Archive for the ‘letters’ Category

blog posts 10 (20/6/2017)

June 20, 2017

Letters to Daily Mirror with any printed versions

19/6/17
You report that no action can be taken against anyone, who might be destroying evidence, relating to the Grenfell Tower fire, until a court of inquiry has been set up.
I find this hard to believe.
It would be reasonable to believe that anyone destroying anything, which might be required as evidence, was deliberately trying to pervert the course of justice and guilty of a criminal action.
Regardless of this presumption of guilt, it should be possible for Police to be issued with warrants to seize potential evidence, whether, or not, an inquiry is called.

16/6/17
Do we really have to wait for an inquiry into the London Tower Block Fire?
There can’t be anyone, who has followed events, who doesn’t “know” that the cladding (banned in the USA and Germany after a similar disaster in Melbourne) was responsible for so many deaths.
We will be told that it is important to wait for an official verdict to avoid panic.
Yet, those in similar tower blocks will still be panicking.
How long will they have to wait, while another inquiry is set up and a report printed ?
Meanwhile; officials, politicians and contractors will take their time concocting a plausible, low cost solution to what they may see as merely an administrative problem.

14/6/17
Obviously the Media will focus on the immediate aspects of the terrible fire block disaster.
We’ll be told of the sequence of events, those who’ve lost their lives, the members of the emergency services and the Public, who have come to the aid of survivors.
But perhaps the Media could go further than just reporting such tragedies and task politicians on the long term effects for those who survived.
Locals have already made offers of accommodation but for how long?
We know there is a shortage of housing but it is clear that we need spare capacity for those who lose their homes in such events. Not just temporary housing but permanent homes, where families can close the door and try to quickly gather up the reins of their lives again.

 

12/6/17
How can we have tariff-free access to the European Market(Corbyn), whilst not being forced to stay in the Single Market (McDonnell).
These are the same thing, as far as I can tell.
What distinction are they seeing?
Labour needs to remember that the majority voted to leave EU control.
Popular support for Labour could evaporate overnight, if Jeremy Corbyn is made to look less straightforward than his present, very popular image.

Printed version
#How can we have tariff-free access to the European market, Mr
Corbyn, without freedom of movement?
Labour needs to remember that the majority voted to leave EU control.
Support for Labour could evaporate overnight if Jeremy Corbyn is made
to look less straightforward than his present, popular image.
12/6/17
I strongly doubt that Boris Johnson is correct in believing that the Public don’t want another GE.
I’m sure there are many, beside myself, who want this reverse Robin Hood party evicted, as soon as possible, and replaced by a People’s party.
Even if Theresa May’s Tory Government doesn’t immediately collapse, it will face large scale public demands as parents take their children back to school in the Autumn and see what this party for the privileged thinks of them.

9/6/17
he pundits are already squabbling over the meaning of the GE vote.
Whilst there is no doubt that Theresa May wanted it to be about Brexit, it’s quite wrong for the likes of Gina Miller to claim that the results prove that was the only issue voted on.
Brexit was important but the most vociferous people on Social Media were those with cause to oppose the Tory austerity issues i.e. the destruction of the NHS, the decimation of our police forces, food banks, tuition fees, disability allowances, the bedroom tax, the dementia tax etc.
These are still desperate issues for large portions of the country and Parliament needs to be confronted on all of them,continuously.
Only one aspect puzzles me; who’s voting Conservative and why?

Various blogs 9 (3/6/2017)

June 3, 2017

9/5

The fatcat boss of British Gas is a blowhard.
The National Grid controls the distribution of Gas.

All his company, British Gas, does is sign up customers to give them their money.
It’s like Ticketmaster; it just handles the Admin, adding handling fees.
Anyone could set up a similar business

E.g. Nottingham council’s https://robinhoodenergy.co.uk, which is non-profit.
If Labour wants to control fuel prices, it could confer preferred status on them.

I.e. transfer all Government purchases to Nottingham’s Company with direct access to a relevant Minister.
After leaving the EU, Labour could even subsidise that company.

10/5

So the Tory MP’s won’t be prosecuted and the Tories will get away with breaking electoral rules!

Not because they were innocent of doing so but because it couldn’t be proven that they intended to make fraudulent expenses claims.
That just leaves incompetence by their electoral team and/or ignorance of Electoral Law.
You’d think, though, that the people who run the country and who made the Electoral Law, would be aware that its intention is to prevent politicians buying elections, as they tried to do.
Whatever the truth, they were in charge of the country for 2 years and could become the next Government.
Inspiring thought.

20/5

The Tories have just escaped prosecution for electoral fraud, by claiming that they hadn’t realised that their use of battle-buses was against electoral rules. Now I read that they have a new understanding of them, claiming, according to your report, that they can’t release key NHS figures, which are now due.

Presumably they are so bad, they could affect how people vote.
I wonder if they have correctly interpreted electoral rules this time, though.

Has anyone checked?

20/5

The Mayor of London is quite right to berate First Group over the driver falling asleep on a tram.

This is especially so after the November crash of a tram run by this private company.

Maybe taking the trams into public ownership won’t solve the problem but this case could justify a prodder to ensure the driver stays awake, or help in the event of an accident, or other difficulty.

The prodders would serve a similar function to Guards on trains.

20/5

Fiona Phillips asked whatever happened to The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Of course the answer is he was privatised.
Watch a postman at work Today. No more jauntily strolling along, whistling a merry tune. They don’t have the time; they’re scurrying from house to house at a pace described by 1940’s Time and Motion Management as a “brisk pace”.
A similar effect of privatisation is apparent with refuse collection. Previously bins were collected from and returned to a homeowners premises (by Law).
Now the bin is collected from and returned to a place within 5 yards of the refuse collector’s route.
It’s Time and Motion.
It’s about profits and costs, not about efficiency, or service.

