Lord Freud’s problem exists throughout Westminister

October 15, 2014

Lord Freud betrayed his Tory mindset in the phrasing of his response to the question of whether mentally disabled should be paid minimum wage.
However. the underlying question is one which Politician’s and theorist’s have continually evaded; how do you have financial safety net and still incentivise the low paid.
Capitalists obviously favour (putting aside slavery) a piecework basis i.e. worker’s are paid according to  how much profit they provide for the employer.
Socialism works from the basis of a flat rate for all.
Neither is totally feasible, because both worker’s and employer’s want a differentiation between what the most able and the least able are paid but those with a social conscience are concerned that those unable to fend for themselves should also have a life worth living.

The crunch comes when you look at the gradations in between the bed-ridden and the record breaking lumberjack type of worker.

There are further echelons that need to be taken into account i.e. the artisans, highly academic professionals, the entertainers, the self-important administrator’s and of course the plutocrats.

The biggest problem lies with the masses of the manual echelon, simply because of their numbers.
The technique, traditionally used by the Civil Service, is to categorise them at various levels, which would seem a reasonable basis for some sort of pay structure. This, in its basic form, has two main flaws.

The first commonly met problem is the rigidity of the Civil Service model, in which all waitresses would have the same grade, regardless of whether they were conscientious and eager to please, or indolent and indifferent to customer needs.  Similarly electricians, whether they can only manage to fit a light bulb, or they are able to wire a factory.
You could fit another set of grades but that could become unwieldy, arbitrary and prone to anomalies.

The second problem is a suitable linking to remuneration. Leave aside the perpetual moan of the employer that they can’t afford the agreed pay scale (e.g. Hunt and nurses), or that the agreed scale is out of proportion to the worker input (e.g. the public and M.P. pay).

The real problem lies in pay increments.
Too small an increment can be un-incentivising, or even de-incentivising. e.g. who wants to get out of bed, travel miles, in bad conditions, to work in an inhospitable habitat, for an increment, which after tax, travel costs, food etc. is a deficit income.
Too big an increment raises the problem of those confined to the lowest tier being unable to afford basic necessities.
The last is usually “solved” politically by top-up payments, which negate the next few incremental levels and, thus, shows that Minister’s do not have the intellects they claim for themselves.

It de-motivates the next tier and there is then a levelling down of all grades by political complications, such as family allowances, tax credits and the whole unwieldy benefits structure.
Trade unions’ negotiation’s and Charities try to jiggle the mismatches but their contributions just degenerate into who has the biggest elbows.

None of this is helped by the majority, involved in this melee, seeing upper echelon wages zooming off into the stratosphere supported by Professional bodies (Law Society, IPSA etc.) setting their own remuneration levels without any check on their avarice. It’s not helped by comedians, footballers, and singers being outrageously rewarded for talents, which only marginally set them above the general populace and then, to some extent by virtue of being chosen by self appointed patrons e.g.  Britain has Talent, Sky Sports, PAMRA.
There must be a better way but I don’t know it.
On the other hand, rather than just leave it in the air, I’m going to suggest some sort of consensus system such as this:

Agree on some echelons e.g. manual, artisan, professional etc.
Then agree on a grade system within the echelons. Roughly the old Civil Service class system grades and levels, or something similar.
Set everyone’s grade and level according to their present status and income. Essentially fixing the present relative levels of Social valuation of worth.
This would automatically set a range salaries matching each grade and level.
The hard part would then be setting up appropriate panels to adjudicate on movements of salaries within those bands. E.g. grade C, level 3 might be set at £12,000 to £15,000 p.a.. The panel might decide to reduce both these levels, or widen them, or raise one and leave the other fixed.
All such recommendations would be published in their entirety and the whole electorate would be invited to vote on any,  or all of the recommendations.
This need not be a serious problem. Voting could take place over the Internet, over a few months, with on-line access at home, or via libraries etc.
Voters would be able to see how the salary bands were changing, pundits could comment and voters (pin numbers being attached to their N.I. Number) could re-cast their votes up until decision day.
It is possible that there might be flurry of activity on decision day but I suspect that alterations might actually taper off as the consensus narrowed.

