Archive for December, 2018

Blogpost 32: 9/12/18

December 9, 2018

22/11/18 brexit never comes
How can Gordon Brown assert that no-one wants a no-deal Brexit?
Isn’t that precisely what we were asked to vote on?
We were warned that it would cause economic disaster and job losses, yet 17.4 bMillion still voted for it.
The only reason we have this Brexit omni-shambles is because the majority of MP’s opposed it, as did Brussels.
For two years now, we’ve been told that we were cretinous dupes of a few avaricious Tory MP’s and we didn’t have the intellect and insight of our Westminster betters.
Instead of further attempts to delay Brexit with doomed attempts to find a compromise, let’s have an IN, or OUT second referendum.
No debates, no £9 million propaganda leaflets.
No talk of deals, which keep us in the EU.
No Newspaper campaigns to “educate” us.
We’ve heard all the Remain claims over the last two years.
Anyone likely to have been persuaded to switch will have been persuaded , by now.
Those who voted to Leave may feel defrauded, if the majority now vote to remain, but no more so than we would be, by either of the “soft” Brexits we’ve been offered.

22/11/18 welcome to the provinces
Interesting to read that Talk Talk has moved its Head Office from London to Manchester, especially as its business relies on Telecommunications.
The puzzle is why others, in the industry, persist in remaining in London. It’s overheads will be much lower and most provincial centres have access to the same resources as London.
How many businesses need to deal with contacts face to face, any more?
Employees will lose their London allowance but so what? They’ll no longer need it.
Such businesses wouldn’t need to be in City centres, either, with rural areas being no more than 30 mins away.
Published version

Talk Talk’s head office move from London to Manchester begs the question as to why other firms persist in remaining in London.
Talk Talk’s overheads will be much lower and most provincial centres have access to the same resources as London.
Also, how many businesses need to deal with contacts face to face, any more? Staff will lose their London allowance, but so what? They won’t need it.

27/11/18 trivia
It seems incredible that we have a third of a million homeless, increasing numbers reliant on foodbanks, hospitals turning away people, who may well end up dying, children being stabbed to death in our streets and we still have Winter’s A&E woes to come. Yet while the French are rioting in their thousands, in running battles with baton wielding police, we are absorbed by the personal peccadilos and humiliations of minor celebs in a fake jungle. The only protests in our streets are about global warming, over which, I, for one, have little control
I was once told that the British are too phlegmatic too revolt. Maybe this Government is just testing how true that is.
Maybe we deserve to have a PM, who is trying to sign us up to perpetual subjugation to a foreign power.
Meanwhile, I guess I’ll just catch up on what colour bikini Amanda Holden’s wearing Today.

27/11/18 Canute
The warnings about the effects of climate change must indeed be worrying for those living in low lying areas.
Fear not, Friends of The Earth has the solution. Ministers must develop an urgent action plan to develop a zero carbon future.
This is akin to courtiers building a barricade in front of Canute’s throne, instead of moving the throne farther up the beach.
There was a sea-level rise 10,000 years ago which submerged many large coastal civilizations, whose cities are only now being re-discovered. Whether, or not, the present Global warming is our fault, whinging about our carbon footprint will have far less benefit than putting our minds to thinking about how to cope with the possible consequences of these forecasts of doom.
Re-siting the essential centre of Government up on the Pennines seems eminently sensible.
Parliament, though, can stay in London for all the good it will do, once May’s deal goes through.

27/11/18 dotage
As someone fast approaching decrepitude, may I beg for a campaign to offer an option to those being sentenced to removal to a care home.
I’d like the option of a bullet through the brain.
I’m obviously concerned about the quality of care being reported in such places but more importantly, as I’m sure is the case for many men of my generation, I do not wish to have others changing nappies for me.
I have had two brief visits to hospital and the feeling of total dependency is terrifying even for a short stopover.