Published version

#|n her column, Fiona Phillips asked whatever happened to The Postman Always Rings Twice when it comes to the delivery of our online orders (May 20)? Of course the answer is, he was privatised.

Watch postmen at work today — no morejauntily strolling along, whistling a merry tune. They don’t have the time, they’re scurrying from house to house in a rush.

Similarly, with refuse and recycling collections, once upon a time bins were collected from and returned to the house — now they are left out on the street. It’s all about costs and profit — not about efficiency or providing a service.

24/5

One of the biggest concerns, seen on Twitter, in the aftermath of the Manchester bomb, was by people needing News of Loved ones.

The G.M.Police did eventually put out a phone number on twitter but in these cases even a few minutes, of uncertainty, is an eternity.
There must be procedures for co-ordinating the rescue services, it wouldn’t take too much effort to set up a prepared website, to which The Media and Public can turn.

Any advice phone numbers could be added, as they are set up., and there could be a page where parents could post a named picture of their child etc.

This could be consulted by police and medical staff, who need to be able to quickly identify the injured.

A related call-out , on Twitter, was for blood group “O” donors and another for food packs.

The Army has, presumably, field medical supplies, including artificial blood and ration packs, yet there was no mention of such items being deployed.

What does Cobra do?

26/5

As a civilised country, our Government bombs terrorists, who are hiding behind innocent foreigners in foreign countries and it feels totally justified in its actions.
The same politicians express shock and horror at anyone voicing the barbaric notion of executing those same terrorists here at home.
Indeed, the killers of Drummer Rigby will be accommodated, fed and watered, at public expense, for the rest of their days.
This is a deep-boned, racist hypocrisy.

We are at war with ISIS and whilst most of the fighting is taking place in the Middle East, they have their agents embedded in our homeland.
During WWII, when we were fighting in the same deserts, German agents and fifth columnists, caught here, were tried and executed, before they could do us harm.
With ISIS agents, we wait.
We wait and watch.
We watch them preaching sedition, passing out propaganda, stirring up hatred against others. Others, who may have fled here to escape their persecution.
We wring our hands and wait for them to kill.
We wait until they kill, because we are civilised and must obey the rule of Law.
Time to challenge this racism and change Our Laws, so that we apply the same moral code here and abroad.

27/5

The thing that worries me about the latest opinion poll figures is not that so many voters appear to still support the Tories but that, if these figures were turned into seats, Lib Dems would again hold the balance of power.
The even more worrying aspect would be if Labour were to form a coalition with them.

The best outcome would be if Labour continued to gain ground and Jeremy Corbyn became P.M., in time to save the NHS.
The least, worst outcom, for me, would be a Tory minority Government forced to think about every word they utter and every piece of legislation that they try to push through the House.
It would be the exact nightmare that Theresa May has tried to avoid by calling this GE.

27/5

After the court victory of the candy stripe house, it’s disappointing to read of the Hycinth Buckets giving Holly Willoughby grief, just for flying the Union Jack on her own house

2/6

The East Lancs Road (A580) connects the two newly created mayoralties of Liverpool and Manchester.
Midway, the old mining sites, near Haydock Racecourse, are being redeveloped as transport depots and such.
Eventually this road and others will have to be widened but, in the meantime, why not create a new adminstration centre in the area, providing hospital, police, fire and emergency Service facilities for both cities and capable of coping with the populations of the two cities and of Wigan, Leigh, Warrington and Bolton. The distances involved are comparable to those covered by the Greater London Rail Network.

Such a scheme could be implemented now, in time for the anticipated population increase of the next century.

2/6

When May suffers her night of the long Knives, who will fill her kitten shoes?

All of the Tory Cabinet are damaged goods and only a potential suicide would want to pick up the whip and try to unite them.

List them and see if you can pick out a capable leader.

Labour may be divided and pull in different directions but they have a leader, who will go where the Party wants to go.

VARIOUS BLOGS 8 (3/5/17)

May 3, 2017

letters to Daily Mirror. only one printed.
7/2/17
I find it hard to believe that Tiverton Town Council lost two full years of Council Documents.
The first thing that should be taught on computer security course is the grandfather, father storage system for files.
Even a basic Windows domestic PC platform will recommend a monthly backup of your files.
Computer memory is extremely cheap and fast nowadays; it should be a routine to save working files and archive others.
To lose two years worth can only be construed as mismanagement, or an administrative convenience.

10/2/17
What is the point of asking anyone on BBC’s Question Time, how they’d feel, if an elderly relative had had to wait 8 hours on a trolley in A&E?
This is root cause of the disaffection between voters and politicians.
We know that their elderly relatives would be snug and secure in a hospital bed, whilst most of ours were waiting for an ambulance.
The same applies with many of the public services, which the majority rely on, such as education, social care, pensions, public transport and so on.
Small wonder that panellists rarely answer questions directly, when they can not speak from a common experience

10/2/17
Why has the BBC started asking “when” we should be charged to see a GP?
The question should be what is the point of a GP, if you are going to charge to see them?
It’s the GP who does the initial diagnosis and then re-directs to a specialist, as needed.
It’s the GP, who judges, whether you should be allowed prescription medication.
It shouldn’t an overworked random intern in A&E.
In a civilised Society it shouldn’t be a return of Blackadder’s “wise woman”, or ancient folk remedies for the masses and a privatised NHS for our “betters”

22/2/17 (printed)
Sound recordist Simon Clark is reported as putting the blame for poor sound quality on flat screen TV’s.
I don’t believe this is the case.
As someone with poor hearing, I use radio headphones to listen to TV.
More often the problem is “atmosphere”.
Trying to distinguish what is being said in noisy offices, restaurants, dance halls is too realistic.
It doesn’t happen in old Hollywood films, where the “atmosphere” is set as the stars walk into a noisy room, then once the dialogue starts, the “atmosphere” is tuned out.
The same complaint applies to football matches, where the commentators might as well give up and go for a pie.

