@Daily_Express @Ed_Miliband @David_Cameron time to get rid of Baker days.

March 2, 2015

Letter to Daily Express

One of your reader’s expresses concern about teacher training days and demands that they be taken off teacher holiday’s. (Sunday Express letters 1.3.2015)

Could I once more ask you to correct this misconception of what teacher training days are.

Teacher training days are exactly what that reader is calling for; i.e. days taken from teacher holidays.

Her problem is that in order for them to be Training Days, Kenneth Baker decreed that they be dispersed throughout the school year.

If he had simply decreed, as she might wish, that the school year should start a week earlier, than that for pupils, it would have made life easier for pupils, teachers and school management.

Problem is that its purpose was not to improve education but to punish teachers, for protesting against Margaret Thatcher’s ending of free school milk. (Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk Snatcher).
So they are scattered throughout the year, mainly on Mondays, or Fridays, disrupting teacher lesson plans and forcing management to try and contrive some meaningless exercise that they can pretend to be useful.

Imagine a car assembly line being stopped so the staff can be assembled into the canteen for lectures on safe use of ladder’s, or how to fill in accident report forms, or how to cope with the stress of changing shift patterns.

Intoduced in 1988 to satisfy the vengeance of a womam scorned, isn’t it time some politician had the guts to acknowledge that this system is immoral, wrong and counter-productive.

Buying your council house from Maggie has just been a means of funding the Treasury.

February 28, 2015
I sent this in response to the Daily Express (28/2/2015) Inside Politics puff about Cameron’s blurb to those wanting to get on the housing ladder.
Macer Hall’s claim, that Home-owning is a Tory aspiration, is untrue. Most of us want a home, which is our castle, a sanctuary from the World beyond.
He claims that an appeal to this aspiration is a Tory vote winner.
He doesn’t seem to be paying close enough attention to what his party has done to working class (blue collar) Conservative voter’s.
There are many, who have seized on M. Thatcher’s right to buy their Council homes.
You can spot them on council estates, when canvassing.
They’re the ones with fixed fences, tended gardens, etc.; right next door to those that only get fixed up, as local elections draw nigh.
They’re the ones, who are now approaching the age, when they may be carried off to care homes and, because of this Coalition Government, are worried sick that the Council will grab their homes.
They’re the ones, who are now agonising over the possible threat to their spouses of being turfed out of their own scrimped for homes.
Their neighbour’s, who’ve never had to worry about maintenance costs, or meeting their rates bills and rents, after being made redundant, by austerity measures, would have no such concerns.
Home-owning has proven an own goal for this Government.

thank goodness fo the mute button

February 28, 2015

There a lots of things on TV, which irritate me, especially as I have to wear headphones to hear it without causing complaints from the neighbours. Mostly it’s whistling and the fact the adverts and promo’s are intentionally louder and, in some cases, deliberately ennervating.

However; there are certain adverts, which make me grab for the mute button on the remote control:

“Mummy, Teddy is feeling proper poorly”

“People are always asking me, which were my best interviews”

“there’s a mountain of money…

“the power to switch energy saver is …..

the means testing of pensions would have to hit “not so well-off” to have any effect.

February 24, 2015
Is there any real need for Labour and Lib Dems to attack pensioners over the Winter fuel allowance and bus passes?
The Winter fuel allowance was introduced by Brown to compensate for not increasing the State Pension, directly.
If it was replaced by £4:00 p.w. on the pension, it would become subject to Income Tax, making it automatically means tested, without any added expense in making adjustments.
The bus pass is probably not something we’ll see retired Minister’s using I.e.The Bus Pass would be unlikely to be used by anybody, who would be deemed ineligible, as a result of means-testing.
Such people would probably be able to afford a nice warm car, or a taxi, avoiding the need to risk pneumonia standing at a bus stop in Winter weather.
Or is the means testing is intended to be set so low that only those with no spare cash to spend in the shops would qualify?
In which case what incentive would there be to have a bus pass?

