Archive for August, 2009

letter to you Yougov

August 27, 2009

I find the survey’s very restrictive in terms of possible responses. e.g. the queries on education follow the line that this is an unexpected turnout and does not allow for acknowledgement that the present situation is a consequence of continued Government policy, since the early 80’s, when we foresaw that I.T. would lead to unemployment rates in excess of the 6,000,000 being quoted in the Press. The dumbing down of education has been a policy for deferring having to deal with these unemployed in a realistic manner. the recession is being used as an excuse for the effects, generated by the inaction of successive Governments

withdrawal from EU

August 26, 2009
Graham Richards wants the Silent Majority to have Britain withdraw from the EU, knowing, surely, that it will not happen. Those of the Silent Majority, who can bother to vote, always vote for a candidate from one of the three main parties. The three main parties are committed to the EU.
The Tories and Lib Dems will assuredly pretend to growl at EU membership, during the forthcoming election campaign but there’ll be two fingered waves after the Tories achieve office.
We do need more people like Peter Davies, the Mayor of Doncaster. I particularly like his idea of cutting the number of Councillors, who, like MP’s, mainly serve to rubber stamp Cabinet decisions.
Unfortunately Peter Davies is a member of the English Democrat party. This is a “fringe” party and it is allegedly “right wing”.
When it comes to a General Election, both these terms will be spoken by political commentator’s with disdain or condescension and the phrase “throwing your vote away” will be frequently heard”. Worse the Silent Majority will heed the political commentators and either not vote, or vote for a Brand Name party.
The Gravy Train will keep on rolling.

cloned cards used to top up payg mobiles

August 26, 2009

I’ve just been on Martin’s moneytips where there is a forum, where there is thread on checking your visa bills for payg  top ups, made by cloned visa card details. There were 16 pages of similar problems, many indicating that credit card companies and phone companies are aware of the problem. I find it incredible that no action is taken. Surely the banks, Visa and the phone companies should be co-operating to stop this.  The very least that they can do is block the phones that are being topped up. They might even get them before any units have been used, at least the fraudsters would have to be buying bulk lots of mobiles.

Apart  from this, why has there been no mention of police involvement? Surely there is some police department, somewhere, that checks on-line fraud. Apparently the top-ups are, often, a pre-cursor to a larger hit on a visa account; this, surely, gives the police an opportunity to catch the fraudsters in action. Given that the card has to be verified before a transaction, surely it’s possible to trace who is presenting it, especially, if , as has been stated, the same locale/people are repeatedly involved.

pubs, clubs and teens

August 25, 2009

All over the country, there are Labour clubs, Social Clubs etc. where the adults can go every Evening. They can relax, play bingo etc., have a little floor show, maybe some dancing, a bite to eat. Teenagers and youngsters  are barred, because these are licensed premises.

Except at the Seaside, especially at Holiday camps, where licensing laws seem to be different and this does not apply.

The Kids at these Holiday camps are under the supervision of their parents, they are in the warm and dry. Young Mum’s can relax and have a drink and socialise, without having to pay for and to worry about a baby sitter. There are no latch-key kids, no bored youths, sitting around in hoodies, menacing the locals, committing vandalism, as a form of amusement, or being seduced into drugs and crime by the cool, older Guys.

I would like Government and Councils to see the connection here and to, consequently, take action to bring in appropriate legislation, to get these kids off the streets and into the clubs and pubs.

