Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Blogpost 38: 7/08/19 – 26/6/2019

August 7, 2019

Letters to the Daily Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Blogpost 37: 26/06/19 – 7/6/2019

June 26, 2019

Other battle fronts 10/6/19
It’s right to commemorate the D-day landings and pay respect to the many, many young men sent to die on those beaches and to respect those, who, despite the carnage, continued to advance at peril to their own lives.
It’s also right, as another reader said, to recall the heroism of the Russian soldiers, many of whom were sent into battle unarmed.
Both those fronts have been well documented, with lots of footage of the conditions met.
But there were other battle fronts, which seem to have been forgotten, with scant record of the men fighting on those fronts.
After D-day, most of the film footage is from North of France and the race to Berlin.
There’s very little of the forces, who invaded the South of France, or Greece. The war in Italy seems to have stopped after the capture of Rome. There’s almost nothing of Burma and the Far East, although fighting, there, continued well past VE-day. In fact, although troops stayed in Germany well past the Armistice, there’s nothing about what they were doing apart from few standing guard at the Nuremburg trials. It’s as if these men were not worth note. In fact, all that was ever recorded of any of them, post-war, was their being given a suit and a travel warrant

Boris as PM 13/6/19
I have no problem with Boris walking into Number 10, because after he’s delivered on his promise to cut taxes for back bench MP’s (basic salary £79k comes within promised £80k raising of tax band) and he’s dumped on half of all voters over Brexit, there’ll be a vote of no confidence. The resulting GE will result in a Labour Government.American

Women’s FA 13/6/19
When I was young, male footballers were paid scandalously low rates, compared to the revenue raised, which mainly went into the bank accounts of the rich owners.
Public anger saw an ever increasing share of gate money going to the players.
Nowadays, Premier league players are paid ridiculously high sums but still only commensurate with their ability to draw in that revenue. Players in the lower leagues earn much more modest sums.
For the supporters of the US women’s team to claim their thrashing of the weaker Thai team entitles them to the same money as the men lacks intelligence.
They should step back and consider what effect their humiliation of a much weaker team may have on the growth of the sport, internationally.
The growing interest in countries, such as Thailand, could be stifled and the Women’s World Cup would have to survive off a limited pool of nations.
The way, to get fair pay, is to grow the Sport, not try to kill it off with triumphalism and over-excited demands

Water taps 15/6/19
Interesting to read that Sainsbury’s are to introduce fresh water stands. It caused me to remember when, in the 50’s, every park and major public area had big cast iron water fountains, where everyman and his dog could get a drink and then visit a free council maintained toilet. Most being elegant, well-lit Victorian structures. If it wasn’t for McDonalds and Wetherspoons, there’d be no facilities Nowadays. That’s progress!

published version  Water big difference
It was interesting to read that Sainsbury’s is to introduce fresh water stands in their cafes from this August (Mirror, June 15). I remember in the 1950s every park and major public area had big cast-iron water fountains, plus a free council-maintained toilet. There are hardly any free public facilities nowadays.

Women’s FA Cup 20/6/19
I wholeheartedly agree with the BBC commentators on the new penalty rule. It’s a stupid rule, which denies the whole point of having a live person in the goal.
What is the goalie supposed to do, stand there like a shop mannequin?
If , as was suggested, this rule had been trialled in a less crucial series of games, it would not have been imposed on as important a competition as this.
It definitely needs a re-think.
Maybe , allow one foot off the line, as the goalie adjusts to the likely shot

A need for tasers 21/6/19
When schools are fined for excluding thugs and told to keep order without any means of exerting control over them, it’s small wonder that when they leave school as young men and women, they have no fear, or respect for others trying to serve the Public. If teachers are wearing stab vests, it tells us that they need to be given more power to exclude unruly pupils and get on with teaching those, who are good members of Society.
Get them under control in school and maybe our police wouldn’t need to equipped with Tasers

Privatisation is theft 21/6/19
The News that some energy firms have gone bust with debts of £172Mn is more than just annoying.
It is another reason to condemn this Government’ s privatisation of anything and everything.
On a domestic level this is the equivalent of a housekeeper leaving your front door wide open, with a cashbox in full view. The Tories don’t just enable theft of our cash, they actively encourage it, especially with firms such as Carillion.

