Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Blogpost 27: 18/8/18

August 20, 2018

Letters sent to the Daily Mirror

18/8/18 “Your Vouchers” Report
Your article about visitor attractions suggests an additional solution to the problem of deserted town centres.
If prices of such attractions are soaring, it means demand is outstripping supply i.e. families need more such diversions and Local Councils could provide them.
Some councils already promote Xmas markets and such, to attract shoppers. Why not go further?
Places, like York, already have tourist attractions and have adopted multiple park and ride schemes but they could go further by taking over empty shopping arcades and either adapting them, or replacing them with various rides, water features, picnic areas. Essentially, checking out other towns and visitor attractions, elsewhere. Some larger park’n’ride car parks could be built alongside out of town theatres and music stadiums with free travel between them and the town centres. In fact adjacent towns could share such sites.
Staff, needed to look after toddlers, keep areas clean and other services, would boost local employment.

17/8/18 Blame Brexit
How can Philippa Whitford MP claim that Brexit will mean the sell-off of the NHS to the Yanks?
As a member of the medical profession, she must surely have noticed that most of it has already been sold off.
The process of privatisation was speeded up under the Cameron and Clegg coalition.
When Hunt was put in charge, he put the peddle to the metal, destroyed the moral of medical staff, who hadn’t escaped into politics, and threw out contracts as if he couldn’t get rid of them fast enough.
What %age of the NHS will still be in public hands by the time that some sort of BRINO deal has been done?
Why does she want to deflect blame from May, from Hunt and the Tory need to kick the peasants?

14/8/18 Should have been famous
A reader’s letter named another woman, who deserved a special mention in History.
This caused me to think on two Male lecturer’s at college, who should possibly be recorded as making noteworthy contributions.
The first, whom I knew as “Pop” Daley, told us that he invented the thermionic valve version of the flip-flop circuit, on which all digital computer memory was based. The second lecturer, whose name I disremember, told us designed and patented the present car door lock.
Previously car doors used a lock handle similar to those used on room doors, in houses.
He claimed he renewed his patent three times, before being forced to let it lapse and let the car manufacturers pick it up for free.
Maybe my lecturers were fantasists but who did invent the flip flop circuit and the modern car door handle? What other discoveries, inventions and designs went unrecorded, because they became the intellectual property of Industrialists?

14/8/18 Postal taxes
Your editorial calls for a tax on Companies such as Amazon.
Why not not tax the parcels sent out by businesses?
Making the tax relate to volume would also reduce the large boxes with excessive packing, which has to be re-cycled.
As an extension, could we have a tax on advertising leaflets, which seem to have increased in number, since privatisation of the Post Office. Mine go straight into the ugly great wheelie bin sitting in front of my house (ruining its aspect)

2/8/18 Help lines
I know that the Action Fraud line number, which you published, is intended to be easy to remember but there are so many easy to remember help-line numbers that no average person could possibly hope to recall them all.
That’s why so many people resort to dialling 999, when they’re distressed, and will continue to do so.
It’s no good the Home Office putting out stories about people dialling 999 because they have the wrong topping on their pizza. The stupid and feckless will always be with us.
Equally, it’s pointless local police forces putting out messages, on social media, asking people not to call their undermanned help desks “unless it’s a real emergency”. Who defines what is an emergency, when people are told to chase after burglars themselves?
We need a national registry, with call centre operatives able to act as a front line help desk; directing pleas from the Public to suitable responders. Such a scheme would save time in a real emergency and direct others as needed:- Water leaks, gas leaks, suicides, suspicious packages, UXB’s, lost children, council offices etc.

2/8/18 second euref
Is there really any point in having a second referendum on Theresa May’s Brexit deal?
From what I’m seeing on Twitter, most remainers will reject it, as falling short of their demands, whilst most leave voters will reject it as Brexit In Name Only (BRINO).
The only people, who might vote for it are the befuddled, who are bored with the lies and counter-lies that they are being bombarded with.

9/8/18 Russian Roulette
The report that a Spanish jet accidentally fired an air-to-air missile in the Baltic region is very worrying, considering all the brinkmanship by Russia, in that region and elsewhere. The present hostile relations with Russia makes it unlikely that any political fail-safes are in place, should another more serious accident occur.

