Archive for July, 2011

fill pubs with coffee bars, teenagers and jukeboxes

July 31, 2011

Last night I passed a  large group of young men, hanging around on a street corner.
50 yards away was one of the few pubs left in the area, with probably no more than a dozen customers.
As far as I am aware, it is not illegal for teenagers to be on public premises, although Police may ask them to leave.(http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/parents/yourchildshealthandsafety/worriedabout/dg_10026211).
Bearing in mind that there are too few Police, any more, to have them bother checking out licensed premises, let alone enforcing laws against under-age drinking, it would make sense, as I’ve argued previously, if pubs were to encourage teens by having areas intended to attract them.
Less pub closures and fewer intimidating groups of youths sounds reasonable to me.

Advertisements

Express: Baker Days

July 31, 2011

 

Excerpt from  Jennifer Selway column in the Express: “days which teachers take off for no good reason, causing massive inconvenience”
 I’ve not been a teacher for some time but it still rankles when newspaper columnists re-state that old lie that schools are closed just so that teachers can (selfishly) have inset days.
Let me recount the truth, or, at least, my version of it. 
If you check the “school year”, pre-1980 and now, you will find that the number of days required for pupils to be in school has remained the same.
Kenneth Baker, Maggie’s education minister, as part of his package of measures to reform education under the guise of improving standards (to their present level) took 5 days of the holiday allocation and required that teacher’s come into empty schools and  “be trained”.
Initially this was claimed to be to ensure successful implementation of his new National Curriculum and the constantly amended versions of it.
Because of the high quality of teachers at that time, the training days were a headache for school leaders, who had to manufacture schemes to keep teachers busy (much like supply teachers often keep classes occupied until the real teachers come back).
Some of the leaders, of the more affluent schools, tried to lessen the angry mutterings of the “bored to death” staff, by using the allocated funding, supplemented by PTA funds, to hold these training days at more interesting venues. This was, with justification, met by cries of outrage.
A consequence was that these “Baker days” were dispersed during term time.
This disruption of school schedules adversely affected some exam classes, which upset staff, pupils and parents but by encouraging the notion that these inset days were, despite being opposed by unions, somehow the consequence of union action, condemnation shifted from Government to Staff.
So teachers have five days holiday taken off them (not a big problem), they are bored witless by pointless exercises, have the headache of trying to re-work deadlines and cousework to fit in with these missing workdays and they are vilified for the whole pointless concept, by people, who have swallowed Government propaganda, without any attempt to verify the truth.
 
reply from jenny and my response

Dear John,
Many thanks for your email. Yes what you say is all true – but parents still find inset days a pain and assume teachers are all off having pub lunches and watching power point presentations while half asleep. Go on, you know they do. Anyway I don’t quite see why teachers need to be trained any more. How much training can a person take? They tried to give us some new software training a few months ago. Hopeless. Came in the next day and couldn’t remember anything I was supposed to have learned the day before. Nobody’s noticed yet…
All best
Jenny

Thanks! but it’d have  been nice if you hadn’t phrased your piece to sound as though you also considered this to be an accepted truth.  There are probably a few more young mum’s who now believe that teacher’s are just being selfish.

Only the threat of revolution checks the rapacity of Capitalists

July 31, 2011

Britain seems to have avoided revolutions, apart from when the obdurate Charles I was parted from his head, by back-pedalling from oppressive measures, when the scent of revolution stared to drift towards these islands.
In the late 18th Century it was the American War of Independence, the French Revolution and agitation about “The Rights of Man” (http://www.ushistory.org/paine/rights/d0.htm) that caused William Pitt to reduce taxes and step back from oppression of the British peasantry. Although commoners had gone as far as flourishing the tricolore in British streets, Revolution was averted and Britain ventured into the iniquities of the Industrial revolution, if you were poor, alt., the Glorious Victorian age, if you were rich.
The end of the Victorian age saw the rich with more money than they knew what to do with and Wall Street went mad. Share prices rose to suck up this excess wealth and even commoners found their meagre investments making them rich, on paper.

The Wall Street Crash and the ensuing Depression saw conditions for the peasants, which were not much above those being suffered in parts of Africa now.

The rich built stronger walls around their houses and lived off their investments in the colonies.