Iran threatened 21/6/19
why was an American drone within range of Iran’s missile defence?
Regardless of the dispute on whether, or not, it was in Iranian air-space, it is insulting to the intelligence of all on-lookers, for US officials to claim that this was an unprovoked attack.
Why is Trump even pretending to manufacture an excuse to attack Iran, when his advisors must be aware of how crass that pretence is to the rest of The World

Heatwave 25/6/19
I don’t know if there’s any governing going on whilst the Tories decide which numpty is to be dumped on us but if the threatened heat wave is going to be as bad, as is claimed wouldn’t it be advisable to begin cutting fire breaks and setting up water tanks in vulnerable regions during these heavy downpours?

Oyster cards 25/6/19
I’m pleased that Andy Burnham is considering regulating Greater Manchester buses.
It was suggested, soon after the Mayors of Greater Manchester and Merseyside were elected, that they would look into a joint Oyster card scheme for two regions. Wouldn’t this be a good time to get together and form a combined network for the two regions. Andy comes from Golborne, in Greater Manchester, which is halfway between the two regions on the East Lancs. Road. I’m sure he, as would many in the area, appreciate travel made as easy as it is in London.

published version  Such a fair bus move

I’m pleased that Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is considering
regulating bus services again.
It was suggested two years ago that there should be ajoint London-
style Oyster card scheme covering Greater Manchester and Merseyside
This would be a good time to launch it.
So many of us would appreciate travel made as easy as it is in London.

NED V JAP 26/6/19
The new ruling that it is a penalty, when a ball touches a defender’s arm, was made to look farcical in the Nederland v Japan game.
There was no way the Japanese defender could have done more to prevent the ball hitting her arm, yet this rule effectively gave the game to Holland.
This was despite Holland being made to look pedestrian compared to the skill and verve of the Japanese.
I can understand why the referee’s ability to judge intention, or lack of it, was taken away but now the aim of attackers will be to ignore the goalmouth (defended by a goalie) and aim at any hapless defender, who can’t get out of the way. Return judgement calls to the referee and the two linesmen (also referee’s) with power to yellow card further dissent.

Blogpost 36: 7/06/19 – 11/5/2019

June 7, 2019

Blogpost 36: 7/06/19 -11/5/2019

tv licence 11/5
My parents lived through the 20’s and neither could say the phrase “means test” without a note of disgust, so I’m naturally antipathetic towards such.
Either scrap the free TV licence, or force the rich luvvies, who say they’d prefer to forgo theirs, to accept them with good grace.
I, for one, would prefer not to beg for such consideration.
I would also feel concerned about the related form-filling and any disclosure of financial details, which the evermore commercial BBC could be tempted to merchandise.

special relationship 16/5
Major General Chris Ghika, as Deputy Commander of Coalition Forces, says there is no increased threat from Iran and I’m inclined to believe him, rather than whoever the United States Central Command is. I’m assuming that either United States Central Command keeps important information away from their Deputy Commander (really?), or we’re hearing the voice of one of Trump’s war-mongering buddies.
The really irksome aspect is that Penny Mordaunt has allowed this to go unchallenged. I guess she knows her place in this special relationship.

