the present generation needs to remember that it was my generation which created the environment they pride themselves in.

November 22, 2014

When I  was a kid, Dave Whelan was one of the big boys. Possibly a Teddy Boy, but certainly someone whose formative years were in the surroundings of wartime Britain.
“We” were killing “them” and “they” were killing “us”.
You can’t get more racist than that.
Your side were using flame throwers to turn their soldiers into human torches and films were made, applauding this.
As a child of those years I learned that a chair was a chair and an Italian was a Wop, or an Eyetie. The older generation may have felt contempt when using such epithets but as a kid I learned the words without the connotation.
We used words that I would be pilloried for writing down here. One such is designated as the n-word in Modern Britain, although strangely this euphemism is more semantically loaded than the original word, as it was then used.
In the USA, this word had always been used with contempt and only seemed, to me, to become unacceptable in Britain, when the Civil Rights marches in the USA made us aware of the visceral reaction amongst those people who now call themselves African-Americans. That didn’t really work in this country and after playing around with black, or coloured and rejecting both, we seem to have settled on black, which has also replaced the Latin word “negro” on official documents. (this is probably the only case in the language, where the Anglo-Saxon word is more acceptable than the Latin version).
Other words now unavailable include “queer”, although I was at college before I heard one refer to himself as “gay”. It was another 20 years before the word “gay” became the”correct” term.
What is now referred to as the c-word was, I thought, the accepted word for that part of a woman, until I came across the word “vagina” in a copy of Penthouse magazine.
There has always been a generational thing with words. Words such as “fuck” and “shit” are freely used Today, although, you could be arrested for using them in my youth. There, again, my dad blew his top, once, when, as a teen, I told him that I felt “chuffed” (look of puzzlement on face of reader, who has never come across this word which is of similar origin to “shagged”).
My generation will continue to try to avoid using such words in front of a generation which would verbally stone us to death for using them but they can’t expect us to feel the righteous indignation that they revel in, when one of us slips up. Nor can they expect us to consider talk of “fisting” and “bum-love” as topics for polite conversation, We aren’t desperate to be considered as non-homophobe.
Remember; It was our generation that changed the Law, so these acts were no longer punishable by imprisonment.
It was also our generation that brought in the Race Relations Act and welcomed Asians, as British Citizens, fleeing Uganda. People who were rejected by India as foreigner’s.

It’s our fault that the present generation holds the views that allow them to sneer at our generation. We created their mores.

Fred Forsyth’s idea of moving oversea’s aid fund into an aid corps would increase aid and reduce corruption.

November 10, 2014

This letter to the Daily Express (7/11/2014) was published.

I think it fits in with Socialist principles but most, on both political wings, might not:

Printed:
Put elite British force in charge of oversea’s aid.
I like Fred Forsyth’s idea of switching foreign aid money to a British corps but I would not give it the MoD to administer. (“Send armed forces to rescue”,November 7).
The MOD have already made it obvious, in Afghanistan, it is incompetent in terms of both purchase and Supply.
It needs a new Ministry to take the helm, one that is not headed up by academics but instead led by business men, working alongside ex-military personnel
The personnel for the corps itself could come from all those experienced Service personnel presently being sacked and sacrificed on the altar of political ideology.
 When these highly trained people are not needed for relief efforts, the Corps could be of service here, training the next generation of reservists, with the relevant skills, to be drawn on in a case of multiple emergencies.

Original:

I like Fred Forsyth’s idea of switching foreign aid money to a British aid corps but I would not give it the MoD to administer.
They’ve already made it obvious that they are incompetent in terms of purchase and supply, in Afghanistan.
 
It needs a new Ministry, headed up by business men (not academic’s) and ex-military personnel, carefully chosen by a select committee of unambitious MP’s.
The personnel could come from amongst all those experienced Service personnel being sacked; sacrificed on the altar of political ideology.
 
When these highly trained people are not needed for relief efforts, the Corps could be of service here, training up the next generation as reservists, with the relevant skills, who can be drawn on in a case of multiple emergencies.

 

 

voter’s are disaffected because politician’s and the Media are openly unconcerned about what we think.