How pointless are these big photo-opportunity initiatives, where some politician announces that the kids, or a limited number of them,  are to be encouraged to spend two hours, on Wednesday nights playing ping-pong, five-a-side football or some other worthwhile physical activity, before being turfed out onto the streets at the “really late” hour of 9:00 p.m.

car lane marking

August 25, 2009

At junctions on A-roads, there are three options for drivers: turn left, go ahead or turn right. However there is only space for two lanes. For some reason, these lanes have big direction arrows painted on the road surface. One lane is for traffic proceeding ahead, whilst the other, depending on the whimsy of the traffic engineer, is for traffic turning left or for traffic turning right. There are usually good reasons for whichever choice has been made; often it’s because a Supermarket has slipped someone a “commission”. The bone of contention lies in the fact that these arrows are invisible until you are on them, unless the traffic is heavy, in which case, they are never visible, at all. Woe betide the stranger, who gets in the wrong lane. If it’s rush hour, he is dead. He is more likely to be towed away for illegal parking than be allowed back into the correct lane..

The other lane fiasco is where a new roundabout has been built on a B-road, or minor A-road. The roundabout is big and glorious with two, possibly three, lanes entering and exiting it. However the B-road only has room for one lane. Again we have arrows. Big, curvy arrows, either telling you to cut up the car on the left, or  telling you to that you are going to be cut up, by the idiot on your right. Still, at least someone has designed these things; unlike the mini-roundabouts flopped down on T-Junctions, where it is impossible to see the traffic from your right, until you are on the junction and in danger of being pulverised by the lorry driver, from your left, who has only noticed the roundabout, as he drives over it.

Digital TV

August 21, 2009

The digital revolution

Digital communications is a wonderful thing. We can talk face to face, in Real Time, with our loved ones in the Antipodes.

We can call for help from a Desert Island or from the centre of a Rain Forest.

The Government has taken advantage of their right(!) to sell the Air Waves to Mobile Phone Companies. They’ve raised Billions in Revenue, enabling us to pay off a large chunk of the money that we borrowed from the Yanks, so we could keep both World Wars going long enough for them to realize that they would be next, if we collapsed.

The Chancellor has even said that we could be out, from under, by 2006. (See “The Yanks”).

This bit does not belong in a whingey book but it leads on to this.

I used to have Terrestrial TV and a Phone (for important messages)

These cost a lot for what they are.

Because of Social pressures, I now have analogue cable and the Internet (56kHz). (Costing as much per month as I used to pay per year.)

The number of Channels on the cable has decreased, the cost has shot up and the quality has plummeted. The Internet has become less accessible (queueing of access) and the cost has been increased for the declared purpose of  “persuading” customers to go digital.

I’m at the crossover point: scrap the lot and save £60+ per month or dig deeper and find £100+ per month. Presumably some have been spared from this choice by the smaller budgets. This may be why the Cable companies are in deep doo-doo.

Past experience says that when the money men feel that they have saturation coverage, they will give the nod to Government to switch off terrestrial TV, bring in Pay-per-View for the BBC’s “good” channels and prices will be hiked.

My hope is that this could spark the revolution. People who spend £500 on a nice meal have no comprehension of how unaffordable the costs of these things are. The Under-classes will have no Circuses to go with their Bread and bottled water. They should turn nasty. Especially when it sinks in that there is no effective Police Force and insufficient Prison Accommodation.

Lorries/trucks

August 21, 2009

Trucks

Not usually got a lot against trucks but here’s few:

Going along the Motorway in the nearside lane, because there’s a lot of trucks nose to tail and you need to get off at the next exit. If you don’t get in that line when the chance arises, you’ll miss the exit and have to drive an extra 20 miles. If you do get in that lane you have a wall of lorries around, the fartherest away being the one in the adjacent lane, (and you still miss the exit because your terrified of taking your eyes of the moving wall of death around you).

Going along the Motorway and suddenly you come to a full stop. This invariably happens on hilly sections, where, for some reason, half the trucks have to abruptly push out into the middle line as they descend a hill, whilst the other half have to reverse the situation as they climb a hill. The cars in the middle lane slam on their anchors, because they have nowhere to go and no time to think of doing anything else, except maybe moving into the outside lane, with the same effect there.

The only other occurrence of this log-jam effect that I have seen was in holiday traffic passing a police car in the near-side lane.