6/12/18 plastic packs
I understand that that nice Mr. Gove is only trying to help Sir David Attenborough save our planet but how does a tax on see-through sandwich packs help?
Politicians always think another tax is the solution but it never is.
It’s not as if the revenue would be raised to tidy up the discarded refuse, any more than road-tax is spent on fixing potholes.
The busy office workers, who don’t have the time, or cash, to buy a proper lunch, are still going to buy these already over-priced sandwiches.
The retailers are still going to be more concerned about product presentation, than having to increase prices.
The manufacturers are still going to manufacture these single use products.
It beats me why that nice Mr. Gove doesn’t do what Government does and pass appropriate legislation.
I.e. ban the manufacture and wholesale of single use plastic products. Simples.

8/12/18 free transport
Recently Luxembourg announced that it would make all Public Transport free.
An on-line commentator has followed up with an account of the chaos that would be caused here, as train passengers found themselves packed in like sardines, if we copied their example.
This would be true if we were idiotic enough to just announce it, as tiny Luxembourg has been able to do.
However; what if we announced an immediate 5% cut in all fares, with further staged cuts, as commuting behaviour adjusted to it?
The London underground runs trains 10 mins apart, why couldn’t Network Rail be brought up to the same sort of capacity?
At present, bus routes tend to be into and out of town centres, because of profitability, but in a free service that would no longer be a major consideration.
This would have a major impact on car usage. E.g. If I wish to travel to my local hospital, I have to take two bus journeys, taking over an hour in all weathers, whereas the same journey by car takes 10 minutes. The problem is worse, if travelling from the suburb of one town, to the suburb of another.
As more route open up, avoiding town centres and with more frequent services, commuters would forgo trading up their cars, reducing traffic.
Pluses include less commuter stress, less oil imports (which hit our trade balance), less pollutants and reduced carbon footprint. Negatives are that car manufacturing would have to switch to buses, taxis and rail carriages.
We could see reduced motorway traffic, leading to freight shifting from an overloaded rail network, which was the alleged reason for needing HS2.
Other benefits could follow (reduce load on the NHS? no expensive season tickets? no car insurance? etc.) outweighing the cost of supporting the scheme from taxation.
Just phase it in.

9/12/18 Nigel Nelson again
So Nigel Nelson thinks the UK has two options: May’s Deal, or No Deal.
So Nigel Nelson is happy with the end of Democracy in the UK?
I hope he doesn’t speak for the Labour Party, because, there’s a danger that many voters in their Leave constituencies may not feel it worth turning out

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Blogpost 31: 16/11/18

December 9, 2018

23/10/18 London allowance
The move toward regional pay-rises is intended to draw workers into London to compensate for the overcrowding, which makes working there so expensive, which will, in turn, exacerbate the overcrowding, making it more expensive to live there. Government needs to move out of London, instead of continually leaving it for the next generation’s politicians.

25/10/18 shooting in UK
In a country as heavily regulated as the UK, presumably somebody had to authorise Larysa Switlyk’s shooting of wild animals in Scotland.
If she acted illegally, she should be arrested. If she acted legally, a full official explanation needs to be swiftly offered.

29/10/18 Forced obsolescence
We used to have problems with planned obsolescence.
Nowadays, because digital devices have few moving parts, they rarely break down but we’re still having to discard them, because of software “upgrades”. It’s not just Microsoft’s Windows doing it but they are a prime example. Over the years I’ve had to scrap various computers and associated peripheral devices, plus associated games, because of incompatibility issues. Particularly annoying with games, which needed only a few minor changes in coding addresses. In an age, when legislators are so aggressive about recycling and saving the planet, it seems incongruous that I’m chucking out a perfectly good computer, because, for instance, my banks online security can’t cope with my Windows Vista platform. It’s not just individuals suffering. As I recall, those NHS sites attacked by the Wannacry ransomware attack, were vulnerable because there was no protection available for their computers, which were running the even older Windows NT.

