@Daily_Mirror contactless card theft is not new

August 23, 2016

Sent to the Daily Mirror 23/8/16
Another article in the Daily Mirror raises the issue of contactless card theft.
This issue had already been well trumpeted in the USA, years before the banks forced it on us.
When first introduced in the States, there were problems with card readers grabbing the cash from cards a few metres away.
Card readers had to be deliberately re-set to only “see” about 30 cm.  Even so, there were reports of cash being taken from the wrong card, causing some customer’s to incur bank charges on a subsidiary account.
There are tales, on-line, of traders setting up bank accounts to receive small amounts for the sale of low cost market stall items such as sets of socks etc.
With readers set to a few metres, an unattended cash till on a stall, next to a busy pavement, could register huge sums, very quickly.
Individuals checking their card statements every month, might notice an unusual £3.99p but would they react to it?
In a month, the trader is mega-rich, the bank is not discomforted and the customers accept it as a fact of life.
All it needs is for the banks to provide metal shielded card cases (Faraday cages) but why should they bother?

Identity theft is a misnomer for bank fraud @Daily_Mirror

August 23, 2016

Sent to the Daily Mirror 23/8/16

I’m pleased that Gloria Hunniford was reimbursed by the bank for the theft from her account.
I am pleased more that she, as a high profile figure, is taking this matter further.
The big issue is her bank’s apology, saying that “she had been the victim of a scam”, when she obviously wasn’t.
The bank was the victim of the scam.
Gloria Hunniford was the victim of the banks malpractice.
She wasn’t a victim of identity theft. She didn’t leave her identification papers lying around, where anyone could steal them. She didn’t drop her purse in the street.
This was a crime of deception, where the bank was at fault.
Unfortunately for many low profile people, it seems that the onus is placed on them to prove that they are not guilty of deception.
The term “a victim of identity theft” perpetuates a lie.
The banks need to come up with some better means of security, when, since the advent of the Data security act, every large organisation now demands to know “your mother’s maiden name” and other, more ridiculous, personal trivia, before they’ll discuss any issue’s.
It is the bank, which takes money out of a customer’s account.
If they do so, wrongly, then that is theft.
The onus should be on the banks to devise a means of ensuring that they do not misappropriate funds and to immediately reinstate such funds, without question.
It is up to legislator’s to bring this about, because the banks have no real motivation and no concept of a moral duty.

@DailyMirror thanks to Alison Phillips for “the outraged”

August 10, 2016
I totally agree with Alison Philips’ little rant about the Outraged.
It’s good that people object to anti-social behaviour but there is an element of pitchforks and firebrand mentality in some people’s race to be outraged.
There is also an element of hypocrisy in outrage triggers.
For instance, we all know what the c-word is and I can use that euphemism freely, safe from attack but if I used the actual word that the c-word represents, “the outraged” would pour forth from their anonymity and savagely berate me.
Similarly, if Jimmy Carr cracked a joke about dumb blondes, there’d be letters in the paper’s but the same joke about a named woman (Katie Price is usually a target) would be blithely accepted, no matter how biting or cruel it was. (defended by “get a sense of humour”).
The worst is political outrage, which soils serious debate.
I agree that a gong for Sam Cam’s hairdresser is outrage-ous but where was the same degree of outrage when he gave an MBE to his own hairdresser?
Thanks for the “outraged”.
I was trying to think of a neat term for such soap-box orators, having had to reject prodnoses, puritans and pod-people.
Maybe “the outraged” will catch on and quieten down over-reactions.

@DailyMirror I hope @AndyBurnham doesn’t regret becoming the first elected Mayor for the whole of Gtr Man.

August 10, 2016
I’ll add my congratulations to Andy Burnham for his success in becoming Labour’s Mayoral candidate and therefore next Mayor of Greater Manchester.
I fear, though the News from neighbouring Merseyside about NHS ops being cancelled because of lack of funding, may sour his celebrations.
The creation of the Mayoralty wasn’t to give the North more power.
It was to shift blame for austerity cuts onto local politicians.
Andy will now be responsible for deciding how the NHS cash, allocated by this Tory Government, is spent.
It’ll be he, who carries the can, when NHS and other services are cut and/or local taxes sky-rocket.

@bbclaurak @BBCTwo prog. shows that both #euref campaigns were about manipulating people

August 8, 2016

Laura Kuensberg’s program focuses on how the political experts fought the Referendum on demographics and tactics.

They were angling to manipulate public opinion and not listening to it.

People were asking for explanations of why they should vote leave/remain.

What people were really saying was “You’re the experts, stop telling us why WE should want to leave/remain and tell us why YOU want to leave/remain”.
“Why do you experts not agree?”
“You have the same inside knowledge, so what makes YOU personally want to leave/remain?”