 

Devo Manc) Information Meeting being held on Wednesday 25th February, at Little Fifteen, Wallgate, Wigan – 7.15pm k.o.

February 24, 2015

PRESS RELEASE:

Devo Manc – Do Wiganers want to be a part of it? What will be the impact if it? Shouldn’t there be a referendum on it?

These will be just a few of the many questions that will be asked, and answered at a Greater Manchester Devolution (a.k.a. Devo Manc) Information Meeting being held on Wednesday 25th February, at Little Fifteen, Wallgate, Wigan – 7.15pm k.o.

Locals are invited to find out more about the deal, which some have described as the biggest change in local Government affecting Wigan, and the Greater Manchester area as a whole, since 1974.

What’s it all about? How it will effect us? How comes hardly anyone knows it’s happening? Why are none of us going to get any say in it? Why we should be concerned about that, and what can anyone do about any of it?

There will be contributors from a range of organisations including the Greater Manchester Referendum Campaign, who say the whole deal should be put on hold until there has been sufficient public debate, scrutiny and a referendum on the whole deal, which includes the imposition of a new elected Mayor for Greater Manchester, which has now been re-designated a new ‘city region’.

The pro-referendum campaigners petition states:

“Ordinary people must surely have the basic democratic right to be consulted, scrutinise, and have a say in ANY changes, welcome or otherwise, to the way they are governed, including on any regional ‘devolution’ proposal affecting them. This would include whether they actually want it or not, and if they do, such things as what region they might be part of, and what any “devolved” decision making powers and financial settlement might go with it.

“The ‘Greater Manchester Agreement’ does not provide for any of these things, but rather the very opposite, the entire ‘devolution package’ being conditional on the imposition on the people of Greater Manchester, without any reference to their views on the subject whatsoever, of a directly elected Mayor for Greater Manchester; a form of local Government, which other than in one of Greater Manchester’s 10 local authority areas, has been either directly rejected by voters, or by local Councils themselves for their own areas.

“There are also many other financial arrangements that will come into effect, the details of, and full implications of which, could have considerable impact on everyone’s lives, but which, without the proper public scrutiny the ‘Greater Manchester Agreement’ denies, every one of us will have to put up with for potentially many years to come, whatever the Greater Manchester public thinks about it.

“Such an apparent contempt for the views of Greater Manchester residents is simply unacceptable in our opinion.

“We believe that any transitional arrangements for the Agreement’s implementation, including the appointment of an interim Mayor (who could remain in place until 2017) should be immediately stopped, and only re-started, if at all, on the basis of a positive mandate from a referendum as called for and outlined above.”

The campaign’s petition can be found at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/people-must-have-right-to-vote-on-devo-manc

 

I don’t see the logic of our nuclear “deterrent”.