6/8/18 Friends of Israel
How can the Labour Party accept the description of Anti-Semitism being promoted by Tom Watson, or anyone else having membership, or benefitting from financial support from the Friends of Israel group?
They would immediately demand the expulsion of anyone, in the party, who has criticised the actions of the Israeli Government, even if they only offered sympathy for those Israelis protesting their own Governments actions.

3/8/18 Amazon
Although it is wrong that Amazon pays unreasonably low taxes, can we blame them, when it is the nature of businesses to gouge as much profit as they can, for their shareholders.
It’s like blaming a dog for biting visitors, when it’s up to the owner of the dog to keep it under control.
Similarly, it’s up to our Government to see that Amazon pays a fair level of tax.
Government lays down the Laws to regulate public life and create order.
This Government seems to be failing on all points, with no sense of what is fair, or reasonable, for anybody.

31/7/18 ID cards
A long time ago, when family doctors, teachers and other professionals may have been acquainted with the same family, for two, or, three generations, it was easy to obtain a safe verification of a person’s identity from them.
Even the local bobby, or Bank Manager, when we had stable communities, could be asked to countersign passport applications and such.
That is no longer the case.
Identification is by no means certain, which is why identity theft, by criminals (and by the police) is so easy. We have numerous illegal and legal immigrants and visitors, whose identities can not be verified.
So what do we do?
The think tank Resolution, (another of those self appointed charities/organisation/quangoes) has offered its solution, i.e. to force ID cards on us.
I don’t know why these people have such easy access to the Media, or politicians, but we are expected to treat their pronouncements, as if authorative, with no-one asking them to justify either themselves, or their pronouncements.
Why would ID cards solve the situation? Who verifies these ID cards? Why are they to be deemed trustworthy?
The average person wouldn’t be able tell if an ID card was fake, or not. It’s doubtful officials could, unless they had immediate access to High tech devices for checking forgeries.
Who would manufacture them? The French Company producing our post-Brexit passports?
Is it beyond the wit of Russian, or French spies to manufacture such fake ID’s.
Who would use them? The only experience I have of them, is via films such as” the Great Escape”, where failure to produce ID meant you got shot.
I have a driving licence, which has sat, unseen, in my wallet since I got it. I’d hate to think that a consequence of having my pocket picked, might be my being arrested, or shot, just because some suit thought it’s had had a good idea.
published version

ID cards pointless
– The Policy Exchange think tank says all UK citizens need ID cards to
stop illegal immigration, prevent another Windrush scandal and curb
identity fraud (Mirror, July 30), but who veri?es these cards?
The average person wouldn’t be able tell if one was fake or not, and it’s
doubtful officials could, unless they had immediate access to hi-tech
devices for checking forgeries.
Also, is it beyond the wit of enemy spies to make fakes?

28/7/18 Hospital Appointments
Brian Reade’s reference to missed hospital appointments costing £160 prompts the question why did the NHS introduce appointment systems?
I suspect it was part of the privatisation process.
Employers don’t like to see employee’s sitting around idle, with patients turning up as and when they please.
This uncontrolled glut and famine approach means that they have to employ sufficient staff to cope with the peak periods; meaning that nurses and GP’s would have periods, when they could clear up any mess, complete any paperwork and, God forbid, have a rest between periods of stress.
The appointment system increases the level of stress on patients and medical personnel but to whose benefit?
It’s cost-cutting. You sack staff to save the cost of their wages. Each £160 represents the cost of a fraction of the saving that has been made on one nurse etc.
I don’t want to be seen by some underpaid, overstressed GP, filling out forms to be compiled into Government statistics, or a nurse working unpaid overtime
Let’s de-privatise and go back to a system of surgery and outpatient hours with patients triaged by an intelligent receptionist. It’s not as if patients actually get seen at their appointed times. I’ve arrived 20 mins early, then waited a further 40mins for a 5min. consultation at a location, with a 1 hour journey either end of it and a large hospital car park charge to pay.
An appointments system is not for my benefit.

28/7/18 RCN CEO
You report that Ms Janet Davies, the CEO of the RCN, as claiming she acte in “good faith”, when telling members that all staff would receive a 3% pay raise.
It’s not often that you get someone, in a highly paid role, admitting that they weren’t up to carrying out one of their prime functions.