We didn’t get those answers and that, subconsciously, caused suspicion.

The nearest we got to a personal answer, was from Corbyn and Farage, which was why the likes of Mandelson hate and despise them.

Grammar schools shouldn’t be blamed for the failure of Secondary Moderns

August 8, 2016

As a Socialist, who benefitted from a Grammar School education and the taught Physics in a Comprehensive, I would like to see a return to Tertiary Education.
Grammar schools prepare pupils, who have the ability, to go on to career’s in the profession’s. Providing they are not seen as a sort of State sponsored Public School, where the children of the rich can be given an unfair advantage, I see nothing wrong with this intention. It is, in fact, to the benefit of the Nation as a whole.
Of course, there are late developer’s and there are the precocious, who will be failed by the system but that is unavoidable in life generally. At the time that the system ended, there were attempts to cater for late developers, such as the 13+ and State funded night schools. Such schemes helped in many cases.
Other’s, who had ability but were less bookish went on to technical college and provided the nation with the electricians, plumbers and other artisans and artists, whom we now see a shortage of.
60% of pupils went to Secondary Modern Schools, where, we were told, they were “dumped” together. I disagree. There may have been some middle class kids, forced to mingle with those from council estates, but most were given a basic education, which enabled them to earn a living. They were no worse off than they are now, in a modern Comprehensive. In some ways they were better off.
Generally, teacher’s will try to protect and nurture the most talented in their care.
In a modern Comprehensive, that will be those who would have passed the 11+. In the old Secondary Modern it would be the best of the rest.
In a Modern Comprehensive, the intention is to try and give all pupils the equivalent of a Grammar school education but without the Latin.
But who does it benefit, to force pupils to try and cope with subjects and topics, beyond their range.
Pupils, who can’t understand why “should of” is bad English, will always struggle with conversational French and German.
Pupils, who struggle with decimals and fractions are never going to get Trignometry, or Algebra, or any of the hard Sciences.
You can’t make those subjects “fun” for those whose talents may lie elsewhere.
You create resentment in those, who are made to see themselves as failure’s and you fail those who could have benefitted from a stronger pace.
The failure wasn’t in Grammars, or technical schools; it was in Secondary moderns not being geared to cater for those with creative skills, those with physical prowess, musical abilities etc., preferably with separate school sites to accomodate them.As a Socialist, who benefitted from a Grammar School education and the taught Physics in a Comprehensive, I would like to see a return to Tertiary Education.
Grammar schools prepare pupils, who have the ability, to go on to career’s in the profession’s. Providing they are not seen as a sort of State sponsored Public School, where the children of the rich can be given an unfair advantage, I see nothing wrong with this intention. It is, in fact, to the benefit of the Nation as a whole.
Of course, there are late developer’s and there are the precocious, who will be failed by the system but that is unavoidable in life generally. At the time that the system ended, there were attempts to cater for late developers, such as the 13+ and State funded night schools. Such schemes helped in many cases.
Other’s, who had ability but were less bookish went on to technical college and provided the nation with the electricians, plumbers and other artisans and artists, whom we now see a shortage of.
60% of pupils went to Secondary Modern Schools, where, we were told, they were “dumped” together. I disagree. There may have been some middle class kids, forced to mingle with those from council estates, but most were given a basic education, which enabled them to earn a living. They were no worse off than they are now, in a modern Comprehensive. In some ways they were better off.
Generally, teacher’s will try to protect and nurture the most talented in their care.
In a modern Comprehensive, that will be those who would have passed the 11+. In the old Secondary Modern it would be the best of the rest.
In a Modern Comprehensive, the intention is to try and give all pupils the equivalent of a Grammar school education but without the Latin.
But who does it benefit, to force pupils to try and cope with subjects and topics, beyond their range.
Pupils, who can’t understand why “should of” is bad English, will always struggle with conversational French and German.
Pupils, who struggle with decimals and fractions are never going to get Trignometry, or Algebra, or any of the hard Sciences.
You can’t make those subjects “fun” for those whose talents may lie elsewhere.
You create resentment in those, who are made to see themselves as failure’s and you fail those who could have benefitted from a stronger pace.
The failure wasn’t in Grammars, or technical schools; it was in Secondary moderns not being geared to cater for those with creative skills, those with physical prowess, musical abilities etc., preferably with separate school sites to accomodate them.