The First World War, arising from squabbles over who owned which colonies, was a chance to kill off the excess peasantry but unfortunately saw the surviving peasantry with gun skills and souls inured to the prospect of dying.
This was what partly lent itself to The Russian Revolution. British soldiers returning to their wretched civilian lifestyles were a cause of great concern to the likes of Churchill (Secretary of State for War), who wanted to help crush the Russian Revolution. The red flag was waved in British streets and trade unionism swayed towards Communism.
Again, revolution was averted by relaxing oppression of the peasantry and encouraging the birth of the Labour Party, with its more moderate leaders.
The Second World War was caused by the greed and bloody mindedness of French Capitalists, which led to the conditions, which could have turned Germany into a Communist State.  

Hitler  presented himself as an alternative.

Financed by German Capitalists and endorsed by some of our own priveleged elite (e.g. Duke of Windsor),  Hitler, it was hoped, would counter Stalin and Communist Russia.

Unfortunately he had his own agenda and Churchill had to support Communist Russia against Hitler.

Even without Japanese imperialism, Churchill would have embroiled the U.S in the war against Hitler and he was quick to ensure that the U.S. remained in Europe as a bulwark against Russian Communism.
Since the collapse of Communism in Russia and China, we have moved rapidly towards the previous status quo and the virtues of Victorianism have been widely promulgated.
Many civil liberties have disappeared and State assets sold off as the Welfare State has been seen as no longer necessary to avoid civil unrest.
I suspect that “the powers that be” believe that the new technology will suffice to police the peasantry  and that a new expanded form of military/police will serve to keep us in our places.
It’s difficult to see the future but the events in Libya  could be the pattern that will shape it.

Express: High Street demise

July 31, 2011

Mr. Pickles lives more in hope than in any real chance of seeing City Centres revitalised.

Labour dominated Councils, such as we have in Wigan, are five years into the processes that will starve City Centres of customers.
Releasing Councils from the directives set down by John Prescott can’t head off the cumbersome machinery that has been created.
Wigan has a new document, inappropriately named “Wigan on the move”. Created by a highly paid officer, appointed for the purpose of effectuating Prescott’s transport policies, and nursed by a doctrinaire Labour leader, Baron Smith of Leigh, its sole aim is to deter motorists from entering the town.
Essentially, it will use its revenue to create pedestrian routes, cycle routes/lanes and bus/lorry lanes into town. Advertising will be used to promote the “healthier” options of walking and cycling, whilst out of town visitors will have a new transport hub, with a park and ride scheme. All arguably praiseworthy.
In the meantime, commuters from Wigan to Liverpool, Manchester etc. will find their congestion problems unresolved, as there will be insufficient funds to create new internal roads to relieve the bottlenecks created centuries back in the days of horse and cart.
Similar situations will be found throughout the old Labour dominated regions, where only public transport, which includes mayoral cars, is deemed socially acceptable and local residents, who work outside the town, are a tiresome irritant, who don’t fit in with Council plans.
With out of town Hypermarkets catering for most shopping needs, with no need to struggle on to public transport, carrying bulky purchases and no preposterously high parking charges (soon to be extended to Sunday’s, to foil those High Street shopkeepers relying on Sunday shopping), why would anyone, who can still afford to run a car, go elsewhere?

devalue all currencies, it’s only empty promissory notes

July 31, 2011

As Dave Cameron says, all countries are in debt. But to who?

The money must be owed to wealthy individuals. Such people can not possibly ever spend that money and if the World Economy collapses it will be worthless script anyway.

As Streseman showed with the RentenMark, money is a fiction and, as such, can be whatever we agree it to be.

I know that I am probably being simplistic but than the politicians, who control our lives, are  not economic geniuses themselves.

 I venture the suggestion that if every country in the world announced a devaluation of their currency to 0.0001% of its present value, the present financial crisis would evaporate.

Country A would no longer owe £1 trillion but a mere £1 million. Country B would no longer be owed £1 trillion but a mere £1 million. However that £ 1 million would still buy the previous number of burgers etc.

Those losing out would be the likes of Jabba the Hutt characters and as they’d no longer have any excess cash, Governments could ignore them as easily as they ignore ordinary citizens.

pas nous !

July 29, 2011

Is France  distancing itself from culpability for the Libyan incursion?