Blogpost 26: 27/7/18

August 20, 2018

Letters sent to the Daily Mirror

27/7/18 Evie-Beth Taylor
I’m getting more than a little tired of the meaningless responses from Hospital Trust spokespersons in cases such as Evie-Beth Taylor.
The parents and their G.P could tell immediately that her Chicken pox symptoms were serious, so a fuller response from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust needs to be demanded by someone such as her M.P.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be told who made the decision to turn her away but we should be offered a full explanation from that person. Was that person sufficiently qualified to make such a decision?
Were there Trust criteria being implemented by a non-medical person. If so, what were the criteria? Would the same criteria have been used, if the patient had some clout e.g. a TV presenter, or Local Councillor?

27/7/18 Spellings
How about an article on commonly misspelt words, or incorrectly used words.
Words missed by spell-checkers such as:
practice (noun) for practise (verb),
dependent (adjective) for dependant (noun),
or the one used in your report on Justice Mann _ affect (verb) for effect (noun)

26/7/18 fireproof labels
Your report that accident investigators have difficulty identifying domestic appliances causing fires shouldn’t be so surprising.
Before we joined the EU, our Laws required all electrical appliances to have metal casings and metal plates with their details stamped into them, just as cars still do. As many consumer goods, manufactured in the EU, are plastic, metal plates are impractical and are either paper stick-ons, or are moulded into the inflammable plastic bodies, as required under EU Law.

24/7/18 United Utilities
I suggest that the reason that United Utilities is losing so much water is because most of our water and sewage infrastructure was built by The Victorians
It was realised in the 70’s that much of the old brick built sewers were crumbling, as sink holes began to appear.
This was the excuse Maggie used to privatise water.
The water companies were to be allowed to increase water rates at 4% above the rate of inflation for several years ( and, later on, for several more years) to pay for new pipes and sewers.
They adopted the policy of replace/repair, as it became necessary.
A few spare reservoirs were sold off for re-development but no new pipes were laid for all the new housing, they just increased the water pressure, sent out threatening letters to households about their need to pay for water pipes connecting their properties to the mains supply and counted their cash, with fingers crossed.
If it wasn’t for this hot spell, it wouldn’t have been mentioned by anyone and when the rains come, it’ll be forgotten, again, until the next time.

23/7/18 Hosepipe ban fines?
When the hosepipe ban comes in, in the rainy North-West, and people are being fined £1,000, who will profit?
If the money is paid to United Utilities, then that’s an incentive to ignore leak losses, whether the money goes to shareholders, or to pay their own fines.
If it goes to the Treasury, that’s an incentive for a Government dedicated to austerity and squeezing every penny it can, out of Public Services, such as maintaining water supplies.
The only people who’ll notice any difference will be gardners.

22/7/18 EU referenda (CC Guardian & Express)
What would be the point of a second eferendum on the EU?
The last two years, it has been made abundantly clear that the majority of MP’s want to remain in the EU.
May’s attempt with the Chequers compromise appealed to no-one, least of all the EU.
It’s obvious that it must be an all-in, or all-out version, as in the previous vote.
It’s also obvious that MP’s won’t accept a vote to leave and, once again, the vote will be deemed merely “advisory”.
It’s time our “Sovereign Parliament” stopped pretending that this is a Democracy and delivered us back into the EU, which is where we are eventually destined to end up.

19/7/18 Sir Cliff
The report on Sir Cliff Richard mentions Stuart Hall.
I’d completely forgotten about him, mainly because this is the first mention of his name since his conviction; whereas it doesn’t seem as if a month has gone by without Sir Cliff Richard getting his name in print, particularly in connection with the investigation and the distress he was suffering, throughout his legal action.

10/7/18 Boris is a member of the nasty party
You published a litany of the thoughts expressed by Boris Johnson with his comments about picaninnies, Hillsborough, Libya etc.
It’s worth bearing in mind that he doesn’t say these things in a vacuum.
He must feel comfortable saying such things to his chums, such as David Cameron.
In this sense he provides a valuable insight into the private conversations of Senior figures in the Conservative party and helps clarify why Windrush citizens were deported without a second thought, under May’s watch.

