Archive for June, 2014

Plebian austerity versus Friedmanists austerity

June 29, 2014

I’ve  just watched ( 29/6/14) the Boulting Brothers’ film “Lucky Jim”.
It was what passed for comedy in the 1950’s but it did cause me to make another comparison with Today’s Britain.

We had just come out of a World War and were above our heads in debt, with our former Allies demanding payment for the second hand armaments that we had had lend-leased.

Apparently they would have had The Crown Jewels if Churchill hadn’t insisted that they were the private property of the Royal Family (US Gov’t has greatest respect for private property).

We were in dire straits, worse than we now have, after bailing out the banks.

This was the time when the Welfare State was created and when major utilities were in national control.
We had a huge public sector workforce, instead of massive unemployment.
We had more police patrolling one urban district than we have for many city centres.
In the film we had a policeman doing points duty on a small rural crossroad. Probably an unlikely circumstance but not something that would have been remarked on, any more than the chase scene in Norman Wisdom’s film “On the Beat” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKaHH-TSehQ).
That was a genuine austerity Britain. Why is this artificial one so nasty to plebs and an excuse for raping State Assets?

@CamillaTominey It is wrong to say that Grammar schools were unfair. You confuse life and opportunity

June 22, 2014

Grammar schools were fair, in that they opened up an academic education to all those, who were capable benefitting from one.
Labour’s introduction of Comprehensives was intended to give the same education to those who were incapable of benefiting from it as those fitted for it.

It also missed the point that what such people needed was an opportunity for their talents, abilities and inclinations to be recognised and developed.

Obviously there are sports-minded people who could benefit from attending sport’s academies, learning to visualise trajectories instead of calculating them.
There are naturally gifted singers, who could have gained from having access to music school instead of waiting for BGT as Susan Boyle had to, or being abused by the music industry as Ruby Murray was (50’s singer, ended up croaking her songs).
There are some, whose only demand on an education is the equipment to cope with daily life.
I know Id  be bored witless brushing the streets (unlike the Dad in “Bread”), or working on an assembly line but there are people who enjoy such jobs and their freedom from thought.
There are also the unrealistic aspirants, who can’t acknowledge that they’ll never be eligible to play James Bond, or Lara Croft.

They do not need, or want a Grammar school education and it is actually a disservice trying to force them to suffer one.

The Comprehensive system failed, because it still didn’t cater for those, who weren’t intellectually gifted and insisted on trying to teach trigonometry to those who couldn’t and wouldn’t.
It was worsened, when New Labour introduced “Education,education, education”.
They reduced predicted unemployment figures by extending the period in “education”, which meant lowering the standards to an extent, whereby education became unfair again, because those, who would previously been extended at a Grammar School, now had to mark time, whilst the less able struggled to cope with basic concepts (sod off, Piaget).
The added wizard wheeze of clamping down on truanting (it reduced the need for coppers in town centres), ensured that there were plenty of disaffected pupils ready and willing to disrupt lessons.
What chance the threat of lines, or detention, or contracts of behaviour for a lad, who’d spent the previous eveninng in police custody and had been cautioned for GBH, or TWOC-ing?
Only those who could afford public school could now be educated upto the best standard of which they were capable.

The key to education is motivation. This doesn’t mean entertaining pupils, or getting down with them, although it is helpful to a degree.
We are motivated by success, praise (when deserved) and hope of reward.
A girl become’s an engineer, not because her Mum takes away her dolls and gives her Meccano for Xmas, but because she has a gift for Math and a curiosity on how things work.
Motivation can be the look of pride on a parent’s face or the pleasure on the teacher’s but when time to think about the job market comes along, then money takes precedence.
Money isn’t a great motivation but it can be a disincentive, when an engineer knows that no matter how good he/she is, they’ll never earn as much as the numpty, who is put in place to “manage” him/her.
That the numpty will have a bigger house, better holidays and a less fraught retirement, having done nothing more than scrape a PPE degree and gone to school with the right people.
Grammar school’s weren’t unfair. scrapping them and giving public schools a tax break was unfair.

A last thought, who’d cope best in a job swap?