In its report on the death of the rebel leader and a possible split in the rebel forces, France 24 news international avoids mention of its own Government’s involvement with phrases such as “United States, Britain and several dozen other nations that have recognized the rebel council as Libya’s legitimate leaders”

In the early days Sarkozy seemed to be pushing Cameron aside to stand next to Obama (albeit on a raised daïs), when announcements were made.

It was certainly made clear that French Jets were doing a lot of shooting up, until there was some blue on blue. As British sources made it clear that their own  fighters were elsewhere, one might believe it was a specific nation’s fighter’s that were involved.

It all looks quite worrying, considering that our future role in Europe seems to be to provide the fighting forces for French Generals and Admirals, directed by a Parliament based in French speaking countries, with French speaking Civil Servants. (Is there really any difference between Belgian and French languages?)

wigan reporter advert for wigan planning …Consultation planned over transport . LOL

July 27, 2011

Wigan Council have revamped their regular plan to tell us that we should abandon our cars and announced, via their publicity department, aka The Wigan Reporter, that they want to consult us on the traffic plans.

This was my contribution to the relevant Wigan Today forum:

Anyone checked out

www.wigan.gov.uk/Services/CouncilDemocracy/Consultation/WiganBoroughOnTheMove.htm ,
 for the consultation document?
It’s entitled “wigan on the move” (I wonder if the council planners understand irony).
It tells you what they are going to do.
You are merely invited to agree with it.
Here’s a summary:
More bus lanes…. encourage people to walk into town….more cycle routes….. Park and ride schemes (usually means reduced and more expensive car parking)…. more yellow lines….no money for local congestion in places like Platt Street…….
The consultation will have little impact as they do not want to use the alternative, which is to widen roads and open up links that have been blocked.
The excuse is that there is no money, yet, at the same time they are going to build a new transport hub  etc. I.e.all the things that they intended to spend money on during the Congestion Charge Campaign.

These are things that can only be planned for, once prices and contracts have already been agreed with the relevant private construction groups.

They will have already spent millions on getting to this stage and will not drop the schemes just because we think they are a waste of resources and want to keep our cars.

New scientist reports that FIFA is to review goal line technology

July 26, 2011

This is my response, submitted to New Scientist.

What’s the problem? Ice hockey uses a chip inside a hockey puck so TV can present an enlarged image on the screen. The same chip technology could be embedded in the toecaps of players boots to show up off-sides etc.
If FIFA is worried about the referee’s authority, then have another referee being the only one able to view (during matchtime) the evidence and able to tell the Ref on the pitch what he has seen via the earpiece.

Cable stitched Clegg

July 26, 2011
The recent hacking debacle and the ongoing investigations leave an interesting scenario for the forthcoming Party conference season.
The Lib Dem conference could be especially interesting, with Cleggie having tried to hide away from making comment and Vince Cable having already nailed his colours to the mast and castigated for it.
The reception that each will receive could point the way to the future direction of Lib Dem support and the revival of popular support.
Even Cable’s recent comments about the Republican Congressmen, opposing Obama, will be seen as a positive one by Lib Dems, especially as it will be antagonistic to the position of the Senior party in the coalition.

British Bacon

July 26, 2011
Despite all that’s wrong with European membership, it occasionally throws up a ruling, which points up the decrepitude of our own Parliament.
The new directive to label packs of water-filled bacon as exactly that is a brilliant example.
Food manufacturers started using this “Golden Tap” in the Eighties, to bulk up sausages. They then realised that this device could also inject water into meat, so allowing them to defraud their customers by selling water at the same price as meat.
One consequence has been that you can no longer fry packaged bacon, because of the spitting. Even grilling sees the emergence of white fluids onto the surface of the bacon as it shrivels to half its size.
Isn’t it better that Supermarkets sell waterless bacon and other meats, at twice the price, knowing the customer will still get the same amount of meat, without being defrauded, without having difficulty cooking it properly and without all the flavour leaving the product with the exuded water.
I know that some say that frozen chickens have to be pumped full of water, so that the freeze properly, but this is no longer a valid argument, since vacuum sealing does the same job of preventing freezer burn.
Shame on our MP’s for allowing this practice of adulterating our food and allowing European M.P.’s to show the way.