Brexit solution 19/5
The Brexit shambles has arisen, because of the Sovereignty of Parliament. I.e. the People voted, by a majority, to leave but a majority of MP’s didn’t want to.
MP’s are trying to find ways to overturn the EU referendum but putting the blame elsewhere, through a second people’s vote, a general election, or a compromise vote.
The only viable solution, to my mind, is a General Election, where candidates declare themselves, regardless of party, as Leave, or Remain.
When results come in, on polling night, they are recorded as such.
Whichever party, or coalition, appoints the P.M., his/her first duty, in the name of a Sovereign Parliament, would be to either revoke Article 50, or to inform Brussels that we were leaving on WTO rules.
Any M.P., who refused to honour the platform, on which they declared themselves, would be immediately barred from the Parliament.
(In the event of a tie, the Referendum result could stand).
After that is achieved, MP’s could get busy with catching up on the results of their 3 year sham

Hua Wei 21/5
It may be a good thing that Google has decided not to let Hua Wei have security upgrades to their Android platform.
It’s open nature makes it susceptible to malware.
Presumably, China, in its trade war with Trump, will create its own security patches, if it’s not already doing so.
Greater benefit could come from China developing its own software platform, less susceptible to hacking attacks. Competition between China and USA could have other benefits for the ordinary consumer.
For instance I’d be unlikely to be spammed with targeted advertising for Chinese brands of cereal etc.

rise in racism 23/5
Eva Simpson’s report on the launch of the book “Think like a White Man”, makes sad reading but I think the cause of the resurgence of racism doesn’t lie with the EU.
I think it lies with the lack of policing.
It was the passing of the Race Relations Act and its implementation that reduced active racism, not our joining the Common Market.
Britain, without efficient policing, has always been riotous.
It’s why Sir Robert Peel had to initiate the modern Police Force.

cursing Cameron 28/5
Although many commentators have pointed out that the obvious conclusion to be drawn from the EU elections is voters don’t want compromise solutions, the two main parties are still pushing their deals. It’s like watching a man with two broken legs trying to March uphill and turning to urge us to follow him.
The call for a second vote is only for a choice of abandoning the original vote, or accepting some other compromise deal. Most of our MP’s cursing Cameron, for giving us a democratic choice, doesn’t help their case.

woke people 28/5
There seem to be more and more “woke” people around. They warn us of Global Warming, Climate Change, ocean’s full of plastic, whales full of plastic, traffic fumes poisoning the air, disappearing species, wars, pestilence and famine. The endpoint is a call for us, meaning me, to do something about it. E.g. sending £3/month to diverse “charities”.
OK, they’ve done their bit, by calling my attention to it. I’m now doing my bit, by composing a concerned letter to this Newspaper about the lack of action. I may send off an email to my MP, or I may find out if there’s a protest somewhere that I can walk to and shout at passers-by. I suppose I could go down the beach and pick up plastic to put it in a waste bin. At least I’d be able to tell anyone who’d listen that I’m also a “woke” person.

car theft 28/5
Now thieves can more easily buy the gadgets to open and steal most modern cars, perhaps we’ll have to move to two stage authentication.. Fingerprint and facial recognition are proving far from fool-proof, so why not revert to car keys. They seemed to work quite well.

Apparently thieves can easily buy gadgets to open and steal most modern ‘keyless’ oars.
Fingerprint and facial recognition are proving far from foolproof, so why not simply revert to car keys?
They seemed to work well enough for many years, didn’t they?

bumbling Boris 30/5
It was David Cameron, who made Boris Johnson the official recipient of public funds and the unelected representative of those of us wishing to leave the EU.
Boris then used those public funds to paint the £350Mn figure on that bus, which has ever since been used as a stick to beat down the arguments for leaving the EU.
Assuming he intended to win the campaign, then his providing this weapon, for the Remain campaign, shows a lack of the forethought needed to lead the Nation.
If he’d put up the figure of £185Mn, claimed by Remainers, would voters have been any less swayed?

