Archive for January, 2011

Iraq was an illegal war and Blair was the one who committed us to it.

January 27, 2011
It seems like Blair’s irrelevancies are beginning to take root in some columnists’ minds.
J.Hartley-Brewer (Express columnist), for instance, has argued that more Iraqi’s would have been killed, if Saddam hadn’t been ousted through Blair and Bush’s excuse of a need for a regime change.
Not only an irrelevancy in terms of the legalities and in the context of the many other pernicious regimes around The World, but in terms of the 60 people blown up in Iraq, this week.
Blair was possibly correct in saying that, without this regime change, Iraq and Iran would probably have gone to war and large numbers would have died on both sides.
The irony here is that, before Blair and Bush quit office, they were trying to justify a further war against Iran.
The only difference would then have been that “we” would have killed large numbers of both Iraqi’s and Irani’s, leaving Bush in control of the oil concessions in both countries.
The chances are that, when “we” move out of the region, the war will go ahead, anyway, because of religious intolerance there.
The regime changes will have only postponed and, possibly, exacerbated that region’s problem’s.
Blair is still guilty of tricking us into an illegal war against our best interests and of doing our American allies a dis-service by helping George Bush to perpetrate the same con on his fellow American’s..
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monkeys versus thieves

January 27, 2011
If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys but if you pay expenses, on top of top wages, you get thieves.
(The honourable member for  Bury North, David Chaytor , Lord Taylor of  Warwick and others that escaped the short arm of The Law)
Perhaps if MP’s were paid the average white collar wage, without expenses, we might get Government by the people, for the people, of the people.
We seem to be aping The States in our Education System, our Health System  and our Justice System, so why not copy their  Political Ideals.(the theory, not the reality)
 

Political Fish

January 27, 2011
In poker terms, our politicians, who are supposed to be steering us through this turbulent economic crisis, are acting like “fish”.
Instead of taking a realistic view of what we can and can not afford to do, they are “wishing” for the cards to fill that flush.
They’re throwing money into the Euro sinkhole in the hope that the French and Germans will be our friends.
They are throwing money at countries like India in the hopes that everyone at the table will think that we are nice guys.
They are trying to keep the big stacks happy by not threatening them.
They are telling us that things are looking up, despite every turn of the cards is seeing more chips flying from our stack.
If you sit down to a game of poker and can’t see who the fish is, it’s you.
Perhaps the Treasury needs to forget about growth, inflation, taxation, KeynsianTheory and Monetarism  and learn some Poker Theory.

privatisation vampires

January 27, 2011
We know life’s not fair but the Equitable life scandal is another example of why the State can not expect us to rely on the private sector. 

One million people have lost most, or all, of their life-savings.  For the most part their crime has been to do, as we are constantly exhorted to do; they have worked hard, saved and tried to invest their money to protect themselves in old-age.

The private Sector has stolen that money and many of these people will now have to rely on The State for a pension.

Every day, we read of gross incompetence in the private sector that is making life harder for ordinary people.

In addition to the incredible damage done through totally reckless gambling by  the banking sector and, not so many years ago, the insurance sector, we have the misery created by the failures of the privatised Gas, Electric, Water, Rail and Buses services  to improve our infrastructure, as was promised. This is despite  the benefit of subsidies,  generous tax allowances and virtually carte blanche price-raising.  All they seem to have managed is the creation of large profit streams from a Government granted stranglehold on some of our basic necessities.

Politicians of the major parties need to stem this drive to privatise everything in sight not just for the sake of the people that they allegedly represent but in order that we will have a few pennies left in our pockets for the taxman.