22/2/17
With what’s happening to our NHS, it’s unbelievable, for me, that we are helpless to prevent it.
There was no mention of this destruction in any pre-election speeches.
In fact we were assured that the NHS was “safe” in Tory hands.
In normal circumstances, one can understand the need for Governments to have the stability of a five year term of office but the Sovereignty of Parliament becomes a farce, when the wishes of the Population are ignored as an irrelevance, even in times of War.
There needs to be a means for the population to demand a General Election, or, at least, a referendum on issues, which directly affect the whole population.

Printed version:

#|t’s unbelievable what’s happening to our NHS and it has left me feeling helpless. There was no mention of plans to shut hospitals in any pre-election speeches. In fact, we were assured that the NHS was safe in Tory hands. There must be a means for people to demand a referendum on huge issues.

24/2/17
Remind me why our Gas and Electricity were privatised.
To turn us into a shareholder nation? But if working people had enough spare cash to keep shares, Wonga and Visa would be out of business.
They were going to build new power stations etc., which is why some are still running decades after they were supposed to be closed down. It’s why the Government has agreed to pay an extortionate price for the French and Chinese to build a new nuclear power station.
Prices would come down through greater efficiency.
It’s all a nonsense, really. Instead of one overpaid CEO (like British Gas boss, Iain Conn), we have a dozen, each with a duplication of Accounts, Computer, Admin, PR, Sales and Advertising departments.
We have a whole industry badgering us to Switch suppliers, wasting a few more hours of our lives. Who pays for them?
I remember the bad old days, when the Nationalised Industries weren’t pre-occupied with maximising shareholder profits but with keeping the Nation supplied and minimising customer
complaints, delivered through badgered MP’s and Ministers. I even remember complaining about having to wait in for the gasman to bother to show up. Still some things never change.

25/2/17
Why are some Labour MP’s joining the Tory chorus of attacking Jeremy Corbyn?
It can’t just be the loss of Copeland, where the Labour vote has been dropping by thousands ever since the initial success of Blair’s Gov’t in ousting the “Sleaze” ridden Tory Gov’t.
Blair was encouraged to quit in favour of Brown, because of his unpopularity.
Brown lost the following election mainly because of his beggaring the Nation to bail out the banker’s but partly because of his “bigot” attack on a Labour supporter.
I think the latter carried more impact for the ordinary voter.
Miliband lost the next election and gave fuel to UKIP by further deriding Labour supporters and denying them the right to a referendum on the EU and by not challenging the Tory claim that Labour were not responsible with money.
Two elections lost but Corbyn has yet to lose an election.
Nevertheless, he has been subjected to so much abuse by MP’s of his own party, that Labour voters at the far Left and far Centrist have been given cause to withhold their vote.
Whether, or not, Corbyn is replaced, Labour looks set to lose the next election, unless the whole of the Parliamentary Labour Party starts singing from the same song sheet and a tune that all sections of the Labour vote can endorse.
Judging by recent comments, still being made by some MP’s, this will never happen.
No doubt there will be plenty of suggestions as to who can replace Jeremy Corbyn but they will all be tainted by either Blairite or Corbynista attacks and will lose votes from one of those sections of voters.
I fear we are about to lose our NHS and enter a period of far Right control, which will take us back to the 1930’s

26/2/17
Reading the article on the Sunday Mirror Poll, it says nearly two-thirds of Labour voters are satisfied with Corbyn staying as leader.
We need to grow on that and find out why the remaining voters aren’t happy.
It also says that over 5 in 6 think Labour has the right policies.
Presumably the remainder have some concern over particular issues.
We obviously need to consider what these may be, bearing in mind that you can’t please all the people all the time.
Perhaps further polls are needed but ones which seek to find what aspects of Tory policy concern their voters.
I can’t believe that all of their voters are happy with their policies on the NHS, prisons, police, HS2, trains and schools.

1/3/17
I was told that in order to sell their cars in the EU, Nissan had to agree to incorporate poorer but more expensive French components such as the nylon reeled electronic window winder (5 million imported parts per day).
If Nissan remains in the UK and has surcharges imposed by the Single Market, then Nissan would presumably be able to manufacture their own, better quality, components here.
They would be producing a superior product, more cheaply.
It would be worth the Government’s while to try to keep Nissan here, if they cared about the Economy and UK jobs.

3/3/17
Although I can’t endorse The Lords interference in the brexit process, their amendment has pointed up the lack of support for Theresa May’s intent to use the future of EU residents as a negotiation tactic.
This total lack of support must surely have lost her any hoped for leverage in her negotiations.
Her EU opponents will be confident that she can’t play this “chip”
Consequently she might as well go for the humane option of assuring all law-abiding EU citizens resident here that they will be allowed to stay, if a reciprocal arrangement is agreed
I would think that those, who do consider themselves as British, would formalise that status and apply for citizenship to avoid future problems.