November 10, 2014

I sent this to the Daily Express 7/11/2014:

One of Britain’s less obvious but very important weapons during WWII was the BBC.
Not just because of its transmission of coded messages to the underground, or its potential to mislead the enemy on troop movements, but mainly because of its perceived honesty.
We may have been lied to about the number of aircraft shot down, I don’t know, but I and most of the World believed the BBC to be truthsayer’s.
The BBC continued to hold the confidence of the people through their reporting of poll tax riots and other issues such as the Vassal case and the Profumo scandal.
Since the time of John Major and Bill Clinton, we’ve become aware of greater willingness by politicians not just to lie and cover up (Saville,Cyril Smith) but to actually attempt to deceive us (Gummer’s burgers, EU treaties).
Now we distrust everything they say and the Media through which they say it.
 
The BBC seems to have lost trust from all sides.
Viewed as controlled by the Right and staffed by leftards.
Their camera’s catching Government and EU showpieces but barely aware of numerous protests around the country and giving minimal attention to those that can’t be ignored.
BBC Newsnight has lost a mellowed Paxman and gained a poetry reading format. Questiontime seems to be mainly about fobbing off criticism substituting honesty  with misdirection, acceptance of error with obfuscation, replacing a sharp attentive audience with claques.
 
The Prime Minister and his Deputy both came into office on repeatedly avowed pledges, which have not just been dropped but aggressively worked against.
Does anyone give credence to the “I” in IPSA?
Just this week we’ve been told that a dossier on MP’s expenses has been shredded.
Another dossier on child abuse has been lost, coincidental with the Home Secretary having to apologise for two unacceptable chairs for the inquiry. Due to be replaced by a new truly impartial chair. who might need said dossier.

Is it any wonder that the figures produced by anyone, even  slightly authoritative as the UCL’s, is seized upon.
It doesn’t matter if the two academics, writing this report on immigration, have an agenda. Any contradictory evidence emanating from sources, from anyone connected to any of the main parties is to be disbelieved.
Any attacks on Miliband on a personal basis is evidence of the nastiness of the political debate, in general. Similarly, attacks on UKIP, as being racist, are seen by many as evidence of an attack on worried voters by the political elite.
 
The only way forward, that I can see, is for individual MP’s to rebel against their whips, to clean house of the political careerists and placemen.
They need to read the epetitions (instead of ignoring them, as I know one MP was advised to do) and listen to the voters during the next round of canvassing.
Then they need to search amongst themselves for people of integrity to lead them, instead of the present appointee’s.
It won’t happen but some such change is needed before the present system becomes untenable and austerity becomes the least of our worries.

I’m glad that Obama has come out in favour of protecting the Internet

November 10, 2014

28/10/2014 I wrote to Daily Express:

The story that Social media websites have become the chosen platform of terrorist groups is worrying.
The worry is not that the terrorists have access but that the Authorities may try to restrict access.
Social Media has been a gift to the masses in promoting Education, Social contact and democtratic discussion.
Attempts to restrict its use should be resisted by all of us.
Yes, there are trolls and bullies abusing it but these people would still exist without Social Media and they’d not be exposed to view.
Terrorist groups using Social Media are being more easily tracked than when they used physical contacts.
In the US, there are politicians trying to restrict full access by charging for priority services. So far they have been successfully opposed.
If Our Government wishes to have a democratic and well-informed Society but is concerned about US companies dominating The Internet, then it needs to consider encouraging home grown ISP’s etc., free from foreign control

does the whipping system need cover-ups, in order for party politics to work

November 10, 2014

I’ve not been posting my letters to the Daily Express, so here’s a catch-up on a few.

