Archive for the ‘published’ Category

Blogpost 24: 6/6/18

June 6, 2018

Letters sent to the Daily Mirror

6/6/18
Only government has the power, it just lacks quality politicians
Stuck in another long line of traffic this morning; no doubt worsened by commuters abandoning the train in their need to avoid being sacked and put at the mercy of Universal Credit.
My thoughts reverted to the billions of gallons of fuel being wasted by cars idling, or creeping along, pouring out pollution, Carbon Dioxide and wasted energy; all adding to Global Warming.
Political responses, so far, have been to increase taxes on motorists, legislate ridiculous limits on car design (manufacturers being forced into criminality to pretend to comply) and, generally, to try to make car ownership more stressful.
People need personal transport to comply with the demands of modern life and politicians should be enabling them to comply.
Allowing traffic jams, through failure to ease congestion, shows incompetence and an unsuitability to govern.

Smart motorways help but they aren’t even a pretence at a solution.
Roads need to be uncluttered, with overheads and underpasses, instead of traffic islands and traffic lights .
Pedestrians, cyclists etc. should be separated from more dangerous traffic by more than painted tarmac.
There shouldn’t be a need to dig up roads to repair pipes and cables.
There shouldn’t need to be road closures to cope with accidents.
Better planning and design is needed and only Government has the power to achieve it.

6/6/18

fob them off
——————————
Theresa May: “I’m getting a lot of flak over trains ‘oop North’.
Put out a statement that the situation is unacceptable”
Alison Saunders (CPS): “I’m getting a lot of flak over prosecutions failing through our incompetence.
Put out a statement that the situation is unacceptable”
Any Hospital Trust: ” We’re getting a lot of flak over our incompetence.
Put out a statement that the situation is unacceptable”
Time for a new fob-them-off statement?

30/5/18
Heli Vertanen
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The three main food groups are fats, carbohydrates and proteins.
We’re constantly being warned against carbohydrates, which cause obesity and diabetes, leading to our dying of Heart diseases.
We’re constantly being warned against fats, which cause obesity furring of the arteries, leading to our dying of Heart diseases.
Now Heli Vertanen of the University of Eastern Finland tells us that a high protein diet with lots of lean meat increases the risk of heart failure in middle-aged men.
Heli Vertanen says lean meat increases the risk by 43%, so all those middle-aged fat men, who follow medical advice, cutting back the spuds and trimming their meat, are increasing their chances of dying?
Nutritionists talk more rubbish than panellists on BBC’s Question Time.
Statistics from the USA Census Bureau say 286.8 middle-aged men out of each population 100,000 die of heart disease.
Should we take it that the rest must die of starvation.
published as:

We’re constantly being Warned aqainst fats and carbohydrates, but now Heli Virtanen, of the University of Eastern Finland, tells us a high protein diet with lots of lean meat also increases the risk of heart failure in
middle-aged men (Mirror, May 30). What on earth
are We supposed to eat?

30/5/18
EU co-operation
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Interpol was established as the International Criminal Police Commission (ICPC) in 1923, between the World Wars, and is proof that we do not have to be in a political union with the EU to co-operate, or share data with the EU.
So why should Kevin Bentley, of the LGA, believe that the EU would risk endangering its own citizens by not sharing its food hygiene database with us?
The EU’s CE trademark is based on standards, originally estabilished by the British Standards Institute.
Its drug standards database is based on ours, which was originally based on that of the USA.
Sharing databases is mutually beneficial.
Why do some claim that the EU will not share intelligence data with us, when it already shares it with the USA and Australia?
Why do some claim the EU will not co-operate with us in Science, when CERN has Israel as a full member and most other nations as associate members.
Even the recent argument about Galileo access seems fake, when our military are already integrating into what is effectively an EU Army, which wants Galileo to act as a GPS, independent of the USA system.
Politicians may posture and issue threats but Democratic Nations do not, ultimately, cut off their noses to spite their faces.

29/5/18
Greengauge21
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You report that Greengauge21 has proclaimed that High Speed Rail will provide a boost to the Economy.
Such reports really annoy me.
We’re never told who funds these organisations, or on what they base their claims.
For all we know, Greengauge21 could be funded by the companies hoping to step in to pick up Carillion’s contracts for HS2.
And how does paying out £ Billions, speeding rich businessmen and public officials, between 5 star hotels, help our economy?
Don’t they have teleconferencing?

26/5/18
GDPR
————————-
Like Fiona I’m enjoying the scramble caused by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) taking effect.
It’s compensation for the rude insistence of on-line merchants, requiring us to “register”, assign a “strong” password and use Captcha’s to prove we are not robots.
All we might want is a one time purchase from a site we will never access again, despite its spams in our mailboxes
Whether inside or outside the EU, could we please run the same exercise after every General Election? Just think of the data storage that would be freed up.
The only downside is that News outlets from outside the EU can no longer, it seems, access us.

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Blogpost 23: 6/4/18

May 24, 2018

Letters to the Daily Mirror

9/4/18
The Daily Mirror asks us what we think of parking charges imposed on Nurses but is there anyone outside the Westminster bubble, who doesn’t see this as a scandal?
No doubt the hospital trust management have private reserved car parking and no doubt none inside that Westminster bubble faces such mean spirited treatment.
If hospital parking is such a problem, why not set up park-and-ride schemes.
These needn’t be just for hospital staff but for patients. also.
Under the Tories, Hospitals in congested Cities have become “Centres of Excellence”, requiring patients to travel long distances, inaccessible by public transport, especially for early morning appointments.
Of course, a more logical solution would be to build any new Hospitals, or other public buildings outside of towns, where there would be adequate parking and expressway links to town centres, for those relying on public transport.