Collymore 4/6
In LFC’s case, I think Collymore is wrong about the owner joining the team on the pitch to enjoy LFC’s champions league triumph. Colly has to remember that this man rescued the club after the asset stripping depredations of Gillet and Hicks. Without his white knight role, we might still be languishing mid-table

I’d do it again

Blogpost 35: 10/05/19 – 23/04/19

June 7, 2019

Blogpost 35: 10/5/2019-23/04/19
party funding 23/4/19
If what Alexander Temerko is saying is true, about Tory donors giving their money to their favoured MP’s, instead of the National Party, then it should be welcomed and made compulsory for all political donations. If individual MP’s wish to then contribute to a central fund, then good. That would be far more democratic. The present set-up invites wealthy donors to buy privileged access and preferential treatment from those who control the Party funds. Ordinary MP’s are sidelined and those who voted for them are ignored. If individual MP’s are seen to be corrupted by lobbyists, then their constituency parties can deselect them.

gluten free 23/4/19
In her piece on hypothyroidism, Dr. Miriam Stoppard begins by telling us that auto-immune problems were on the rise and leads into the news that clinical trials on going Gluten-free were found to alleviate the effects of this condition. These reports always raise unanswered questions. For instance, what prompted these Gluten-free trials? Is it just some faddist giving worriers another restriction on what they should eat? More concerning is why are auto-immune problems on the increase and is anyone funding clinical trials to find out?

EU Elections 27/4/19
I doubt many of us know who our MEP is, or how they’ve voted, or what issues they voted on.
They do not impinge on our lives, nor are they reported on in the News.
I’m guessing that, thanks to the clamour about Farage and The Brexit Party, many normally, disinterested voters will see these EU elections as merely a chance to strike out at the EU and the main parties, over Brexit

crime and punishment 27/4/19
Youth clubs and such are a major component in cutting knife crime but the other major component, which is being ignored is the consequences of being caught.
As a kid, I was aware that I could have my collar felt for minor infringements.
It was impressed on us that arrests and prison could be a major block on job prospects and travelling abroad.
Now kids are taught that chances of getting caught are zero, especially if you are young, or wave a knife.
Cops no longer attend burglaries and if they did, you’d be unlikely to face prosecution and, if you did, you’d be unlikely to face prison and, if you did, you’d be paroled, i.e. freed to commit further crimes.
Youth clubs are in competition with drug dealers offering easy money to those facing food banks and zero-hours employment.
It’s carrot and stick, acting in reverse.

Published version

The cuts to youth services are a big part in the rise of knife crime, but  the other major component is the lack consequences of being caught.
As a kid, I was aware I could have my collar felt for minor infringements It was impressed on us that arrests and prison could be a major block to job prospects and travelling abroad.
Now kids’ chances of getting caught are minimal, and if they are it’s
often just a slap on the wrist.
In today’s world, youth clubs are in competition with drug dealers
offering easy money to those facing food banks and zero-hours work.

vote dealing 27/4/19
I can understand why Vince Cable would want other Remainer parties to stand down and give the Lib Dems a clear field in the Euro elections but I can equally understand why such as the Green Party would want to avoid surrendering their Leftish agenda to a Right wing party.
There might be a case for a system, whereby candidates could volunteer their votes to a second, or third party, in the event that they lose but voters would have to know beforehand, who their votes would go to rather than see them bargained off as happened under Nick Clegg.

smart phones 3/5/19
I have a GMS mobile. I press a button, it comes on.
It rings , I press a button and listen.
I did have a smart phone. I’d switch it on and 3 minutes later I could log in.
I’d then have a dozen updates, a demand by an app that it tidies up, whilst shoving adverts at me. I’d press an icon expecting one outcome, get an entirely different one and have to try and navigate to where I thought I was going from where I thought I’d been dumped.
I’m happy with my GMS but the World isn’t. I have to pay for data, which I don’t need.
Meanwhile, websites demand I give them a smartphone number for 2 stage authentication and/or download their app.
Banks are demanding that I go cashless with tap and pay, whilst shutting down ATM’s, bank branches and bank hours.
I pity the coming generation, who may find themselves cashless and homeless, just because someone hacked their smart phone.

reade thatcher 4/5/19
Thank Brian Reade for his brief summary of Margaret Thatcher. I’m sure he could fill a book with details of her hate for us and the mutual regard held by those who responded, to the Media’s mourning of her passing, with choruses of “Ding, Dong, the witch is dead”
What I can’t fathom is why so many still vote Conservative and hate The Welfare State.