catastrophic meanderings

January 24, 2011

I was looking at a picture of one of those tropical islands, with white sandy beaches and palms.
It had only three or four buildings and, judging by their relative size, were no more than 15 feet above sea level.
My friend commented on global Warming in terms of the inhabitants.
It set me thinking. Thanks to the magnaminity of our European overlords, funds have been set aside, such that if their island were inundated by rising sea levels, the islanders would be re-housed in equivalent settings and their lives would to a large extent be undisturbed.
Then I thought of Naples and San Francisco. Their inhabitants must also be aware of the danger of having located their homes in those places.
If Vesuvius, or the San Andreas fault, do their worst, 100,000’s will die and the survivors of the million or so inhabitants will struggle to find new homes and lives.
They will probably receive minimal help and no doubt, someone will apologise for that by saying “they chose to live there, despite the obvious danger”.
I then thought on of Brisbane. A terrible situation  with the flooding and not a forseeable calamity, as far as most people would have been concerned. However, there has been at least one previously recorded flood and Briosbane must have highly qualified Geographers and Geologists on the Government payroll, who might have been expected to be aware of the danger. Still, administrator’s being what they are, it’s probably the same as here in terms of road accidents. Pedestrian crossings won’t be installed for reports of a hundred near misses. There has to be a death, a sacrificial lamb to warrant the cost of installation. Brisbane has had its flood, its sacrificial offerings have been made. There’s a natural lake formed, where the run-off has built up. I wonder if the Administrator’s will take the hint, extend the lake bed and create storm drains that will feed it. A lesson from Ju-Jitsu “don’t oppose Nature, divert it”.
Our own planners could take heed. Instead of continually giving planning permission to development on the flood plains of rivers, make the flood plains permanent features, such as parks and playing field. any buildings that need to be there should be placed on stilts, as poor, “ignorant” peasants have done, who live in regularly flooded regions (apart from Bangladesh, it seems).
Here in Wigan, the main danger seems to be from sink holes created by old forgotten coal mines. Perhaps one day they’ll do a seismic survey and start filling them in with hardcore that we, at present, are having to pay to get rid of.
I envy those islanders. They’ve got it good and if their island disappears, we’ll make sure that they’ve still got it good, if not better.

fw emails

January 23, 2011

I forwarded this email, to friends, without reading it properly.

Dear Mr. Cameron,
Please find below our suggestion for fixing England’s economy.
Instead of giving billions of pounds to banks that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following plan.
You can call it the Patriotic Retirement Plan:
There are about 10 million people over 50 in the work force.
Pay them £1 million each severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:
1) They MUST retire.
Ten million job openings – unemployment fixed
2) They MUST buy a new British car.
Ten million cars ordered – Car Industry fixed
3) They MUST either buy a house or pay off their mortgage –
Housing Crisis fixed
4) They MUST send their kids to school/college/university –
Crime rate fixed
5) They MUST buy £100 WORTH of alcohol/tobacco a week …..
and there’s your money back in duty/tax etc
6) Instead of stuffing around with the carbon emissions trading scheme that makes us pay for the major polluters, tell the greedy bastards to reduce their pollution emissions by 75% within 5 years or we shut them down.
It can’t get any easier than that!
P.S. If more money is needed, have all members of parliament pay back their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances
If you think this would work, please forward to everyone you know.
If not, please disregard.         Yours              The people of Britain.

More fool me. I saw 50, I saw million and got £50,000,000, instead of £10,000,000,000,000. Yeeuk!

That’s a payout of 10,000 time our National Debt. Definitely not feasible but hey it’s Monopoly money, anyway.

nuclear reactors

January 21, 2011

So far there have been two major crises with Nuclear power plants.

The Russian plant, at Chernobyl, was a Carbon moderator like our Magnox reactors. The problem at Chernobyl wasn’t that the reactor might have exploded but that  it was old and poorly maintained. The carbon structure became exposed to air and because it was hot, it began to burn. In our Magnox reactors (presuming the  same logic applies to that at Chernobyl) the fire could have been quenched by simply sealing the leak that allowed air to get in and allowed the Carbon Dioxide coolant to escape. In the case of the Chernobyl reactor the fire was unchecked and it was the release of radio-active clouds of gas and ash etc. that created the problem. The Uranium if it had melted, would have safely run off into channels built to take that run-off, without it reaching critical mass or shape.

The American crisis at Three Mile Island was infinitely more dangerous. The Pressurised Water Reactors (P.W.R.) that America is selling to other countries, is smaller and therefore needs closer control . The General rule in Physics and Music is that smaller objects have higher resonance frequencies and so time elements involved are smaller. In the case of nuclear reactors, the controls are mainly to keep the Nuclear pile at criticality. If the Neutron flux rises too much, the reactor goes super-critical and will blow up, unless the flux is reduced. If the neutron flux goes too low, sub-critical, it goes out and needs weeks of work getting ity running again. With P.W.R.’s the time scale in which to prevent the reactor going super-critical is very short. In the case of Three Mile Island, a fault occurred, which couldn’t be quickly identified (I think it was a temperature sensor related to a stuck coolant valve that was at fault) and so the reactor was fast going super-critical. Fortunately like all good SF movies, the problem was resolved in the nick of time and the reactor prevented from going bang. The reactor had got very hot and could have melted (I don’t know if there was any feature to prevent any molten fuel from reaching critical shape/mass) and so had to be flooded with water to cool it down and thus putting it out of commission. (Better than it putting the neighbouring cities out of commission!)

