Archive for September, 2012

@oflynnexpress don’t discount Miliband

September 29, 2012

The coalition have woke up to the fact that they are unlikely to be re-elected and see their only hope lying in Miliband fouling up, somehow.

The Tories will lose ground, because they are seen as toff’s, trampling on the poor (NHS, benefits) and private deals .

Nadine Dorries didn’t create this perception, member’s of the cabinet did. (Fox, Laws, Brookes, Murdoch, Coulson, Wisteria, Lansley, G4S, Mitchell, Osborne).

The LibDems will lose ground unless they shake off Nick Clegg, who is despised but  who has convinced himself that he has regained the trust of party members.

Vince Cable, made stronger by the anti-Murdoch stance, could regain Libdem support, if he can oust Clegg. However, it seems that Clegg no longer has a place in Europe and will fight to stay splitting the party along the “devil you know..” principle.

The Coalition is presumably hoping that Miliband will poke his head above the parapet but he has no need to.

As long as he commits no gaffes, he’ll still get the support of those, who voted Labour last time. Even if he doesn’t gain support, many Libdems and some Conservative’s will abstain.

With the debt that Osborne has created, the Coalition needs to drop the Brown legacy argument.

Cameron’s only hope(assuming no more corruption is discovered) is to break ranks and have a referendum on Europe, before a General election.

It’d have to be for a significant change; significant enough to draw in UKIP support and support of disaffected Labour voters.

Who cried when the fishing,cotton,steel industries were killed off? The Music Industry?

September 24, 2012

when an industry goes toe’s up, plebs are told to move on, move home, learn new trades etc,

the internet could mean the end of Newspapers and an end of the music industry.

There was a time when we had no newspapers, relying on troubadour’s, towncrier’s and vaeious itinerant’s.

It wasn’t so long ago that musicians and singer’s relied on performance money, whilst song-writer’s relied on sheet music sales.

Just because we have enriched these people in the past, by providing a market for their goods, that doesn’t mean that they have a right to demand that we maintain them in the manner to which thet have become accustomed.

I still take newspapers but when greenies start demanding that I pay to dispose of them, I may stop. On the other hand, when broadband etc. charges begin being ramped up, I may bear that extra cost. The decision will and should be mine.

I’m not into modern music, except for the odd rare piece but I feel no sympathy for those who complain that downloads are destroying the music industry.

It’s obviously better for me to be able to play “my music” at home and in comfort, rather than attend a gig, or aconcert (don’t feel the need to mix with fellow devotee’s).

The invention’s of the pianola, musical box, sheet music, phonograph, vinyl records, tapes and discs have all been wonderful addition’s to the quality of life.

Digital music allows us to carry a vast array of music, or even video’s around with us but what does the music industry demand?

We should either buy a cabin trunk to carry cd’s with a smaller selection of such music, or we should be forced to pay over and over again for streamed versions of the music, never actually owning anything.

Interestingly, it’s a similar business model to that of prostitutes, except that it’s possible to clone the music.

If it was possible to clone what prostitutes sell, I doubt the whore or porn industries would last long at the same level of saturation, but the music industry can rely on fandom and the need of teenager’s to practise falling hopelessly in love.

Musicians can still earn a living by live performances and the sale of “artwork” etc.

Newspapers can convert to selling sheet music and specialist services.

Whatever happens, I feel no guilt about not supporting the call for public/state intervention to maintain their income stream.

@number10gov Shouldn’t we be asking G4S to pay the costs of deploying The Army?

September 21, 2012

Consider if a cowboy builder asked for money for the materials and labour for an extension, which collapsed and required you to rush-hire another more reputable builder to get the job done in time.

I would expect your response to be quite Andrew Mitchell.

In fact, I would expect you to sue for the extra costs incurred and for the inconvenience.

in what way was the foul-up by G4S, at the Olympics, any different, except in scale?

I would have hoped that the contract would have had quite severe time penalties and a failure to complete clause. I know that’s not normal for Government contracts, where the taxpayer foots the bill and the culprit receives an honour, but I’m just a householder and expected to be careful with my affairs. (caveat emptor etc.)

I would like to see G4S  being told that they have forfeited most of their payment through non-delivery and that the rest of their payment was being taken as punitive damages, with some going to the squaddies, who had to give up their well-earned leave to reside in abysmal lodgings, rather than their own mattressed beds, warmed by their loving spouses.