Thank you, Brian Reade, for your summary of Margaret Thatcher 40
years after she came to power. What I can’t fathom is why so many still
vote Tory.

electric cars 9/5
Having used rechargeable batteries for my computer mouse, I am sadly aware of how quickly their performance deteriorates. I’ve given up on them and now stick to throw away ones.
We are moving fast towards electric cars but how reliable will their batteries be.
At least with liquid fuel cars, you can carry a spare can in the boot.
I think the Government needs to step back from their target of phasing out all fuelled cars and fund further research into biofuels.

powerless 10/5
I have no power in major issues.
Even the EU referendum shows that we have no real say in what decisions are made.
We can march and we can parade and we can get Politicians to huff and puff and bluster and say that they “hear” us.
They still ignore us.
So I’m puzzled by those who chide me with my alleged responsibility for donkey’s suffering in Spain, snow leopards heading for extinction, Tropical forests being replaced by palm oil plantations, climate change, Children being bombed in Yemen and Syria, food banks, a flaky PM and a useless Parliament.
What am I supposed to do? March into Parliament and seize the mace?

EUFA tickets 10/5
One thing’s for certain, no matter who wins, both major European football final matches will be held in England, next year.
Time for our Brexit negotiators to weigh in and maybe get some real concessions from EU leaders, who’ll no doubt expect “hospitality packages” for these events.

Blogpost 34: 22/04/19-30/3/19

April 22, 2019

Letters to Daily Mirror

Embassies 21/04/2019
It’s nice that the Culture department works hard to minimise the cost of transporting valuable Art treasures from embassy to embassy around the World but it begs the question of why we need to.
In fact why do we need embassies and ambassadors.
We no longer live in the days when “Important People” had to spend days travelling long distances to chat about important issues and had to be fêted in a grand style.
Nobody’s more than a heavily encrypted Whatsapp away from anyone else.
I reckon the only reason Theresa May is stretching out Brexit, is so she can jet over to the Brussels VIP canteen , twice a week.

climate change 18/04/2019
For 3 years now, Theresa May has been jetting around the EU having chats. Liam Fox has been jetting off to all parts of the World. Various other ministers have been attending climate change summits, G8 conferences, Arms Fairs, Bilderbeck love-ins and other high level soiree’s where they enjoy fine dining and chats, before jetting off again, first class, with an entourage of Press and Civil Servants.
At home, we have homeless people freezing to death on our streets, people dying from cancelled operations, people dying of starvation or suicide, because they can’t make ends meet.
Are these people really going to change their ways, because a few Eco-warriors have glued themselves to a pavement slab in London?

For three years, PM Theresa May has been toing and froing around
Europe having chats, while various ministers attend high-level get-
togethers where they enjoy fine dining and first-class air travel.
Are these people really going to change their ways because a few eco-warriors have glued themselves to a pavement slab in London?

Lammy 15/04/2019
As one of the 17.4 Mn., who voted to leave the E.U., despite Project Fear telling us we were all doomed, I resent Lammy claiming that hard Brexiteers are Nazi’s.
He talked, on the Marr show, as if he was only referring to Tory Ministers, such as Rees-Mogg and Johnson, but he means anyone who wants to actually leave the EU, which is what we voted for.
The demand that we have a second referendum shows the contempt such people have for us. The claim that many leave voters would, or should welcome it, is equally contemptuous, because they omit to mention that what we voted for will not be on the ballot paper. They omit to tell us that the only choice we would have is between rejoining, or just leaving a little bit. If May dropped her demand to stay out of a Customs Union, the remain MP’s would grab it Tomorrow. Remain voters would bring out the bunting, 17.4 Mn would possibly never vote again and the next generation would curse us.