Published version
Upgrade madness
Nowadays, digital devices have few moving parts that need replacing but we often have to discard them because of software “upgrades”. Microsoft Windows is one such example.
Over the years I’ve had to scrap various computers and peripheral devices and games because of incompatibility issues.
In an age when activists are passionate about recycling, it seems incongruous I’m chucking out a perfectly good computer because it can’t cope with the latest software. It’s not just individuals who suffer, it’s our public services, such as the NHS, too.

31/10/18 CPR
Your piece on CPR was informative but lengthy and how many people know what the rest position is, or how to achieve it. This is where Public information films are useful.
Instead of the BBC making pointless promo’s of future programs, why not have them return to making short informative, educational fillers. We constantly read of people demanding that this or that topic be taught in schools, when it’s all schools can do to provide the basic minimum, even without Tory Austerity.
If Charities and other organisations think that a certain pet topic needs to be packed into the Curriculum, then they should fund the BBC to make it.
You don’t learn anything with a single exposure; you need repeated exposure, until you become proficient; so the programs could be broadcast on a regular cycle, reaching successive generations.
In the case of CPR, I’m sure NHS England would cough up the cash.

31/10/18 spreadsheet phil
Spreadsheet Phil was being glibly deceitful, when he suggested that “Surely schools would welcome another £50,000”.
Either that, or he needs to check his sums.
Gov’t statistics (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-schools-teachers-and-students-in-england/number-of-schools-teachers-and-students-in-england) tell us that there are 24,372 schools in England, alone.
£400,000,000 gives each a mere £16,412 each. Knock out the special schools and it’s still only about £17,000. Barely enough for a classroom assistant, in most areas.

1/11/18 police funding
I endorse the comments by Sara Thornton, the chair of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), on core policing, something which has become more and more neglected since the Home Office began setting police targets. This has directed police focus away from areas of genuine need, at a time when drug fuelled crime has been increasing.
Obviously Police funding needs a substantial increase but it won’t have the required effect, unless Government eases its pressure on the CPS and the Judiciary to reduce sentencing.
It would be pointless spending time and energy catching villains, if, because of a lack of prison funding, the CPS won’t prosecute, judges won’t hand down adequate sentences and parole boards too readily overthrow Judgements.
PRINTED VERSION
Core policing has been neglected since the Home Office set targets, which directed focus away from areas of need at a time when drug-fuelled crime has been rising.
Obviously, police funding needs a substantial increase, but it won’t have the required effect unless the Government eases its pressure on the CPS and judges to cut sentences

4/11/18 semantics
The Sunday Mirror report that Hammond underfunded child social care with a sum of £650 million, instead of a needed £1.2 Billion is not surprising in terms of a continued Tory attack on Public Spending. What is surprising is reporter, Nigel Nelson, repeating the semantics of Tory Central Office. Hammond didn’t “pump” the money in. This begs the imagery of a muscular working away at a hand pump, inflating a car tyre. The truth is of a weedy figure sitting at a desk, tapping at a computer keyboard, allocating diverse funds. In this respect, using the word “pumped” should evoke an image of a skeletal figure, lying exhausted, next to a half-inflated lilo.
Can we stop copying the words used by the propagandists. Nobody “earns” a salary of £6 million. The Tory public spending cuts aren’t “Austerity” measures. The use of the word “Austerity” intended to imply that The Government is merely being frugal with our taxes, as during WWII. The only austerity measures involved are in those households forced to choose to heat, or eat.

7/11/18 tax,tax,tax
The “experts” who proposed the tax on processed meats are presumably high paid professionals, who, assuming they’re not Vegetarians, dine on prime cuts of meat and could easily forgo the odd bangers and mash, or fry-up.
Other than baked beans, many families have to rely on processed meats as their source of protein.
All canned meat is processed and that’s what you’ll mainly find at food banks (assuming they they don’t have a delicatessen counter)
Fixed taxes always affect the less well-off, more than the rich, but this tax would seem to be deliberately aimed at them.
If the “experts” are sincere in their concern, they wouldn’t be asking for this politician’s quick fix solution, they’d be funding research into a definitive cause of harm and finding a way to produce processed meats, which are cheap, convenient and safe.
Final thought; processed meats have been around for millennia and are a better alternative to blind Scouse.

