Archive for December, 2016

“it was alright in the 70’s” is so sanctimonious.

December 10, 2016

I’m watching “it was alright in the 70’s” and I’m amazed at the prudish attitude of the present generation.
I suppose it’s our fault; It was our generation, who encouraged this puritan attitude, as part of our “everyone has rights” and should stand up for them.

It’s become a culture of “look for offence and condemn it, unconditionally”.

In the 70’s, I was in my late 20’s. We had entered a period, where we no longer went from children to responsible adults at 21. We were liberated young adults, who could define our own boundaries.
The key was that the contraceptive pill had become available.

Previously, any man forcing himself on a woman, was a potential rapist and would not be tolerated. Any girl, who became pregnant was “no better than she ought to be”.

Now women could have sex without fear of pregnancy. Combine that with the surge of post-war feminism, Germaine Greer’s “female Eunuch”,”burn your bra” and the Summer of Love, suddenly it was OK for men to be more aggressive and for women to be more approachable. Newspapers reported pubescent girls fighting to have sex with rock stars. It was a period where new boundaries were being set and, to an extent, it’s still settling in with ladettes, Ibiza and same sex marriage.
Perhaps in another 30 years, the next generation will be perplexed by the sanctimony oozing out of this TV series.
It’s also worth pointing out that we had only recently got 4 terrestrial TV channels, which not everybody could receive, and we did not have PC’s or Google. A phone call to the USA cost £’s per second. We were not as sophisticated as we are now. Anything we knew of other cultures, came to us third hand. As for racial stereotypes, even ultra-sophisticated Hollywood still used white actors faking Asiatics(Charlie Chan, Flash Gordon). It was still possible for the BBC to cast public school actors as Scouser’s using cod Brummie accents. For the Public School types it was on par with actors holding masks in Greek theatre and we accepted it ( although I admit to a slight aggravation at the Brummie accent)

various blogs 5

December 10, 2016

letters to Daily Mirror, not published:

It seems obvious what Labour must do to wim the next general election.
Stop opposing brexit and start opposing the privatisation of the NHS.
Brexit is going ahead and whilst a soft brexit won’t win any more votes from Remainers, it will lose them votes from Brexiteers.
Jeremy Corbyn and all Labour MP’s must go on the offensive over the NHS.
Not just whinging about Hunt’s manic delight but promising to overturn all his actions and hit the privateer’s where it hurts.
Brexit can only win votes for Tories and UKIP
NHS can win votes from Tories and UKIP

I’ll agree with your reader on compulsory voting, if we can have a “none of rhe above” box on the ballot.
It’d be interesting to see how often it would collect the most votes.

Your Reader is wrong to say that we have a representative democracy.
If it were so, our MP’s would vote according to what they believe their electorate would wish them to vote.
We actually have a Parliamentary Democracy, in which MP’s only consider their own wishes and self interest.
Usually that means, in order of priority, the party whip (Leader’s views), a rich lobbyist, a political clique, or, when needing to be re-elected, what their party agent advises.

It’s sad, when a retired ship like HMS Illustrious ( Lusty ) is sent to the scrapyard but why is it invariably a foreign scrapyard?
In this case, a Turkish one.
Wouldn’t it make political sense to dismantle her in the same yards where she was assembled?
It’d create work for our domestic workforce, reduce the need for imported steel feedstock and enable ship designer’s to re-examine the viability of their original technique’s.

This was published as was a response but not my response Viz:

#|t’s sad when a retired ship like HMS Illustrious is sent to the scrapyard, but why is it invariably a foreign scrapyard (Mirror, Dec 8)?
Wouldn’t it make sense to dismantle her in the same yards where she was assembled, creating jobs for our domestic workforce?
John Shale, Wigan

# John Shale of Wigan asks why HMS Illustrious was scrapped abroad (Madeuthink,
Decemberi 2).
In Hartlepool, Able UK scrapped ships and won a contract from the US to scrap 13 of its Navy ships. Four were brought to the yard. There followed a five-year legal battle brought by people who said it was dangerous to scrap ships in the UK.
The go-ahead was finally given but because of the case, the contract for the others was lost. I imagine no UK yard wants that sort of hassle.
Alan Short Redcar, North Yorks

Not published
Thanks to to Alan Short from Redcar for his letter on the response to my query about HMS Illustrious.
I was able to find details here:
 It’s a shame that a compromise couldn’t be reached.
I’m sure that a British scrapyard would have been a lot more conscientious in the waste handling than often happens, elsewhere.
This BBC report suggests that the waste from the four ships, which were dismantled, was dealt with in a proper manner.
It’s also worth noting that the USA mostly handles the dismantling of old naval vessels in its own facilities, such as the Philadelphia naval yard (