5/3/17
I understand the logic of the Law against “stealing by finding” but I have strong sympathy for the woman prosecuted for pocketing a stray £20 note.
I have known a case where someone found a £20 note being blown along a beach.
Someone, who found one folded up on the floor of a packed New Year’s Eve pub.
Whom do you tell?
To whom would you pass it?
Legally, you take it to the police, you get a chitty and in 6 month’s time, if no-one has reported it lost, you are invited to claim it.
Would you be able to take it into a cop shop and explain what you were doing?
Would you be able to tell anyone that you had done this?
What if it was a 10p coin?
If you lost a £20 note would you report it to the Police, hoping to recover it?
There’s legality and morality and there’s a fear of ridicule.

13/3/17
I like the idea of futsal mentioned in the piece on Daniel Sturridge.
It made me wonder if its use of a smaller ball explained the dominance of South Americans.
The smaller size of the ball must mean a greater concentration on the ball, rather than the opponent.

13/3/17
Paul Maguire’s assessment, of Scotland’s income, suggests that an independent Scotland would need to go asking for financial support.
However, the example offered by brexit is that a political partition is like a divorce and it’s therefore likely that Sturgeon would probably be coming to Westminster seeking a financial settlement with alimony

13/3/17
Seeing all those Tory grandee’s, who’d held Cabinet posts during the Tory Sleaze years, sitting in the House of Lords, for the Brexit debate, made it clear that the second Chamber needed an overhaul.
My problem is that the House of Commons isn’t really that much better, with its own drones and money grabbing opportunists.
Do we need a second chamber, if it’s only going to be a copy of the first?
Either it will rubber stamp every bill, or worse, block every bill, regardless of its content.
If we do have a second talking shop, then it has to be elected and it has to be devoid of party political alliance.
Nobody, who has ever subscribed to, or donated to a political party should be eligible to hold office.
This would probably exclude most of the older generation and create a Junior house, more representative of the Nation, from which politicians, who’d proved their worth, might be promoted to the House of Commons.

23/3/17
When will terrorists realise that their actions achieve nothing positive.
Hitler was reported to have acknowledged that the terror bombing of places like Bath and Coventry did nothing towards winning the war.
The IRA bomb campaign did not achieve a United Ireland.
Daesh murders will not bring about a Caliphate.
Ordinary citizens can not affect any such changes.
Their deaths and maimings, whilst being condemned by national leaders, will not affect the actions of Governments, any more than accidents such as floods or train crashes.
The terrorists will not achieve fame, or admiration, or gratitude, from anyone, least of all those whom they believe they represent.
Individually, they will be unmourned and forgotten by any but their own families.
So, why try?

24/3/17
This is allegedly the most heavily observe country in The World, with innumerable CCTV camera’s spying on us.
The number of Police monitoring them is limited by the persistent repeated cuts to funding of all public services.
On the other hand, we have many isolated, often elderly, citizens with time on their hands.
It would seem that this army of potential watchers could be useful in some way.
For instance: in the case of low priority terrorist suspects, watchers could be assigned to simply take screen shots of visitors/contacts, with time stamps.
A police officer could take a daily dip into the relevant files (perhaps with several watchers having contributed).
Instead of having to observe suspects on a 24 hour basis, one officer could scan a hundred sites and then call up recorded video of particularly interesting clips.

29/3/17
I was concerned by your graphic showing “little or low clinical value medicines”
Those mentioned on the TV News were the low cost, possibly cosmetic and others, which most wouldn’t bother their GP over.
Top of the list for savings is a medication for an underactive thyroid.
This is a significant medication.
I remember watching my Mum shambling down the street, pop-eyed, swollen-necked and looking twice her age.
After diagnosis and treatment, she swiftly returned to a younger active working woman.
This medication can’t be cheap for the individual if it costs £31 million, for the whole NHS.
It certainly can’t be described as unnecessary
Such a policy is worthy of the USA’s “couldn’t care less” attitude to the health of their poor and shows the direction that the Tories and privatised Health Care is headed

9/4/17
John Prescot usually presents a sound point of view on most issues but his comparison of the Iraq war with the Falklands shows a disconnect with how most voters viewed both.
The Falklands War was about an invasion of British Territory and an attack on Brits.
The Falklands might be separated from us by a couple of thousand miles of ocean but that’s an irrelevance. To most of us, it could just as easily been the Outer Hebrides, which it resembles.
Maggie’s success, in protecting “us”, gave her an otherwise undeserved success in the following General Election.
Iraq was seen as a murderous intervention in another nation’s affairs, at the bidding of the US President. The suspicion that it was about oil wealth didn’t help.
In the context of Gibraltar, Howard’s main fault, apart from being Gung-Ho, was in thinking that Spain might do any more than wave a red flag at us.

11/4/17
George Osborne, editor of the Evening Standard, formerly Chancellor of the Exchequer, presumably okayed the sale of some more Lloyds’ shares at £40 million less than we paid for them.
We’re told that some were bought by Black Rock, who coincidentally hired him for his expert advice and contacts.

Now it’s reported that the “entirely independent” head of the NHS is to ask the Treasury if he can borrow £10 Billion from Hedge Funds, presumably at a generous rate of interest.
If the Treasury agrees, will it be the hedge fund that Mrs May’s Hubby works for?

I’d be surprised, if not, but it’s no surprise that voters have contempt for politicians, who create the relevant laws and promulgate practices, which enable them to legitimately raid the National coffers, whilst protesting that their dealings are perfectly legal and above board.

Mr. Cameron’s involvement in tax havens, his father-in-law’s wind farm subsidy, The Lords attendance fees, MP’s OTT expense claims, Jeremy Hunt’s £12million windfall, all the other perfectly legitimate tax-payer funded activities, such as privatising rail, education and NHS contracts can all be explained away and protests brushed off, as lacking merit.

