Archive for August, 2019

Blogpost 38: 7/08/19 – 26/6/2019

August 7, 2019

Letters to the Daily Mirror

Amid all the vexation over the Irish border, I’m puzzled as to why no-one has raised the question of a post-Brexit, Scottish Border, if Scotland does vote for Independence.

Why should Labour take privately owned railway rolling stock back into public ownership, when they renationalise the railways?

Why should Labour take privately owned railway rolling stock back into public ownership, when they renationalise the railways? Franchises will be allowed to run out, meaning there’ll be no compensation for the privateers and there’ll be ample time to consider rolling stock.
We don’t need to buy back old, ill-used rolling stock, at some inflated, arbitrated price.
We can commission new, state of the art, stuff from British firms, creating jobs and boosting the economy.

Published Version
Regarding your item on how shareholders of firms leasing railway rolling stock have pocketed £1.2 billion in six years (Aug 5), the RMT and Labour want these trains taken back into public ownership. But we don’t need to buy back old, ill-used rolling stock at some arbitrary inflated price. We can commission new, state-of-the-art stock from British firms which would create jobs and boost the economy.

On a Winter’s night, when there’s no cloud, we have a frost. After planes were grounded by the attack on the twin towers, there was a ½ C drop in air temperature over the USA, because there were fewer contrails to slow the escape of heat into Space.
Every molecule of CO2 added to the air helps increase this blanket effect, as does every molecule of methane, sulphur dioxide, aerosol gas, evaporated petrol and aviation fuel etc.
So cutting the amount of these gases entering the air will help reduce the rise in Global temperature but it won’t prevent other things, which are being ignored, affecting it.
Volcanic gases and ash clouds will raise the temperature.
Sun spots will lower it, as charged particles (think Aurora Borealis) seed rain clouds and clear them from the Sky.
Finally there’s the proximity of the Sun, which provides 99% our heat
We are apparently entering a period where we’re closer to The Sun, so berating politicians may alleviate the rise in Global temperatures but it won’t have a significant effect.
Better to move to higher ground, in the North, where it’s cooler and above the likely flood waters. Maybe move to Mars, if you can afford the fare.

There’s no need to ban 16 yr olds from playing the Lottery, when you can simply require winnings to be placed in trust, until they are old enough to vote, at 18.
Callie Bridges only makes a case against lowering the voting age.

It was recently reported that given 15 pieces of data (as innocuous as a person’s gender) private companies in the USA claim with 99.8% accuracy to be able to identify any American individual.
Data-mining is very profitable for merchandising and for identity theft, so I’m sure such Companies would love access to our private communications, especially those with end-to-end encryption, such as on Whatsapp.
Given the incompetence of Ministers and mandarins in terms of keeping secrets and handling large sums (e.g.”losses of computers and MOD documents have tripled”, Failing Grayling) can we really trust our security services with access to all our communications, as they’ve requested.
Think of who these people are answerable to: Boris, Hunt, Fox?
Can you name one whom you would trust to deliver a birthday card, without checking it for enclosed cash?

I don’t think there’s any negative character trait which hasn’t been ascribed to Boris Johnson in the past month and deservedly so.
But what’s the point?
First; as many an MP has delightedly pointed out to us, this is not a Democracy, it’s a Parliamentary Democracy. I.e. the political party with the most MP’s decides who will be PM and that is, at present, the Tories.
Second; name a Tory MP, who you’d give the job to, in place of Boris Johnson.
I think the Yanks have a similar problem with Trump and his party alternatives

Big handclaps for the BBC, taking advantage of digital technology to allow us to screen out mumbling and “atmosphere”. Next up; drums at football matches.
How about a brightness button for all those modern horror/SF/Mystery films etc. where you can’t see what’s happening? Old B&W films and early Doctor Who programs were able to show all the characters in supposed pitch black scenes. William Hartnell saying “Who’s there?” in a well lit, jungle scene never seemed strange.
A cowboy shooting wildly into the night and claiming he hadn’t seen who he was shooting at, although we had.
While we’re waiting, would it be too much to have more programs (about 10%, at present), where you can follow the action via sub-titles. It might ruin the odd Ronnie Barker (four candle) sketch but it would save the careers of many an actor, who hasn’t learned to enunciate.

One little item of News jumped out at me, in Sunday’s Mirror.
We have 34 admirals for only 19 warships.
What do they do all day?
How much do they cost us?
Why has the Treasury not demanded redundancy notices be sent to 32 of them?
(one to do the job and one for spare)
I can understand why this is not front page News.
We wouldn’t want some head of a banana republic poking fun at us, when the rest of the World’s leaders are already laughing their heads off at May’s Brexit, Failing Grayling and the HS2 debacle.
We’ve yet to see how Boris will prorogue Parliament, whilst the few warships we do have are squaring up to Iran.

I’m pleased that the TV licence fee fiasco has provoked many over-75’s into applying for Pension Credit; although they’ll probably find the process overly intrusive.
Those, who qualify, will now find that they can get free dentistry on the NHS (as we all once could), instead of stumping up £50 every year for a 5 minute mouth inspection.
Perhaps it would make more economic sense to scrap the licence fee altogether and pay for the BBC, as an official arm of Government, out of general taxation.

Your Thursday editorial led with a tale of political “he said, she said” squabble over a highly paid diplomat, who spoke carelessly about Donald Trump. I doubt many of your readers would lose sleep over the issue. Yet an issue which would be of concern and would affect many of your readers, women’s pensions, was relegated to second item. I feel this just about sums up the priorities of those leading the country over those they’re supposed to be working for.

