Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

sneaky leakers, or whistle blowers

April 17, 2020

One man’s sneaky leaker is another man’s heroic whistle-blower.

On the whole, I’m on the side of the whistle-blowers.

When someone has decided that I shouldn’t be allowed to know something, it angers me. Either, they think they have the right to condemn me as unworthy to partake of their insider knowledge, or they have some dirty little secrets, worthy of censure and possibly imprisonment.

Nothing, which can harm others. or has already harmed others, should be kept secret from public knowledge.

It is public opinion and the judgement of the masses, which decides what is moral; so such secrets are innately immoral, lacking public scrutiny.

Once The Public has pronounced judgement, then Justice has been served and the issue is cleansed.

covid19 experts

April 17, 2020

Covid19 has presented us with the battle of the experts.

The main battle is between the health experts and the money experts, although these have their clans.

The health experts have the clinicians who understand how epidemics spread and how to combat them and there’re the number crunchers, who draw graphs and try to scry for trends, citing conjectures as scientific truths.

The money experts have similar clans. There are the market manipulators, who win, no matter what the Economic circumstances and who rely on panics to shake out the loose change from pension fund managers. Then there are their number crunchers, with numerous graphs and statistical markers, from which they produce auguries based on past events.

Like vultures at a kill, we have the political experts, squabbling over, who gets greatest advantage from the diseased corpse. We have the hapless Raab left in charge. Whilst his boss lies low, Raab can be relied on to rationalise, whichever set of theories is needed to fend off those who would like to be in control.

Chief antagonist is the leader of the Opposition, calling for primary schools to re-open and score points with those whose immediate concern is being on short money. Whilst those parents concerned with their children being put at greater risk, will focus on Raab, if and when the decision is taken. Such tactics will be praised by the political experts scurrying around Westminster.

Meantime, the shadow health minister has chosen, the wiser course of voicing the opinions of the health clinicians: At least until the pressure from lobbyists pushes for loosing control on movement.

When the lobbyists become pressing and Raab is told to lift restrictions, the political theorists can always dump the blame on Raab and his epidemiologists, if the corpse blows up.

Blogpost 42:16/03/20 – 7/02/20

March 16, 2020

 

Letters to the Daily Mirror

 

8/2/2020 10:28

I think The Daily Mirror is correct in saying that we do not want to be a US colony.

We have a love-hate relationship with the USA, much the same as with Europe.

We enjoy and admire much of their cultures and people but we value our independence.

I think most Brits would agree that Our politicians may be morons but they are Our morons.

 

8/2/2020 13:03

It’s reported that The Premier League seek a “10cm” solution to offside problems with VAR

10 cm, or 10mm, it would still have to be a judgement call by the Ref, as to whether, or not it amounted to a significant encroachment and unfair advantag

 

10/2/2020 13:35

Another storm and reports of flooding, mostly the same places, with some victims reporting that they had the sandbags available from last time.

We’ll almost certainly be reminded that it’s proof of global warming, coupled with demands for taxes / bans on fossil fuels.

Meantime, affected households are faced with clean-up misery, costs of replacements and possible refusal of house insurance.

Politicians have accepted the reality of global warming but there seems to be no effort to protect us from it.

Water was privatised on the promise that the new companies would replace the inadequate Victorian sewers but they don’t seem to have been  made to do so, to any extent.

With rising sea levels, a growing population and more land being tarmacked, Politicians need to be making them construct storm drains and finding other more practical solutions to the expected consequences of climate change

PRINTED VERSION

– Storm Ciara saw reports of flooding in mostly the same places as last November.

Some victims even had to make do with the sandbags from last time.

Politicians have accepted global warming but make no effort to protectus from it.

They need to build more storm drains and find other, more practical, solutions to the expected consequences of climate change.

 

12/2/2020 14:23

BBC Chairman, Sir David Clement, complains that we risk losing a national asset if we scrap the TV licence, ignoring the reason why this issue has come up for debate.