16/11/18 A people’s vote
Once again there’s a call for a second referendum, mostly from those who prefer to remain in the EU.
This time, it’ll be called a People’s Vote but it will still be a referendum and so merely advisory. I.e. MP’s can ignore it.
To avoid this MP’s, most of whom don’t want to leave the EU, will not want to offer the hard boiled egg option, in this second referendum.
The raw egg option will remain but the other options will be soft-boiled. One may even be very runny like Theresa May’s.
The only problem remaining is that most voters aren’t as stupid as our politicians like to believe and they will recognise this as a stitch-up and be very angry.
If there is a second referendum, the wisest course, for politicians, is to leave the hard boiled option on the menu and try (avoiding simple, unproveable threats, personality attacks and outright lies) to explain why they, personally, want to remain in the EU.

Blogpost 30: 22/10/18

December 9, 2018

Letters posted to Daily Mirror

10/10/18 High streets
At the same time as the number of empty shops on the High Street has increased, I’ve also noticed an increase in the number of rough sleepers on the same Streets. It would be a nice thought if Councils could find some way (rates maybe?) that the two could come together; especially with a hard Winter being promised.

11/10/18 Police
I find it amazing that, despite reports of The Police not responding to burglaries and other acts of criminality, that BBC reporters can be given a Police escort to enable them to get to work on time.

12/10/18 Gins all around
I’m guessing that Theresa May is thinking of calling a G.E.
The huge pay rise to Judges is usually followed by similar pay rises for Admirals and Senior Civil Servants.
This is then used to justify a bumper payrise for MP’s, which boosts the pensions and leaving bonuses for those losing their seats.

13/10/18 plastic is good
I don’t understand what’s wrong with putting plastic in landfill. It’s harming no-one and certainly not killing marine life. OK, it doesn’t rot down but neither does rock, or glass.
On the plus side, a recent TV program on mining spoil tips for metals, points out that future generations might see such buried plastics as a much needed resource.
There was a time when oil-soaked soils were seen as creating worthless, unusable land; now they’re being heavily exploited as an alternative to Saudi oil.
People need to re-consider this sudden demonisation of plastic and think about how it was before they came into our lives. Back then, we relied on wood, rock, animals and metals.
Metals were the only materials which could be made plastic. i.e. able to change shape. How do we change the shape of metals? By using large quantities of energy. What is our most common metal? Iron. What, apart from its weight, is the biggest problem with Iron? It rusts. That’s probably the main reason car manufacturers don’t make car bodies out of plastics (stuck onto Stainless steel, or brass, safety cages).
Stop demonising plastics and consider why we adopted them in the first place.
We just needs those, who are being paid large sums for running the country, to sit down and work out intelligent options, instead of listening to whichever bandwagon has the loudest megaphones.

13/10/18 Lloyd Jones
Your story, about Lloyd Jones and his football mates treating Samantha, was heart-warming and yet depressing.
Heart-warming, because it reminds us that the average person is caring and compassionate but depressing, because we know that Samantha, who has been rough-sleeping for two years, has many more such years ahead of her, whilst our politicians doss down in 5 star hotel beds.
Especially depressing, because we are seeing more and more rough sleepers on our High Streets, whilst all that the tax gatherers want to do is move them on, so as to avoid them spoiling a minor royal’s wedding.

15/10/18 HS2
I’ve just received a letter inviting me to have my say on HS2, which will run past the end of my street.
What is the point of such gabfests?
I’d expect it to be as informative as a BBC Question Time show and won’t affect the plans for HS2, which I’m sure have already been written and cast in concrete.
No-one will leave feeling satisfied except the host, who’s probably some old Etonian on a five figure contract.
Published version
HS2 ‘say’ pointless
I recently received a letter inviting me to have my say on HS2, which will run past the end of my street. What is the point of this? It won’t affect the plans, which I’m sure have already been written and cast in
concrete.