Published version.

IS there anyone outside the Westminster bubble who does not see that parking charges imposed on hard-up NHS staff are a scandal [Mirror, April 9]? If hospital parking is such a problem, why not set up park-and-ride schemes? These needn’t be just for hospital staff, but for patients too.
Under the Tories, hospital closures require staff and patients to travel long distances for treatment and these new so-called “centres of excellence” are often inaccessible by public transport, especially for early morning appointments.
Surely a more logical solution would be to build new hospitals out of towns where there would be space for parking, and create expressway links to city centres for those relying on public transport.
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14/4/18
Do our MP’s really think we want May acting as an elected dictator, taking us into another illegal war?
We may be concerned about what Assad is doing to his own people but it is a Civil War and not of our concern.
If the Sovereignty of Parliament means anything, then it is their decision to make.
We are not at war, the PM has no right to make executive decisions.
Our MP’s should be calling for a vote of “no confidence” and petitioning The Queen for a Dissolution of Parliament, if May tries to bully her way ahead with this attack on a “friendly” Nation.
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16/4/18
Boris Johnson’s warning, that our public services are likely to suffer a Russian cyber attack, looks like a pathetic joke, in view of the unremitting onslaught made by our own Government.
Your article lists a 47% casualty rate amongst public servants and that doesn’t take into account the thousands who’ve died on trolleys, in stabbings, frozen to death, or forced to commit suicide.
There must also be thousands more who’ve suffered severe mental stress through lack of adequate care, balancing choices of eating or heating, torment from privatised disability assessment companies, or the numerous other cases of callous treatment reported over the past decade.
What can Putin do to ordinary citizens that May and her cronies haven’t already perfected.
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16/4/18
So Jeremy Corbyn has promised free bus travel for under 25’s.
Obviously this will find favour with that age group and may attract a few more votes but unlike the Tories, who always make similar promises, I’m sure Jermy will keep his.
It’s not as if this is a promise without merit.
One only has to consider the burden of tuition fees, low wages and rising taxes that our youngsters face.
The benefit to young girls, who find themselves stranded without bus fare, after a night out, is a bonus.
However, the main benefit will be in easing congestion, by moving more people onto Public transport in those towns running their own services.
Such services will be cheaper than the presently, mainly, foreign owned private firms, who are siphoning off fat profits and servicing only high volume routes.
Personally, I would like to see this rolled out to all age groups, so reducing congestion and pollution.
Obviously, it wouldn’t completely remove the need for personal transport but it would reduce traffic jams and fuel wasted by cars caught in tailbacks and, coincidentally, reducing the cost of fuel imports.
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18/4/18
The comparison of the knowledge base of 25-34 yr-olds, with older generations, seems to blame the i-pad but this came out in 2010 and can’t really be blamed.
A better explanation lies with Thatcher.
Having immediately laid the groundwork for privatising schools in 1979. Powers and responsibilities were taken away from, local education authorities and given to Inexperienced Governing bodies and HeadTeachers. Headteachers became the equivalent of a CEO, under the control of a Board of Directors, with little idea of the planned changes.
Many Head teachers took early retirement, at this time.
Thatcher culminated her attack on the Educational structure by introducing the National Curriculom in 1988, whereby a politician , intially Kenneth Baker, told schools how and what they must teach.
It took about 10 years to bed in the main body of the final version.
This means that those 15 yr-olds taking their GCSE’s, at the time, would be 20 to 30 yrs-old now.
The constant roll over of Ministers, has not helped stabilise the situation, or improve educational standards for the younger generation.
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20/4/18
Andy Dunn is right to criticise the Premier league for not bringing in VAR but not just because it’s inevitable.
Ignore TV pundits claiming it disrupts the game; they’ll still find opportunities to criticise the decisions being made
Ignore Managers criticising decisions, which go against them.
If they love the Sport, as most profess, they’ll grow to recognise that better decisions are good for the game. Only bad managers can complain about their strikers being caught out “winning” penalties. Only bad managers can complain about red cards being issued for “dissent”.
Referees won’t be vilified by fans, as much, and they’ll also be able to learn to recognise tactics being used to con them.
Players will be forced to develop footballing skills, instead of acting skills.
Two problems remain: When should VAR be called in and by whom? Rugby League seems to manage.
How much time should be added? Rugby League has the answer. The referee stops the clock.
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21/4/18
The most ridiculous thing about the Windrush fiasco is that they can only send these people to Jamaica, because they have proof that that is were they came from.
The TV series, on our Border Control, showed that true illegal aliens were escaping deportation, after capture, simply because there was no proof of country of origin.
Many were released (no charges could be brought) and told to report to a police station with their documents.
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22/4/18
When Maggie Thatcher began privatising State functions and selling off Tax-payer funded assets, she also began an attack on Public employees and their conditions of employment.
She was quoted as saying that she would squeeze them until the pips squeaked.
Under Cameron and, now, May, the pips aren’t just squeaking, they’re cracking and, in terms of the analogy, our wine is bitter.
Windrush, Police resignations, Teacher resignations, Stabbings and contempt for the Law by criminals, Drug-fuelled crime, A&E collapse, homeless every high Street, benefit sanctioned suicides, food banks
They’re still squeezing and we have no means of stopping it, until 2022.
This isn’t Government, it’s persecution.
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30/4/18
To say that Amber Rudd did the honourable thing, by resigning, is untrue.
There was nothing honourable about anything to do with the deportation of the Windrush people.
Rudd denied British Citizens their rights and persistently lied about it to The Nation, via the House of Commons.
Is it any wonder that so many people won’t vote for any of these honourable and very honourable members, when even the Prime Minister has shown equally as much respect for people’s rights as her underling and now disgraced partner in crime.