29/10/2014., I wrote:

Ann Widdecombe has used her column to advance the case for Fiona Woolf taking the chair on the committee investigating child abuse.
The appointment has been opposed, by many involved in calling for the investigation, on the basis that Mrs Woolf has attended several dinner parties, with her near neighbour Leon Britton.
The problem seems to be that he was Home Secretary at the time when previous investigations were felt to have been inadequately completed.
Some of them seem to feel that Leon Britton may need to be treated as a hostile witness and that someone, so socially close to him, as Mrs Woolf, may not be as impartial as would be needed.
The defence, offered by Ann, is that they move in circles where such a level of acquaintance is meaningless and would debar herself from passing judgement on a number of decidedly reprehensible character’s.
She concludes that a replacement to Mrs Woolf would be drawn from the ranks of similarly placed people and would therefore be pointless.
She misses the point that those calling for an alternative chairman are asking for someone, who would not be from the closed ranks of such Establishment figures.
They are asking for someone with greater knowledge of people involved in child abuse. Someone, who is unlikely to be accused of a cover-up.
This does not seem an unreasonable basis for selection of a chairperson.
Indeed, from what we know of Ann Widdecombe, if she was offered such a role, she would turn it down, to avoid any suggestion of impropriety on her behalf.

Electoral commission made up of MP’s running scared. @Ed_Milliband @David_Cameron

November 10, 2014

I’ve just got this email,which shows how democratic the electoral system is.

This group was originally wanting to use the “none of the above” name (as in Brewster’s millions) but it’s specifically verboten, in case it attracts votes from plonker’s who don’t realise it’s actually a “political party”, opposed to party politics.

This argument was accepted and the group scratched around to find an acceptable alternative.

NOTAVOTE was accepted by the MP’s who run the Electoral Commision but now they’re all running scared and looking at scraping up any votes.

They’ve presumably been scared by the 600 vote margin between Labour and UKIP in the recent bye-election.

They daren’t risk allowing any alternatives for those who might be disaffected, traditional voters.

They are despicable.

 

Afternoon,

Just to let you know the Electoral Commission have suddenly decided the NOTA name is no longer useable as a party name and we have until Tuesday to respond.

Anything you can do to help and share via the NOTA page/group on Facebook would be great. Our initial statement has already been seen by nearly 10,000 people so keep sharing.

We won’t let the campaign die when it just about to build up a head of steam.

Regards, Mark Flanagan

My MP’s account of the vote on recall of MP’s

November 5, 2014

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Government’s Recall of MPs Bill, which recently received its Second Reading in the House of Commons.

I support the principle of right to recall when an MP has done something wrong. Labour has long championed this, and it was in our last manifesto. I think it is one of the ways we can empower the electorate, and help restore public trust in politics.

As you may know, the Bill passed its Second Reading stage in the House of Commons on Tuesday 21 October, and had a day of consideration in committee on Monday 27th.

During committee stage, Labour’s frontbench proposed some amendments to strengthen the Bill. These would have reduced the number of days of suspension from the House which would trigger the recall process and would have widened the scope of offences caught by the Bill. The Government indicated they would accept three of these amendments – to include within the scope of the Bill offences committed but not convicted prior to the Bill coming in to force, to lower the suspension threshold and also to trigger recall for all convictions for fiddling expenses fraud. This is a welcome step, and we look forward to returning to these amendments at Report Stage.

During the debate, the Labour frontbench also made clear that we want to find a way to support the suggestion from backbencher David Heath and others to provide a third trigger for recall in the case of misconduct that the public can instigate. If we can find a way to make this suggestion work, I think it will be a good way to help ensure the public have faith in a recall process because it will provide a mechanism completely independent of the Houses of Parliament and MPs.

At the conclusion of day one of committee stage, the House voted against Zac Goldsmith’s amendments to the Bill which would have allowed a form of recall that would let an MP be removed from parliament for any reason, not just misconduct. I voted with MPs across all parties against these amendments because I think they would have given too much power to well-funded interest groups to pressure MPs into supporting their agenda with a constant threat of recall petitions. I think it is critical that MPs are able to vote with their conscience on the issues of the day and then face the electorate at a General Election. A balance must be drawn between giving the people the opportunity to recall an MP for misconduct and allowing MPs to make difficult decisions that might anger certain organisations or groups.

Now the House has spoken on Zac Goldsmith’s amendments, we must now focus on improving and strengthening the proposals in the Government’s Bill. I think if we can find a workable way of creating a public trigger for recall when an MP has done something wrong, and we can toughen up the rest of the government’s proposals, then we will hopefully have a system of recall that commands public trust and ensures people don’t have to wait until the general election to get rid of their MP when they have done something seriously wrong.