I am concerned that our Government will take the American PWR option (it’s cheaper), rather than our own safer Magnox option, when it eventually realises that it has to go back to nuclear power and be independent of OPEC etc.

Parolee’s

January 21, 2011

Ann Widdecombe raised a point about prisoner’s, who may have acted badly because of a medical decision and who were now healthy.

The specific case referred to was “The Yorkshire Ripper” and the possibility of his “cured”  but being refused parole.

I suggest that anyone, in authority, who did believe that a criminal was fit to be paroled should be tested by demanding them to stand as “guarantor”.

By “Guarantor”, I mean that if The Yorkshire Ripper was released and subsequently found guilty of any offence (including riding a bicycle without light) would have to suffer the same consequences, including extended prison terms . If the criminal’s apologist could not find it in him, or her, to stand guarantor, then we (The Public) should not be expected to believe his/her opinion and risk that criminal be set free to repeat their crimes.

Parliament on-line

January 21, 2011

Meryl Streep was apparently amused by our Parliament and it was suggested that she thought it was great theatre.  It’s a pity that it isn’t good Government.

Is this theatre, or, more correctly, circus necessary?  I don’t think so and I don’t believe it is the most efficient way of handling debate. It’s ridiculous that it has to have a speaker continually squeaking out “Order! Order!”

My gut reaction is to sack them all and leave the Cabinet to get on with their agenda without the pretense of consulting Parliament. However it occured to me, having engaged in an on-line discussion, that this might be a better way of conducting Parliamentry business.

The Speaker would become a webmaster, controlling inputs to the discussion.

There would be a split screen, with the main screen showing the current talker. The subsidiary screen would show a rolling list of MP’s with a list of questions, points of information, order etc. It would be The Speaker’s role to cut in and “offer the floor” to MP’s representing a popular question or raising a point of information etc.

Providing The Speaker and his staff showed an even hand, the issues woulod be dealt with in a more orderly manner, without heckling or other unproductive behaviour. Politician’s would have to stop judging each other by how well they engaged in robust, cross-bench badinage and begin judging each other on how well reasoned and apposite their comments were. Not only would business be conducted in a more seemly manner, it would be dealt with more thoroughly and efficiently. It might even provide more time for private members’ bills.

There would be no need for division bells (most would have voted beforehand, or as their whip had directed (allowing us to see who they were)), counters, subsidised canteens, second homes, travelling expenses etc.

Only Ministers would need to be based in London. The rest coul;d work from home, making it easier for Women MP’s with children and cutting the (alleged) unfair strains omn MP’s private lives.

It probably won’t happen because the ruling  Cabinet would have less control over their backbencher’s and thus, possibly, be more democratic.

RIP NHS

January 20, 2011

  Letter to Daily Express

For the past year this paper has printed many column inches  bemoaning the huge profits and associated wretched services offered by the privatised utilities; the most recent being the railway service.

Yesterday we learned that we have reached the penultimate stage in the privatisation of our medical services.  Soon overpaid bureaucratic administrators will be leaving their offices on a Friday but returning to them on Monday morning as adventurous entrepreneurs, eager and willing to take over the administrative burden that has been dumped on The Nations G.P’s.

Those G.P.’s in the Government inspired consortia will be quickest to sign up with the new organisations that will be replacing the PCT’s that appointed them and we will be in the home straight for a two tier medical system, similar to that in the Dental Services.

We will, before the end of this administration, I suspect, be fully privatised along the lines of that in the States.  Those, who have private medical insurance can expect top level charging and treatment, while the rest of us can expect the treatment, often hinted at in US sitcom’s such as Friends (e.g. when unemployed Joey Tribiani suffered an intestinal hernia or when unemployed Rachel Green sprained her wrist).

How long before your columnists are bemoaning the bonuses being paid to the previously Bureaucratic heads of our PCT’s?