Published

To say that Amber Rudd did the honourable thing by resigning would be untrue. There is nothing honourable about the threatened deportation of the Windrush generation. Nor the fact that the Government denied British citizens their rights or that Ms Rudd lied about the existence of
Home Office targets to the nation.
Is it any wonder that confidence in our so-called honourable members is at an all-time low?———————————
30/4/18
I agree with Paul Maguire’s summation on the story of Alfie Evans but would add one thought.
The defence given for denying his parents the right to seek treatment abroad was that our professionals were compelled by their ethical concern for their patient.
This implies that the Italian professionals, who offered to treat him, were not acting equally ethically.
What evidence did our Courts have, to arrive at this judgement?
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5/5/18
Thank you, Brian Reade, for expressing my own concerns over Diane Abbott.
I would throw in her unfortunate manner of speaking, which makes her sound as if she’s a Primary school HeadMistress, lecturing a pupil. Sadly, the heavy trolling and racial abuse, she has reported, makes criticism of her problematic, for the majority of us, who would support her politics.
I would like to further add that her brief editorship of Labour List showed her in a much better light, with a set of well presented opinions.
I, too, reccommend that she be kept away from Media interviewers.
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5/5/18
I suspect that, when Jeremy Corbyn eventually moves into Number 10, he will be seen in a much better light by voters.
Every Labour leader, with the exception of the suave public schoolboy, Tony Blair, has been vilified by most of the Main Stream Media, as a Communist lackey and potential traitor.
In Harold Wilson’s case, the public found distaste for “13 years of Tory Mis-rule” an overwhelming argument and voted for him, anyway.
A short period in office, with a slender majority, was sufficient for him to be quickly returned to power, with a decisive majority.
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11/5/18
You posed the question of “What are the Golan Heights?” and correctly stated that they were a region seized by the Israelis in the Six-day War.
I feel that a fuller answer is needed to avoid the present generation beleiving that Israel were the agressors.
My best recollection was that three neighbouring nations attacked Israel on two flanks in an attempt to wipe it out.
The Israeli’s, repulsed and defeated this genocidal attack and took the Golan heights during the six days of the war.
After their victory, they withdrew to their own borders.
They then retook the Golan heights, because the settlements, in the lowlands, were being subjected to continuous sniper fire from the Heights.
The full History is needed to help people understand the animosity, which has created the present anti-Semitism row in Labour.
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12/5/18
Dominic Grieve confuses Democracy with public school etiquette.
The Prime Minister has, over the centuries, become an elected dictator but he, or she, is still only meant to interpret and implement the will of the people. All Prime Ministers need to be pulled up short, if they forget that.
In this case, Boris Johnson has said Theresa May’s lame-brained suggestion is crazy and, for once, he is correct. In a Democracy, that is precisely what he should do. The disgrace is that other Tory Ministers are prepared to keep quiet (and keep their jobs), whilst Theresa May zombie walks through the Brexit negotiations.
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22/5/18
In your report on Abramovich having difficulty renewing a visa, you report that Downing Street’s response was that they don’t discuss individual cases. This seems to have been accepted as a “shut-up and don’t ask any more questions”.
Why? This seems to be the Goto response of most PR people nowadays. It is one which is invariably accepted by reporters, without further query. There are issues, of a sensitive nature, where this response might be appropriate but surely not in this case.
This may be tied into the investigations into rich Russians possibly being involved in criminal activities. This may involve individuals but it is not just this one individual and this “shut-up” shouldn’t apply unless there is a likelihood of Abramovich being arrested.
In a wider arena, involving official incompetence, or criminality, this “individuals” plea shouldn’t be allowed to cut off investigations into cases of Public Concern, as it seems to have done in recent cases of child abuse, paedophile gangs and medical negligence.
Leveson seems to have severely tamed modern reporting.
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24/5/18
The claim that we’d need a £2,000 tax hike to support the NHS may be true, even if simplisticly stated.
The question is should we?
Should we pay to preserve the NHS, that was created by a Socialist Government?
Most would say “Yes!”
But are we really being told that we have to pay more to increase shareholder dividends of the privatised NHS, created by this Tory Government.

published as:

The claim that we need a £2,000 per household tax hike to support the NHS may be true but the question is, should we pay? Taxpayers’ money must not be used to increase shareholder dividends of the privatised parts of the NHS brought in by this Tory Government.

Blogpost 21 : 19/3/18

April 6, 2018

3/3/18
Maplins, Toys-R-Us and, next up, Carpet-Right.
Why are firms going bust?
Politicians blame Brexit and I blame Tory Austerity measures. Both have affected the Economy.
Brexit has weakened the pound, affecting the cost of goods in the shops, but that will end eventually.
The effects of austerity could lead to a recession and long term damage.