Another consensus vote  (two years later?) would correct people’s expectations.
It might take two or three such votes, before people accepted or rejected such a system.
It might be modified or dumped but at least it would possibly inspire somebody to come up with a better system than the present ballsed up benefits/strikes /food banks mess we have, at present.

@VodafoneUKhelp. You’re right, I’m wrong. I still feel T&C scammed.

October 14, 2014

Obviously you’ve got me bang to rights but if you read the section, that I’ve repeated below, I’ve obviously misheard and I think I am agreeing to the new lower price, which he had offered of £4.50. I am pretty sure that the three months had not been mentioned in normal conversation. So you may be in the right but I still feel aggrieved and will be changing away, as soon as this over-priced contract is complete.

[5:02:29 PM] Visitor: ok. so you will just amend my present Direct Debit to the new lower figure. then I accept the T’s and C’s

[5:02:59 PM] Haseeb: That’s correct, the new price will replace your current price from midnight tonight!

[5:03:17 PM] Visitor: please go ahead

 

 


Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2014 16:50:38 +0000
From: ccare.webmails@help.vodafone.co.uk
To: xxxxxxxxx@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: WRT165 [#8072024]

Hi Mr Shale,

 

Thanks for your reply.

 

Please find below the chat section where you were advised that the discount will be for the first 3 months only and then you accepted the terms and conditions.

 

[5:00:59 PM] Haseeb: You’ve chosen 300 minutes, 500 texts and 250MB of UK data allowance, at a cost of £9 per month with the first 3 months at half price.

[5:00:59 PM] Haseeb: You will receive a full allocation of minutes, texts and data, for your new price plan from midnight tonight.

[5:00:59 PM] Haseeb: Your bill will show your old tariff ending today and your new tariff starting from midnight tonight. For full details about products and services please refer to the Terms and Conditions with in your upgrade pack, or alternatively, at vodafone.co.uk.

[5:00:59 PM] Haseeb: All our price plans which include an unlimited element are for personal, non-commercial use.

[5:00:59 PM] Haseeb: We always try to keep charges as low as possible. But like other UK businesses, we sometimes have to put up our charges or change our services during your contract. We’ll tell you before we do this. You can read more about this in our Terms and Conditions (Sections 7a&b).

[5:00:59 PM] Haseeb: This agreement is for a minimum period of 12 months, plus any outstanding months from your old agreement.

[5:00:59 PM] Haseeb: Because you are billed in advance we will credit any unused part of your current price plan and you will be billed for your new one from midnight tonight. This means that you will pay from the start of the billing month until today on your old price, and from today until the end of your billing month at your new price. You will receive a full allocation of minutes/texts/data for your new price plan from midnight.

[5:00:59 PM] Haseeb: Your Billing date will remain the same, on or around the 18th of each month. This is when your allowances begin and end, if you pay by Direct Debit we will now take payment 7 days after your billing date, this may be slightly earlier than previous months.

[5:00:59 PM] Haseeb: You can give 30 days written notice at any time to terminate this agreement at the end of the minimum period. If you wish to cancel your contract before the end of the minimum period, you will be required to pay a termination charge. This charge is calculated by taking the remaining period of your contract and multiplying it by your monthly line rental. You must still pay all the line-rental charges left for the rest of the minimum period UNLESS (a) The agreement ends because Vodafone ends it giving 30 days notice, (b) You terminate because Vodafone is in material breach or changes the agreement to your material detriment, or (c) Vodafone terminates because it is permanently unable to provide the services.

[5:00:59 PM] Haseeb: Please let me know once you have read and accepted the terms of the above upgrade deal

[5:02:29 PM] Visitor: ok. so you will just amend my present Direct Debit to the new lower figure. then I accept the T’s and C’s

[5:02:59 PM] Haseeb: That’s correct, the new price will replace your current price from midnight tonight!

[5:03:17 PM] Visitor: please go ahead

 

 

As informed earlier, if you still wish to receive full information on the chat transcript, please contact our Privacy Team.

 

Thanks,

Darshit Soni
Customer Service Agent (eForum)

Vodafone Limited
Vodafone HQ, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2FN
Registered in England No 1471587

@NaomiAKlein @TheGreenParty #Occupy Climate change elephant intheroom.