The BBC built a reputation for honesty during the War years but seems to have lost this. According to comments on Social Media, people across the political spectrum see bias in its News and its Political comment.

Sir David claims that The BBC provides programming, which commercial channels don’t, but it long ago began to ignore this aspect of its value, deciding that it would place itself in competition with those commercial channels, producing similar viewing fare.

As part of this competition it has developed a star system, causing its own wages bill to soar.

Are there really so few journalists qualifying each year, incapable of reading an autocue. They pay five figure salaries to prevent other channels poaching these stars but how many Susanna Reids does ITV need.

Similarly with other presenters; Gary Lineker was shambolic when he first took over Match of The Day, before learning to relax, but I’m sure that there are many personable ex-Footballers, who could quickly learn to do his job for half the pay.

Forget about stars, reduce presenter pay and then cut the pay of the management, who use the system to ratchet up their own pay levels.

And forget about all those expensive pseudo commercials/trailers, telling us how great their programs are.

 

12/2/2020 14:25

A recent item on Social Media gave me cause for concern.

If we move entirely to electric cars, how would we cope in a major traffic jam, particularly if it occurred somewhere like Snake Pass over The Pennines, during Winter.

We have had years when Blizzards have blocked this road and people have had to sit in their cars, with the engine running, to keep warm. Admittedly, electric cars won’t cause deaths from breathing Carbon Monoxide, as happened at that time, but how long would the batteries last? How long would drivers and passengers last, without heating. Even if they could walk to safety, how would they retrieve their cars, with miles of similarly inert vehicles blocking access to recovery services?

Hybrid cars would be OK but that’s not what we’re threatened with.

 

14/2/2020 13:44

Complaints about discrimination at Luvvy award ceremonies are getting tedious.

May I suggest that presenters are given three wheels of fortune. One selecting coloured/white, One selecting male/female and One selecting gay/straight. Three spins and then all those audience members who fit the category stand up and to be named. The one getting the biggest round of applause wins. It’d probably be more popular than some anonymous panel picking the winner.

 

Wed 26/02/2020 11:25

Instead of ending the house of Lords, let’s just apply Tory principles.

Put them on piece work.

I.e. they only get paid when speechifying. Let’s say triple minimum wage at £30/hr.

If the House is open 80 hrs/wk, that’s a wage bill of £2400/wk and as Parliament does about 30 weeks per year, that’s a cost of a mere £72,000 pa.

Of course their up-market club-room facilities and subsidised canteen would still operate, so the old dears would still be better off than most plebian OAP’s, whose Libraries are being closed and no longer offer a warm sanctuary.

 

Wed 26/02/2020 11:31

Although I’ve always regarded the NFU as a Trades Union for wealthy landowners, I’m glad they’ve warned Johnson against lowering food  standards for US imports.

We aren’t leaving the EU’s control, so Trump can override our food safety regulations.

Before we joined the EU, most products, sold in the UK, bore the BSI Kite mark and many were governed by other regulations such as IEE and COSHH, all of which, with few exceptions, were adopted by the EU.

They need to be re-instated and brought up-to-date.

We also need to re-instate the organisations, which watched over and implemented them.

Most having been disbanded, or diminished under successive governments.

 

PUBLISHED VERSION

– Although I’ve always regarded the National Farmers’ Union a union forlandowners, I’m glad they have warned Johnson against lowering food standards for US imports. We can’t leave the EU just so Trump canoverride our food safety regulations. Our own laws need to be -implemented quickly and the organisations that regulate them be reinstated.

 

Wed 26/02/2020 12:31

As a child playing with sand castles, I found that water had a way of finding the weakest link in the walls of my moat.

The best way of guiding the water was by digging channels and I suggest that this is a better solution in terms of flood defences.

Where storm drains aren’t possible, then deepening, or dredging, the present riverbeds and building lagoons (normally drained and used as play areas in dry weather) would, at least, alleviate flood damage.

A total ban on building on flood plains, unless on stilted platforms, would be an intelligent start.