5/3/18    tax or asset stripping
Tory Lord Willets, another PPE (Oxon), known mainly for pushing for PFI’s in the NHS, has spotted some unguarded cash and wants the Taxman to grab it.
Government has devastated the life chances of the younger generation with Student loans, large mortgages and rip-off rents.
They’ve enabled the seizure of parental assets for those, who need a care home.
Now Lord Willets claims their parents have too much spare cash, which he wants.
Presumably, it’s the pensions of the better-off baby-boomers that he’s spotted.
On what grounds will he grab it? Age? Maybe another bedroom tax for the home-owning “empty-nesters”, who haven’t needed a care home?
John Lennon had it right in his assessment of “The Taxman”
“Now my advice for those who die, Declare the pennies on your eyes, Cause I’m the taxman”

10/3/18   golf cheats
I’d like to thank Jason Beattie for his “both golf cheats”.
My initial reaction, to those words, was dismissive.
This was quickly followed by a realisation that this perfectly summed up both Trump and Kim
A golf cheat is someone, who can lie to himself and be completely oblivious to the fact that everyone, who knows him, knows he’s cheating. And when he meets another cheat, he can recognise a kindred spirit, yet still feel morally superior, because he knows the other one cheats, whilst he, hisself, merely adjusts the rules to his advantage.

10/3/18 meanstesting
Brian Reade was partly correct about the Referendum debaters offering few facts to voters.
The debates in the mainstream media were by politicians, who invariably prefer insults and emotionally loaded half-truths.
On Social media,it was different.
Apart from those, who derived their opinions from reading headlines, there were a number of voices on both sides, who actually offered reasoned arguments, personal experiences and sources of supporting data.
The only problem on social media was the proliferation of “fact checkers” and “hard facts” troll sites, funded by “independent” organisations with “charitable trust” status, who were obviously interested in moulding public opinion.

11/3/18   Telford
The brutality visited on young girls in Telford is as repulsive as the lack of effective action that has been taken, since previous cases were exposed.
The attacks on retired (?) Russian spies are a major cause of concern, obviously, but are they more valuable to us than our children.
There will be condemnations by the score from politicians but there will be no Cobra style meetings for child abuse criminal gangs.
There needs to be a special nationwide unit, with FBI style powers, to investigate and destroy all criminal gangs exploiting our children for sex, slavery and drug trafficing but that won’t happen.
All that will happen is that new directives and threats will be sent out to already underfunded care-workers, police, teachers and medical staff
I despair of the sort of people who claim to represent us but ignore our concerns, unless it risks harm to their careers and their own pet concerns.
———————————————————————-##
The brutality visited on young girls in Telford is as repulsive as the lack of effective action that has been taken since previous cases were exposed.
There needs to be a special nation-wide unit, with FBI-style powers, to investigate and destroy all criminal gangs exploiting our children for sex, slavery and drug trafficking.
Sending new directives to already underfunded care workers, police, teachers and medical staff is not an adequate response to this scandal.

15/3/18    Copper coins
People often can’t be bothered picking up a copper coin, which is lying on the ground.
If they do, they often find that it’s corroded beyond use, because a scratch has exposed the iron core and it has rusted away.
Copper coins are a pain, with little use for most shoppers, but every one of them, lost to general circulation, is a bonus to the Exchequer, so why does Hammond want to get rid of them?

19/3/18      the homeless and the hopeless
The Tory Minister for homelessness, Ms Wheeler, has threatened to quit, if she fails to halve rough sleeping by 2020.
Quit what?
Politics?
The statement is meaningless in terms of how long Ministers stay in post.
There could be a cabinet re-shuffle Tomorrow, or, better, there could be a General Election called.
Any promise by a Minister is merely a tactic to avoid an adequate response.

Blogpost 20 : 26/2/18

April 6, 2018

27/2/18   oap care
Damian Green is reported to have called for a tax of about £7 per week, to pay for OAP care, but who would look after it?
A private company, which he might well have shares in?
Or, would the Treasury do what they did with that portion of National Insurance, which was intended for this purpose?
I’d rather the Treasury had control of such monies but in a separate inviolable account, which politicians couldn’t dip into.

I’d also question why Damian Green wants just those who are over 40 to pay this tax. Why not take it out, as a nominal sum, from the total tax intake?
His suggestion would hit poor and rich alike but not equally.
For some, this extra tax would come at a point in their life, when they are more likely to find themselves unemployed, within their next decade.
I never know whether Tory Ministers, who propose such schemes, are totally out of touch with the realities of life for workers, or whether they are merely just cynical in their exploitation of the workforce.

27/2/18     carbon free
Liverpool and other Northern cities have agreed to become Carbon free in their energy needs.
A praiseworthy aim in keeping with the current political concensus.
It does go some way towards off-setting increased Carbon emissions from other sources such as the industrialisation in developing Nations. Carbon emissions are increasing from many sources, including there being more Humans breathing it out.
The underlying problem is that it makes the assumption Global Warming is entirely man-made and can therefore be controlled by switching to alternative energy sources. This isn’t just false, it could be dangerous, as it encourages political complacency.
It is more than just flora and fauna from warmer climes displacing our familiar ones, there’s also a problem of rising Sea levels.
London has the Thames barrier but threats of a storm surge, combined with a Spring high tide are cause for alert warnings to be sent out. A small sea-level rise could see that barrier being side-stepped and London inundated. Yet still we built Crossrail and rely on other underground facilities.
Why does there seem to be no forward planning for this and other sites around our coast?
Don’t politicians really believe in Global Warming?
Do they just see it as a good cover for reducing reliance on fossil fuels?