20/10/18 Money-changers
Jon Tricket was correct about Clegg and the revolving door between Politics and Big Business.
It has undoubtedly always been there, although the earliest I recall was Tebbit and British Steel.
How can it be otherwise, when it is politicians who create our tax laws with the assistance of the Big Banks?
If Politicians were really concerned about the Publics interests, rather than their own and those of The City and Big Business, they’d tax the profits in a visible way. I.e. whatever s used to share out profits.
You don’t tax share holdings, you tax dividends. You don’t tax wages, you tax CEO bonuses. You tax any means, by which profits are dished out.
You cap ridiculous profit-taking such as those making the likes of Bill Gates, so rich. This would have the extra benefit of forcing re-investment in the Business and job creation (which is what Capitalism is supposed to be about).
You ban ex-cabinet Ministers from taking up posts at a total income, which includes their pensions, greater than the current Prime Minister’s. Ensure people enter politics for the public good, not self enrichment.
You ban lobbying. If politicians want input from Business leaders, they’ve got Select Committee’s for that purpose. If MP’s want to go on fact finding missions, they should do so at their own expense, not paid for by foreign governments, or businesses intent on soliciting favours.
That these corrupting practices are occurring is an open secret and I look to the next Labour Government to clean house.
Published version
Labour’s Jon Trickett is correct about Clegg and the “revolving door” between politics and big business. One way to tackle this would be to ban MPs from taking up lucrative posts in the private sector, thus
ensuring people enter politics for the public good, not self-enrichment.
Lobbying should also be banned. If politicians want input from business leaders, they’ve got select committees, and if MPs want to go on fact-finding missions, they should do so at their own expense, not paid for by foreign governments, or businesses intent on soliciting favours.
I look forward to the next Labour government cleaning up politics.

20/10/18 Fiona Phillips
I was surprised to read Fiona agreeing with a reader that Nick Clegg should be P.M., because he would make a handsome leader.
Perhaps that’s where the male dominated political scene has failed.
Perhaps we should pack the House with female MP’s and hold a beauty pageant to select our leader.

20/10/18 landfill
If plastic waste has to be consigned to landfill, at least make it a dedicated landfill. That way it becomes a resource for future re-cyclers to exploit.
Much could probably be used as filler in fence panels, B-roads, traffic cones etc. but research into bacterial digestion of plastics is progressing, as are other innovative ideas

22/10/18 parl democ
Since the EU referendum, I’ve heard a number of MP’s saying that having Referenda is a stupid way to run a country.
As patronising as that is, it seems a view held by almost all MP’s and explains why we, the electorate, have lost faith in our political masters.
If we held a referendum on free hospital car parking, we’d get 90% support and it could be implemented the day after. Why can’t that happen?
OK the EU referendum was very tight but if we also set a quorum on such votes, then Brexit might never have arisen.
Moreover, Major might not have been able to sign us up to Maastricht and we’d still be in a Common Market, as the people had originally intended.
We’d have a deal that most voters would be happy with.

Blogpost 29: 9/10/18

December 9, 2018

Letters to Daily Mirror

11/9/18 debenhams
Good Luck with any campaign to re-invigorate the High Street.
As my wife said, with Marks and now Debenhams gone, there’ll be no big shops left in Wigan.
There’ll be no point in going in to Town.

Published version
Good luck with your campaign to reinvigorate Britain’s high streets. As my wife said. with Marks and
Spencer being forced to close stores and new Debenhams in trouble. there will be no big shops left in our
loca] town oentre. Soon there will be no point going into town.

