 29 EEA countries and 16 others. The argument that carried the day in the courts claims that an expat pensioner is not in an analogous position to a UK pensioner. Some, like Annette who lives in South Africa, may enjoy the benefits of a lower cost of living than in the UK and a rate of exchange working in their favour. In the words of the judgment: “She has put herself outside the scope and purpose of the UK social security system ... where the specific rationale for uplift may by no means apply.”
The campaigners argue from a different point of view, that they have an entitlement by virtue of their National Insurance payments which over time were a form of delayed income. What’s more, government figures state that each person over 60 costs the UK taxpayer £7,000 a year in their share of NHS costs and benefits. So you can even argue there’s actually a saving for every pensioner living abroad. No wonder the International Consortium of British Pensioners intends to persist with its challenge.
There is another view aside from the niceties of the law: that it is a matter of social justice. People paying insurance contributions in good faith expected to get the same pension as their contemporaries, wherever they chose to spend their retirement.
Why should the same consequences not follow if they retire to Canada, Australia, and South Africa, and yet apply when they move, for example, to Bermuda, or Israel, or Croatia. The judgment was narrow enough last week, and the cases in favour of equal treatment are so persuasive that campaigners believe it can’t be long before justice prevails.
Continued from page 1 paying clients to influence the Government.
“If you’ve got a client who needs a particular regulation removed, then we can often package that up [for ministers],” she said. When asked if she could introduce clients to ministers, she replied this was “very do-able, but you have to be kind of quite careful about, you know, how you do it.” Mr Hoon, who joined Miss Hewitt in the failed coup attempt against Gordon Brown, said he needed “a job” after announcing his resignation from Parliament.
He allegedly said he had been offered the chairmanship of a foreign defence firm for an “embarrassing” amount of money.
He was recorded saying: “One of the challenges that I’m really looking forward to is translating my knowledge and contacts about the international scene into
Geoff Hoon: the former minister said he needed a job after announcing he was leaving Parliament something that, frankly, makes money.”
The three former ministers denied any wrongdoing. Mr Byers issued a statement saying he had “exaggerated” his claims and had retracted them in an email the day after meeting the bogus lobbyists. Miss Hewitt said: “I have always observed the code of conduct for members of Parliament.
“The code makes it clear that MPs are free to take on outside appointments, subject to the conditions which I have always observed.”
A lawyer for Mr Hoon said his comments had been misrepresented and denied ever offering to give confidential information.
By Nick Collins and Tom Whitehead IAN HUNTLEY, the Soham killer, has had his throat slashed by a fellow prisoner.
Huntley, 36, was attacked on Sunday afternoon in the healthcare wing of HMP Frankland, in Co Durham, with what was believed to have been a filed-down toothbrush. He was having emergency treatment at an outside hospital.
It is not the first attack on the former school caretaker who murdered Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman in Soham, Cambridgeshire, in 2002. A fellow inmate threw boiling water over Huntley while he was at Wakefield Prison, West Yorkshire, in 2005. It is understood that Huntley was on the health care wing there to keep him away from other prisoners.
Prison officer sources suggested it may have been a planned attack. The injuries were not believed to have been life-threatening.
The Prison Officers’ Association said that the incident could have been avoided if the Ministry of Justice had responded to calls for a lockdown and weapons search after three prison officers were attacked last week.
Colin Moses, the association’s national chairman, said: “We asked for the prison to be locked down so they could carry out searches for weapons. If we had had a lockdown we would have found such weapons.”
Huntley is serving two life sentences at Frankland, where he has reportedly been given “special treatment” by guards to prevent another suicide attempt. He has tried to kill himself three times.
Huntley was jailed for life in December 2003 after being found guilty of murdering the two 10-year-old girls in August 2002. He was set a minimum sentence of 40 years, but judges told him he had “little or no hope” of being released. telegraph.co.uk/expat
March 24 - 30 2010
Best of British Awards See the shortlists for Best in the World at telegraph.co.uk/expat
Olivier awards Weisz wins for Streetcar performance
By Alex Spillius in Washington PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA has convinced Democrats in the US Congress to pass his historic health care reform bill, handing him a victory that will give nearly every American the right to health coverage and could define his time in office.
“We proved we are still a people capable of doing big things and tackling big challenges,” Mr Obama said. Reprising his campaign mantra he added: “This is what change looks like, tonight we answered the call of history.”
His victory came early on Monday by a margin of 219 to 212, with all Republicans and 34 Democrats opposing. But it secured the most sweeping domestic reform since the 1960s that a few weeks ago seemed dead and buried when the Democrats lost a crucial Senate by-election in Massachusetts.
Though the president will sign the “ObamaCare” bill into law, the process will not end until later this week, when Democrats in the Senate are expected to complete a complex set of manoeuvres that will create a compromise bill.
The president therefore avoided triumphalism in comments made from the White House shortly before midnight in Washington, though privately White House advisers said this was “a wonderful, wonderful night” and some could not contain their smiles as the president made his televised address.
As hundreds of angry protesters outside the Capitol
Brinkmanship: Obama has won a vote to reform healthcare chanted “Kill the bill”, Democrats were able to muster the votes they needed after the president reached a last-minute compromise with anti-abortion congressmen.
He agreed to issue an executive order as soon as the bill was passed that would prevent any circumvention of the ban on federal funding of elective abortions, which a small group of Catholic Democrats said was threatened by the bill.
“This bill is complicated,
but it’s also very simple: illness and infirmity are universal, and we are stronger against them together than we are alone,” Steny Hoyer, the Democratic house majority leader, said before the vote.
“This trillion-dollar overhaul will take the America we know and love in the wrong direction,” said Eric Cantor, the number two house Republican.