1/3/18    retailers closing
My wife has just told me that she’s going to a particular supermarket to buy an item she’s seen advertised but she may want me to order it on-line if it’s not in stock.
I think this may be a clue as to part of the reason why large retailer chains are closing down.
Indeed some retailers, such as one I’ve come across, selling mobile phones, seem to rely on customers accepting the “we don’t have it in stock but if you can call back Wednesday, we’ll order it up”.
The main advantage that High Street shops have is the ability to inspect goods and ask questions.
Most have thrown that away, to save on stock holding and staff wages.

Their future has not been helped by Councils ramping up car parking charges, whilst having to cut back on public transport services.

Too many people in Head Offices (as with Council bosses) think that their job is to direct the Public’s behaviour, instead of catering for it.
A lesson, which Aldi and Lidl seem to have taken more notice of.
——————————————————————————————
printed

The main advantage high street shops have is enabling customers to inspect goods and ask uestions. But many businesses have thrown that away to save on stock holding and staff wages. The situation has not been helped by councils ramping up parking charges.
Too many people in head offices, along with council bosses, think it’s their job to direct the public’s behaviour, instead of catering for it — a lesson which Aldi and Lidl seem to have taken more notice of.

Since the Tories got in, swathes of nurses, doctors, polices, firemen and other public servants have been forced out of their jobs, or had their wages eroded. They’ve privatised many services, which invariably means de-skilled roles and cut wages. Benefits to those, now unemployed, have been slashed in crass “hammer to crack a nut” policies.
The Tories have cut spending but have starved the economy of cash.
People on low wages, or reduced benefits, still have to eat and keep warm but they don’t need the latest fashions in clothes, or toys, or electronic gadgets.
A tired carpet, sofa, or bed can be made to last a bit longer.
More businesses selling such goods are going to go bust, as are their suppliers.
More people will lose employment. Tax revenue will be reduced and call for benefits will rise.
Greedy Tory donors running businesses like Carillion don’t help, nor do those preying on the feckless, such as Wonga.
McDonnel is right. The Government needs to pump cash into the Economy to end this downward spiral.
So what if nurses, get a chance for a cup of tea, or a chat with patients?
So what if firemen are just lounging around, waiting for a firebell, bored and ready for a bit of action?
So what if a copper doesn’t arrest anyone, when that just means there’s no-one getting mugged, or knifed?
Austerity hasn’t been about the Nation paying its way (HS2, anyone?); it’s been about stomping on the plebs and waving burning £20 notes in their faces.

4/3/18    Brexit negotiations
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Bargain Hunt, it’s that the good negotiator says nothing and leaves the weak negotiator to break the silence by making concessions.
Theresa May obviously doesn’t watch the program

4/3/18    Carillion
An independent report to establish how Ministers failed to see the culpability of Carillion Management is pointless.
No such report would be allowed to find evidence of corruption, collusion, or incompetence.
Presumably the banks never thought to mention their doubts to Government, when they allowed funds to be transferred to the Carillion account.
The person appointed to write the report have to devise some sort of fudge like a misplaced memo, or some Civil Service scapegoat.
Whatever the case the money and the jobs wouldn’t come back and the same Minister would assign new contracts with the same level of diligence, as before.

Blogpost 18 : 27/1/18

January 28, 2018

Letters to Daily Mirror

Sent 11/1/18
You report that, after Storm Eleanor, the Cornish coast has been covered with old fishing nets, lego pieces and other forms of waste plastic. Has anyone collected it up, to dispose of it?
I suspect that in Austerity Britain, local Councils have no contingency budget and will be hoping that it all floats back out to sea.

Sent 11/1/18 and published
The claim that the present generation is paying for the previous generation’s pension is, at best, contentious.
On that basis, my Baby Boomer generation presumably paid the pensions of my parents’ generation.
Bearing in mind the reason we’re called Baby Boomers and bearing in mind that My parents generation had been depleted by WWII, there should have been plenty of spare cash in the pension pot, except that there was no such pot.
All N.I. contributions went into the Treasurery’s tax chest
None was invested, as it should have been.
It was spent on whatever whimsy appealed to the Government of the day.
It’s still down to political ideology and chosen priorities
As I see it, at present, the ability to nuke foreigners takes precedence over old and knackered workers, who no longer contribute to the Politicians’ trough.

Published version

OAPs not at fault over pension pot
THE claim that the present generation is paying for the previous generation’s pension is, at best, contentious. On that basis, my baby boomer generation presumably paid the pensions of my parents’
generation.
Bearing in mind the reason we’re called baby boomers and that my parents’ generation had been depleted by the Second World War, there should have been plenty of spare cash in the pension pot, except there wasn’t one.
National Insurance contributions went into the Treasury’s tax chest.
None was invested. It was spent on whatever whimsy appealed to the government at the time.
It’s still down to political ideology and chosen priorities.

Sent 19/1/18
If News from France is true, we won’t be seeing The Bayeux Tapestry, because Local custodians are strongly against any such move. However; it has served its purpose, of deflecting conversation away from May’s gift to the charming young Macron.
Is that £44Mn just for this year?
What happens when the UK leaves the EU? Will we continue paying France?

News of large scale migrant movements have dried up but I presume the migrants haven’t gone home.
We have right wingers talking of invading hordes, with various pundits decrying them as racists, but we are hearing nothing from Government.

Theoretically EU countries are supposed to force migrants to register, as they arrive at their borders and then ensure a reasonable distribution of them.
Have those at Calais been registered? Are they our allocation, or the French allocation? Why are we paying the French to keep them? Has the EU set aside funds to house, feed and water the migrants?
Most important what numbers are involved? A few 100,000, as fled Idi Amin?, or are there millions, as UKIP would have us believe?
Our politicians are saying nothing.
They want us to have an intelligent, adult conversation about how they want to privatise the NHS but they’re avoiding any intelligent, adult conversation of the migrants.
This issue is not going to go away, simply by paying Macron hush money.