Ed Miliband (£130k + expenses and amenities), or a Senior Staff Nurse (£40k + unsocial hours)

privatisation once more proves its social undesirability with passport office

June 19, 2014
The reports on how passports are being fast-tracked is on par with our open borders.
It would seem that the only purpose of a passport is to be able to leave this country.
It would also seem that the only people being inconvenienced are British residents desiring a short holiday abroad.
Surely within the EU all one needs is a driving licence, or a bus pass, which should cut out some of the overload.
In fact rather than this free-for-all, which is foregoing validation of personal details, couldn’t a simpler three-month passport be issued, for those wishing merely to holiday abroad?
A full passport could then be available later, after the crisis has subsided and after the Passport Office has re-installed proven staff to make itself fit for purpose, again.

A surgeon prefers to excise the tumour, politicians prefer to cut off the limb

June 19, 2014
We are told Obama is joining with Iran and other interested parties in opposing ISIS.
This presumably will mean an eventual halt to the death’s of innocent Iraqi’s.
Except, of course, that with bombs and bullets all around, there will be casualties and further innocent Iraqi’s will probably die, in the meantime.
If every last ISIS militant is killed, this will not be an end to the conflict, any more than the death of Osama Bin Laden ended Al Qaeda.
Another group will emerge, because the men funding them will remain untouched.
It is unlikely that Western intelligence sources don’t know, or can’t find out who these paymaster’s are and this raises the question of why such men live, whilst thousands die.
If our politicians, in the West, truly wanted to end this eternal conflict, they would not, as suggested on BBC’s Newsnight, bring pressure to bear on such people.
They’d take a more direct approach.
The assassination of Lord Louis Mountbatten by the IRA, shows how easy it is for politicians to overlook such improprieties, for the sake of the big picture.
It is puzzling why they prefer to spend millions to kill mainly bystander’s, when there is a cheaper option.

@afneil base constituencies of a second house on social groups.

June 19, 2014

I would replace The Lords with a Parliament, where the MP’s have constituencies based on career, union, social group, or similar
That way you’d get politician’s, representative of real people with real life experience and self selecting by virtue of ability to express the views of their colleagues.
We’d get rid of party political broadcasts, because the constituencies would select candidates from their own newsletters, forums etc.

Allocate ~600 seats and base constituencies on minimum membership (0.2% registered voters).
Butcher’s , Baker’s and Candle-stick maker’s could agree to coalesce to form a big enough group.
Voter’s could select their constituency, based on their eligibility e.g. a catholic plumber could join a plumber constituency, or a catholic one.

People could change their allegiance, with proof of eligibility, the same way they can tax their car.
The responsibility for vetting voters would be upto constituency management, with suitable penalties for management panel found to be deliberately fraudulent. (there’d have to be some leeway for genuine failures.

Those knowingly registering / voting twice would faced with a prison term.

Coalition’s could form and separate as their policies affected their constituency numbers.
Groups, which tried to scam members would lose them to alternate groups.
Large groups might qualify for two, or more candidates.
No group of people could claim to be totally under-represented.
Pressure Groups, which believe they shpould have a bigger say in policy – making, would to argue their corner rather than just targetting a few politicians, who would now face rapid de-selection and replacement.
Management panels would be responsible for the incomes of their MP’s. It would cease to be a drain on the Treasury and a source of public corruption.

is tom-tom data-mining me?

June 13, 2014

Unfortunately tom-tom’s satnav software seems to be the best available, so I got the cheapest model @£100.

Even although they charged me so much for a castrated device, they obviously don’t like having to deliver “free maps for life”, even though the life referred to is only the life of the model that I bought (I.e. maps for as long as they feel like it).

I was concerned that every time I switched on my laptop, I was being told that there were 2 updates and they took ages to transfer.

I became even more suspicious, when I found the up-dates running much faster, after I had run CCleaner just before shutting down the previous session.

I have since begun running CCleaner, before connecting to Tom-Tom and the time taken to do this has been more than made up for by the reduction in time that TomTom needs to access my computer.

I suspect that TomTom must be uploading my browser cache, although I would have thought FFirefox would have means of preventing this. I wish I was more computer savvy, because I’m getting fed up being made to hang around whilst others take control of my computer.

Why net neutrality is important #occupy

June 9, 2014

The internet links us like neural pathways in a brain,

Individuals tweeters etc. may, individually, talk nonsense but the pathways that persist tend to be truthways and the majority of users come to believe (know) the truth of matters.