Your showbiz editor’s obituary on Freddie Jones made no Mention of his role of Claudius in the brilliant series of “the Caesars”, which I think is overdue for a re-run.
As is “I, Clavdivs” with Derek Jacobi
and “The six wives of Henry VIII” with Keith Michel
Why are none of the BBC’s History based drama’s considered worthy of a re-run?
It’s not as if they can go out-of-date, like a “Have I got News for you”

I would like to add to Phil Neville’s concern about the handball rule.
In the instant, that he referred to, it appeared to me, a the time, that as the ball came off her chest, her arm was pushed onto the ball.
That may have been accidental but on another occasion it appeared that one player used her hand to push the England player’s arm onto the ball.
The way the rules stand, with pushing and shoving no longer an offence, there has to be definite signs of stretching out of the arm.
I felt particularly sorry for the Japanese in the way they were put out of the competition, after being much the better team.

Mr. Johnson may be, as he says, making a great sacrifice by becoming the Prime Minister of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Northern Ireland but there are pecuniary advantages to the job, even if he has to cut and run after a short tenure.
There’s a guaranteed pension and golden farewell, a perpetual security guard, multiple jaunts to 10 star accommodations around The World, meeting many celebrities and other VIP’s (I could live in comfort just on the autographs, he could collect). then there’s the lecture circuit, with fees of £1Mn to be had by ex-Premiers.
If he returns to his sacrificed career, I’m sure, as an ex-Premier, he’d be even more grossly overpaid for his scribblings, than he is now.

Many of the councils around the North-West are also replacing manicured grass verges with wildflower meadows, as in your article.
It is much more cheering than the austere green blankets that architectural landscapes favour.
May I ask that in the tree planting proposal, in another article, we also dispose of the majestically flowered horse chestnuts and willows that architects favour and replace them with fruit trees.
Cherry trees give attractive blossom but also provide food for those who need it.
There are plenty of fruits and nuts, which used to be widely and freely available in the past and which we now have to buy in supermarkets.
Most of these fruits and nuts are shipped in from abroad, then double wrapped in plastic at a time, when we’re being told to be more environmentally aware.
There are also some native fruits I’ve read of but never encountered, such as medlars and checkers.
It’d be happier world if we had more than just blackberries to harvest on our days out in the countryside

The abuse of Paul Embery by the Fire Brigade Union points to a Committee man exercising his power.
It’s this sort of pettiness, which Tory voters keep ascribing to Socialism.
Those Tories, whom I’ve come across, still have an image of the Peter Sellars character in “I’m alright, Jack” and this behaviour only reinforces that negative image of the Left and of Trade Unionism.

I doubt other women’s sports will catch the Publics attention as strongly as this England Women’s team.
Apart from their being the National team, Football is the most popular of all our spectator sports.
The most important factor is that it only needs a ball for any kid, even in the absence of friends, to enjoy physical play and to learn ball skills and these women have those ball control skills.
That what makes them watchable and capable of winning games.
Enthusiasm and team spirit can only take you so far.
The FA needs to do more than enable youngsters to learn basic teamwork, perhaps by producing video’s showing how the likes of Suarez, or our own lionesses, capture and keep the ball.

The suggestion of a State paid salary for all UK voters has merit in view of the threat that robots will be taking over all our jobs.
A State paid salary would do away with the need for a separate State pension and could ease arrangements for care homes etc.
Businessmen might, initially, moan about people not wanting to work but they would only need to pay a top-up wage, sufficient to make work attractive.
(similar to Tory Apprenticeship schemes but without being exploitative)
This way, there would be no need for the DWP and Taxman to chase those working for cash in hand (not cost-effective).
Young entrepreneurs would be enabled to plough any profits straight back into their businesses and help them grow, Whilst students could focus on their studies, without having to work to support themselves.
Employers could offer zero-hours jobs, to those, who allegedly want them, without exploiting the desperate.
Business might complain about paying taxes to fund this scheme but they should see it as a form of insurance, knowing that there would be a steady demand for their goods, without strong market fluctuations to make life difficult and restrict their cash flow.

Sad to read MP’s are suffering from depression.
I suppose the extra workload from squabbling over Brexit, for three years, has been vexing for them.
Perhaps they need longer holidays

Your reference to Popeye cartoons reminded me of my enjoyment of such cartoons, as a child and I wondered why they are no longer shown for a new generation. I can’t recall any one cartoon in detail but Popeye’s singing the tune “brotherly love” summarises the moral nature of them. There certainly wasn’t anything to offend modern parents

Could someone explain to me why the panel on BBC Questiontime were so firmly united in condemning Chris Williamson, whose apparent crime was that he said he thought the Labour party were being too apologetic to those accusing it of Anti-Semitism. He hadn’t supported Anti-Semitism and Labour had vowed to rid the party of those promoting hatred of Jews. The level of condemnation seemed to far outweigh the perceived crime, as if pre-arranged

I like Social Media: It allows the spread of truths, which “important people” would prefer to be hidden. E.g. Super Injunctions are meaningless when people can access VPN’s.
One problem is the misuse of Social Media, encouraging “important people” to call for controls, when improved social etiquette would be preferable
For instance, when Damian Hinds said revenge porn is not possible, if you don’t bare all on camera. Perhaps Lib Dem MP Vera Hobhouse, instead of sounding a “View Halloo” with the hackneyed meme of “victim blaming”, she should have paused to reflect on the need for the wise (as all MP’s profess to be) to offer such cautionary advice to the naïve.
Advice not to take sweets from strangers, or not to “Walk in the Dark Wood at Night” is not really victim blaming, is it?