road markings 08/04/2019
On a recent long journey, my sat-nav took me along a heavily, congested A-road with many a no-Left-turn and no-Right-turn junction.
These are indicated by suitable arrow markings, painted on the roads.
In light traffic this is helpful and speeds flow but in heavy traffic, cars, in front, block your view of them.
It’s not so bad, for strangers; you simply stop and indicate your wish to change lanes, until some kind soul let’s you in. Regular commuters are obviously frustrated but what can you do?
The real problems arise at complex roundabouts, where a lane bearing one heading, leads into a lane with a different heading and suddenly you find that instead of a town centre, you’re headed for a motorway.
This is not good enough.
Our roads are covered in red, green, yellow and white paint. Why not devise a system, similar to lane markings, which are visible even in traffic queues and which allow drivers to change lanes, early , avoiding lost tempers, panic and accidents.

Google 08/04/2019
Instead of trying to tax Google, why not set up in opposition?
I’m sure that GCHQ has the people and computer power to create our own version.
Such an organisation would give us 100% of its advertising revenue.
I’m equally sure that not only would Brits favour this search engine, which almost invariably puts Amazon at the top of its search results, but other peoples will welcome an alternative search engine.
With our people in charge of , let’s call it Broogle, we could give our own businesses prominence and make Amazon pay a premium to offset its low tax payments.

football racism 04/04/2019
On a football pitch, the most powerful person is the referee.
He is the representative of the FA.
If the FA truly wants to stamp out racism, they only need to give him the power to end a football match.
If there is any complaint of racism from the crowd, then the ref should be able to demand that a representative of the home team stop it. (How that is achieved is up to their management).
If they fail to comply in a reasonable time, the referee should have the power to either have the stadium cleared (problematic), or to simply declare the home team the winners.
This is not without parallel, in that if a team is reduced to 7 players (too many red cards), a referee can declare the game forfeit.


– If the FA truly wants to stop racism they need to give the referee more
powers. If a player complains of racism from the crowd, then the ref
should be able to demand to a representative of the offending team’s
supporters that it stops. If it doesn’t, then the stadium should either be
cleared or the other side should be declared winners.
This isn’t without parallel, in that if a team is reduced to seven players
through too many red cards then the ref can declare the game forfeit.

Gaby Logan 30/03/2019
Gaby Logan has been very brave, possibly foolish, in claiming that transgender women should not compete in female sports.
There is a lot of Official sympathy for these women and their wishes but it may be time to take a less favoured view.
I’ve noticed how women’s football has come on in the last decade but how would it fare, if transgender women began to dominate, as, in general, they would.
It could kill off the flow of young women into the sport.
If you have a Y-chromosome, should you compete against those who don’t, unless it’s labelled as a mixed chromosome event?
If Chelsea Manning wants to compete against Serena Williams, at Tennis, I’m sure there are some who’d pay to watch, but it’d be a niche sport.

General Election 30/03/2019
A General Election won’t resolve Parliament’s dilemma over Brexit, because most MP’s don’t want to leave the EU. Neither of the main parties will offer that option in their manifesto’s.
Labour will win but on anti-austerity and unravelling privatisation.
A second referendum won’t work, either, and for the same reason.
Parliament will get its way but the turnout at the polls will make the claim that the UK is a democracy look very shaky.

Blogpost 33: 4/2/19-28/3/19

March 26, 2019

I’ve not posted for a while, because I had to upgrade to Windows10 and it’s been a pain learning how to drive it and when I logged on again, not only has the format changed but some kid had hacked in and messed things up. my header message has been changed but it’s fair comment, so I’ve left it.