Gov’t propaganda acts like drugs; it creates temporary confusion but at the end of the day, the truth holds sway.

Only Net neutrality can keep this new consciousness alive.

Ending net neutrality will be like an overdose of heroin.

Bye-Bye coalition and Good Riddance, when you finally go.

June 7, 2014

A leader in the Daily Express prompted this letter:

I, for one, am pleased that this coalition Government has caused Westminster antipathy towards any future coalitions.
No-one voted for this present coalition, which has disappointed , if not angered, the majority of the electorate.
Many, such as myself, were looking forward, towards a minority government, headed by the party with the most MP’s.
This would have been a victory for Democracy, whereby Labour, or Tory policies could only be implemented with the consent of the majority of our elected representative’s.
If Clegg hadn’t offered his MP’s as voting fodder for Cameron’s cabinet, the Lib Dems wouldn’t be looking like an ex-party.
I like to think that if, instead of selling his voters for a seat in Cabinet, he had been a Statesman and let his MP’s have a free vote on anything, which they had not committed to in their own manifesto, then Lib Dems might well have cut some of the ground from under UKIP and stole Labour and Tory voter support from those desperately wishing for a democratic government

Normandy

June 7, 2014
A tweet about Putin reputedly feeling miffed over D-Day speches, prompted this letter to the Daily Express
Normandy was a Big Deal and was enacted by soldiers of the Western Democracies.
But Putin was reportedly upset that no mention had been made of Russia’s contribution to the War effort.
It’s to be hoped that he did not actually express such a view, else he would have invited further acrimony from The West.
The (very) young men who died, in huge numbers, on Normandy beaches, did so without fear of summary execution by their own people for refusing to go.
We know that large numbers of Russian soldiers died on the Eastern front, many while Russia waited for this Second Front.
It is worth taking note that the Allies were also fighting in Italy (unreported as Commanders and Press oversaw the preparations for Normandy) and , mainly G.I’s, in the Pacific.
Landings in Sicily, Italy and multiple Pacific islands were just as bloody..
There was no attempt at an invasion of Japan by Russia.
No Russian soldiers had to brave unprotected machine gun fire, whilst wading ashore.
The soldiers of Normandy deserved their accolade without having to acknowledge that many other’s were also dying that day.

Quantitative easing. Using politics to buy the World.

June 7, 2014

I recently read this on a financial advisory post:
     
Eoin Treacy’s view:

Simplistic economic models like to imagine that an economy is an island and that all of the money created within it stays within the domestic system. The global economy just does not function that way. Money created by one central bank is globally mobile and will seek the most attractive assets and/or highest yields. The Fed might be tapering the size of its purchases but the ECB has stopped sanitising its purchases and the Bank of Japan is still printing. The next result is that liquidity remains abundant which continues to act as a tailwind for asset price inflation.

This says, to me, that quantitative easing means devaluing your currency by issuing more banknotes; basically iou’s. This means house prices will rise and everything on the domestic market will cost more, as each iou represents a share of that country’s assets, which are fixed.

Put another way, if I have 10 sheep and sell 10 shares in them, then those shares are worth 1 sheep each. If I then sell another 10 shares (essentially fraud), then those shares now become worth half a sheep, so buyers would need to have two share certificates to buy a sheep.

The warning being given is that this only applies to those dealing with my iou’s. If my neighbour had sold shares in his sheep and they were still each worth one of his sheep, then owner’s of his iou’s would not see my sheep as being more expensive.

It means that financially my currency is weaker and his is stronger.

If your Gov’t has been printing money then prices of some goods may have risen out of your reach but the rise will not be as much as if the only people buying the goods were also from your country.
In terms of businesses, it means that your costs will rise but your sales will fall and you may have to sell your business more cheaply than you’d have done so, before your Government had cheated everyone.

In such a situation, a foreign company, with surplus cash, might see your selling price as dirt cheap, compared to what he could buy at home. So foreign companies buy into businesses in countries with a weaker economy, knowing that their own politician’s will eventually also start printing money, making those foreign assets more valuable.

That’s why several year’s back, British companies were gobbling up American companies and now American companies are gobbling up British companies and why everyone (notably Germany and Russia)  is gobbling up Greece, Italy, Spain etc.