Together, the Senate bill and package of changes would remake US health care a century after President Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, called for a national approach, extending coverage to 32million Americans who lack it. The cost, at $940 billion over 10 years, is huge but the bill is forecast to save $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years.
It would ban insurance company practices like denying care for pre-existing conditions and imposing lifetime caps on coverage, while providing subsidies to buy private insurance in newly created marketplaces called “exchanges”.
Republican Paul Ryan levelled angry charges that the legislation would crush the free market in the heavy hand of government while raising taxes and creating a slew of inefficient agencies.
“This bill is a fiscal Frankenstein,” he said. “It’s not too late to get it right, let’s start over, let’s defeat this bill.”
Republicans also vowed to keep up the fight in the Senate and to repeal the bill if they win back majorities in November’s midterm elections.
Alex Spillius Analysis understand, he hit the ball out of the park.
weakly to the opposition’s criticism of cost and “big government-ism”.
LIKE a bowler lacking the right line and length, Barack Obama has struggled for form for most of his presidency. He has taken on too much and believed too strongly in the power of his oratory – even when his speeches have often lacked the spark and passion that carried him into the White House.
That changed last Saturday, when Mr Obama gave probably the most emotional speech of his career to 250 Democratic congressmen and sealed a historic victory by persuading sufficient doubters to support (near) universal health coverage. To use an analogy that the sports-mad American president would
Mr Obama’s performance over the weekend and in the past few weeks has shown that he is capable of being a president who stands out for more than the colour of his skin. Last Saturday’s address was a classic Obama appeal to the moral imperative of his cause, backed up by a quotation from his favourite source, Abraham Lincoln.
“I am not bound to win, but I’m bound to be true,” he said, urging doubters not to worry about the politics of supporting the bill.
Earlier in the debate, to the intense irritation of whips trying to overcome significant divisions within the party, Mr Obama failed to say exactly what he wanted in the bill. Accusations of fence-sitting and lack of focus became commonplace. He responded
Only after a Republican won the late Edward Kennedy’s Senate seat in January, removing the Democrats’ “super-majority” in Congress and leading some liberals to write off health care, did he truly engage in the process.
Convening a bipartisan health care summit a few weeks ago, he put the issue back on the front pages. A series of fiery speeches to sympathetic audiences around the country underlined his determination. Calling or meeting 64 dubious Democrats helped to create vital momentum in the final days before the vote.
Had Mr Obama been on form earlier, the job would have been completed earlier and he could have saved everyone, including himself, a lot of trouble.
RACHEL WEISZ was awarded a Laurence Olivier Award on Sunday night for her acclaimed performance in A Streetcar Named Desire.
Her portrayal of the fading beauty Blanche DuBois earned her the title of Best Actress ahead of Gillian Anderson, Imelda Staunton and Juliet Stevenson among others.
The award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role went to her co-star, Ruth Wilson.
Mark Rylance was named Best Actor for his role in Jerusalem at the award ceremony staged by the Society of London Theatre.
The Best New Play award went to Katori Hall for The Mountaintop.
By Laura Roberts AN EXTRAORDINARY archive of thousands of intimate letters and photographs of the Bloomsbury intellectuals is being made available to the public for the first time. The collection provides an insight into everything from the friends’ carefree attitude to nudity to their fears over the suicide of Virginia Woolf.
The literary set, which was almost as well known for its romantic entanglements as its literary output, included Woolf, EM Forster and Lytton Strachey among its members.
The archive, belonging to King’s College, Cambridge, is made up of thousands of pages of previously unseen correspondence as well as 30 albums of photography.
Almost every member of the set, apart from Woolf, appears naked in carefree images which contrast sharply with the tragedies that beset several of its members.
The collection belonged to the literary estates of the writers Frances Partridge and Rosamond Lehmann.
Clive Bell, the husband of Woolf’s sister Vanessa, wrote to Frances Partridge on April 3 1941, discussing the suicide of the 59-year-old novelist.
“I’m not sure whether The Times will by now have announced that Virginia is missing,” he wrote.
“I’m afraid there is not the slightest doubt that she drowned herself about noon last Friday. Her stick and footprints were found by the edge of the river. It became evident some weeks ago that she was in for another of those long and agonising breakdowns of which she had had several already. For some days, of course, we hoped against hope that she had wandered crazily away and might be discovered in a barn or a village shop. But by now all hope is abandoned; only, as the body has not been found, she cannot be considered dead legally.” Woolf’s body was eventually discovered on April 18 1941. She had filled the pockets of her overcoat with stones and walked in the River Ouse near her Sussex home.
The group shocked society with their bisexual intermarital affairs. Frances Partridge (née Marshall), married Ralph Partridge, but started living with him while he was still married to Dora Carrington, the actress. Meanwhile, Carrington was in love with Strachey, the writer and critic, even though he was openly homosexual and in love with Ralph Partridge. Strachey died of stomach cancer in January 1932 and Carrington shot herself two months later.
She was still alive when Ralph and Frances Partridge arrived hours later.
Join us in London to celebrate the Best in the World
Following the huge success of The Telegraph’s Best of British Awards, we are offering readers the opportunity to attend the awards ceremony on April 22, to be held at the five-star Westbury hotel in the heart of Mayfair in London.
This is an exclusive event at which the Best in World winners from each category – Best British Shop, Restaurant, Bar, Business Club, Social Club and Sporting Club - will be announced, along with those venues that are judged highly commended or commended.
The evening will begin with a champagne reception, followed by a three-course sit down meal with wine. A celebrity speaker will conclude the evening with an afterdinner speech.
If you would like to attend, tickets are available at £85 per person. To book, or for more details about the event, please email us on:
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