2/7/18 Striking out
Labour has said that it wishes to enable young people to be able to leave home and start life on their own.
Having experienced the associated difficulties (long, long ago), the hardest route was using flat hunting agencies and the easiest route was signing into the YMCA.
The YMCA and YWCA provide the basic needs of young singles, needing to locate in a new place, at a price that allows youngsters to build up the savings necessary for finding their own home, without rushing into bad decisions.
Rather than just building affordable homes, which, for most, will be further down the road in their thoughts, I’d like to see a Labour Government copy the YMCA example.
Sites, near to Universities etc. but independent of them, would be my favourite.

1/7/18 Brum Brexit
Does Birmingham City Council know something that we don’t?
Why would it buy four signs (@ £18,500 each) that give speeds in Km/hr?
Are we staying in the EU, after all?

1/7/18 royal politics
The mantra, about Royals not being involved in politics, surely only relates to showing preference for one political party over another.
Prince Harry’s private comment on Brexit is in accord with the official views of both main parties and Prince Williams wish to bring peace to Palestine is in accord with the public preferences of all politicians, even those, who believe it can be achieved with bombs.
Any statement about cutting benefits or raising taxes would be a problem, though.

Blogpost 25: 30/6/18

August 20, 2018

Letters sent to the Daily Mirror

30/6/18 Making Law
I know that Parliament is, as its name implies, a talking shop but wouldn’t it be nice if Members earned their high salaries by talking to a purpose?
The Law to ban cold calling on pension pots is just one of many pieces of useful legislation which regularly fail to be enacted because “The House” runs out of time.
Apart from implying deplorably bad time management, it’s obvious, to viewers of the Parliament Channel, that most of their debates are pointless.
Prime Minister’s Questions consist of barbed attacks and self-congratulations, with only the latter receiving answers.
Of course, that’s only one hour per week and it serves to keep MP’s amused but many hours are wasted on debates, which serve no real purpose, with both main parties knowing the eventual outcome of the vote.
The voting procedure, itself, is outdated, tedious, an unnecessary waste of time and should be replaced by something relevant to the digital age.
Why does the opposition have to oppose?
This isn’t the Oxford Union, where contenders may “play” Devil’s advocate.
It is a place for making Law, to enable the Nation to function effectively and if MP’s have nothing positive to contribute, they should remain quiet and assist the passage of such Law.

25/6/18 Heathrow?
Can anyone tell me why a third runway at Heathrow is a National issue?
Why is it needed? Who wants it?
If it’s for Londoners, shouldn’t it be their decision and their expense?
Wiganers don’t need it.
We have Manchester and Liverpool
published version

Can anyone tell me why a third runway at Heathrow is a national issue?
Why is it needed? If it’s for Londoners, shouldn’t it be at their expense?
We in Wigan don’t need it — we have Manchester and Liverpool.

21/6/18 Hands of Gods and World Cup
In the Australia v Denmark penalty decision, some pundits argued that the move was not intentional, because the defender was merely raising his arms to jump.
It helps, when jumping but is it necessary?
There was a time when defenders stood with their arms widespread and claimed blocks were accidental ball-to-hand.
When referees began ignoring these claims, defenders quickly found it possible to keep their arms close to their bodies.
If players have to jump with hands below shoulder height, there’d be less fingers in eyes and less “Hands of God” as well.

20/6/18 World Cup commentary
I’ve been enjoying the World Cup games, to an extent, but I don’t have a huge screen TV and I rely on the commentary to tell me which miniscule figure lies writhing in agony, or whatever.
Is it beyond the wit of the producers to hire a sound man to provide two microphones; one for the commentator and one for the crowd noise (the atmosphere) .
He could then mix them at suitable levels, for those who actually listen to the commentator.
If they are going to let the crowd drown the commentator, why bother with him?11/6/18 water wasted opportunity
Two weeks of Summer Sun and we’re seeing pictures of drying out reservoirs. Three weeks and there’ll be mutterings of hosepipe bans.
This was supposed to be averted with the privatisation of water but seems to have been made worse.
Instead of more capacity, spare reservoirs were sold off for landfill and housing.
Even now, the privatised water companies seem to be complacently missing an opportunity
The picture of sunbaked Thirlmere suggests that the soil exposed could be harvested for sale, as topsoil, and the reservoir deepened to store more of next Winter’s rains.