11/9/18 PLP attack dogs
Jeremy Corbyn has been under attack from Chuka Umuna’s colleagues on the Hard Right of the Labour Party, ever since an overwhelming majority of ordinary Labour members voted him in as leader.
He has no power, as party leader, to prevent their votes of no-confidence, so how can Chuka expect him to prevent those same party members from expressing their views about those allegedly representing them.
Corbyn is Party Leader not head of an employment tribunal.
As Blair once said “nobody can expect jobs for life”.

13/9/18 Brian Reade
I agree with Brian Reade’s view that you can’t expect Managers to give more game time to players, where they have someone better suited.
I watched the game against Spain and contend that every Spaniard on the pitch had better ball skills, not just the key players.
England’s tactics would have won the match, if they hadn’t consistently had the ball taken off them, or passes read and intercepted.
Maybe academy coaches need to teach such skills rather than how to lob a ball into the goal area and trust to luck.
Published version
Brian’s on the ball…
I agree with Brian Reade that you can’t expect football managers to give more game time to players if they have someone better (Mirror,Sept 13).
I watched the Croatia v Spain game, and every Spanish player had first-rate ball skills. While England consistently have the ball taken off them or passes intercepted.
Maybe academy coaches need to teach such skills, rather than how to lob a ball into the goal area and hope for the best.

17/9/18 re-selection
What is the problem about re-selecting Parliamentary Labour candidates? Under the present System, Tony Blair was accused of parachuting ex-Tory MP Shaun Woodford into St. Helens South – a mining area with a low opinion of Tories. That couldn’t happen under selection by local voters.
This more democratic option would prevent the NEC, parachuting a “Hard-Left” candidate into the seat of someone with “centrist” views, who could then actually campaign on the basis of keeping a balance inside Labour and getting the Tories out.

18/9/18 immigrants
A spokeswoman for Business claimed, on BBC Newsroom live, that the reason they wanted to hire skilled immigrants was that homegrown applicants weren’t adequately trained.
Whose fault is that?
The present Tory and previous Labour Governments were supposed to have been re-organising Education to suit the demands of Business leaders. Businesses didn’t want to run the Academies and take direct control of training up the sort of workforce, which they demand.
The Government’s apprentice scheme was dismissed, as inadequate, by the spokeswoman
No mention was made of the other reasons why businesses might want to import workers, which are essentially financial.
Immigrants don’t have the same employment rights as Brits. They can be hired and fired much more easily. There’s no need to fund pensions, or medical care. They can be pressured into excessive workloads. They don’t need further training and in the case of potential long term health problems, it’s very difficult for them to demand compensation, once they’ve been packed off home.
We need to pressure Businesses to provide their own training courses by shifting the cost of University/Training courses from students to Businesses, and by re-creating traditional Apprenticeships
We should also tax Businesses the equivalent cost of training those imported employees, whom they’ve taken on.
If they need them, they should pay for them.

22/9/18 water costs
Water companies were privatised in 1988, so the £150 Bn that Water UK claim that they’ve invested in infrastructure has averaged £5 Bn per year. A large chunk of that money would be one-time investments in facilities such as preventing raw sewage being dumped in the sea, so future outlay might not be so much.
It’s difficult for the Public to verify such figures, or check how much is wasted in inefficiency, or how much is underpaid in tax, or paid out in director bonuses.
In 2017, The University of Greenwich estimated that we were overpaying £2.3 Bn per year. On that basis re-nationalisation would seem to cost £2.7 Bn per year but I’m betting that when Labour are able to get the true figures, re-nationalisation will be found to be self-financing, providing the Companies don’t asset strip, as Carillion seems to have done.

23/9/18 police pensions
The headline “criminal cops keep pensions” surprised me.
Not because 9 out of 10 kept their pensions but because 1 out of ten were having them withheld.
Surely that is theft.
No other employer would be allowed to do this. Your pension is part of your wages. If there had been no pensions attached to our jobs and we all had private pensions, paid out of our wages, would it be morally right to seize them? How about our homes, or other assets. If police can have their pensions seized, why not greedy bankers, or corrupt politicians. There seems no justice in this, especially when you hear of serious criminals leaving prison to return to their luxury mansions and Swiss bank account lifestyles.

