Archive for February, 2010

May elections

February 28, 2010

I’ve decided not to stand in this May’s elections, although I reckon that I could have been a shoo-in.

The problem is that I’ve relied on the support of some local activists to a critical extent but because they are at odds with the leader of my party (Community Action Party), they’ve decided to put up their own candidate in my area.

My main concern is to unclamp the dead hands of New Labour from around the throat of Wigan Council finances and open up the details of Council contracts to public view (e.g. details of closure and sale of Mere Oaks Special School).

I’m not sure if the new candidate will pick up the support that I had but I don’t want to split the Anti- New_Labourt vote.

I may stand next year if I can still afford it and I can re-gain the support of The Independent’s group.

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Politicians and Battery farming mentality

February 28, 2010
Response to yet another article on the wholesale prescribing of statins and concern about our political masters showing the same level of concern as some owners of battery farms show towards their animals.
I think it was Gandhi that suggested that you could judge a country by the way it treated its animals.
 As someone on Simvastatin I am concerned that I am being prescribed this drug by a politician.
My G.P. has been trained at great expense and earns a commensurate salary.
I place my health in his hands, trusting to his judgment and his adherence to the Hippocratic oath, a sense of vocation and the care for his patients that go with his profession.
Perhaps there is a justification for wholesale prescribing of this, the cheapest statin on the market. Perhaps this edict arises from the deliberations of a panel of Health Experts. However, knowing how politicians can believe whatever is most expedient and knowing how it’s usually the most sycophantic experts that are appointed to Government panels, I would feel much more confident of my prescription, if I knew my G.P. was not being ordered to follow Government Diktats on medical matters and that the G.M.C. didn’t seem so willing to compel Doctor’s to comply.

bank shares

February 28, 2010

Response to Stephen pollard’s article in Daily Express. Not published.

As co-author of “Towards a more Co-operative Society”, your Political Commentator, Stephen Pollard, obviously has some personal investment in the scheme announced by David Cameron.

On the face of it, it seems to have merit but just because it looks like a way forward, that does not mean that we should plunge in and abandon caution.

Stephen Pollard holds up Privatisation  of Gas, Electricity and Water , along with the sale of Council houses, as being equally innovative, whilst proclaiming these to have been successes.

For many of us, these examples act as more of  a warning.

Stephen Pollard claims that the utilities are directly answerable to all of us, as owners. He might do well to check just what fraction of the shares are still held by ordinary members of the public.  He might do well to check some of the articles by fellow columnists, such as Ann Widdicombe, on their dealings with these allegedly responsive companies.

As far as being treated in a rude manner, by the state owned monopolies, how rude is the ubiquitous use of 0870 numbers and electronic queuing. Just how much of an improvement is the false bonhomie of the Utility employees and the bombardment of leaflets proclaiming that prices are increasing for our own benefit.

The sale of  Council housing has been a mixed blessing for those at that end of the Social Ladder.  My general impression, when canvassing, is that adjacent Council Houses may not be as lovingly adorned but the owners haven’t had to worry about the burden of maintaining the fabric of the buildings in good order.

Essentially I’m saying that I would like to see this scheme trialled and I don’t mean the way Schemes are usually trialled to ensure success. E.g. in Education, pilot schemes are usually trialled with a teacher,  two or more experts, a comfortable budget  and a class of ten hand-picked pupils, before being rolled out into ordinary schools, with limited budgets and a very mixed class of 30  not so amenable pupils.

Test it, examine its flaws, as well as its hoped for benefits and don’t roll it out as a panacea, hoping that by the next election , everyone will have forgotten how wonderful it was supposed to have been.

Microsoft backs Big Brother

February 15, 2010

 

As if Gordon Brown and Tony Blair hadn’t already passed enough “Big Brother” legislation, Microsoft now wants to help make our lives a little more dismal.

Apparently, Microsoft’s chief strategy officer has suggested that people should undergo mandatory training before being allowed online.

(Craig Mundie, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, proposed a three-tier system of authentication for people, devices and applications.)

Essentially, he wants us to have a driving licence to go on the Internet. His only argument seems to be that you need a licence to drive a car.

At the moment we all have a licence to use the Internet, so a formal licensing system would actually be a de-licensing system i.e. a means whereby Government could ban individuals from accessing the Internet and then criminalise them, if they defy that ban.

One has to consider who Microsoft, or the Government, would want criminalised.

The likes of Bin Laden wouldn’t be unduly worried. Paedophiles are already legislated for. So! who is Mundie worried about?

Maybe it’s the many Internet users, who are antagonistic towards Microsoft.  or who, through their on-line agitation, have forced legislation to be brought in curbing  Microsoft’s monopolistic  tendencies.