Motorways in rainy conditions are dangerous. If there are lorries on the road, you have to accept that each time you overtake one you will have to drive blind for half a minute at 70 m.p.h. Either that or spend the journey boxed in by lorries in a half – blinded state.

If they fitted side guards on their wheel arches, there would be no spray (proven by trials), but it ain’t going to happen because there is too much more important legislation for the government to get through.

The Yanks.. a special relationship!

August 21, 2009

The Yanks

I love some of the stuff from America.

I love Friends. Although Ross’s second wedding in London was a little grating and Elliot Gould’s comment about the War made me homicidal. (The fact that the Yanks think that such comments are acceptable, still grates, even knowing that they have always been that parochial).#

 I enjoy Mad Max, BraveHeart etc. despite the Yanks winning back Burma, capturing the Enigma machine etc., etc.

 What I hate is the servitude that our Government accords them.

 They took Penicillin patents etc. off us, in exchange for rusting hulks (in WWII), from a scrapyard.   (at least we did better than the Redskins of Manhattan)

 We took back the Suez canal, which we had bought and paid for, from the Egyptians, after they stole it. Then the Yanks told us to hand it back to them,…. or else. (or else the end of our special relationship?)

 We built Blue Streak and had it operational. The Yanks “persuaded” us to write it off and buy their Trident missiles instead. We gave Blue Streak to the French who perfected it into the Ariane and now have their own satellite launch capacity, (we will be able to ask the French if we can “Pretty- Please” use it too, when we become fully fledged Euro).

We bought Trident, our own independent  Nuclear deterrent. Independent, except that the P.M. would have had to ask permission of the American President to use it.  Pathetic really as we would have had 4 mins warning, of a scenario where the USSR could turn Britain into a lump of glass, leaving the Yanks to write us off as a casualty of war and unlikely to retaliate on our behalf.

 We have had various aircraft in the air, then mothballed because of the Yanks, who  insisted that we buy their planes. (I reckon we only managed to reverse the situation with the Harrier Jump Jet because, the Yanks thought it would go belly-up.

 Concorde had a hard time getting into American Air Space, until Concordski nudged their elbows.

 We had a radar system for automatic landing of aircraft in adverse conditions. It was superior to the Yank’s but they installed it for free in a few countries and ours was lost in the follow – the –  herd.

 The same sort of shenanigans mean that we have given up our Magnox reactor technology in exchange for the Yank’s Pressurised Water Reactors. They’re smaller and cheaper but  they go critical quicker and the coolant is in direct contact with the core (acts as moderator), so a leak is more likely to cause local contamination.

 The infant satellite industry in this country was in direct competition with the Yanks. We had to rely on the Yanks to put our satellites in orbit. Somehow the rockets carrying our satellites malfunctioned more frequently than those carrying the satellites of our Streak. The satellites delivering Sky TV were put up by Astra (German), using French Launchers (Blue Streak).

 Credit Cards and their usurious interest rates were made legal in this country, as the price to the banks for bailing out Mexico and a few other South American countries, at the behest of  Ronald Reagan. Some may consider credit cards a good thing but like legalized gambling, we have exchanged a minor pleasure/convenience,  for some, for a debilitating social problem for others.

Who’s the victim?

August 21, 2009

Who is the victim?

Back in Saxon times,  fines were levied, for certain offenses, to offset the Kings expenses in arranging Courts. Nowadays, fines are levied to raise revenue and in some cases it seems that the only one who loses out is the victim of a crime.  A typical case , recently, was of a woman who was made to work excessively long hours (or lose her only means of income) and was awarded  about £1200 compensation. She still had to work long hours but her employer also had to enrich the Revenue by £3000. Why? Justice should be paid for out of the common fund and any levy should go to compensate the victim. If the Perpetrator was deemed to have done £4200  worth of wrong-doing, then surely the victim has had £4200 of wrong-doning.

Royal Alliance was fined £1,700,000 for mis-selling pensions. I wonder how delighted the victims were to know that their trials and tribulations had resulted in an enrichment of the Exchequer.