October 10, 2014

All the protest in the World, whether quiet and reasoned, or violent and strident won’t see Capitalist’s giving up fossil fuels.
These are people who are motivated by profit.
If Alternative Energy sources gave bigger profits, they’d drop fossil fuels fast.
Artificial incentives, such as subsidising green resources, will bring them to the trough but, long term, fossil fuels win out.
They win out because they (include nuclear) can be stockpiled.
Alternatives depend on local conditions.
If you want Capitalists to go for them, you have to either find a means of storing such energy, or stop it being a locally based resource.
First option is storage.
A null-balance carbon option is to rely on photosynthesis to produce fuel (wood, starch, methane etc.) for which technologies exist. The only problem is that it deprives us of food resources (human fuel).
Other options are solar, wind and wave, for which technology exists but they can only be used to supplement demand and it is inconvenient. Not inconvenient in the sense of marring scenery (the main complaint) but in terms of not being available when you need it. Good King Wenceslas would have frozen to death, if there had been no wood to burn.
Even in the desert, it’s freezing cold at night, because there is no Solar energy at night.
Tidal energy is reliable but needs lagoons to even out demand (a form of storage), which, if estuarial,, soon fill with silt, killing estuary life.
These four all supply electrical energy and that’s a problem.
This is  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinorwig_Power_Station
It stores energy, while we sleep, to be used when we’re awake but it wastes a third every cycle.
Pumped storage facilities, like this one, depend on terrain and are expensive.
There is research to use the electricity to produce Hydrogen etc. in situ, so it can be used as a localised resource but it’s not very advanced and doesn’t offer big cash returns.
There’s Geothermal energy, which Iceland relies on but you have to be living on a volcano, or worse a caldera and it still has to be distributed.
This leads to the second option. De-localise the energy.
Historically, every city had its own producer of electrical power, with obvious problems of capacity, reliability and flexibility.
When the UK nationalised (capitalists hate that word) Electrical Power Supply, they were able to build and take advantage of a National Grid.
If one power station goes down, customer’s don’t notice too much and part of the problem of peak hour demand could be solved by connecting National grids. E.g. we have an hour’s difference in demand with the French, so at their morning rush hour, we sell them electricity and then buy it back an hour later.
This is a cheap international solution, which should appeal to Capitalists and Green Activists and Climate Change warriors.
The wind, wave, solar etc. supply of energy is constant, when considered globally and can offer a viable alternative to the more reliable fossil and nuclear options.
Because there is no pollution to clean up, they are cheaper, long term and grow more attractive as more population’s object to being dumping grounds.
All the Capitalists have to provide are cables and maintenance.

@VodafoneUKhelp I feel you’ve scammed me upto next August but then I swap.

October 9, 2014

A few years back, I bought my wife a phone on a contract with Vodafone.

Of course most of the £21+/month was to pay for the phone and my wife was using well under her contracted minutes etc.

Vodafone rang up to get me to upgrade to new phone but I turned them down, because my wife had taken over a year to learn how to drive the phone.

Looking around, I saw Sim only deals for £5-£7 /month, So I rang Vodafone to see what they offered. I immediately rejected the £9/month offered but accepted an offer of £4.50 / month.

It was a decent deal, I wouldn’t have any problems keeping the same phone number and my wife was averaging half the number of texts offered. Brilliant!

I checked the first few bills and everything seemed fine:

For phone number 07881 xxx xxx used by MR JOHN SHALE
Total £4.50
Usage charges up to 13 Jul
    Calls £0.00
    Messaging, mobile internet £0.00
Service charges and credits
    Your price plan
14 Jul to 13 Aug
£7.50
    Discount on SIMO8 12M 300M 500T 250MB SMRT
14 Jul to 13 Aug
cr£3.75
    3 Months No Extra Data Charges
14 Jul to 13 Aug
£0.00
Total before VAT £3.75
VAT at 20% on £3.75 £0.75
Total for this bill £4.50
Total £4.50

 

Later on, a friend, of my wife, had some problems and the texts increased, so a larger bill arrived.