Problems arise with, who would enforce this ban. Whether we would have a Penalty points scheme for defying Ms Harman’s veto of the word Chairman. Or, whether it would be prison sentences for organising political demonstrations.

In or out of the Euro?

February 15, 2010
The most worrying aspect of the crisis in Greece and the associated collapse of the Euro. It isn’t the money that Brown is taking out of our pockets, to give to the Greeks. It isn’t Mandy’s persistent squealing that we should be in The Euro.
What’s really worrying is how quiet Cameron and Clegg are about what they would do.
What’s really, really worrying is how quiet Farage is.
Are we so deeply enmeshed in the European web that we can’t escape, no matter which party wins in May?

blowflies, rats and snoops

February 15, 2010

 

So laws from 2005 give Council Officials the power to enter premises to investigate the contents of my bin.

I can’t honestly believe that people in Dorset, Shropshire, London and Suffolk are so docile that they would allow these creeps to enter their premises unchallenged.

This story seems at odds with the reported comment, from my Council, which is that binmen can’t enter premises, to empty bins, because of Health and Safety aspects.

They won’t even push the bin an extra foot from the pavement onto my drive, preferring to block a 4 foot wide pavement with a 3 foot wide wheelie bin. It’s not uncommon, in this area, to see push chairs and mobility scooters forced onto the main road,on days, when the bins are emptied.

Hooray! a hung parliament

February 7, 2010

The threat of a Hung Parliament is a cause of great concern to the mainstream political parties, their sponsors and their hangers-on. For the rest of us, it’s a green shoot of recovering Democracy. Why should we worry about Finance Houses losing confidence in Government stability? We’ve already been told that we are in debt, up to our necks; that we are going to be taxed to the limit and probably beyond. As Cattle in a stock-car, travelling to market, should we really be concerned, if the drivers have knocked each other out? I would urge people like Julie Waters to use their vote. Even if you vote for the Monster Raving Loony Party or someone like Brewster’s None-of-the-above party, do,at least, use your vote. Savour the possibility of your MP being elected with only 20% of the votes cast. Enjoy seeing the next P.M. choke, as he tries to claim that his party has “a Mandate, from the electorate”. Parliament may still vote itself big pay rises but it’ll be more difficult to employ a party whip to take us into an illegal war.

Somalian Pirates 7/2/10

February 7, 2010

Piracy is, I believe, illegal under International Law. This being so, no mandate is required to take action against them. Pleas of poverty are no defence in Domestic Law, so shouldn’t apply in International Law. The Government’s duty is to protect the people that it is supposed to represent. This may mean paying the Ransom to secure the release of British Nationals. This principle over-rides that of not paying ransom money. The principle of not paying ransom money is allegedly to protect us from further similar acts. This can still be achieved by taking punitive action against the perpetrators, once the release of the victims has been secured. Forget about International Condemnation. Similar Past actions, e.g. Entebbe, Libya etc. have always been greeted by Universal admiration for Governments that have had the guts to take action against acknowledged criminals.

Capello – man of principle

February 7, 2010

If I re-call correctly, Capello’s first pronouncement, as England manager, was that all his decisions would be based on what was best for the team. I respect his integrity but fail to follow his logic in the replacement of John Terry by Rio Ferdinand. Rio is no Lilywhite but worse, still, has proven that his lapses in concentration may be the key in other teams beating us. Making him captain is hardly like to help him focus on the job. On the contrary it gives him a better excuse to be caught ball-watching. Terry may not be the greatest choice for Captain but, apart from, possibly, Steven Gerrard, he’s best motivator on the pitch. The Captain needs to be someone, who has insight into what his Manager wants to be done. A change of Captain at this stage, is a dubious decision, especially in respect of the announced replacement, who must now be guaranteed a place in every match selection, even if such a selection is not otherwise justifiable. When this World Cup is over, few will remember much of John Terry’s lack of character, off the pitch. If England had fluked a win, under his captaincy, he’d have received accolades as great as the 1966 team, or even as great as those of that “Hand of God”, Coke –Head , Manager of Argentina, Maradona.

BBC Breakfast Marr 7/2/10

February 7, 2010

I never really appreciated David Frost’s abilities until I saw Andrew Marr’s interview of Alistair Campbell. Instead of displaying his own inquisitorial excellence, he merely presented Campbell with an opportunity to downplay any pronouncements of the Chilcot enquiry, by a really excellent impression of someone who has been badly misrepresented and maligned by an antagonistic media. In fact, every fault of character that he and Blair have demonstrated , in the past years, should, apparently, be more correctly assigned to the Media. Even the assertion that the decision , to go to war, was a cabinet decision, was allowed to go unchecked. I can’t stand Marr’s choice of Music either and feel some, slight, sympathy for Prince Charles’ opinion of him.