Sent 19/1/18
Your story about Andrew Wakefield, driving around without a licence for 40 years should be considered as far more serious than it reads.
Without a licence, you can not pay road tax, or get insurance in your own name.
Other stories seem to suggest that law abiding drivers are suffering financial and physical harm from collisions with uninsured drivers.
It seems that this has become severe enough for some insurers to offer protection against this, which was the whole purpose of requiring car insurance, when the legislation was introduced.
Now that untaxed cars can be trapped by cameras, it might be better to place a fixed premium on car tax payments, which covers the requirements of the road traffic act.
If the Gov’t insists that this premium should be handled by private insurers, then The DVLA should be able to come to a direct agreement with Lloyds.
If drivers want Comprehensive cover then they could still make such arrangements, although most of us with second-hand cars know that such cover does not make financial sense.

@jeremycorbyn @HouseofCommons give the Speaker an independent police investigation team could be formed to support him with sex offenders.

November 4, 2017

Letter to Daily Mirror 1/11/17

The Speaker is in charge of policing MP behaviour, in the House
Perhaps he should also have charge of monitoring moral behaviour of MP’s etc. , generally.
An experienced and independent police investigation team could be formed, to support him. It would rely on fixed period secondments of officers from regional forces.
Where cases can’t be taken to court, at least offenders would know that their names were on a register and they needed to mend their ways.
The Speaker would be in a position to warn Party leaders of a need to nudge serial offenders to the exit

Printed version

T he Commons Speaker John  Bercow is in charge of policing MPs’ behaviour in the House, so perhaps he should also take charge of monitoring their moral behaviour generally.

An experienced and independent police investigation team could be formed to support him which could rely on fixed-period secondments of officers from regional forces.

Where cases can’t be taken to court, at least offenders would know that their names were on a register and they needed to mend their ways.

The Speaker would be in a position to warn party leaders of a need to nudge serial offenders to the exit.

Blog post 15. 5/10/17

October 8, 2017

Sent to Daily Mirror 28/9/17
I was pleased to read how Andrew Bridgen had been slammed by his constituents.
How about focussing on one MP each week?
There’s plenty of info on Theyworkforyou.com
The register of MP interests would be interesting, as would be comments from constituents

Sent to Daily Mirror 2/10/17
How joyful for Chancellor Philip Hammond that as he comes to the defence of Capitalism, Monarch Airlines goes bust, putting thousands out of work and even more stranded abroad.
http://www.newsweek.com/monarch-airlines-cease-trading-out-business-bust-675287?yptr=yahoo
This is on top of the shambles that is Ryanair and the avarice of those controlling company pension funds (BHS)
Maybe he was really expressing gratitude to the banks, which collapsed our economy, allowing his party to gain power and then plunder our taxpayer funded assets.
Our NHS is hanging on by a thread, as “Capitalists” gather around waiting for Jeremy Hunt to produce his scissors for the final cuts.
These “Capitalists” have no intention of funding new improvements as Hammond would claim.
They are asset strippers and cherry pickers, who will leave us with paupers’ hospitals, manned by volunteers, as happens in the USA.
Unfettered capitalism has proven an economic millstone for our nation.
We need a Government which directly controls delivery of key services, whilst ensuring that other industries are made to take steps to protect their employees and the taxpayer from their owners’ incompetence, fecklessness and, in some cases, undisguised greed.

Sent to Daily Mirror 2/10/17
Gove has called for a refundable charge on plastic bottles.
No doubt this is an appeal to Green voters but is it feasible?
At present, most go into the wheelie bin, some into litter bins and some chucked over hedges.
On the one hand there is the Dickensian charm of down and outs scavenging these discarded bottles; maybe, even raiding wheelie bins, like urban foxes, scattering unwanted items.
Perhaps householders, already resorting to foodbanks will stop off at wherever refunds are issued, even more life-enhancing.
Of course there’s the logistics of who will tender the refunds.
Will they have to be returned to the shops, where they were bought (I remember my local sweet shop putting a stamp on the labels of their glass pop bottles)?
Who will administer the scheme and collect these bottles from the shops where they’ve been amassed and stored in special set-aside areas?
Again, I recall how many off-licences used to have their back-yards raided by kids looking for an extra income from money due on empty beer bottles.
The present system just needs Councils to hire a few more rubbish collectors to tidy up after the slobs who carelessly discard everything, which they no longer have a use for

Sent to Daily Mirror 5/10/17

I totally endorse Brian Reade’s view that where Sportsmen have brought politics into Sport, it has been justifiable and that it is politicians impositions on Sport, which have been indefensible.
I suggest that prankster Simon Brodkin should immediately apply for a retrospective grant from the Arts Council.
Any one of his jolly wheezes would count as far more significant than most of the examples of Event Art that The Arts Council usually dole out taxpayer money for.

“25,000 homes for social rent by 2021” doesn’t seem worth mentioning, when the ONS says Britain’s population grew by half a million last year.
Instead of “Phish and chip” vans, far more data could be collected by giving an email address for phishing spam to be forwarded to.

In reply to ST Vaughan.
Referendums don’t cause the problems, they reflect an existing problem.
The call for Catalan independence reflects a long standing feeling of being treated as second class citizens by the ruling Spanish Government.
It’s not unlike the situations with Scotland, Wales and Northern England being dumped on by our London/ Home Counties focussed Government.