But the stench of corruption lingers outside Westminster, where they are so accustomed to the smell that they no longer notice it.

Reports on A&E queues, on people dying because of ambulance delays, on shabby, privatised care homes, on homeless people escaping reality by using Spice, on schools asking parents for funds, on tent cities forming and all the other reports on the by-products of this corruption are becoming very noticeable to voters

19/4/17
Why do sites like Ticketmaster have to be so scammy?
I had to book two ticket to Queen for my wife and daughter @ £69 each but by the time I had jumped through all the hoops and accepted all the add-ons, the final price was about £87 each.
They know that customers of such events will accept the add-ons, so why not be up front and just charge a flat £90.
They know it will be paid and instead of irritating fans, they could hand out free souvenirs to earn bouquets, instead of brickbats.

The final £50 voucher for Hotels.com is just snide.

25/4/17
I was pleased with the verdict in the candy-striped house case; more so with the the decision by the judge that the Council had misused their powers under the Town and country planning Act 1990.

My understanding was that this sort of legislation was originally brought in to stop the creation of slums and shanty towns, ensuring that all housing was safe and fit to live in.

Legislation then let it creep to protecting “Our great houses”
It has, since, been extended to the protection of the character of “charming villages” and “industrial heritage” sites and now to any ordinary house with neighbours, who have friends on the Council.

A cottage in Kennford, Devon was apparently the wrong shade of pink, another in Inverclyde was the wrong shade of cream. In both cases, Councils used their muscle to intimidate the owners.

I’ve no doubt there have been numerous other similar cases of bullying.

The candy stripe house was an extreme example of not “fitting in” but its owner was just awkward enough to fight the bureaucracy, which no longer works to serve the public but sees itself as having manorial rights.

Unfortunately, the move towards mayoralties will probably negate this ruling as each local fiefdom begins to create its own Laws to suit the whim of whomsoever has been ceded power.

30/4/17
John Prescott is right on many issues but is wrong on GE1997
Labour didn’t win that election, so much as the Tories were thrown out of office by a disgusted electorate.
Yes, Labour did a lot of good but it also did a lot that was disliked by the voters (mainly via Blunkett) and this showed in the vote share in successive GE’s.
It wasn’t just Iraq that allowed the Tories back in. It was a generation who’d forgotten what happened under the Tories.
Those people need to be made to look at what they’ve done this time in terms of food banks, homelessness, prisons, police, fire services, post office, banks, NHS and other aspects of Austerity.

Big campaign on mobile phones won’t last. There’s more cuts on the way.

March 7, 2017

Letter ( a bit ranty) to the Daily Mirror, editted.

27/1/2017
Raising the fines for motorists using a mobile phone won’t work.
Many consider it essential to their employment and that being caught is an acceptable risk.
The only way to change their behaviour is to increase the frequency of being caught.
This means more cops (LOL), some new technology, or access to phone records.
The last would have to be coupled with CCTV along Motorways etc.
The real problem is that it would be another intrusion into privacy and would probably be handled by someone like G4S.
Personally I can’t see it being stopped, especially as pressure on prisons is likely to make killing someone, whilst driving and phoning, is likely to incur a smaller fine.

#The only way to change the behaviour of mobile users is to increase the possibility of being caught. This means more police, new technology and access to mobile phone records.
Personally, I can’t see it being stopped.

It is immoral that we are helpless to prevent the party in power from deceitfully & deliberately reversing a manifesto pledge e.g. #NHS

March 7, 2017

This was a letter to the Daily Mirror , published but with a hard edit

22/2/17
With what’s happening to our NHS, it’s unbelievable, for me, that we are helpless to prevent it.
There was no mention of this destruction in any pre-election speeches.
In fact we were assured that the NHS was “safe” in Tory hands.
In normal circumstances, one can understand the need for Governments to have the stability of a five year term of office but the Sovereignty of Parliament becomes a farce, when the wishes of the Population are ignored as an irrelevance, even in times of War.
There needs to be a means for the population to demand a General Election, or, at least, a referendum on issues, which directly affect the whole population

#|t’s unbelievable what’s happening to our NHS and it has left me feeling helpless. There was no mention of plans to shut hospitals in any pre-election speeches. In fact, we were assured that the NHS was safe
in Tory hands. There must be a means for people to demand a referendum on huge issues.

some TV producers need to tune down the “atmosphere” and let us hear the dialogue

March 7, 2017

A letter to the Daily Mirror with minimal editting
22/2/17
Sound recordist Simon Clark is reported as putting the blame for poor sound quality on flat screen TV’s.
I don’t believe this is the case.
As someone with poor hearing, I use radio headphones to listen to TV.
More often the problem is “atmosphere”.
Trying to distinguish what is being said in noisy offices, restaurants, dance halls is too realistic.
It doesn’t happen in old Hollywood films, where the “atmosphere” is set as the stars walk into a noisy room, then once the dialogue starts, the “atmosphere” is tuned out.
The same complaint applies to football matches, where the commentators might as well give up and go for a pie.