That’s what I’d like to see but being an old cynic, with an opinion of politicians that lists venality as one of their less obnoxious traits, I fully expect |G4S will get most of their payment, if not on this contract, then via a subsidiary on another contract, such as supplying training etc for the HS2

@BBCNews @Number10gov How many faces do you have to have, to be a politician?

September 20, 2012

The Nation is mourning the death’s of two young WPC’s.

How ironic that Government Minister’s are not only offering the greatest condemnation of these murders but they are trying to remind us of the debt we owe to the frontline personnel of this Service.

No-one voted for a smaller Police Force but this Force has been cut in numbers every year , with further cuts planned for next year

No one voted for more privately run groups being given police powers and police roles.

No-one voted that police pension funds be pilfered, wages cut and unpaid hours be extended.

Yet this is what these same Minister’s are doing.

Whilst declaring the debt that we owe these men and women, David Cameron and his newly re-formed Cabinet are forcing the frontline police, this very week, to consider that their no-strike agreement has been broken.

The debate over guns is being pushed, despite the fact these young officer’s didn’t have time, or cause, to brandish a gun.

The real debate is why we don’t have sufficient Officer’s to have conducted a Dragnet search of this estate, where it was believed that Cregan was being hid.

The last time we had large number’s of unemployed, we had a Copper on every street corner (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKaHH-TSehQ). Cregan wouldn’t have lasted a day in the wild.

If we can afford to pay Billions for Greece’s public sector wage bill, then we can spare a few more coppers for an effective police service.

‏@Nigel_Farage #occupy @BBCNews Newsnight rules out Europe referendum as an election issue

September 20, 2012

It doesn’t appear as if Newsnight believes that we will be getting a referendum on Europe.
After stating that the present Government had created more debt, than Brown’s had, Jeremy Paxman introduced a piece predicting the basis of the next General Election campaign.
It was noticeable that Paxman avoided mentioning that the newer, greater debt arose from money that was being borrowed to shore up the Euro.
It was also further noticeable that this debt and future Euro debts were not mentioned in the piece that followed.
Essentially we were told that further cuts in public spending would be necessary, after the next General Election, and that the battle would be on where the axe would fall.
Would it be Education, or Health Service, or a mix of these?
Put another way, we would be asked which should be privatised first; hospital’s or school’s, or possibly a mix of both, leaving the less profitable tit-bits in the public sector, with the less than mediocre personnel working for lower wages on the State payroll.
The possibility of a referendum on Europe and a chance to fight our way out of this whirlpool of debt will not be presented as an option.
That UKIP will offer this option is an inconsequentiality, because no-one (presumably not Newsnight, or any BBC program) will present UKIP as a viable alternative vote.
Thus, the general public can be relied on to continue with their traditional vote casting, because, despite public distaste for the main parties, voter’s will, once more, scurry to the polling booth to prevent the other’s getting into power.

Hillsborough and the FA’s non – apology and gate receipts

September 14, 2012

The Hillsborough panel report says that the Sheffield Wednesday ground had no safety certificate.

It also said that in 1981 (Spurs v Wolves), fans were crushed in the same pens, with some injured.

The site was not used again until the 1987 clash between Leeds and Coventry.
Again people were injured by crushing in a ground that still had no safety certificate and which had actually put up further barriers.
After the 1988 match between Liverpool and Notts Forest, more injuries and more barriers, Liverpool wrote to the FA asking that the venue be switched to Old Trafford.
This was refused by the FA (Graham Kelly).
The FA had also refused to be involved in discussions about rendering grounds safe.
The FA had also arranged for Liverpool fans to allocated a smaller share of tickets for this match, despite the obviously greater numbers of fans who would wish to see the match.
The apology from the Chairman of the FA, David Bernstein, was disingenuous, to say the least.
To an disinterested reader it would appear that the FA was apologising merely for holding the competition.
To the uninformed observer, this would seem an unnecessary apology, a mere sop to the LFC fans.
I would hope that the other fans, of the clubs mentioned (many, of whom, suffered in the crushing), would feel the same aggravation at this non-apology, which seems to signal the intent of the FA to continue its disdainful disregard for the people who fund them.
The FA will, apparently, continue to refuse to acknowledge any responsibility for the effects of their decisions, forced on clubs and fans, despite reasoned argument.
The least that the FA should be doing is agreeing to ensure that grounds that they select, offer, not just a cut of the gate, but a safety certificate too.