Printed version:

In reply to S.T. Vaughan, referendums don’t cause the problems; they simply reflect an existing problem (Madeuthink, October 5).

The call for Catalan independence voices a long-standing  feeling of being treated as second class citizens by the Spanish government.

It’s not unlike the situations with Scotland, Wales and Northern England being dumped on by our London / Home Counties-focused government.

 

The Jutexpo claim, that the 5p plastic bag tax has increased their sales, is undoubtedly true.
However, I’ve noticed a creeping increase in the number of people, ahead of me in shop queues, stumping up for this tax, rather than haul two or three “bags for life” out the recesses of their bags and pockets.
Many are finding it too inconvenient, to carry them, “just in case”.

Blog post 13

September 19, 2017

Sent to Daily Mirror 12/9/17

So we are to have robot cars and robot teachers.
Robots are going to take our jobs?
Good luck with that.
How can anyone, who’s ever been frustrated by a computer, had one hacked, had to pay to get rid of viruses, etc., believe that this will not end badly?
There are already stories of cars, with computer controlled electrical systems, being remotely controlled by hackers.
How many versions of Windows have had to be replaced because the number of patches, needed to mask software faults, has made successive versions unstable?
As for robot teachers, that’s even more ludicrous.
Twenty years ago teachers were being told that remote learning would mean the end of schools, as pupils would sit in their homes, beavering away at their computers.
That failed and robot teachers will fail for the same reasons; plus a few more.
This discussion was had back in the 80’s, with robots predicted to handle situations, which were too dangerous for humans.
That brought forth human controlled, bomb detonation robots, pigeon controlled sea-to-sea missiles, Cruise missiles (how many were on target in Trumps recent attack on an Iraqui airfield?) and search dogs with cameras, for checking unlit buildings.
Even our present drone technology needs a human operator.
I predict robots might fill a few niches but a highly trained, highly paid human will be required to get them to work at all.

published version

ROBOTIC  IT’S IDIOTIC

The idea of robot teachers taking over classrooms is simply ludicrous.

How can anyone who has ever been frustrated by a computer, had one hacked, had to pay to qet rid of viruses, etc., believe that this won’t end badly?

Robots might be used for some jobs but a highly trained human will be required to actually get them to work.

Sent to Daily Mirror 13/9/17 (all in one email)

You report a council spokesman as saying:”All Art is meant to be a talking point…”.
When did this come about?
In my youth, Art was about beauty and giving pleasure.
Although often used merely as an excuse for Galleries full of pictures of naked Ladies and statues of Greek Gods.
Nowadays, it seems to be about the gross, the obscene and the absurd.
Is anything, which we talk about, Art?
If so, Jeremy Hunt is one of the greatest artists of the millennium and the destruction of the NHS is artistic.
I know the ultra rich and elected officials need to have something on which to fritter away excess cash but why the pretence that it is Art?
If they need to display their “Loadsamoney!”, they should commission a Louvre or Kew Gardens, which others can enjoy.
That would satisfy both definitions and protect us from sights that would have non-artists in court.

Sent to Daily Mirror 16/9/17

Carrying a full 20 litre builder’s bucket is not easy and would be noticed, especially if negotiating a ticket barrier in Rush-hour. It would also have been transported to the station. Why haven’t there been requests for witnesses to such scenes. Many, who might help, will not know who to quickly contact.

Whilst MP’s agonise over on-line abuse to themselves, they might consider extending their deliberations to protecting ordinary people such as Laura Simpson, as reported in Today’s edition. Politicians shouldn’t use such trolling as an excuse to attack Social Media. These things will go on even if the Internet is put beyond the reach of the General Public. Social Media is just a vehicle and as with cars, it’s the driver, not the vehicle that should carry the blame. The only problem is the public anonymity of such people. There should be no problem requiring Twitter etc.to release the ID of offenders.

Network Rail is an “Arms-Length” public body. Why hasn’t the Minister at the other end of that arm required that State-owned, State-funded organisation to buy British, instead of pretending to be privatised?

I have to disagree with Stephen Hawking but (Mars apart) the chances of finding another habitable planet, reachable within 100 years, are pretty slim. Even with his sail driven ships, colonisation requires more than an Adam and Eve and a load of test-tubes. A viable colony would need hundreds of people and ships to carry them. Just getting one spaceplatform in orbit has been costly and difficult and that one has to be re-supplied from the ground.

Kyle Morgan has shown the way. If you’re homeless and it’s January, go for a dip in a Novotel swimming pool. You’ll get a warm crib, meals and the best medical care for free, for a month. It’d probably work for other victims of austerity, also.

Why would little Mix claim that “everyone” would be “buzzing off their tits” over pictures of scantily clad young women. I can’t name one straight man, apart from their dad’s, who’d complain. It’s the same problem with women, walking the red carpet, having their dresses criticised. It’s other women who do this: Not men.