@DailyMirror Paul Routledge’s attack on Jezza is merely name-calling

August 8, 2016
Paul Routledge’s column headline is:”I vote Owen over scarecrow Jezza”.
This begs us to judge the man by his perceived appearance.
I don’t think that is a an intelligent way to pick a party leader.
The vote for Corbyn reflects the public support for his policies, the way he presents them and the confidence that they have in his integrity.
Owen Smith may look prettier, as did Cameron and Blair, but is that not what we want, or need.
It is people, like Paul Routledge, who think that voters can still be deceived by a little name-calling, who are the dinosaurs now.
This is a generation, which abhors attacks on people, by the use of labels and embraces them for being true to themselves.
This the generation of Gay Pride and Black lives Matter.
This is the generation, which will vote Corbyn and reject those who seem shallow.

@jeremycorbyn a national wage needs a national job service

August 6, 2016

They were saying back in early 80’s that IT would mean a large unemployed contingent.
They started pushing 16 yr olds at tourism, sports and other leisure activity courses.
Then, in the 90’s, G8 started the privatisation drive with Education and Health .
Major had already started the re-organisation of NHS and Blair went at Education.
Instead of educating for leisure, everyone was going to require qualifications for even most trivial tasks.
Best thing was, instead of getting dole, plebs would fund their own training.
Kids who were previously classed as ESN would now achieve the equivalent of 5 ‘O’-levels and 50% of people over 30 would have degrees (apeing USA) e.g. Homer’s diploma from clown school.
Point is there are too few jobs for population and too many people now believe that they are too well qualified to do “menial” jobs.
Families, who would spend school holidays collecting the Harvest, now leave it to East Europeans.
The whole problem needs a re-think. the dole has to be a fail-safe.
You can’t just leave people without goals.
Some can cope with idleness but many can’t; they turn to drink, drugs and general nihilism.  That”s why destroying Remploy was such a stupid act.
If we have a national wage, it has to be for a National job and it is the Governments responsibility to provide both.
The Big Society could be made to work if volunteer’s could be given work credits.
Fruit farmers could buy work credits from the Government and pay their workers with them.
People turning  16 could be awarded a years work credits with their NI number.
Olympic competitors could earn them etc. etc .
Everyone drawing dole could buy real cash with work credits.
Those without any work credits could be assigned socially useful tasks such as reading to patients, clearing weeds in old people’s gardens, or any of the jobs that Cameron wanted people to do for free.

I’m retired and can amuse myself but from my reading there are many who can’t cope with idleness.
I’m not concerned about those who object to idleness.
I’m concerned about those who haven’t been taught to motivate themselves.

Funding can be from increasing state ownership of shares and dividends

A sop, by EU, to appease French farmers, protected name status is last block to #TTIP

July 30, 2016
As someone, who lacks a refined sense of taste, I find the protected name status a puzzle.
I can’t see how anyone can distinguish Welsh lamb from any other lamb, especially, when covered in mint sauce.
I marvel at James Bond’s ability to fork out huge sums for named Champagnes but always has to check the label to be sure.
On the other hand, if there are people with a more refined palate and deeper wallets, then they have the right to indulge themselves.
I’m confident that the French will insist, as part of any Trade negotiation, that the protected name status, demanded by their farmer’s, will be kept.
Indeed, reports are that this aspect has been the main barrier to the signing of TTIP, with USA food producer’s having woken up to the fact that they’ll have to re-label their, allegedly, plastic cheeses.
Our posh food producer’s are worrying unnecessarily.

school for 15 to 17 year old boys is counter-productive

July 30, 2016
Sent to Daily Mirror 21/7/16
An old theme, based on my experience as a teacher that school for 15 to 17 year old boys is counter-productive (13-16 for girls and they’d be better served by segregation from Society, during hormone storm of puberty.
Your editorial takes issue with Michael Caine for advocating National Service, with a comment about the young needing jobs not being trained to march and shoot.
However, the article referenced makes it clear that Michael Caine doesn’t advocate using them to be sent off to fight but rather that he feels it turned him and his generation into men.
I’ve seen how former pupils can be transformed into proud, self-confident adults, by a few years of Army life.
The point is that National Service doesn’t have to be about being trained to kill but rather being trained skills that transfer to being useful citizens.
At present, we have young men, testosterone surging, being tied to school desks, instead of being given an opportunity to release their energy in a productive way.
The recent water fight that ended in violence, the young muslims going off to join ISIS, the wanton vandalism and gang warfare could all be reduced by removing boys in years 10 and 11 from school and setting them challenges that let them test theirselves against common standards of self-discipline and fortitude found in Army training.
Maybe the Generals don’t want this role but their jobs isn’t to play soldiers, it’s to serve us in whatever capacity we demand of them and what better than a generation of fit confident young men with skills that can be used to help others and find future careers.
In times of Emergency, we call on the Army to deal with floods, train crashes, epidemics etc. What better, if people on the scene already have the training to cope.

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