11/6/18 importing US policing
The report that graduates will be trained up to be detectives, in just 12 weeks, seems, on the face of it, a reasonable idea but I foresee problems.
I suspect this is part of the scheme to de-skill public services, prior to contracting them out to the likes of G4S.
Past performance by these people, at the Olympics etc., suggests that recruits will have Mickey Mouse degrees, or maybe unverified degrees. They may not even be Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checked, let alone profiled for suitability.
Policing could end up at a worse standard than the carers, seen in some privatised care homes.
Will they be allowed guns, as in the USA (terrifying)?
I can imagine a lot of bright, ambitious young cops being thoroughly frustrated by such an intake.

8/6/18 let voters choose party candidates
There’s a battle going on, inside Labour, over re-selection and which faction’s candidates gets a nomination.
The same may apply to the Tories.
In fact, there’s an additional problem over Brexit, with voters, loyal to a particular party, finding their MP opposing them on that issue.
For greater voter power, I’d like to see parties offer 2 to 4 candidates for each Parliamentary seat.
The party with the most aggregate votes would win the seat and the most popular of their candidates getting the job.
Every candidate could claim to be entitled to the presumption that they were chosen on merit, not just on party affiliation, and could justify opposing the party whip on their own manifesto promises.

8/6/18 TV football
So! Amazon has joined the Premier league rip-off.
If you want to watch premier league matches, you now have three scalpers wanting signed pay-to-view contracts.
Usually bundled with broadcasts, which you wouldn’t watch for free, they don’t even show all your team’s games.
Would it be too much to ask for some entrepreneur to do a deal allowing us suckers to sign up to all our favourite teams matches, alone.
As an LFC fan, I can subscribe to LFCTVgo and see U-23 matches but not premiership matches and then on a poorly streamed service.
I can’t physically get to home matches, without difficulty, and away matches are almost impossible.
There’s a worldwide audience, even for lower league teams, so there’s a profit to be had and kudos points for any politician, who’d back the notion.

8/6/18 re: town forums
This picture shows benches made from re-cycled plastic.
They have been installed all along the New Brighton sea wall and are vitually maintenance-free.
Essentially they are 6ft long 3″x2″ beams, which could also be used to make outdoor picnic tables or garden wall panels.
It occurs to me that if High Streets are to be re-purposed, as meeting places, then such street furniture would be a welcome addition, wherever a town has large open areas.


Blogpost 24: 6/6/18

June 6, 2018

Letters sent to the Daily Mirror

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.


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?

Heli Vertanen
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?

EU co-operation
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.

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?

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.

Blogpost 23: 6/4/18

May 24, 2018

Letters to the Daily Mirror

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.


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?———————————
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 22: 6/4/18

April 6, 2018

19/3/18    Boris on Skripal
Boris Johnson claims that he accepted a £160,000 donation, from a Russian oligarch’s wife, because he wanted to let Russians know he wants to be friends .
This sounds at odds with his first, snap reaction to the Skirpal poisoning.
The Tory love of other people’s money and their willingness to sell arms for killing Yemeni, makes me wonder how they’d respond, if Putin had offered a large enough donation for Boris Johnson to arrange the “hit” on Skripal.

20/3/18    Brexit means Remain
Now that May has made it clear that Brexit means Remain (without a vote), The Parliamentary Labour Party can relax.
It’s obvious there will be a big swing to Labour and away from Tories, in the next General Election.
The fear was that many Labour Brexit voters would abstain from voting but, now that May has overturned the Referendum decision, most will be persuaded to return to the fold to help save the #NHS.