 

Fri 28/02/2020 14:40

Why should the NHS struggle to cope with the coronavirus?

When I had the Asian flu, I was merely kept warm in bed, at home.

That’s presumably how they would handle the coronavirus if it did threaten to overwhelm what’s left of NHS resources.

I assume in the present case, family members would be confined to their homes, so care would be home-based.

All it would need, in a serious out-break, is some sort of volunteer based supervision and supply provision, until a vaccine is secured.

That this is a global problem, emphasises the need for a re-think of how medical research is conducted and rewarded. The price of drugs such as insulin, shouldn’t be getting set by greedy Corporates exploiting the Patent System and  the sick, as Trump seems to wish on us.

 

PUBLISHED VERSION

– When I had the Asian flu, I was told to stay in bed at home. That’s presumably how they would handle the coronavirus if it did threaten to overwhelm the NHS.

If a serious outbreak were to happen, all it would need is some sort of volunteer-based supervision and supply provision until a vaccine is developed.

As this is a global problem, there should be co-operation on medical research, and the price of drugs must not be set by greedy pharmaceutical companies.

 

Tue 03/03/2020 10:59

As a kid, I became a stamp collector and bought the big shiny triangular stamps, from countries such as Monaco.

When I joined the school stamp club, I quickly learned that such stamps and such countries were to be despised, as not serious nations like GB, who didn’t even need to put its name on its stamps.

Times have changed and we are now a money-grubbing nation, putting out not just special commemorative issues but seasonal issues; all to raise extra revenue.

Now, since the Royal Mint was privatised, we’ve had almost weekly special issue coins being flogged through TV adverts.

As I was composing this the postwoman delivered a flyer for a new VE day 30p coin (set of seven spelling out “Victory”).

It all feels a little uncomfortable, especially when it’s being done by people who made the colour of our passports a supposed major concern.

 

Tue 03/03/2020 11:28

The article, about Dutch flood defences, raises a concern about global warming. Such flood defences aren’t about protection from heavy rain but about protecting land, below sea-level.

Like the Thames barrier, they have been designed to cope with present conditions, not the threatened 2 metre rise in sea-levels.

Fukushima’s lesson is that their expensive defence had been risk-costed, underestimating the height of a potential tsunami.

We, I’m afraid, have a Government with a similar penny-pinching philosophy on important issues, with a spendthrift philosophy on vanity projects.

(I predict the London end of HS2 will become a home to fishes).

 

Thu 12/03/2020 12:34

For those of us, who survive this Corvid-19, it could prove beneficial in changing our way of living, for the better.

The most vulnerable are the oldest and youngest.

The oldest have already been made to self-isolate, by closing down libraries and cutting care-home access.

It just needs better broadband coverage with teleconferencing software.

A sort of OAP facebook, where the lonely can gather in a virtual care-home, with staff, who can help oversee their wants and channel them free TV etc.

For the youngest, there’s talk of closing schools and maybe catching up later.

There are, already, on-line schools with lesson plans and timetables and staff, who are familiar with such provision.

With sufficient broadband coverage, these schemes could be rolled out nationally, to cope with some aspects of Educational provision. Obviously, there’d be need for some school attendance, for socialising skills, sports etc. but these could be scheduled for more clement conditions, with the exam season being moved to Spring.

Many workers will find their jobs can be performed, without the murderous commute, that saps people’s souls and wastes their time and energy.

Those, who still have to commute, will find their journeys less crowded, whilst Greta Thornberg will smile at the resultant lower carbon footprint and The Economy will benefit from reduced fuel imports.

 

Thu 12/03/2020 13:18

I appreciate that knowledge of WWII is not crucial to most people’s lives but it is depressing to read reports that school children believe such nonsense as the war being won by The USA against The French. I’d like to get back to the days when TV quizzes assumed a knowledge of historical events, basic geography etc. Not the weird name given to the child of some Z-lister. I want to go back to the days of laughing at the educational standards of the USA, where even a President thinks Africa is a nation.