Hillsborough has another myth: that the crush and the cover-up only began when the gates opened

September 13, 2012

This is a letter sent to the Daily Express but it was also a couple of tweets by trolls about circumstances prior to the gates opening that prompted my writing it.

http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?hl=en&q=leppings+lane+hillsborough&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&biw=1255&bih=654&wrapid=tlif134752699832610&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wl

It was good to read Stephen Pollard recount the details of the report on the cover-up by officials, after the gates were opened at Hillsborough.
Unfortunately in doing so, he perpetuates another myth, which is that opening the gates was the cause of the disaster.
From reports that I’ve read, over the years, and video’s released by those who were there, the opening of the gates merely transferred the problem from outside the gates to inside them.
Kettling of the crowd, outside had caused a crush, with people trying to climb out of the crush and others warning the police of potential death’s.
Once the gates were open, there was only one Stands entrance labelled as such.
The other two sections of the stands, which were caged off, had their own unlabelled entrances.
If there hadn’t been a crush outside, more may have filtered into the other two sections, avoiding the crush in the labelled and, sadly, caged-off stand.
Question’s need to be asked about why this kettling hadn’t happened the previous year, when crushing had also occurred.
The funneling of crowds, with consequent crushing, at the Leppings Lane end, had been reported to the F.A., with a request to transfer the match to Old Trafford, which was a suitably sized venue, with much better access.
The transfer, unfortunately refused by Graham Kelly, would have saved those lives and avoided another cause for people to mistrust those in charge of the Country.

@J_amesp this is a letter for my local paper can you check it

September 12, 2012

This is my take on the present situation and will be printed as such. I know you want to remain apolitical, whereas I despise both main parties, equally,  but let me know if there is any part of my letter that you take particular exception too and I’ll try to modify it.

One of the consequences of the miner’s strike was that M. Thatcher decided to ensure that she kept the police onside by offering them a no-strike deal.
In exchange for agreeing not to strike, she agreed that The Gov’t would never try to undervalue them, when it came to negotiations over pay and conditions.
That deal has been getting undermined ever since Blunkett came up with the idea of PCSO’s.
Year after year, the police presence has vanished from our streets, except for revenue raising from motorists and shows of strength against any public demonstrations.
Ever since Dukinfeld (i/c of Hillsborough death’s and cover-up) helped M.Thatcher to quell the miners’ strike, Chief Constables have been promoted on the basis of being politically amenable.
The basic bobby, who might see himself in the Dixon of Dock Green mould, has been pushed further and further, knowing that his union and his superiors considered that the no-strike rule would accept cuts in numbers and extra voluntary overtime as something to be endured.
However, the privatisation of public services, leading to the cuts in pensions, the extension of retirement age and compulsory redundancy of older employee’s, which have been thrust on all other public sector employee’s (except MP’s) is about to be applied to the police.
The Government is ready for a fight with the police and the ordinary copper is talking about strike action (https://www.policeconstables.org/news/a-message-from-the-chair2), having at last realised that the Gov’t has quietly ripped up their side of the  no-strike agreement.
Far from defending their men, Chief Constables are falling in with Government plans to privatise the Police.
This has been to the extent of one Chief Constable extending Police powers to Traffic Wardens.
The Government believes that private companies such as G4S can replace them.
This is the same Company that was responsible for The Army having to be called in to monitor the Olympics.
It seems likely that the new Police Commissioners will all be established politicians (£5,000 deposit to get on the ballot paper).  These are people who would be ready and willing to extend privatisation and put police powers in the hands of the no-necks of G4S and worse.

@BBCNews I’m strong-minded,you’re a bigot, he’s a fascist…. “shut-up” words

September 12, 2012

Nick Clegg is correct: Anyone, opposed to gay’s marrying, is a bigot. However, so is Nick Clegg.

If you hold an opinion, which you are not prepared to change and which is not based on fact, then you are a bigot. (stating your opinion as being fact is also bigotry).

The problem is that calling someone a bigot is considered to be an insult and a winning argument.

Often, the only way of refuting such a charge is by accepting the other person’s bigotted view, despite your own convictions.

Unless your own view is based on irrefutable and demonstrable fact, then calling someone else a bigot is merely hectoring and shows that you have effectively admitted that you can’t support your own viewpoint.

There is a lot of this sort of argument based on “shut-up” words. Words such as Homophobic, islamophobic, racist and so forth are all used as “shut-up” words.

