It’s not the calorific content of beer that makes you fat, it’s the kebabs you swallow, afterwards.

November 1, 2014

I have become so jaundiced in my view of the honesty of politicians that I react to every official pronouncement with an attempt to contradicy it and/ or identify its ulterior motive.
The most recent pronouncement is that alcoholic drinks make you fat and some quango has recommended that all labels should carry the calorific content.
I was already suspicious of the anti-alcohol lobby, because of the artificially derived “alcohol units” of recommended daily consumption.

I waded through the original report on which these units were based and found lots of survey results of people’s opinions and lots of posited deletrious effects but apart from the actual problems of alcohol dependency and cirrhosis of the liver, there was no factual content on which to base this unit guide.
As if to verify my own conclusions, the author of the report admitted in a radio interview that he had plucked the guidelines out of thin air in the sense that having asked to set guidelines, he and his team had put down what they deemed to be reasonable values.
There was a hurried follow up report, which substantiated a new set of values “based on a better analysis of facts”!!!!

To date I have not met any definitive guide on how much alcohol intake you need , in order to develop cirrhosis of the liver.
The only sound evidence that I’ve come across of alcohol damage is research that some people, e.g. George Best, are genetically disposed towards alcoholism.
I have read no data on what fraction of the population has the relevant gene but it appears to be quite small as such people usually show the same tendencies as those addicted to Heroin. In George Best’s case his death was down to liver damage(after having been given a donated liver to replace his own damaged liver).
The evidence seems to be that the problem with alcohol, for most of us, is either drunken mishaps, such as driving into a brick wall, or excessive consumption. The only evidential basis of that seems to be the high incidence of Cirrhosis in Frenchmen, who spend their days imbibing glass upon glass of red wine in Cafe’s. An example of Gerard Depardieu, who owns his own vineyard and sucks down 3 bottles of wine a day (although recently claimed it was 14) and is still alive and active, despite a huge paunch.
In fact my own suspicion is that this condemnation of alcohol is more to do with keeping down NHS and police costs for dealing with drunks and injuries caused by drunken behaviour, rather than concern for their physical well being.
That point about Depardieu’s obesity would seem to contradict my original attack on those whingeing about the calorific value of alcohol, so before I argue that point, I would add that a consequence of boozing is eating; hence the existence of kebab shops and other late night eateries dispensing similar starch and grease laden products.
Why so antagonistic towards the calorific value of alcohol?
Start with how the calorific value is obtained.
You burn alcohol and measure the amount of heat energy that is produced. The units of heat energy is measured in calories (same as on your Gas bill).
The alcohol is converted totally into Carbon Dioxide and water.
This is not what happens in your body, which only partly oxidises it. It does so in two stages; first to acetaldehyde, second  to acetic acid.
A lot of the acetaldehyde is breathed out and this what the breathalyser tests for. The acetic acid is more commonly known as vinegar. I don’t know what the calorific values of alcohol and acetic acid are but it is the difference in these two which is the energy gained by your body.
So the figures for calorific value are not strictly applicable.
The acetic acid (vinegar, same as you liberally sprinkle on your greasy fish and chips) does slow down the metabolising of fats, so they linger longer in your body but you could cut down on eating such fatty foods.
I shan’t be reading the calorific values on bottles of wine. I shan’t be calculating how many British units  (different nations have different guessed at guidelines) of alcohol I consume.
I shan’t be buying a bike, so I can play dodgems with white van man on our heavily congested roads. I shan’t be voting for any of the “traditional” political parties. I shan’t be switching off lights, when I leave a room for a few minutes. I shan’t be taking notice of any of the myriad other admonitions coming my way, from people without the brains to formulate their own opinions and who want to try to impose their ill-contrived convictions on other’s.

@unitetheunion Germany using “on the lump” idea

October 26, 2014

Coming your way, maybe?

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) –- Daimler AG is among German companies that have found a way to cut personnel costs in the high-wage country: buy labor like it’s paper clips.

By purchasing certain tasks such as logistics services from subcontractors, businesses can legally keep these workers off the payroll and outside of wage agreements with unions. That’s led to growing ranks of contract workers who help boost profit at German companies by lowering labor costs.

The downside is abuse of the system, which leaves some workers unprotected and even unpaid. That’s caught the attention of Labor Minister Andrea Nahles, who’s promising a crackdown, and forcing Germany Inc. to defend the practice.

“We can’t pay everyone the high wage” in union deals, Wilfried Porth, Daimler’s personnel chief, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. “Our cost situation has deteriorated compared to the competition. We can’t afford that.”

Proponents argue hiring subcontractors to provide services keeps Germany, where labor costs in the auto industry are the highest in the world, competitive. Opponents say the widespread practice in industries that include shipbuilding, retail, logistics and construction undermines the German labor model of a partnership between employers and workers.