Letters to Daily Mirror

Does it really matter to us if Gas and Electricity companies hoard our cash, or if we use “smart” meters to keep a close watch on our usage.
Does it really matter to us if we have water meters and try to save water by flushing less, or washing less?
These things are controlled by privatised utilities, run by CEO’s, who are paid bonuses directly related to how much profit they can deliver to their shareholders.
They are effectively monopolies, or cartels, whose only concern is profit.
If we halve our usage, they’ll double prices.
We gain nothing, by rationing ourselves, except the inconvenience of having to wear warm, woolly jumpers inside our cold, smelly, dirty homes.

published version
– The utility firms are controlled by private companies run by CEOs who
are paid bonuses directly related to how much profit they can deliver to
their shareholders. They are effectively monopolies whose only concern
is profit. If we halve our usage by using a smart meter, they will just up
the prices.
We will gain nothing by rationing ourselves except the inconvenience of
having to wear woolly jumpers inside our cold homes.

letter in responseUse less, pay more
– I used to work for one of the so-called big six energy firms and reader
John Shale is correct about smart meters (Your Voice, March 28).
Do customers really think they’ll save money by haying one installed?
No, as John says, as soon as everyone uses less energy, the price will
They claim they’re fitted free, but think back to the rise in cost as part of
the green initiative. We have all paid this for years now, so your meter
won’t be fitted free. You have already paid.
Also, the meters are not fit for purpose — if you switch supplier, your
smart meter won’t work.
Name and address supplied

If we really want to reform Parliament, getting rid of the two party elections and lobbyists, then we should abandon constituencies based on Geography.
Instead of a union leader backing an MP, make him/her an MP. Make constituencies based on professional, trade, or other similar interest groups.
Constituencies are usually 60,000 to 70,000 voters. so we could set those as a minimum and maximum size for registration.
A group, which is too small could form a coalition with one of similar interests.
Advantages would be that Parliament would consist of MP’s with relevant experience for cabinet posts.
Voters could change constituency by simply registering and being accepted by the relevant group.
MP’s and their organisations could find themselves automatically deselected, if their support fell too far.
There’d be no need for national elections, as the organisations would pay for their own internal elections, as would Parliament, itself.
To my mind, this would give a truer democracy, where everyone’s vote would count (no safe seats), and it would give a more informed Government.

You report that in 1998, the Honours Committee got a tip-off about Saville’s paedophilia, yet the only concern seemed to be how it would reflect on the Government, if he was found out. Back then, we still had a few Police, so why wasn’t the matter referred to them?
This is the third story this week suggesting that Gov’t sanctions paedophilia, providing it’s kept quiet.
There was a lot of discussion on Twitter that May had planned to place her deal before the House of Commons, three times, in the belief that MP’s would panic and eventually pass it.
This still seems to be her plan, according to recent reports; however a recent Tweet suggested that, under a little known ruling, The Speaker could prevent a third reading, so, assuming he implements it, and accepting Barnier’s refusal to relent on the EU negotiated position, it looks as if we could leave with No-deal and have to restart negotiations, as a non-member.

It’s obvious from the way Tory politicians casually use terms, such as piccaninny, coloured etc., that these are terms which they use in their own circles of acquaintances.
As bad as that is, the way that Boris Johnson spoke of child abuse, suggests that he felt comfortable in dismissing any concern over the issue. This seems to be something that permeates Westminster, there having been past cases of this issue seeming to have been quietly ignored.
It was disturbing reading how Lord Steel said that “it did not seem I had a position in the matter at all”, when discussing Cyril Smith’s un-denied paedophilia. I can’t imagine anyone, outside Westminster, who could say that. I know of no-one, who would have given Cyril Smith the time of day, let alone Ministerial office and a knighthood.
It suggests that “Honourable Members” do not share the sentiments and morality of ordinary mortals.

Would a 10.6% tariff on imported cars be a bad thing?
It would make cars built here more attractive.
It might also cause Nissan to re-think their plans, thus saving UK jobs.