Brian Reade has correctly identified the problem with paedophiles in football.
It’s not that there are no whistleblowers but that those in authority have always tried to cover it up.
It is not a crime to do so and maybe it should be, at least in this particular case.
So, let’s make it a criminal offence to not report such cases to the Police.
The Police may not have sufficient evidence to take action but they can, at least, make the accused formally aware that the matter is on file.
To make it effective, it should also be a crime for any member of the police force to not log the accusations.
That way repeat offenders can become known and the newly created Police Commissioners can justify closer surveillance of suspected paedophiles.

Scientists in Bern say that we could have a decade of of icy Winter’s bringing starvation and death.
 Perhaps we should re-open the pits?

Politically there are two main issues, which concern the UK electorate.
They are Brexit and the NHS.
The Remain political elite are saying they’ll accept a “soft” Brexit but, as seen on BBC Question Time, Brexit voter’s do not want that.
This would seem to indicate another “shock” vote at the next General Election with only UKIP offering a true , or “hard”, Brexit.
Then, again UKIP is happy with the privatisation of the NHS, so, many  won’t vote UKIP.
But what if it’s true, as some say, that the EU rules mean that the privatisation of the NHS can not be reversed.
No-one seems to be offering a re-nationalisation of the NHS, even Corbyn has stayed eerily quiet on that point, whilst Tony Blair has teemed up with Branson, who looks to make millions out of the NHS.
On polling day, politicians and pundits will be hoping that voters will go for a “soft” Brexit.
It all depends on whether voters are as simple as politicians are hoping they are.
As I said, a “shock” vote could be on the cards, despite Blair and Branson’s millions and their “not for profit” trust.

The @DailyMirror campaign, to force an opt-out organ donation scheme on the UK, could be a cause for concern.

December 10, 2016

Would there be a lower age limit, or would those, too young to vote, be automatic candidates?
In view of the privatisation of the NHS and what we’ve seen with blood donations, would the trade in organs be administered by a private organisation (I include those claiming charitable status) and, if so, how would priorities be arranged? Hopefully not by auction.
Some people, because of religious beliefs, see their body as a temple to God and oppose desecration of that temple. It is likely that an over-zealous Hospital administration may be remiss in verifying that a deceased patient had opted out. Will there be sanctions for such cases, or will a “lessons will be learned” apology be deemed sufficient.
Will organs be harvested, “just in case”?
I’m sure there may be other issues but none seem to be addressed in this campaign, which dwells entirely on the feel-good gratitude of the recipients and the “everyone else is doing it” argument.




tweeted this last night. I wonder if the phrase “political cousins” will catch on.
“the Leader of the Opposition is one of a few Socialists The rest are political cousins”.

various blogs 4

December 1, 2016


Dan Jarvis is right to call on Labour MP’s to stop treating complaints on immigration as racism.
Such complaints are better understood by comparison with train journeys.
Of course some journeys will have empty seats but there will be some, where people will be packed like sardines, some sitting on the floor and some risking their health.
Those on the train will object to any more coming aboard.
Telling them that they are being racist won’t help and may even encourage them to accept the label out of anger.
The solution is to spend some money on more carriages.
In the same way, the best solution to racism in this country is to stop sacking public sector workers and create more jobs.
Build more houses, powerstations, reservoirs etc.
Create more public transport links.
Let Labour voters feel that they have some elbow room and won’t have to count their pennies.
In other words reverse all the policies of successive Governments since Maggie and re-nationalise.

published version (30/11/16)

#Dan Jarvis is right to call on Labour MPs to stop treating voters’
complaints about immigration as racism.
Telling people they are being racist when they have legitimate concerns
may even encourage some Labour voters to desert the party.
Labour voters need to feel they have some elbow room and a chance of
earning a fair wage.


When viewing the House of Lords, one sees many ex-MP’s, well over the age of 70.
Many make a useful contribution to their debates and it seems politics is one of those professions, where being old is not a problem.
In the wider world, most people find the life of work increasingly difficult upon reaching 60 and, indeed, once you’re past 50, you’ll notice employer’s taking a stronger interest in your abilities.
Look around most workplaces and you’ll see few people, especially men, over the age of 55.
I’ve no doubt that those public sector workers, reported as being made redundant, will mainly be in their 50’s.
True, we’re living longer but we’re still suffering the ravages of time and any talk of raising the pensionable age to 70 is a callous sentence of death for most of the population.
Who will employ these old wrecks? They can’t all work for B&Q.
Politician’s need to reconsider this intent, or are they also considering disenfranchising the old.