25/9/18 think tank
The Nuffield Tust think tank needs to re-consider the expertise of Candace Imison, who, apparently believes that an alternative to paying careworkers enough money to live on, is to allow immigrants to do the jobs.
How would these immigrant workers be expected to live on wages, which aren’t enough for home grown care workers?
And what do the present care workers do, when they have been disposed of?

30/9/18 nigel nelson
Your columnist, Nigel Nelson, suggests that if David Cameron had waltzed up at the Tory party conference, he would have been roasted alive for holding the EU referendum.
But supposing he hadn’t tried to use it to plaster over the Tory divisions.
Nigel Farage and UKIP would have grown stronger and Jeremy Corbyn would have been able to focus on the NHS and austerity, so sweeping into Number 10.
Most of those Tory MP’s would be out of a job and possibly signing up to UKIP

1/10/18 overseas aid
I get why politicians prefer supercarriers and nuclear subs rather than the two surface ships which have just been saved but the former can’t be much use during peacetime, whereas the surface vessels can. The depressing News of the tsunami victims trapped in collapsed buildings, who can’t be reached by available transport, drives home, once again, how the aid budget could be better spent on equipping such surface ships to act as rescue vessels, for just such emergencies.
Such direct, positive and life-saving action seems preferable to handing out cheques to third parties to cope with the effects of poor governance in rich countries such as India.

9/10/18 GPs
It’s wonderful that robot readers have cut the time for preparing hospital doctors’ referral notes from 20 minutes to 5 mins. That’s quarter of the time.
Now if they could only do the same with the time taken between the GP writing the referral and the hospital doctor seeing the patient, patients might also experience some benefit

Blogpost 28: 10/9/18

December 9, 2018

Letters sent to Dail Mirror:

20/8/18 republic
I couldn’t agree more with Kevin Maguire’s belief that top pay in an organisation should be capped at 10 x the lowest but if that was ever enacted, we all know that they’d find ways to get around it. Just look at how MP’s get all sorts of add-ons, golden pensions, donations(?) and lobbying deals. (To my mind, lobbying verges on criminality).
I understand Kevin Maguire’s Republican sentiments but would we truly save £345 Mn a year, if we deposed the Monarchy.
Would we truly save £369 Mn on Buck House?
Look across the Channel at Republican France, where Macron assumes the role of The Queen and The Elysee Palace stands in for Buck House. I don’t know the exact costs to the French Treasury but I’m sure the usual trappings of State, Parades, Security etc. will be of similar magnitude. As for the hangers-on; while we have Princess Eugenie’s wedding and Tony Blair’s police protection, the French have a regular turnover of ex-Presidents to look after. Regarding that, think of the extra annoyance of regular presidential elections, on top of General elections for Parliament.
The only thing to envy about the Republican French Government is that their MP’s are forbidden to have outside interests.

22/8/18 robot MPs
I’m really looking forward to my robot MP. No need for The Palace of Westminster. No cries of “Sucks, Yah, Boo!” posing as intelligent debate. No need for “advisory” referenda. No need for expenses claims. Local problems will actually be dealt with by more than “a letter to the Minister”. The P.M. will be a lap-top computer, in Wi-Fi contact with all robot MP’s and able to form policy based on their consensus.

25/8/18 twitter
There are a lot of stories about Russian Bots and trolls on Twitter.
Instead of pointlessly threatening huge fines, as Tom Watson suggested, why not have Twitter extend the same sort of authentication that’s required for Gambling sites and such.
At present Twitter awards a blue authentication tick for various personalities, politicians etc.
This could be exxtended, for ordinary tweeters, who can be authenticated via credit card etc., They could be attributed with a similar icon, say a yellow tick.
The database of users could be held by the Police, or similar, and uk users cautioned, if tweeting inappropriately.
They could also be prosecuted, if re-tweeting offensive/criminal tweets from unauthenticated people.
Honest users would be deterred from re-tweeting trolls, or bots, and such mischief would be vastly reduced.