WON’T LISTEN TO EXCUSE
#Sound recordist Simon Clark is reported as putting the blame for poor sound quality on flat screen TVs (Mirror, February 22). I don’t believe this.
As someone with poor hearing I use radio headphones to listen to the TV and more often the problem is “atmosphere”.
Trying to distinguish what is being said in noisy offices, restaurants, dance halls is too realistic.
It doesn’t happen in old Hollywood films, where the “atmosphere” is set as the stars walk into a noisy room, then once the dialogue starts it is tuned out. The same complaint applies to football matches, where the commentators might as well go for a pie.

various blogs 7 (5/3/17)

March 7, 2017

5/3/17
I understand the logic of the Law against “stealing by finding” but I have strong sympathy for the woman prosecuted for pocketing a stray £20 note.
I have known a case where someone found a £20 note being blown along a beach.
Someone, who found one folded up on the floor of a packed New Year’s Eve pub.
Whom do you tell?
To whom would you pass it?
Legally, you take it to the police, you get a chitty and in 6 month’s time, if no-one has reported it lost, you are invited to claim it.
Would you be able to take it into a cop shop and explain what you were doing?
Would you be able to tell anyone that you had done this?
What if it was a 10p coin?
If you lost a £20 note would you report it to the Police, hoping to recover it?
There’s legality and morality and there’s a fear of ridicule.

3/3/17
Although I can’t endorse The Lords interference in the brexit process, their amendment has pointed up the lack of support for Theresa May’s intent to use the future of EU residents as a negotiation tactic.
This total lack of support must surely have lost her any hoped for leverage in her negotiations.
Her EU opponents will be confident that she can’t play this “chip”
Consequently she might as well go for the humane option of assuring all law-abiding EU citizens resident here that they will be allowed to stay, if a reciprocal arrangement is agreed
I would think that those, who do consider themselves as British, would formalise that status and apply for citizenship to avoid future problems.
1/3/17
I was told that in order to sell their cars in the EU, Nissan had to agree to incorporate poorer but more expensive French components such as the nylon reeled electronic window winder (5 million imported parts per day).
If Nissan remains in the UK and has surcharges imposed by the Single Market, then Nissan would presumably be able to manufacture their own, better quality, components here.
They would be producing a superior product, more cheaply.
It would be worth the Government’s while to try to keep Nissan here, if they cared about the Economy and UK jobs.
26/2/17
Reading the article on the Sunday Mirror Poll, it says nearly two-thirds of Labour voters are satisfied with Corbyn staying as leader.
We need to grow on that and find out why the remaining voters aren’t happy.
It also says that over 5 in 6 think Labour has the right policies.
Presumably the remainder have some concern over particular issues.
We obviously need to consider what these may be, bearing in mind that you can’t please all the people all the time.
Perhaps further polls are needed but ones which seek to find what aspects of Tory policy concern their voters.
I can’t believe that all of their voters are happy with their policies on the NHS, prisons, police, HS2, trains and schools.

25/2/17
Why are some Labour MP’s joining the Tory chorus of attacking Jeremy Corbyn?
It can’t just be the loss of Copeland, where the Labour vote has been dropping by thousands ever since the initial success of Blair’s Gov’t in ousting the “Sleaze” ridden Tory Gov’t.
Blair was encouraged to quit in favour of Brown, because of his unpopularity.
Brown lost the following election mainly because of his beggaring the Nation to bail out the banker’s but partly because of his “bigot” attack on a Labour supporter.
I think the latter carried more impact for the ordinary voter.
Miliband lost the next election and gave fuel to UKIP by further deriding Labour supporters and denying them the right to a referendum on the EU and by not challenging the Tory claim that Labour were not responsible with money.
Two elections lost but Corbyn has yet to lose an election.
Nevertheless, he has been subjected to so much abuse by MP’s of his own party, that Labour voters at the far Left and far Centrist have been given cause to withhold their vote.
Whether, or not, Corbyn is replaced, Labour looks set to lose the next election, unless the whole of the Parliamentary Labour Party starts singing from the same song sheet and a tune that all sections of the Labour vote can endorse.
Judging by recent comments, still being made by some MP’s, this will never happen.
No doubt there will be plenty of suggestions as to who can replace Jeremy Corbyn but they will all be tainted by either Blairite or Corbynista attacks and will lose votes from one of those sections of voters.
I fear we are about to lose our NHS and enter a period of far Right control, which will take us back to the 1930’s

24/2/17
Remind me why our Gas and Electricity were privatised.
To turn us into a shareholder nation? But if working people had enough spare cash to keep shares, Wonga and Visa would be out of business.
They were going to build new power stations etc., which is why some are still running decades after they were supposed to be closed down. It’s why the Government has agreed to pay an extortionate price for the French and Chinese to build a new nuclear power station.
Prices would come down through greater efficiency.
It’s all a nonsense, really. Instead of one overpaid CEO (like British Gas boss, Iain Conn), we have a dozen, each with a duplication of Accounts, Computer, Admin, PR, Sales and Advertising departments.
We have a whole industry badgering us to Switch suppliers, wasting a few more hours of our lives. Who pays for them?
I remember the bad old days, when the Nationalised Industries weren’t pre-occupied with maximising shareholder profits but with keeping the Nation supplied and minimising customer complaints, delivered through badgered MP’s and Ministers. I even remember complaining about having to wait in for the gasman to bother to show up. Still some things never change.

10/2/17
Why has the BBC started asking “when” we should be charged to see a GP?
The question should be what is the point of a GP, if you are going to charge to see them?
It’s the GP who does the initial diagnosis and then re-directs to a specialist, as needed.
It’s the GP, who judges, whether you should be allowed prescription medication.
It shouldn’t an overworked random intern in A&E.
In a civilised Society it shouldn’t be a return of Blackadder’s “wise woman”, or ancient folk remedies for the masses and a privatised NHS for our “betters”

10/2/17
What is the point of asking anyone on BBC’s Question Time, how they’d feel, if an elderly relative had had to wait 8 hours on a trolley in A&E?
This is root cause of the disaffection between voters and politicians.
We know that their elderly relatives would be snug and secure in a hospital bed, whilst most of ours were waiting for an ambulance.