I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely. Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me on this very important issue.

Yours sincerely

Yvonne Fovargue       Labour Member for Makerfield

I’m getting a little worried about Street charity collector’s.

November 1, 2014

Let me first say that I may be maligning perfectly honest and decent people but with Government cutbacks on police etc. it’d be a brave person who would challenge a charity collector. This would be especially so of the first guy I saw. A big lad, he could have easily been a retired soldier and my hand was reaching into my pocket, when I paused for thought.

I already had a poppy, so did I want to have a wristband (£20 for 1000), as well?

Why was someone collecting cash which was earmarked for the same cause?

Why was he the only person there and without the ubiquitous stand advertising the charity?

A single bloke with a handful of bands. How many sales @ £1 each (80p profit) might he make in an hour?  9 would give him minimum wage, tax-free.

I moved on.

I saw another collector, inside the exit doorway of a large shop. His collecting tin said “for Hospices”. Similar concerns sprang to mind about this chap’s lack of corporate support, especially as it seemed unusual to collect for multiple hospices. It immediately put me in mind of the rogues collecting bags of clothes. they had a charity number on their leaflets but that was the charity that they had donated £1000 to, having made £100,000 re-selling the clothes in Romania.

How was this chap intending to share out his collection?

Charity is an admirable virtue and some people may be finding Austerity a problem and these fellows may be honest collector’s but with this being possible, with chugger’s, with hard sell charity organisations and even the Taxman trying to exploit people’s charitable nature, it may be that the only donations made to charity may soon be the tax exemption’s for public schools, such as Eton.

@BBCBreakfast thanks for giving that nice banker man airtime to tell us that contactless credit cards are safe.

November 1, 2014

@BBCBreakfast thanks for giving that nicebanker man airtime to tellus that contactless credit cards are safe.
A few minutes Googling will tell you that the banker man is dancing around the real risks.
The devices in shops, which read your card (they don’t read mine because I keep them in an Aluminium wallet (£6 on the internet or £11 via the Daily Express)) have to be set to a 1 metre/£20 limit.
They can actually be set to a 5 metre/unlimited funds limit.
In practice the card issuers could and probably would block large, or unusual, withdrawals.
The 5 metre limit has been demonstrated on at least one American TV program, although I can no longer find a link to that particular video I’m sure it still exists, somewhere.
This video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=elBWoMXt3WY ) shows how a cheap, close proximity device can be used to rapidly clone your card and make small purchases but I’m sure there are innovative thieves out there, who could devise new ways of using them to get rich.
e.g. Suppose I could pose as a legitimate trader wanting to use a reader. I set up in a busy high street, possibly with a market stall. I’m selling cheap £5 watches etc. every card passing could be my customer, for a period of 3 weeks, or so. Depending on what level of turnover would get the banks suspicious, I could ring up a useful income and spend the rest of each year in The Bahama’s.

But it’s not just credit cards as this video on Oyster cards points out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0I3KvUfKIw
Particularly worrying for Ed Miliband, perhaps, who’s just announced a wish to roll out Oyster cards, nationally.
Not mentioned is that Rfid’s are used in your passports and apart from cloning passports, how handy for terrorists wanting to discover which traveller’s belong to which countries, without having to search for their passports. (reader’s at passport control were originally set to 5 metres but reduced to 1 metre to pretend that the risk had also been reduced)
I’m glad that someone pointed out his folly to a particular Eurocrat, who wanted to insert them in high value Euro notes (they’re so small, I’ve read M&S put them in garments they sell to track shopper’s). Imagine a courier, or a rich tourist wearing a money belt, getting into the wrong taxi.
RFID’s are useful (pets are given them) but it is wrong that Banks etc. force us to rely on them, just to maximise their profits, at our risk.
The real danger comes when The Government forces ID cards on us and we find Armed police breaking down our doors to cart us of to a Romanian Jail (European arrest warrant), because of flaws in this technology and the systems supporting them.

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.
alcohol
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.


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