 

 

Total

£18.75
Usage charges up to 13 Sep
    Calls £0.00
    Messaging, mobile internet £8.13
Service charges
    Your price plan
14 Sep to 13 Oct
£7.50
Total before VAT £15.63
VAT at 20% on £15.63 £3.12
Total for this bill £18.75
Total £18.75
by Direct Debit on or after 24 September 2014

Your Plan comes with 300 minutes, 500 texts and 250MB of internet (SIMO8 12M 300M 500T 250MB SMRT)

I tried contacting Vodafone, to find out what had happened and was told that my wife had exceeded her 500 texts by 50. However, I was also informed that my contract was for £9/month .

I felt I had to accept the extra £9.75 as a penalty for exceeding the agreed number of texts but was concerned that the agreed baseline had changed and I couldn’t get a sensible explanation over the phone. So I tried tweeting @VodafoneUKhelp , who directed me to a web form email to fill in.

It didn’t really fit the bill but I responded and got an email back which merely repeated that a voicemail had been left on my wife’s phone, this was my contracted rate and was valid until August.

 

Hello Mr Shale,

Thanks for your email.

I tried to call you today but the call was routed to voicemail, so left a message.

For us to access your account and assist you please get back to us with the below two details:

- Monthly line rental that you pay for 07881xxxxxxx

- Number of active connections you have on this account with Vodafone

Also please provide a brief description of you query.

Once we’ve verified the details we’ll look to resolve your query as soon as possible.

Kind Regards,

Jagruti Manshani
Customer Service Agent (eForum)

Vodafone Limited
Vodafone HQ, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2FN
Registered in England No 1471587

RE: WRT165 [#8072024]‏

My Reply

john shale

29/09/2014

To: ccare.webmails@help.vodafone.co.uk

I replied

I tried to find out how much she had gone over and had to use your on-line text help to find out (I think it was 50 texts) .
I was then told that I was on the £9:50 plan, which is not what I contracted too. I notice that the rebate is missing from the above.
I’d like to know if the agreed contract is ended, or if you intend to re-instate the rebate on my next bill.
I have no wish to pay £9:50 per month for the level of usage that my wife had in the previous years, under the previous contract, when I was effectively buying her a phone.
I’m hoping that you will either re-instate the agreed terms, or terminate the contract, without the £56 penalty that your operative told me that I would have to pay, to terminate it myself.

( What does this mean ?      “Number of active connections you have on this account with Vodafone”)

Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2014 13:54:47 +0000
From: ccare.webmails@help.vodafone.co.uk
To: xxxxxxxxx@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: WRT165 [#8072024]

Hi Mr Shale,

Thanks for your reply.

Your contract started on the 13/06/2014 and will end on the 12/06/2015. As your contract hasn’t ended, we can’t cancel it without any early cancellation fee. We also can’t amend the termination fee, I’m afraid.

If there’s anything else we can help with, please let us know.

Thanks,

Darshit Soni
Customer Service Agent (eForum)
Vodafone Limited
Vodafone HQ, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2FN
Registered in England No 1471587

I replied

you can confirm that I will continue to receive the £3.75 credit which was agreed, when the contract started. This is the point, which I have been striving to make and which you seem to have been at great effort to ignore.
Are you honouring the contract or are YOU, by default, terminating the AGREED CONTRACT?
Date: Sun, 5 Oct 2014 16:29:38 +0000
From: ccare.webmails@help.vodafone.co.uk
To: xxxxxxxxxx@hotmail.com
Subject: RE: WRT165 [#8072024]
Hello Mr Shale,
Thanks for your reply.
I’ve checked your Vodafone account and can see that the 50% discount on the line rental was applied for the first 3 months only. The discount was valid from 11/06/2014 till 11/09/2014.
After this period you’ll be charged the full line rental amount till the contract end date.
I trust this information is useful.
Kind regards,
Sudeep Ghosh
Customer Service Agent (eForum)
Vodafone Limited
Vodafone HQ, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2FN
Registered in England No 1471587

I Replied

john shale

06/10/2014

To: ccare.webmails@help.vodafone.co.uk

I was not told that I was agreeing to a 12 month contract that would only be discounted for three months.
I definitely would not have accepted it if I had.
Please send me a copy of the taped conversation in which I, allegedly, agreed to this; if such exists.
I believe that you may be acting in a duplicitous manner.
It would seem that I have no redress, should you persist in this line; however I have made a record of our communications, which I will copy to my friends via my blog and Twitter.
I urge to check your tapes for this version of the transaction.