A Christian can be “accused” of being Islamophobic and therefore having no right for his views to be heard.

There is no equivalent word.

You could accuse a Muslim of being Christianophobic but people would laugh, because that has not achieved acceptance as a a “shut-up” word.

It’s time that these semantically loaded words were recognised for what they are.

They are “shut-up” words, or words of surrender, meaning “I can’t justify my arguments, so I’m going to give you the social equivalent of a kick in the groin”

Next time, someone uses a “shut-up” word you should claim victory and denounce them for resorting to a “shut-up” word.

 

Instead of considering stealing back bus passes, extend their range to MP’s etc.

September 7, 2012

Yesterday, I had to visit a hospital out-patients for a five minute chat.

[Co-incidentally, I found that all the money spent on NHS computers isn’t going to teleconferencing and similar efficiencies but into setting up a system for departments to buy each others services, for when the hospitals are privatised].

The journey there, because of the bus timetables, meant that it wasted (definitely “wasted” as the meeting could have been just as effective with a 5 min. teleconference or phone chat) 2 hours of my life.

Of course I’m a pensioner and have nothing else to do except squander the few years that I have left.

However the thing that caught my attention was another item about ending free bus passes.

I’ve just scrapped my car (got £149 and gave £105 to car insurance companies for privilege).

If I bought another second hand car @ £3000 to last 3 years, it’d cost £160 for MOT’s £1000 for insurance, £600 for tax and, say, £300 for spares. Total about £5000, or £1700 p.a. Call it £6 per day. My journey, adding in petrol and parking charge would have been about £9 compared to the £7:70 for bus fares.

For an extra ~£1 I could have had door to door transport, in comfort, no waiting around, in the rain, and I’d have saved over an hour of my life.

I would have had the convenience of calling in for some shopping, which I had to do later at local shops, without the necessity of hefting a shopping bag around with the straps threatening to amputate my fingers.

With a car I could have visited a supermarket where the reduced prices would have more than offset the cost of the fuel (even at its present excessively over-taxed prices) and the time involved would have meant that my frozen foods would have not thawed, as they would have done, going by bus.

Having a car has other advantages, which the present generation has become used to.

Instead of the days out (up early, home late) of my youth, where a journey to the seaside, or Big City, was once or twice a year, we now expect day trips to the same places, which, by car, take up only the middle of the day.

If bus passes are scrapped, there would be a lot of unwelcome consequences.

I would expect:

The cost of living index to rise, as older shoppers are forced to use local shops.

Sales of frozen goods would be hit as local shops don’t have much capacity for such items.

Supermarkets and shopping centres would experience a drop in custom, unless they lay on their own free bus services. (their private parking firms would lose trade, as would the DVLA, whom they rely on).

There would be a greater claim on ambulance services, as older driver’s fail to cope with heavy traffic and cyclist’s get mown down by even more stressed out motorists and bus driver’s.

Buses would find some older people choosing to travel at peak times, increasing the need for a greater capacity at those times and reducing the demand outside peak times.

Hospitals and doctor’s would older patients more reluctant/unable to visit them, meaning missed appointments and an increased demand for more resources for home visiting.

There would be a greater demand for larger State pensions, bearing in mind that bus passes and Winter fuel allowances were political dodges to avoid earlier cost of living increments.

The only people to benefit would be local white van men, as pensioner’s forced to buy bulky items on-line, would create a new demand for their services. (of course that would increase the road traffic accident rate too, judging by how some of them drive.

Greater traffic congestion would mean more litigation against privatised ambulance,police and fire services.

Greater congestion would further impede bus services, as it would be difficult to fit in any more Bus Lanes.

A greater demand for parking places in Town centres, by those such as myself, who would revert to the car

I daresay that I could add further but what’s the point?

Our Chancellor, Dizzy Ozzy, has the mindset of a book clerk and can’t see beyond the “let’s cross this of the list” view of those Public School boys, trained to run an Empire, by being decisive and determined and bloody-minded.

The Donkey’s (leading Lions) of The Great War, with an ex-fag ready to fall on his sword and take any blame.

People who issue Diktat’s and leave to the underlings to implement them.

People, who faced with a problem,  envisage themselves as another Alexander cutting the Gordian knot and not worrying that the assemblage falls apart.

People who retire into a peaceful old age, with a peerage, or at least a gong, and maybe a statue proclaiming the successes achieved by underlings, despite his best efforts.