20/3/18   political donation limits
Your Editorial suggests that donations to political parties should be capped.
I’d like it to go one step further and suggest that donations to Party Headquarters be banned completely.
I’d like a cap applied to every Parliamentary candidate, instead, regardless of Political Party.
Why should we make it easy for large organisations and rich people to buy our MP’s?
I’m guessing that Tories have been given about £20k per M.P., which, if that was the cap, would make Boris Johnson’s £160k, for a game of tennis, illegal, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.
If each candidate wanted to allocate some of their cap to Party advertising, it would go some way towards levelling the field for independent candidates.
Instead of Labour being alleged to be in the hands of Union barons, Unions could actively sponsor individual candidates and be totally transparent on the issue.
In the claim of the Tory bus election fraud, it was difficult to pin down an individual in terms of responsibility. Under this personal cap, it would be the candidate who is responsible and the Electoral Commission would have no excuse not to prosecute.

22/3/18   passports and blind tenders
Why do Government contracts, such as the new British passport, have to be decided by a blind tender?
We’ve been told that it is, inexplicably, a requirement of EU legislation.
Even if we weren’t officially leaving the EU, I’d have thought that, for security reasons, it’d be wiser to limit tenders to UK firms.
This is presumably the view shared by the French, who are alleged to have allowed only French firms to tender for their passport contract, despite their entrenched EU membership.
And why a blind tender, which basically requires companies to guess what their opponents are offering?
Better that there be a Dutch auction with the lowest blind tender, merely used as a starting point.

22/3/18    data abuse
The abuse of data, collected from Facebook, by Cambridge Analytica, underlines the reason, so many object to a national DNA database.
There’s no doubt that such a database would be very useful for medical purposes, such as organ, or stem cell matching.
It could also be useful for re-uniting lost families, or tracing criminals.
But, as the Facebook abuse has proven, politicians and big business would be only to eager to use the information to our disadvantage.
It’s a pity we can’t trust our politicians, or anyone seeking power over us..

24/3/18   blind tender isn’t blind to contractor
A major problem with blind tenders is that the blind refers to those tendering, not to those handling the contracts.
While I have every confidence in the Civil Servants involved, I have none in a Tory politician in charge of the procedure, nor in one hired as an advisor to one of the tenderers.
That the difference in tenders was less than 1% suggests that a following open bid would have been more favourable and removed any suspicion of political involvement

25/3/18    multi-tier insurance schemes in a privatised NHS
I’m saddened to see a Sunday Mirror editorial calling for us “to at least consider a French-style insurance system”.
OK, those with comfortable life styles find their NHS works for them, whilst comforted that the less well off get a good basic service.
So we’re invited to divide the Nation by wealth. The “haves and have-nots” philosophy.
Once you accept that philosophy, it can easily lead to a U.S.A. system, where cost of medication are ramped up, because the Insurance companies will pay. Then the Insurance companies protect themselves with policy restrictions and suddenly you have a multi-tier system.
A system, where mid-range salary earners are bankrupted, because their insurance won’t foot the bill.
You have low-paid, who are given free emergency treatment but no after care and prescriptions for medications, which they can’t afford.
Protestations, that it hasn’t happened in France (yet), don’t hold up well here, when we have the local A&E asking that we don’t attend, because there’s already a 12 hour wait for attention.
Under this Gov’t, we already have a tacit two-tier system, because those with private medical insurance have easy access to what were previously NHS beds and NHS nurses.
Look at NHS dentistry and who qualifies for treatment. If you have to pay £56 for a tooth extraction, you’d have to pay £1,000’s for an uncomplicated birth

4/4/18  Zionists or Semites

From what I’ve seen on Main Stream and on Social Media, Corbyn has made multiple statements regarding removing anti-Semitism from the party.
The recent meeting with the Jewdas organisation has upset both Johnathan Arkush (head of the “Board of Deputies of British Jews”) and the Right Wing of The Labour Party, because the Jews in Jewdas oppose the actions of Israel against the Palestinians, whilst the Jews, whom Arkush represents, support Israel’s actions.
In short, Jewdas is anti-Zionist, whereas Arkash is Zionist.
This, I assume, is why they want Ken Livingstone condemned for saying Hitler was a Zionist, when he was clearly an anti-Semite, who hated Jews.
It’s presumably why the millionaire lord, Alan Sugar, recently posted a picture of Corbyn seated next to Hitler in a State car .
Sugar’s demand, for a more positive statement from Corbyn, presumably means he wants him to side with the Israeli Security forces against Hamas.
Corbyn’s problem is that he sides with the innocent Palestinians, robbed of their homes by Israel and used as a shield by their version of the IRA.