RE: WRT165 [#8072024]

Hello Mr Shale,
Thanks for  your reply.

I’ve checked and found that you had upgraded your contract on 11/06/2014 for a 12 months duration for 3 months half price plan. The upgrades was done via Live chat and the terms and conditions were informed to you over the chat and you agreed to it. Since the terms and conditions were agreed we are unable to make any changes to your plan.

We are unable to forward the chat transcript via email due to security reasons. If you wish to receive the transcript of the upgrade, would request you fill the form here.

A charge of £10.00 will be applicable.

Your understanding is appreciated.

Kind Regards,

Jagruti Manshani
Customer Service Agent (eForum)

Vodafone Limited
Vodafone HQ, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 2FN
Registered in England No 1471587

I replied

I don’t believe that I agreed to such terms, not even in any small print add-on; however I am unprepared to give you £10 for some transcript, which might be a fiction.

I will put this on my blog with the admission that I am unable to substantiate my version of the transaction. As you can see from the nature of my conversation with your employee my version is more in line with what I was asking for and that if I had been aware that it was for 3months only, I would not have been content to continue. You might also agree that if you had been prepared to email the relevant section and proven me to be mistaken, then I would have had to apologise. Again, if you had agreed to ending the contract without a £56 rip-off fine, then instead of feeling wronged and intent on switching to another service, I might have felt that you had, tried to treat me fairly.

@BBCClick as small as a mouse, as big as a house.

October 6, 2014

watching BBC’s “click” programme and was excited by News that NASA had given up on Wolowitz style insta-coding of Mars Rover.
They’ve moved to virtual reality gear, directly linked to their robotic devices.
The excitement that people should be feeling is because it does away with the Sci-fi and Social engineering aspects that have been used to worry us.
From the mad careering of early cinematic metal men, through to the greedy capitalist exploits in “Robocop”, we have been warned to watch out for the Frankenstein monster  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_robots_and_androids#1930s)

Everyone knows that software has bugs, particularly user’s of Microsoft’s products. You just can not cope with the intricacies of even simple processes, to any great depth.

Sooner, or later, you have to get a man, or, more likely a team, in to find a work around.
You don’t have build a robot to do dangerous jobs, you can use human controlled devices, such as drones, or those robot arms, used to detonate car bombs.

Now we can go one better.

Why have devices which have to be controlled using joysticks etc., when you can place the human brain directly inside your device, able to provide full functionality.
Instead of a drone, you’d have a birdman, flying over the enemy positions and able to respond instantly to threats. Car bombs could be defused by bomb experts, using robots with extendible arms and eyestalks.
Nuclear power plants could be manned by robots, operating, even during melt-downs, never needing to leave the plant, their operators never having to undergo decontamination. The same idea could apply to processes involving viruses, or even chip manufacture. Swat teams with bullet proof vests and firemen with breathing apparatus would no longer need to risk life and limb. The devices wouldn’t even need to resemble men. They could be the size of a mouse, or the size of a house, depending on the job.
Best thing, for me, is that old men like myself could operate these devices. Our experienced responses could be used to build up a library of simulations to enable the next generation to learn from that experience, reducing the number of mistakes that we make as we learn our trades.

employment up but wages down means less Tory votes

October 3, 2014

Letter to Daily Express 1/10/2014 (not published!)
Your finance editor, Peter Cunliffe, writes of his concern that voter’s are expresssing the view that their finances have worsened. This, he believes goes against the figures being presented to him.
He puts this jaundiced view of economic conditions down to “sentiment”. I.e. the masses are ignorant of the truth.
I suggest that he looks at figures put forward by the likes of Unite.
Yes, Employment figures have increased, as he says, but apparently the Nation’s wage bill has, coincidentally, dropped. I’m not a financial expert but I can see the implications and a glaring explanation for voter dissatisfaction.
If your wages and conditions of work have worsened, whilst fixed overheads have increased, then you are not likely to consider this as an improvement.   In fact you will begin to see claims of an improved economy as a bad thing, because it means that someone else is becoming better off at your expense.
Austerity measures means sacking people from secure, well-paid State jobs and joining the queues of people considering part-time and zero hour’s employment.
Expecting such people to praise George Osborne’s brilliance and to rush to vote Conservative shows a Nelson touch, only credible for the party faithful, in party conference week