Why do we have a police force?

August 21, 2009

What use is our police force?

Before Sir Robert Peel, we had watch committees and widespread criminal activity.

People did not venture out during the hours of darkness unless they were driven by necessity or they could afford their own private bodyguards.

People stayed home behind strong, easily defended doors.

Footpads roamed freely and if marauding gangs such as the riotous O’Hooligans broke into a house, then people were murdered. People lived in fear and suspicion of  late night callers.

The likes of the Bow Street Runners were often paid off  by or intimidated by the criminal fraternity and only tackled the weak and feckless.

The advent of the Peelers created a new Society, such that in my youth (post-war), we knew that if a girl screamed, or blew her police whistle, she could be certain of a rapid response. Citizens felt confident of their ability to carry out their public duty and arrest villains or intercede in any wrong-doing. Help was always nearby.

People left their front doors open on hot days.

Good old days?

Some people would say not: We had hanging. How uncivilized we were!

Yet when hanging ended, all criminal punishments were forced down one notch. Murderers were given life i.e. 25 Years.

Of course we quickly realized that this was inhumane and we had them released in shorter and shorter periods of time.

News stories of murderers, who’ve tortured, and degraded a member of the common herd, being released to repeat their crimes in inordinately such periods of time, no longer excite comment. People are fatalistic about the indifference of the establishment to this degradation of their quality of life.

Whereas, back in the bad old days, potential criminals were scared of prison and concerned about their probability of being apprehended, we now have the situation were Society seems to be encouraging the growth of a criminal class. Steal a car, knock someone down and maybe kill them. Torch the car and steal another, repeat until caught. Get tagged, go out and steal a car etc. 18 year olds bragging about easy it is and encouraging younger potential criminals. The problem is that we do not have enough prisons, because we’re creating too many criminals by not having enough prisons.

Of course the real problem is that politicians are simply immoral, opportunists, who have no incentive to deal with the problem. They are motivated by expedience. Cabinet Ministers, who end up resigning, do so not because they are incompetent or corrupt or stupid. They resign because they have misjudged how they should handle the Media and those who inform it. They do not have to take notice of the 89 year old pensioner, who has been mugged or raped. They don’t have to take notice of the passing prurient interest of the Media or newspaper columnists. They have to take notice of pressure groups who can mount a sustained attack, through the Media,  on them or anyone else, who offers a point of view that can be attacked. People who support hanging are easy meat, as to a lesser extent are those who support harshening of prison conditions or the reduction of police paperwork and criminal procedures. They have the lower moral ground and it is far easier to attack them, if you take the higher moral ground. If you’re a columnist then you have to mount crusades on behalf of your readers (or at least those that you meet at dinner parties). You’re not going to attack the Pope for insisting on banning contraception and thereby promoting over-population and its concomitant problems of poverty, squalor and disease. No attack the unfeeling, uncaring, uncivilized Neanderthals, who haven’t the intellect to real that capital punishment is wrong.

Anyway,  back to the original question. It seems that their main use, apart from protecting (self) important people, is to raise revenue. Smoking is on the decline (except amongst the under-class) and car driving is the new anti-social offense, worthy of taxing to the hilt. Like smoking, we don’t really want to get rid of it, we just want to exploit it. Think of the money we’ve spent on camera’s, roads etc. and God knows what the man from the Pru’ would say about if we got rid of his legalized extortion racket.

So if their only real use is simply to raise revenue, why not issue them with cattle prods 

( a modernized Morton’s fork) and send them out in to the Community with instructions to fine anybody who looks like they may have money but no political clout. We could organize them into Tongs and allocate them their own territories, with the ones who passed on the greatest amount in revenue, getting the best patches.

In fact why don’t we invite the Mafia to form a government: Society would be no worse than it is now and we’d be spared the hypocrisy of being told Citizenship classes to teach us to exercise our Democratic rights.