Sent to Daily Mirror 17/9/17

The story of the 12-yr old girl threatened with prosecution by a member of the CEOP throws up the problem of creating such bureaucracies. They seem to be set up to employ jobsworths, who have minimal empathy but great diligence for following rules.
Prosecution of this girl may be within the letter of The Law but the message has now gone out that if you’re being groomed, don’t report it because the CEOP will get you.
That one crass statement has undone the whole point of creating this Quango and may have given groomers a powerful new weapon

blog posts 12 (23/8/2017)……………. mostly #Brexit

September 2, 2017

letter to Daily Mirror 1/8/17

Here’s a puzzle.
The majority of those voting in the referendum called for Brexit.
They were told that the economy would crash, yet they still voted to leave.
They were told they wouldn’t get a second vote, yet they still voted to leave.
They were told they’d lose their jobs, yet they still voted to leave.
So how can these be used as justifications for a second referendum?
Remainers say that Leavers were conned by Boris’s bus, but it’s not Leavers claiming they were so stupid that they believed what the Tories were telling them.
Only remainers are claiming that they believed them.
What other excuses for a second referendum have been put forward?
The Tories are making a mess of it?
Did we think any of our politicians were so skilled at negotiation that we’d leave the EU with a Europe wide party and a car boot full of going away presents?
When we actually get towards the end of this exercise and remainers are still calling for a second referendum, what excuse will they use to force one on us?
Will they claim a poll (a mini referendum aimed at a selection of people likely to have voted to remain) says we must?
Are they of the opinion that they can spend more money on a new Project Fear than was used last time?
That another £9 million Government leaflet, explaining the disadvantages of leaving, could be better designed?
The only case for a second referendum, would be if we end up inside the Single Market and the Customs Union but I can’t see it happening in that situation.

letter to Daily Mirror 4/8/17

Are low interest rates really so bad?
For those at the bottom of the economic ladder, it means credit is more manageable.
Most people have very little in the way of savings and the difference in interest rates means very little on the sort of sums a family may be able to put aside.
However; most people have debts, even if just their mortgage, and a rise in interest rates would have a disastrous effect on them, with many losing their homes.
The only people to benefit from high interest rates are the rich and lazy.

letter to Daily Mirror 4/8/17

So; over 3-4 years, 40,000,000 bottles of fake, expensive plonk have been sold to those with a “discerning” palate?
Nobody complained. Nobody noticed.
The scam was only discovered by French customs querying some paper work.
I always suspected I was not alone in being unable to do more than recognise whether or not a wine was drinkable.
Obviously most people pay for the label, or judge a wine by the price tag.

letter to Daily Mirror 4/8/17

A recent survey was asking about who should pay for hospital treatment of victims of car accidents.
Should it be the person causing the accident, the State, or some combination?
At present, it’s the driver’s responsibility, assuming he has obeyed The Law and taken out car insurance
I suppose the problem lies with the increasing number of uninsured drivers, leaving the State to pick up the bill, at a time when politicians are trying to privatise the NHS.
I can only infer that we will presently see a requirement for personal Health Insurance for treatment beyond emergency aid.
I.e. a back-door introduction of a two-tier Health Service, via some new Car insurance legislation.

letter to Daily Mirror 6/8/17

Who cares about “protected geographical indication” status?
People, whom I know, eat pork pies, pasties, spiced sausages etc. but they don’t care if they are made in Melton Mowbray, Cornwall, Cumberland and such.
Put another way many can’t afford to care.
That’s the key; it’s about manufacturer’s being able to charge more.
It’s about the French selling sparkling wine (Champagne) at exorbitant prices.
It’s about snob value.
So why should Daily Mirror readers be expected to get upset about losing PGI on products, which most will never buy.
Look on the bright side of Brexit: If you like wine, Australian, Californian and Chilean will all be cheaper.
New Zealand lamb (frozen) will slash the prices we have to pay for portions we used to feed to the dog (breast and neck). The rich can still get their fresh lamb cutlets and pay as much as they want to.
The Cadbury’s heir is upset about what Kraft has done to the chocolate that Cadbury used to make.
After Brexit he can set up a factory in Nigeria selling his chocolate, to his recipe, at a price, which is good for him and good for Nigerian producers, who because of EU tariffs can only profitably sell us the raw beans, at present.

letter to Daily Mirror 14/8/17

I understand Kevin Maguire’s call for a Republic but it’s just as much a fantasy as believing we can have a Democracy.
We would have to have a President as chief meeter and greeter but would we get someone elected on popularity?
Would the people, who run the country, allow us that choice?
No matter how it was presented to us, we’d end up with a careerist from the political arena.
Such a person would be far more forward than Prince Charles with his secretive letters to cabinet ministers.
We could end up with a quiet, retiring figure like the Queen but my money would be on someone like Trump buying his way in

Published version

I understand Kevin Maguires call for a republic but it’s just as much a fantasy as believing we can have true democracy.
” We would have tn have a president as head of state and would end up with a careerist from the
political arena. Such a person would be likely to be far more forward than Prince Charles
with his secret letters to Cabinet ministers.
We could end up with a retiring figure like the Queen, but wed be more likely to end up
with someone like Trump.

letter to Daily Mirror 23/8/17

When I went canvassing, the people, I spoke to, who said they were likely to vote BNP, instead of Labour ( I was “old Labour”), didn’t use derogatory racial slurs.
Those, who did, weren’t very approachable or interested in explaining their views.
Those, who were prepared to talk, were concerned about what could be grouped as cultural changes. I don’t mean eating curries, although that used to be an issue.
Mainly of my generation, their parents hadn’t wanted to be Germans, or Nazi’s, and they didn’t want to have to accept the new immigrants and their ways, either.
The line: “some of my best friends are…” is usually sniggered at but it expresses the same point.
Those who assimilate are readily accepted.
They would have applauded Saira Khan and her rebuke of @silverbengle.
If Labour wants to fight racism they need to accept such concerns instead of simply decrying them as racist and attacking the likes of Sarah Champion for trying to address such issues.
They also need to confront such people as @silverbengle

 

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?