6/4/18  Tory definition
A reader asked that the Government wake up to the rising murder rate amongst our children.
Of course, this plea will be ignored, apart from some token gesture prior to the next General Election.
A common fault amongst Labour voters is that they think that Tories are like them but less intelligent, or less aware of what is happening. The truth that they’re neither.
The real difference is that they are selfish.
They are the Pharisee in Jesus’s parable of the Good Samaritan and don’t care about other people’s problems; although they are happy to exploit those who do.
They are the Silent Majority, who voted for this Government and they justify their selfishness by professing a belief in “self-help “, ” the pioneer spirit”, “rugged individualism”, “the wealth-makers ” and similiar self lauding themes, whilst despising “the feckless poor ” and “lazy scroungers”.
The only way that they can be made to care, is by shaking their belief that they are special, or too important to ever need help, themselves.
Their belief that they’re immune to the vagaries of fate, because they are too rich, or talented needs to be attacked, by reminding them that Medical Insurance can be withdrawn, company pensions can be raided, share holdings can plummet in value, tax avoidance schemes can go belly-up, public subsidies for stately homes, or political patronage for sinecures on quangoes can be withdrawn.
That being an M.P., with an exorbitant salary, is a privilege, not a God-given right, and can be withdrawn.

Blogpost 21 : 19/3/18

April 6, 2018

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?
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.

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 19 : 26/2/18

April 6, 2018

Letters to Daily Mirror


30/1/18   Single Market
Jeremy Corbyn wants to pay to stay in the Single Market, to protect jobs.
This would avoid vulnerable businesses facing the EU’s punitive taxes on imports but it would also encourage lazy management of less vulnerable businesses.
It would be cheaper and, in the long run, more productive, to leave The Single Market and have Companies apply for subsidies to pay the EU surcharges, whilst they looked for markets outside The EU.
Hopefully, these subsidies would eventually end, as other Markets opened.

13/2/18  NHS alternatives
Now that Jeremy Hunt is entering the final stages of selling off the NHS, we’re being asked to have an “adult” conversation about financing it.
I’ve come across two alternatives to our Aneurin Bevan model.
The first is a revival of Thatcher’s voucher system, or Personal Health Plan.
Under this we’d each be allocated a fixed lifetime, or yearly, sum, which we could spend on treatment.
Once you’d had your allocation, you’d have to fund further cover yourself.
Tough, if you have no such resources.
The more favoured option is a two tier system, such as they have in the USA and some EU countries, such as France.
Although much of our NHS is being bought by American Health Care companies, it is being touted that we would probably emulate France.
The US system is despised, because those, who can’t afford the cheapest tier of health insurance, can only receive the barest of emergency aid, before being kicked out.
Even those on a reasonable level of health insurance can find themselves being bankrupted, because hospital costs are ridiculously high.
Prices are encouraged to rise, precisely because they are covered by insurance.
The likes of the French system are held up as the preferred model, whereby the State funds 2/3 the costs and voters pay 1/3.
Those who are deemed too poor to pay any contribution have all the cost paid.
I don’t know if there is a cap on this but, more worrying, is who decides the level at which The State picks up the tab.
The present disgraceful benefit assessments by ATOS don’t inspire confidence.
I’m hoping that Labour regains office and is allowed to rescue our NHS but in case it doesn’t, it’d be a help if The Mirror journalists amassed the facts and figures necessary to fight this “adult” conversation.

20/2/18   Brexit?
It is understandable as to why those, who want to remain in the EU, are mounting their campaign to overturn Brexit, as Theresa May’s deadlne closes in.
It is understandable why Soros, Branson and Blair are splashing out money on polls and opinion pieces in Newspapers to protect their Interests.
What is not understandable is why May seems to be calling advance and then taking two steps back at every point of Brexit negotiations.
Despite being told, before the Referendum, that it meant leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union, it seems apparent that we’ll be staying.
The only difference will be that we’ll have no say on how our contributions are wasted.