Every third employee in the German auto industry is working either for a subcontractor or as a temporary laborer, according to a poll by IG Metall union published last November. Doing so has helped keep in check already high personnel costs, which amount to 48.40 euros ($61.27) per hour on average, according to the Berlin-based VDA auto industry group. This compares to 4.81 euros in Romania and 25.63 euros in the U.S.

@Daily_Express @ftchina Is S.America pointing the way to a new economics?

October 26, 2014

Is South America the key to a new theory of economics?
S. America was the first to suffer the devastation of Friedmanism and has been the first to reject it as a failed ideology.
Friedmanism is about siphoning all State funds into private pockets. It ignores the idea that demand may exist but can not be expressed under extreme Friedmanism, because there is no coinage available to implement the demand.
S.America, by instating a minimum wage, irrespective of Labour input, addresses this problem by enabling the demand to be expressed.
It would seem, in old labour based economics, that wealth is created from nothing. This new economics recognises that wealth is not measured in man-hours but in KiloWatt-Hrs.
If a country shares its wealth amongst its people, they supply the demand that the capitalists can supply. The capitalists can amass that wealth and use it to increase the national wealth(energy), which can be fed back to the masses increasing demand.

@Daily_Express we need a new breed of politician. One’s with imagination.

October 25, 2014

At present politicians persist in banging on about an ageing population and the cost, particularly to the NHS, of caring for them.
The solutions, arrived at, seem to be threefold:
First; raise the retirement age, knowing that many, in labour intensive jobs, will die younger.
Second; pack them into care homes, where they can be dealt with at a minimal unit cost. (some suspect that the dementia bounty is an enabling ploy).
Third; encourage immigration of young cheap workers to fund the economy and pay for them.
Leave aside discussion of the morality, open borders and the squandering of taxes paid in, by that older generation. I’s time to be concerned not just by the effect of people not dying off early enough.
It’s time that Government concerned themselves with genuine employment, the nature of the workforce and the development of an adequate infrastructure.

The country’s wealth relies on value added production.
In the 1980’s, traditional industries such as steel, cotton etc. were shed and reliance placed on The City, via banking and insurance services.

That turned out to be a far from brilliant strategy but one which Government is clinging to having left us with little alternative.

It may be that HS2 is intended to rebuild the heavy industry platform but it’s more likely, I suspect, that most of the investment will vanish abroad.
Whatever the situation, most of our present employment is, presently, in service industries. I.e., as one American critic forecast (1980’s) “holding doors open, for each other”.

Even the immigrants’ jobs will be of this nature and just as useless in creating wealth.

The nature of the workforce is a worry. Whereas, some of the population growth is actually by birth of new citizen’s, my own subjective view is that this does not appear to be coming from those, who produce our wealth.

Those, formerly referred to as Yuppies, can’t afford to pay graduate loans, mortgages and raise families. Only those relying on State support can do so and they can’t afford to change their modus vivendi, even under the aggressive attentions of IDS.

The area that is under immediate need of some show of Government imagination is that of infrastructure.
According to Government figures, the present population is just under 64 million and the effect on housing of the influx of East Europeans is already causing some alarm, yet no regard is being made to predicted population figures.
Predictions (population projections)  are that within one generation, i.e. 25 years, (or the time taken by present day babies to get to the stage of grasping hold of their degree certificates), The population will have increased by another 9 million (+/- 5M).

That’s not just more houses. It’s more cookers and more food to put in them. It’s more water to drink, to wash the dishes. It’s more effluent and sewage to treat. It’s a need for more transport and greater congestion. It’s a need for more energy to operate these things. Putting everyone on bicycles is the chosen solution , for the last item, but bicycle lanes don’t work on roads built for hansom cabs, yet still having to cater for hauliers and white van man.

We need the sort of politicians, who designed the post war prefabs, not those who provide profit incentives to house builders, which result in gated estates full of executive housing.
We need the sort of politicians, who realised that the multitudinous and disparate private suppliers of electricity needed to be nationalised and re-organised into the World’s first National Grid. Ditto the railways with their different gauge tracks and The Fire Services which saw Coventry burn down because they, too, were owned by different (insurance) companies. We need the sort of politician’s who created an efficient National Health Service within a few short years, despite being truly pauperised by a devastating World War.

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
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

[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.



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
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
    Discount on SIMO8 12M 300M 500T 250MB SMRT
14 Jul to 13 Aug
    3 Months No Extra Data Charges
14 Jul to 13 Aug
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.




Usage charges up to 13 Sep
    Calls £0.00
    Messaging, mobile internet £8.13
Service charges
    Your price plan
14 Sep to 13 Oct
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



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
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.


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
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



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  (

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


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