Sandi Toskvig is reported to have said that we need more discussions around the trans community and that we’ll never understand where these people are coming from, unless we have these conversations.
Why insist that we “need” more discussions.
Homosexual acts were legalised back in 1962, after the Vassal case had caused us to have these discussions.
We were tacitly aware of transvestites back when Danny La Rue was a famed performer and April Ashley filled our Newspapers back in 1961.
Most of us have personal knowledge of people different in various ways and most of us have just accepted those differences.
Nowadays, the soap opera’s are filled with murders, violence and various stories of alleged social concern.
They are there for entertainment value, alone.
They don’t educate, or inform us, because most of us have experienced forms of abuse and of unwanted attention our own lives.
We’ve each had a dose of unrequited love and scathing rejection, as giver and taker.
How is it different between people of the same sex? Are we being told that gays suffer more?
It’s ridiculous to claim we need more discussion and made to empathise with them.
If we go down this road, how long before someone demands that we understand how someone can make a nail bomb for a gay bar, or why someone can don a suicide vest to kill and maim hundreds of strangers.
Whereas I might like to know how Jimmy Saville got away with his abuses, I really don’t want to understand his motivation.
I certainly don’t want people saying that I need to be made to empathise with this group, or that group.
Can’t we just go back to tolerance of those who are different, providing they don’t harm others?

Every so often, I read that some Tory Minister has invited us to applaud the supposed growth of the UK economy. Gas, Elec, water, council tax, TV licence, postage etc. charges are rising faster than our incomes (MP’s excluded), so why is this something to applaud? For most of us our personal economic situation is worsening.

6/3/19 (this is a rare apolitical letter, so that may be why Daily Mirror published it.)
The BBC is to be applauded for showing the England women’s football team’s games in the present International competition. Women’s football has come on a lot in the last decade and is worth watching. Unfortunately the host nation seems to have limited experience of televising football. Much of the game appeared to be televised from the cheapest seats, high up in the back of the Stands. Much of the time all we could see were coloured blobs moving around at random, chasing an often invisible ball. No chance to see any ball skills , or appreciate individual play.
Nice that we won the trophy but, otherwise very disappointing and rather depressing.

The item about a charity donating free saplings to schools is welcome News in terms of global warming but like the tree-lined avenues of our local councils, I suspect they’ll be decorative trees such as horse chestnut and willow.
Might I suggest that in Austerity Britain, with its foodbanks and homeless, we could emulate places such as Morocco, where almost all publicly accessible trees are covered in oranges.
Why shouldn’t our towns be decorated with fruiting almonds, peach and cherries, instead of merely the flowering versions. Apples, beech, medlars etc would more decorative than the plane trees planted throughout London. Another advantage is that the timber from fruit trees is more valuable.
I don’t understand why no organised groups are pushing for this.
Is it a fear that the Poor might get fruit and nuts for free.

A reader suggested that we should have a new National Anthem and I have no problem with that but I would be concerned about how it would come about. I’d hate some Committee selected and authorised dirge imposed on us. An anthem should arise from the people, as our present one did. I like that of the LFC, Wales and Germany. Not so struck by “swing low”. Perhaps an England only version of the Eurovision Song Contest would throw up a winner. Even if it fails, it would give us a tune for England games.

Some people have too much money. After reading about a homeless man dying on the street, I was confronted by the story that someone had paid £ 2,200 for a cigar butt, half-smoked by Churchill. That’s a sad reflection on our Society but the item about the letter to Paul McCartney’s solicitor, signed by the other Beatles is sickening. As a lad, I bought all the Beatle’s recording’s but I can’t see the value of such a letter. It is so wrong that someone could be so rich that they could pay a quarter of a million pounds for it. Some people just have too much money. I appreciate that we need rich people, who will risk their capital to create new jobs, research and thinngs we can admire, or enjoy but each pound note represents someone’s labour and hard graft. It’s wrong that some selfish idiot can waste the equivalent of someone else’s lifetime of drudgery on a few signatures.

Blogpost 32: 9/12/18

December 9, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blogpost 31: 16/11/18

December 9, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blogpost 30: 22/10/18

December 9, 2018

Letters posted to Daily Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blogpost 29: 9/10/18

December 9, 2018

Letters to Daily Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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