The same applies with many of the public services, which the majority rely on, such as education, social care, pensions, public transport and so on.
Small wonder that panellists rarely answer questions directly, when they can not speak from a common experience

7/2/17
I find it hard to believe that Tiverton Town Council lost two full years of Council Documents.
The first thing that should be taught on computer security course is the grandfather, father storage system for files.
Even a basic Windows domestic PC platform will recommend a monthly backup of your files.
Computer memory is extremely cheap and fast nowadays; it should be a routine to save working files and archive others.
To lose two years worth can only be construed as mismanagement, or an administrative convenience.
5/2/17
I have to agree with Saira Khan’s support of MP’s taking their babies into The Commons.
After all who’d notice, if one began screaming its head off during PMQ’s.
5/2/17
When HS2 was first announced, the price tag was given as £40 Bn, quickly revised to £50 Bn.
Although some pundits suggested that it might be £80 Bn, when finally underway, it has been consistently priced at £50-60 Bn.
Then this morning, I’m sure the figure of £90 Bn slipped off Andrew Marr’s tongue.
These slipping figures seem so slight, one thinks of only another £10 Bn increase at a time.
Then one asks how much has NHS funding been cut by the Tories and feels despair.
One also has to ask if HS2 will be necessary, once the Northern Powerhouse is underway and businesses realise that there are great ports at either end of these linked cities, with greater room for airport expansion and new cheaper housing.
Who is pushing for HS2 and why?
5/2/17
Your piece in the Sunday Mirror questioning the Honour’s System and the lack of a knighthood for David Beckham, does form an indictment of decisions being made by those claiming to represent us.
A more honourable system would be if such honours were decided by populist vote.
Of course, this is unlikely to happen when the likes of Lord Prescott, who having been on the wrong side of two referenda, has expressed a distaste for them.
He says, in the same issue of the Sunday Mirror, that he prefers the sovereignty of Parliament, over populist sovereignty.
He was happy to become an MP by populist vote but like many other MP’s (past and present) of both parties, he now expresses contempt for the ability of the People to make rational choices.
How can we respect such people, who are repeatedly telling us that decisions on Honours and Government policy can not be entrusted to us and, moreover, should in many cases, be kept secret from us, until an irrevocable decision has been made and published?
2/2/17
Candidates in local bye-elections are supporting constituency view on #brexit, although, for some, it’s contrary to their own views.
On the other hand, we are repeatedly told by MP’s that they are entitled to vote in Parliament, according to their own consciences, regardless of voter, leader, or constituency wishes.
what are we actually being asked to vote for, if candidates can be so blatantly hypocritical in their campaigning?

27/1/17
Gina Miller’s court case was, allegedly, merely to establish the Sovereignty of Parliament.
It was successful, so what does it matter if MP’s are only being asked for permission to sign Article50
signing Article50 doesn’t commit us to any pre-conditions, it merely initiates the avowed intent of all parties to obey the plebiscite’s wish to leave the EU?
I’m sure every step of the negotiations will be reported and chewed over, every step of the way.
Every agreed point will be objected to in Parliament, with the time limit reached before our Sovereign Parliament has reached any concensus about what the 27 EU leaders have been prepared to concede.

27/1/17
Just before Blair issued his demand, for more homework, OFSTED had announced that Homework was of little benefit except in certain instances such as in Maths.
Blunkett then demanded minimum amounts for all pupils, regardless of relevance.
It then became a duty of teacher’s to set, mark and (especially) record such work.
Some pupils are incapable of such an effort and were ordered to be punished for their failure to comply, creating resentful and disruptive pupils.
Compulsory homework has been the cause of most of the social problems in schools.

@guardian time to create a defence to cyber warfare

January 25, 2017

There appears to be a lot of concern about cyber warfare but no plan of action.

May I suggest a line of attack?

It requires our politicians to forego the desire to foster the interests of businesses and help them in their quest to find new ways of extracting profit from the masses.

I mean that The State should protect the domestic computer market and its customers.

I’m not referring to legislation against malware but in removing our vulnerability to it.

There are freeware programs (spybot, ccleaner, malware malbytes, AVG antivirus etc.), which do a good job of reducing viruses on business websites by helping to reduce the wild populations.

How much better would it be, if we had a cyber version of the NHS?

A State run (MI5 in alliance with some of the freeware companies ) UK computer Health Service (UKCHS), where professional teams monitored the latest hacks, viruses, trojans etc. and created counter-measures.

There must be many small business’s, which do not have the expertise, or finance, to defend themselves from ransomware etc.

One of the bugbears, of even large organisations, is the use of DOS attacks. These rely on a myriad of domestic PC’s infected with Bots.

The UKCHS would, potentially, be able to inoculate and clean out this source of pestilence. This, last, assumes a globally accessible service, which, in turn, means it’d be able to monitor the earliest manifestations of any malware and variants.

The icing on the cake would be, if the UKCHS could create a rival platform to Microsoft Windows.

We have supported Microsoft Windows by relying on it in our schools and by its pre-installed presence on domestic PC’s.

God knows how much cash flees these shores to fund The USA Treasury (America first?) and Bill Gates’s  lifestyle.

The problem with Microsoft Windows has always been its design flaws, aimed at controlling consumer access to software and in mining our data.  (I read that It enabled the USA to have access to high level USSR secrets).

Every new generation has gone out with backdoors and other exploitable faults, which has fostered a subculture of hackers (antagonistic to Microsoft charges) intent on discovering them.

Add in unintentional flaws, such as the millennium bug, which was present in several generations of windows and which caused a global panic.