20/2/18  Oxfam
The debate over the Oxfam abuses has been very strongly fought by both sides.
I can understand the strength of feeling over the abuse, in our name, of the people needing help but I was surprised by the strength of the campaign for Oxfam to continue to be funded out of taxes.
Why do we have to hand over funds to foreign dignitaries and other such third party organisations?
We have armed forces, starved of funds, who could provide aid, first hand.
My preference is for us to use these trained and fully equipped personnel, who know how to behave?

22/2/18  Gun Law
The Americans have always gone for firepower over strategy, which is why so many innocent people have died in the Middle East and why they haven’t won any major armed conflicts since WWII (Haiti, Panama,Grenada and Dominican Republic invasions were very one-sided ).
They cling to this use of weaponry to implement policy, instead of trying to negotiate solutions.
None more so than the simplistic President Trump.
His go-to solution for gun deaths is more guns.
Arming eight teachers isn’t even an attempt at a viable solution.
American schools are much better equipped than ours with much bigger campuses. By the time one of these armed teachers had responded and located an attacker, there could be scores dead.
These guardians would presumably be wielding handguns against semi-automatics, which doesn’t inspire confidence. In the worst scenario, there are about 100,000 public schools in the USA, meaning that there’d be nearly a million armed teachers. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that one of them could “lose” it and make a mockery of this approach.
If Hollywood has taught us anything, it is that if you disarm the gunmen, less people die.

23/2/18        TV Licence
The reason given for an increase in the TV licence is that people are switching to streaming services.
These users are likely to be the upcoming generations, so it is also likely that BBC funding will continue to fall, as my generation dies off and the licence charge rises further.
The Government needs to consider direct funding, if politicians wish to keep close control of its News broadcasting.
As a side thought, it’d be interesting to see austerity applied to BBC salaries.

24/2/18     rich on means testing
Brian Reade calls for better-off pensioners to forego free prescriptions.
Apart from endorsing Austerity measures, it’s likely to see off OAP’s who just fail the cut-off line, as in Trumps USA.
I have never liked means-testing, re-calling how nastily it was applied in my Mum’s recollections of her early days.
However; there is a form of means testing, which won’t harm anyone.
Put extra taxes on Restaurants.
This would only affect those with so much extra cash that they can afford to pay for the over-priced, poorly-cooked food , of which he complains

24/2/18   TV  pap

I was interested in Fiona’s piece on the seventies, in regards to TV programmes.
I frequently watch Talking TV pictures, as an escape from the pap shown on the rest of the Freeview channels.
As a Baby Boomer I’m not as easily offended by such things as actors blacking up but I was a little surprised, however, to notice a quick cameo of Al Jolson in Cliff Richards film “A Wonderful life”.
I then mused on the First Talking Picture, where “Jolson Speaks/Sings”.
Undoubtedly racist but there was no intentional racism.
Back then it was akin to boys taking girls parts on the stage of the Globe theatre.

26/2/18   obesity epidemic
The warnings of an obesity epidemic centre on trying to get us to change our lifestyles, by for instance turning Vegan.
Yet we have the announcement of a new veggie burger from the USA.
It’ll still have a bun and lashings of dressing but it won’t stop you getting fat.
Obesity will continue to be a problem as stress creates a Nation of people turning to food for comfort.
Dr. Miriam Stoppard points out the dangers of fat cells in our body.
They produce chemicals such as Oestrogen, growth hormone, Insulin and others which affect how the body works.
The general medical advice is eat less and exercise more.
The problem is that by the time this advice is given, people are too fat and possibly too old to exercise effectively.
There are other hormones, that fat cells produce, not mentioned by Dr. Stoppard, which make us hungrier, if we try to eat less.
We have a catch 22 situation:
We need to exercise and eat less, to avoid diabetes, cancer, strokes , heart attacks i.e. dying, or we need to cut away the fat with tummy tucks and/or liposuction, as described by Lisa Riley.
The catch is which comes first.
Our body works against us, if we try to change our lifestyle and we get yo-yo dieting with even more stress on the body.
If we go for the surgery first, it’s expensive and offends our puritan ethic. It also rewards the feckless, who may ignore the need for life-style changes and find the fat piling on elsewhere on the body.
As politicians will never address reducing the need for comfort food, or those, such as McDonalds, who provide it, politicians and the BMA might consider investing in liposuction for the masses; or equipping crematoria to cope with larger coffins.

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’
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.