February 20, 2015

BBC Question Time recently had people debating the nuclear deterrent, which term pre-supposes that our nuclear arsenal is a deterrent.
Heseltine claimed that the defence lay in the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction. It sounds plausible but I don’t think the logic stands and I object to the cost of maintaining Trident and our nuclear capability.
This is based on the following assessment.
For a start, these weapons have to be regularly replaced and maintained and protected at an enormous cost.
I don’t know how much of a tax burden they represent but I would suspect that the full cost would be greater than whatever figures are published.
Next, we buy these things from the US and I have read that we would need permission, from the American President, to fire them.
We don’t have enough of them to do more than destroy a few millions of ordinary Russians, before we were completely obliterated. I have a strong belief that Putin would show as much compassion for his countrymen as Joe Stalin did.
The officially accepted judgement of our military, during The Cold War, is that if the USSR had made a pre-emptive strike against us, the US would see our destruction as a fait accompli and see no sense in  retaliation, on our behalf. ….European Gov’t’s would race to surrender.
No Russian’s would land in the UK, as there would be no point.
Russia has no need to use a Nuclear threat against us, they could take us out with conventional weapons, which would leave them with access to our resources, free from Radiation contamination.
I don’t know how this would play out in terms of US and NATO commitments but the past two World Wars have shown their unwillingness to get involved, unless they absolutely have to and in both cases their involvement was predicated on our having survived, as an active power, long enough to be “rescued”.
Those, who remember Glasnost, will recall that the USSR collapsed for economic and political reasons but the reason, that The USSR did not strike out with their Nuclear missiles, was because we had all become more aware of the dangers of a Nuclear Winter.
Consider Chernobyl: This was merely an old reactor catching fire, yet radio-active fall-out reached around the Northern Hemisphere and amongst other things, prevented the sale of Welsh lamb for a decade or so. Cancer rates, around a large region of Chernobyl, rose a thousand fold and genetic defects are showing up generations later. Statistics suggest that a few UK and US residents will have died, also, as a consequence of radio-active fallout from that disaster.
The recent volcanic ash cloud, which grounded planes around Europe, is an obvious example of how the slip stream can pollute skies in the Northern Hemisphere. Other examples, such as the Saharan dust that covered British cars turning them red, also exemplify the problems with dust clouds.
If Russia delivered an unopposed attack on the UK, the radio-active dust created (even if they used only air bursts) would be sufficient to kill many Europeans, Russians and Americans, over the following years.
Large regions would be contaminated, decades later.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were hit by 1 Kiloton bombs. Cold War scenario’s suggested one option as Russia using three such bombs on every sizeable population in the Country. E.g. Every town the size of Wigan would be hit at least as hard as Nagasaki.
Taken over the country, as a whole, you would not want to survive the initial attack and you certainly wouldn’t feel gratified by News that one of our missiles had hit Moscow.

In short: If we got rid of Trident, we could afford a better standard of living and a larger conventional Army. Such an Army might not be able to withstand a Russian attack but it would offer a greater deterrent to a planned attack from other sources.

youth is wasted on the old.

February 19, 2015

I was listening to “The House of the Rising Sun”, by “The Animals” and the plaintive sentiment expressed by the words “tell your children what I have done”  sent my mind careering off down a line of thought, which is the essence of an old man’s regret over the human condition.
When we are young, we are new to life and we must learn our way.
In a sense, this is the joy of life, when we are young, and the bitterness of nostalgic old age.
Just as a toddler will break our precious possessions and conversely be injured by them, as they learn motor co-ordination, so we enter our teen years, smashing the emotions of others and of ourselves, as we struggle to learn how to relate socially.
In old age, we look back abd realise, with great pain, the hurt, which we caused others and we drown once more in the despair that others caused us.
We recognise that the pain we suffered, which drove us to the deepest depths of blackness and despair, were not personal attacks but merely the blind stumblings of another of our generation trying to learn how we should relate to one another.
We realise the angst and bitter regret, which we suffer, in remembering how we have treated others, is but a reflection of our own groping, in the dark, for our proper place in Society.
We take solace in that our “nastiness” to others was unintentional and that the hurts, which we had received, were probably just as innocent of hurtful intent.
The girl who jilted us, was simply adjusting her own sense of self worth. Those we had dismissed as slags, were possibly adjusting themselves to values that had been imposed on them.
We realise, when it’s too late, that we are all just people trying to fit in and being fucked up by our genetic imperative to find the best mate to match our own genes.
With old age the hormonal reins on our behaviour become slackened and our brains can regain control of our actions. We can remember the strength of our passions but we are no longer controlled by them. We look at the face of Helen of Troy but we no longer feel the urge to launch a thousand ships, We see a nice looking girl, slight moustache, a bit hippy, a little self-centred etc. but we see with our brains, un-confused by hormones.
I’m saying that we think that age is wasted on the young but without the hormones that fuck them up, would we bother to do things better?

 

musings of old men.

February 17, 2015

The biggest lie I tell myself is …”I don’t need to write that down, I’ll remember it.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes; come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller!

Last year I joined a support group for procrastinators.  We haven’t met yet!