@Daily_Express you missed the significance of Dinorwic to go for an attack on Miliband

October 3, 2014

This was a letter to the Daily Express 3/10/2014

I originally titled it “@Ed_Miliband carbon free electricity means nuclear, in terms of our present technology” but The Daily Express published this version, which completely misses the point of mentioning Dinorwic:

Published version  (6/10/2014):

Labour’s powerful green pledge must be explained

Fred Forsyth’s piece on Wind Turbines (“A ‘green’ con that’s costing us the earth” October 3 ) reminded me of a pledge made by Ed Miliband in his abridged Labour conference speech.
It worries me that few people picked up on it. Here’s a quotation from the transcript: “We’re going to commit to taking all of the carbon out of our electricity by 2030.”
There was no mention of how this was to be achieved.
Certainly not with wind turbines, nor any other ‘green’ solution.
It would have to be nuclear and it would take that long to get it up and running.

As Japan and France have accepted, there is no other way to achieve self sufficiency, without using fossil fuels.

Miliband was making an appeal to the naivety of  ‘the green vote’.

I can only assume that parts of the media and other political parties have been quiet is  because they do not understand the issues.

Original version:

Fred Forsyth’s deriding of Wind Turbines reminded me of a pledge made by Ed Miliband in his abridged conference speech.
It worries me that no-one else picked up on it.

From the transcript: “We’re going to commit to taking all of the carbon out of our electricity by 2030.”
No mention of how this was to be achieved.
Certainly not with wind turbines, nor any other Green solution, until there is a better means of storing electrical energy than that used at Dinorwic.
It would have to be nuclear and it would take that long to get it up and running.

As Japan and France have accepted, there is no other way to achieve self sufficiency, without using fossil fuels.

Ed was making an appeal to the naivety of The Green Vote. I can only assume that the Media and other political parties have been quiet is either because they do not understand the issues, or because they are hoping to use the same duplicity theirselves.

Scottish referendum vote was a joy and a sorrow. Westminister can go back to smug complacency.

September 19, 2014

I  am delighted that Scotland is still part of our country.

I’m not the least bit bothered by Scot’s who curse “tha’ f**kin’  Anglish”, no more than other’s espouse similar epithets about other regions of the country.

I am severely disappointed that they missed an opportunity to destroy the power of Westminister.

Without Scottish Labour, Parliament would have been a melange of Tory, UKIP, LibDem and Northern Labour.

The chance of a EU referendum would have become a greater reality and there might even have been a chance of a North-South split and an end of HS2.

With the NO vote victory, there isn’t even a chance of Westminister relenting from its arrogance.

They won’t even take note that the reason for the high turnout  was that THEIR VOTE WAS GOING TO COUNT FOR SOMETHING.

Tonight they’ll be partying and Tomorrow they’ll be back to the pretence of being enemies of each other, jockeying for seats on the Euro-gravy Train and looking for sinecures from Health Companies and other privateers.

The Coronation was made more joyous as it marked the dawn of a new age with a Welfare State and freedom from Doctor’s fees

September 19, 2014

I wrote the following letter to the Daily Express (18/8/14) to highlight the effect of The creation of the Welfare State on an impoverished population.

They presented it as a working class Tory.

Original:

I was only six, in 1953, but I was sufficiently aware of the world around me to appreciate why the Coronation was such a joyous thing.
It’s hard to recall how drab life was in those days, or how much deprivation we endured.
My family had just had electricity installed, the first in our street.
Few rooms had the new electric lamps and I still used a paraffin lamp to see my way to bed.
There was hardly any colour, anywhere.
People are drowned in colour today.
Toy shops epitomise the difference with their signs being made of multi coloured plastics.
Toy shops in 1953 had brown, wooden signboards with their names picked out in Gold Leaf (dulled Brass leaf).
Toys were wooden in red, green and white, or wind-up tincan cars fom Germany.
The only plastic we saw was the black bakelite of the phone in the red phonebox at the end of the next street, or the brown speckled bakelite of the Wireless, imported from America.
We actually had the first TV in our street with an i-Pad sized Black and White screen, inside a suitcase sized cabinet.
We and some of our neighbours watched the Coronation on that.
I was later invited, by a friend’s mum, to watch the Coloured Newsreel of The Coronation at the Cinema. A six-year old would not have watched that if it hadn’t been in colour and therefore a wonderful experience.
We were desperate for colour: the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was met by queue’s, stretching around the block, with people waiting through whole viewing’s to ensure a seat.
Kerbstone’s in every street were painted alternately red, white and blue to celebrate any National event.
All streets were decorated with bunting.
On Empire day, we decorated our bikes and trikes with red, white and blue.
Christmas and bonfire night were seriously important chances for colour, with the making of Xmas decorations being the main activity, leading up to Xmas.
 
We had just come out of a war and its aftermath was omnipresent.
There was no shortage of firewood for bonfire night, as there were still remnants of bombed houses to scavenge. There were four houses and half a church within sight of my own doorstep, although we were miles away from the dockyards.
My blanket was Dad’s army Greatcoat.
We still had rationing coupons and, although I don’t recall powdered eggs, we still survived on mainly bread. Sugar was off ration and sweets were not a problem, although their bright colours were probably due to additives banned today.
We had no refrigerators yet. Dried fish, condensed milk etc. were still necessary. “Best by dates” did not exist. If you found you could keep it down, you added it to your diet.
Dad’s Xmas club at work ensured that we had a chicken for Xmas dinner, If Dad was lucky he drew a big one, in the raffle, and it lasted into Boxing Day.
 
My parents’ generation had emerged from a life of despair into a world where friends and relatives were not being regularly killed.
I was too young to be directly aware of this but almost everyone I met had lost someone.
Soldiers returned from War with physical damage were plentiful and this had its effect on those around me, which I didn’t fully comprehend until year’s later.
I hadn’t lived through the dire pre-war years but I absorbed the exhiliration of the older generation facing the birth of The Welfare State. I was born at home, before hospital births for all, and survived being strangled by the cord (I was told).
It was years before the old “can’t afford a doctor” remedies disappeared and people stopped apologising for taking up the doctor’s time, but it must have been a great comfort to my parents’ generation to know that they no longer had to weigh up whether, or not, to call out the doctor, when we children were sick.
As someone who survived The Asian flu, I’m aware how lucky I was and how unlucky I might have been without The NHS.
 
Things had been very bad, were still bad but the future looked bright, especially with a beautiful young Queen promising a new Elizabethan Age, with our British Empire’s prestige stamped by the conquest of Everest.
published version:
Reading your Commemorative edition to mark the Queen’s Coronation (September 18) brought back memories for me.
I was only six, in 1953, but I was sufficiently aware of the world around me to appreciate why the Coronation was such a joyous thing.
It’s hard to recall how drab life was in those days, or how much deprivation we endured.
My family had the first TV in our street with an i-Pad sized Black and White screen, inside a suitcase sized cabinet. We watched the Coronation on that. Later at the Cinema I watched the Colour Newsreel of The event. I would not have wanted to watched it if it hadn’t been in colour
Things were bad in those days  but the future looked bright, especially with a beautiful young Queen promising a new Elizabethan Age, with our British Empire’s prestige stamped by the conquest of Everest.

@38Degrees_vol @UkLabour. How will a tax rise help protect the #NHS, once it’s gone?

September 17, 2014

I’ve had an e-mail from 38degrees.org.uk asking me to sign a petition to tell Ed Balls to put a 1p on tax.
It’s almost as if they were acting on behalf of Labour to raise support for raising taxes.

It would be a good propaganda move to set up a puppet protest group to mould popular opinion.

Much better than perverting an effective protest campaign into one chasing less worrying campaigns (Occupy seems to have dropped privatisation issues for anti-fracking and climate change).

Certainly better than besmirching them.

E.g. CND were all alleged to be KGB stooges and Greenham Common was alleged to be full of stinky, bull dykes.

This was my e-mail back to them:

what does a 1p tax rise mean?
Will it just go straight into share dividends?
This is too simplistic and doesn’t address the real problem— privatisation


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