Paul Routledge’s piece about a snowflake generation was depressing, although his advice to them was sound, it is an extrinsic solution when an intrinsic solution is needed.
It needs a change in culture, which can be best implemented in schools,
The question is how it came about and what we can do about it.
It maybe that they’ve been over-protected with excessive H&S restrictions, too much separation from the realities of life with oven-ready chickens and restrictions against children having pocket money jobs.
Maybe they’ve been cowed by the lack of police protection from bullies and gangs, or from fear of being accused of committing hate crimes.
For me, their biggest handicap, pointed out by Paul Routledge, looks to be their inability to stand up in front of crowds and speak garbage, with confidence.
This ability seems to be key to achieving the best paying jobs of politics, sales, P.R., acting and all front room jobs involving the Public.
This is probably the one skill we need to copy from those who have attended Public Schools.
The US “Show and Tell” lessons, “mock elections and Debating Societies could possibly be more greatly emphasised in State Schools.


The Queen is said to prefer Windsor to Buck House and only uses Buckingham Palace for State functions.
Why not make a compulsory purchase?
Chequers could be fitted out for State functions, instead of being a second (rarely used) pad for the Chancellor.
Most of Buck House could be converted to accommodation for MP’s.
A new Parliamentary chamber could be built in the spacious Palace grounds and Westminster Palace could be sold off, saving the £3-4 Billion its refit will cost.


Capping whip lash claims for car accidents, shows up the farce of car insurance, which was originally enforced, by Law, to protect those hurt in car accidents.
The Road Traffic Act Insurance standard is no longer offered by Insurance Companies. In many cases their Third party, Fire and Theft has been totally supplanted by Comprehensive cover.
For many of us the “Service” offered by insurance companies is a legal imposition, which doesn’t make financial sense.
If Government wasn’t run for those, who own the Insurance companies (and will soon own our NHS), it’d make more sense to increase road tax and let the State carry the burden of those hurt in Road Traffic Accidents.
Those with expensive cars would still buy Comprehensive car insurance policies, without the threat of being arrested.


Jack Blanchard reports that the Chancellor is considering cutting air passenger duty in order to help those families, who are “just about managing” (JAM’s).
They truly have a different mind-set to the lower orders.
For them, “just about managing” probably means only having one foreign holiday a year, having a car that needs an MOT certificate, travelling by Second Class Rail etc.
For most, it’s having some money at the end of the week, having some Xmas presents for the kids, perhaps being able to afford a Newspaper.
It’s Mr Micawber’s definition of happiness.


I have a lot of sympathy with Prince Harry and his personal life.
It’s one thing to print pictures of his antics in a US hotel room, quite another to leer over the young woman, whom he is now romancing.
He’s a young man, who’s seen active service in a war zone and projected a far better image of this country than any present politician or celeb.
It’s fair enough to allow interest in his public life, although he’s not in direct line to the throne, but his private life seems unremarkable and doesn’t deserve the attention that it is getting from the Media.
Indeed, it is The Media, which controls this.
There are millions of trolls on Social Media but they are like piranha. They only nip into attack mode as part of a feeding frenzy.
We saw it, in the Media, with Brexit, where racists saw mainstream politicians sniping at immigrants and became emboldened to try to physically attack them in public.
IPSO is an irrelevance in such cases and it is up to Media Editor’s to take a responsible role.
In the case of Meghan Markle, it’s natural to report on her being seen with him, in public, but maybe the social media stories didn’t need encouragement by referencing them
As an example the papparazi telephoto shots of his sister-in-law sunbathing were not socially responsible and shouldn’t have been published. The black bars on the published photo’s made them worse in this respect.
Perhaps the Daily Mirror could take the lead, declare a self-censoring set of standards and promote them.
Try to make them the norm thoughout The Media, such that ordinary users of Social Media take them up and the Trolls feel isolated.


I hope, when Clinton makes her first speech to the nation,she has enough sense to incorporate a message of hope to those who voted against her, rather than for Trump.
It was quite clear on our screens that many black Americans were saying that despite successive Democrat Presidencies, they were still feeling oppressed.
Blue collar workers felt that they were being deprived of jobs and rhe ability to earn a decent living.
The Occupy movement reflects the feeling of many Americans that she only cares about those with money and that nothing has been done for those, whose houses were left empty, whilst they slept in trucks, after the sub-prime mortgages scandal.
There’s a lot of discontent in America and they have access to guns.