I don’t trip over things, I do random gravity checks!

I don’t need anger management. I need people to stop pissing me off!

Old age is coming at a really bad time!

Lord grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can & the friends to post my bail when I finally snap!

I don’t have gray hair. I have “wisdom highlights”. I’m just very wise.

My people skills are just fine. It’s my tolerance to idiots that needs work.

If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would’ve put them on my knees.

The kids text me “plz” which is shorter than “please”. I text back “no” which is shorter than “yes”.

I’m going to retire and live off of my savings.  Not sure what I’ll do that second week.

Of course I talk to myself, sometimes I need expert advice.

At my age “getting lucky” means walking into a room and remembering what I came in there for.

“Inside  every older person is a younger person wondering what  happened”

When my generation is gone, there’ll be no one left to remember, even second hand, what life was like, wen there were only Tories in Parliament.

political parties should be self-funding, as independents have to be.

February 17, 2015
I sent this to the Daily Express after hearing Kenneth Clarke claim that they should be funded from taxation to avoid allegations of corruption (never guilty of being logical)
It has been said, mostly by politicians, that if we wish to avoid the possible corruption of our political system by party donations, we must fund political parties.
Apart from the view professed by some politicians that the State should not fund any public service, there is a more glaringly obvious reason why Political parties should not be funded by the taxpayer.
One has only to look at the emergence of the many new dissenting groups of voters and the impossibility of avoiding another coalition Government, to see that people do not like the present two party political system.
 
They certainly don’t want to see it entrenched by politicians handing themselves public money.
Such money will presumably be self-apportioned, according to how well embedded their own MP’s are.
Such a system would not necessarily stop the corrupting influence of political donations, anymore than giving MP’s bigger salaries would stop them demanding expenses and accepting invitations to Caribbean research trips etc.
 
Voter’s would be less worried about political corruption, if political parties could only be funded by their own candidates and that the candidates had a cap on donations to them.
 
At £10,000 per candidate, such a cap would provide £6M for each of the two main parties, to fund annoying battle buses and party political broadcasts.
It would be an inducement to put up candidates for every seat and avoid tactical voting, which is an attempt to cheat democracy.

Such a system would also be fairer for local groups, fighting on specific issues, and emerging parties, fighting on neglected national issues, to have a level standing with the National parties, campaigning on centrally controlled Westminster issues.

#VoteOnDevoManc. @Ed_Miliband just doesn’t fully support Democracy.

February 16, 2015

Speaking in Manchester yesterday Ed Miliband is reported to have slammed Conservatives saying “devolution should not be conditional on having figurehead”, and that Greater Manchester “should not be forced to have an elected mayor against its wishes.”

Asked twice however, whether in their position (Greater Manchester’s ten Council leaders) he would have accepted the deal, the MEN reports “he declined to give a direct answer.”

Asked about Labour’s own plans for devolution to the English regions, the Labour leader said it would happen “straight away” after a Labour government was elected.

Missing out from what he said about the Devo Manc deal, and his party’s own proposals for ‘devolution’ was any mention of the fact, that whether under Labour or the Tories, and it’s Devo Manc or Devo Merseyside or Sheffield, both party’s plans are implicitly conditional on the further imposition of austerity, and the ‘reform’ (i.e. further cuts, ‘rationalisation’ and the privatisation) of public services, the only difference being the pace of the so-called ‘reforms’.

It would also seem that while Ed was critical of an elected Mayor being imposed on Greater Manchester under the Devo Manc deal, he made no criticism whatsoever, of, how the new set up is to be imposed on the people of Greater Manchester, without them being consulted, able to scrutinise or have any say on the deal whatsoever, let alone a referendum on whether they want the whole thing or not.

Our view remains unaltered as a campaign

NO TO DODGY DEALS & DODGY DEMOCRACY
YES TO A REAL DEAL & REAL DEMOCRACY
#VoteOnDevoManc


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 385 other followers