How many hours are spent, by all users, installing updates to patch up a designed-in vulnerability, which has then needed further patches?

A platform, free from intentional vulnerabilities, would be a lot easier to defend from cyber attack and it would pay for itself in reduced downtime.

 

Various blogs 6

January 11, 2017

11/1/17
Why do the rail operators want to get rid of guards?
The likeliest answer is to save money for improved share dividends.
The unlikeliest answer is that savings will go to improved facilities, or fare cuts.

The service to the public is reduced and made yet more impersonal.
The Public also loses, because of reduced tax revenue and an increase in benefits payments to the now unemployed guards.

It is in the interests of the Government to increase employment, so why are they not supporting the strikers against the money-grubbing of the operators?

As always, Tories are pennywise and pound foolish, blinded by the dogma of keeping the peasants in line and toadying to the money men.

Giving Billions to those behind HS2, whilst saving a few million by severely cutting hospital beds

5/1/17
Has Defence Minister Harriet Baldwin latched onto a new form of Laser?
Back when President Reagan hit on his own Star Wars defence systems, they quickly realised that shiny metal missiles reflect light.
They also move incredibly fast, making them hard to target.
I’m sure the Pentagon spent a lot more than £30 million trying to overcome these problems but they had to concede defeat, as did the Russians, who invested in a ground based Maser.
Swapping one Americanism for another, I expect that Harriet Baldwin will find herself not ahead of the curve but behind the eight ball.
30/12/16
Whilst focus is rightly on “Anna” in the Secret Slave case, it disturbing that the story of the other women in the house is being ignored.
The original report says that these other women colluded in keeping “Anna” enslaved, because they were also subject to intimidation and beatings.
Why are they not also being defended?
Why is there not talk of taking action to prevent their abuse?
Socialism is about treating everyone equally.
This has led to the creed of respecting cultural diversity but in doing so, we have committed ourselves to protecting behaviours, which have legitimised the actions of “Malik” and other’s like him.
Such men could never be described as Socialist, Christian, or, I presume, Islamic.

28/12/16
The Tory plan to demand photo ID is annoying in a number of ways.
Initially, because it’s smacks of an attempt to, once more, enforce the national ID card.
It is also resonant of the way that many poorer voters (mostly black) in the Southern States of America have been denied a vote, because of the cost and the bureaucratic hurdles put in place.
Then there’s the core issue of the validity of photo ID as a means of security.
The two photo’s of the Tunisian assassin, recently shown throughout the Media, are so different that I wonder if they are the same man.
Such photo’s are, often, so unlike the person presenting them that few photo ID’s are given more than a passing glance.
Apparently, the Tunisian assassin found it easy to procure three legitimate (?) passports in different names.
They are neither secure, nor feasible, when dealing with even local elections, which often rely on volunteers working in adverse, makeshift conditions.

17/12/16
A 101 yr old paedophile, sent to prison, was reported to show no remorse.
It strikes me that he may have shown gratitude.
What other person of that age can be guaranteed immediate access to medical aid, should he need it.
Free heating, regular hot meals and constant care.
Outside prison, he would have to fend for himself, risk losing his home and while away many hours in solitude.
It’s another Wonderful Life story for Brian Reade

14/12/16

This was from Twitter. Nothing on TV.
It’s the sort of thing that is more relevant (to those affected) than who’s won Strictly, or X-factor.
http://www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information/traffic-information-services/highways-england-post-incident-bulletin/january-2016-post-incident-bulletins/december-2016-post-incident-bulletins/m6-closure-northbound-lancashire-monday-12-tuesday-13-december-2016/

14/12/16

The report on the lives of the children in North Korea is so depressing and so hard to deal with.
As individuals we can do nothing and we look to politicians to act on our behalf.
The UN seems totally incapable of anything other than passing votes condemning such regimes. Although in this case a demand of all nations to totally ostracise North Korea and expulsion of its representatives might have an effect.
There will be calls for further action but what?
For instance, Paddy Ashdown has called for action on Aleppo but I fail to see how a few more bombs in that region of The World helps.
Nothing will change in these places, in India’s sweatshops, Brazil’s favela’s, China’s industrialised regions, Africa’s desert regions etc. until politicians slough off their reliance on the rich and end exploitation of the vulnerable.
We won’t see it in our lifetimes and we won’t even see it in our own country whilst we have a political system that can cut taxes on the rich and care services to the poor.
Happy Xmas, to all
11/12/16
Sunday morning BBC1; I’m watching Fern Briton telling Michael Gove that homework is counterproductive and I’m loving it.
As a teacher, I was compelled to set homework, whether, or not, it was helpful.
I was compelled to mark, grade and record it in a particular way and then punish pupils for not completing it, regardless of their ability, home circumstances, or any other consideration.
Consequent discipline problems, alienation and disaffection made attempts to interest pupils in my subject grow less possible, even amongst pupils with an aptitude for it.
Before Blunkett set down rules on homework, I could set homework when and where it would help.
Some homeworks would merely need a tick of approval, some would need chasing, some would need detailed examination but it was as I judged suitable for each pupil.
It would be nice if politicians could lose interest in Education and left school’s, teacher’s, parent’s and those with an investment in it, to get on with it.

various blogs 5

December 10, 2016

letters to Daily Mirror, not published:

10/12/16
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
 

9/12/16
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.

9/12/16
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.

8/12/16
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:

published
#|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

published
SINKING FEELING
# 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: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tees-24636597
 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 (http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/scrappers.htm)

3/12/16

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.

2/12/16
Wonderful!
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?

2/12/16
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.