28/8/18 fair trade
Finally, an action by Theresa May, of which I can approve.
I don’t know if her declared motive for improving trade is sincerely held but it is one that can be justified.
Improved trade with African Nations will boost their Economies and help stem the spread of terrorism and emigration.
The effect will be even greater, after Brexit, when we no longer have to impose the EU’s Value Added Tax on their goods.
Instead of just selling us unimproved products such as coffee beans, these countries will be able to offer jars of coffee at prices lower than EU members do and British firms can lead the way in helping them set up such trade.
published version
Finally, Theresa May does something I approve of. Improved trade with African nations will boost their economies and help stem the spread of terrorism and emigration.
The effect will be even greater after Brexit, when we no longer have to impose EU taxes on African goods.
These countries will be able to offer jars of coffee at prices lower than the EU, and British firms can lead the way in helping them set up such trade.

31/8/18 racist incitement
The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn over Labour members speaking in support of the Palestinians because the Israeli State is seizing their lands and destroying their homes, seems nothing more than malice
A situation made worse by our Tory Prime Minister inflaming the situation.
One columnist, in a right wing Newspaper, urged readers to see the word Zionist as meaning Jew, which, to my mind, is an incitement to racism.
Just as not all muslims are Iraqi and not all Iraqi are Jihadists, so not all Jews are Israelis and not all Israelis are Zionists.
Why are the Police not taking action against those racists, on the Right, who claim “for Zionist read Jew”.
I’m sure action would be taken against those who urge us to read “for Jihadist read Muslim”, when reporting on the other big issue in the Middle East.

3/9/18 identity theft
People are being increasingly forced to go on-line by the Government, Banks and the Utilities Companies, despite the proliferation of hacking tools and identity theft, which you have reported.
It’s small wonder that many, disparaged as technophobes, are increasingly feeling stressed, when all Government can offer is advice to avoid phishing emails and install a good anti-virus program.
It’s not good enough. Government could and should do more. A Government provided anti-virus package would create crowd immunity, helping to protect the Economy from leaking funds abroad, which, we are told, may then fund criminals, terrorists and foreign powers.
Such software umbrella, under national control, would also help pinpoint the sources of such attacks, during up-dates.

8/9/18 fast cars
Having recently had a Porsche tail-gate me on a 40mph road and a little red sports job do it, as I overtook two lorries on the motorway, I then read about the footballer done for speeding, in his gas-guzzler.
In a country, where the max speed limit is 70mph, why does anyone buy a car capable of double that?

9/9/18 MoD losses
I can understand laptops being lost, or , more likely , stolen. They are designed to be carried about and could easily be slipped into a briefcase but how do you walk off a premises, with a desktop computer?
You can’t just walk in and out of a Government building without security clearance, or terrorists would have a field day.
The only possible explanation are theft by politicians, or security has been contracted out to G4S, or Serco.

9/9/18 on-line delivery
I assume that the GMB union chiefs are in favour of Brexit.
They’re looking forward to the likes of Amazon being forced to improve the working conditions and pay, because they won’t be able to exploit EU workers.
The Union chiefs say that unless Warehouses improve pay, to attract enough UK workers, we will no longer be able to expect next day delivery.
Is this a real problem?
If I want something really urgently, I’ll pay a premium rate, or drive to the shops. So more UK jobs in the warehouses and on the High Street but we’ll have to wait an extra day, or so, for that Xmas present for the wife?

10/9/18 Brexit
How could a second referendum on Brexit work?
Assuming we voted for a deal that was acceptable to the majority of MP’s, it would still have to be acceptable to the EU and Barnier.
He has already made it crystal clear that we would have to effectively re-enter the EU on its terms.
Whatever the wording of the second referendum, it would so strengthen Barnier’s position that he could impose any form of humiliating extra conditions, which the EU felt was needed to scare other members, who were planning to leave.