Perhaps we could make up for the failings of the National Curriculum by re-making the likes of “The World at War” but with Ant and Dec, doing the voiceover, instead of Sir Laurence Olivier, and putting it out on Saturday Evening.

 

Fri 13/03/2020 09:18

When Boris Johnson spoke of Covid-19 causing herd immunity, maybe he was thinking of herd-thinning,

i.e. culling the weak and infirm.

Else why delay taking action until the virus had got a good hold on the population and would be as unstoppable as an Australian bush-fire?

 

Sat 14/03/2020 10:26

Here’s a nasty thought.

Because of Covid-19, elections have been postponed hut we’re told covid-19 could mutate and become perennial.

Throw in police having powers to arrest suspected carriers (we saw you sneeze), we could see Trump becoming President for life.

Worse, what about Boris, if Parliament is shut down?

 

Sun 15/03/2020 10:32

Decreeing a ban on mass gatherings will have limited benefit, when it comes to implementation.

In the case of football, postponing matches until after April 3rd will be of little benefit.

Footballers and other athletes need exercise and training schedules, meaning they have to meet up to share facilities. Continuing the season behind closed doors is a reasonable alternative to postponement.

If we’re isolated in our homes, we’ll still need entertainment and football could provide it with full length matches being recorded and shown on dedicated TV channels. Imagine the effect on match fitness, if footballers have to stand down for a month.

The panic buying of toilet paper etc. is also down to this ban on mass gatherings but we’d still need to shop, mainly at supermarkets.

I know politicians aren’t famed for depth of thought but even they must have considered the consequences, in terms of their own stock-piling. Just the supply of milk is a concern. OK there’s plenty of alternatives in terms of personal use but the cows can’t just switch off their supply.

Are they going to slaughter the dairy herds?

We need plans for supplying households through a fleet of suitably sanitised delivery vehicles.

Volunteer supply of pensioners could be problematic, if this isn’t regularised. One Typhoid Mary could destroy a whole neighbourhood’s grannies cum babysitters.

I’ve not read one detail about any depth of planning.

If it’s Johnson’s aim to emulate a wartime Churchill, he’ll have to do more than take up smoking cigars and flicking the vee-sign at us.

 

Mon 16/03/2020 02:05

A previous lord Mayor of  London, Sir Thomas Bloodworth, was roused from his bed by news of the initial stages of the Great Fire of London, which burned 80% of the houses.

He responded with the words “a woman might piss it out” before returning to his bed.

Boris simply  follows tradition with his tactic of giving covid-19 a chance to build its strength until it can inflame the lungs of 80% of the Nation. The difference is that Sir Thomas suffered only a few deaths, Boris anticipates 400,000., mostly boomers, who allegedly voted him into office.

 

Mon 16/03/2020 11:28

If we are to be quarantined for 4 months, we’ll need entertaining.

For that reason I say Premiership matches should be held behind closed doors to be televised and broadcast to all of us.

Stadia are large enough that a skeleton crowd of season ticket holders could be allowed to attend.

Similarly with Strictly, The Voice etc.

If we are fed a diet of oft-seen old films, sitcoms (with canned laughter?) and talking heads, there’ll quickly be domestic violence, in consequence.

Blogpost 41: 7/02/20 – 7/12/19

March 16, 2020

 

 

Letters to the Daily Mirror

10/12/2019 22:05

I too, would like to see the TV licence fee scrapped.

It is just another tax but one which affects the low paid far more than the better off.

At £154.50 it’s a burden for someone on a tight budget but a triviality for those, who can afford to spend Summers in the Cayman Islands.

It was originally brought in to keep the BBC independent of political control but this obviously no longer applies, with political appointees able to control its expenditure.

This being the case, it seems a lot of time and effort could be saved if it was financed directly from general taxation and answerable through the Civil Service, rather than the current ruling political party.

 

11/12/2019 13:24

1)

I understand the rush to get petrol and diesel cars off the roads: Apart from the “Green” issues, there’s the cost of imports as a drain on the Economy. However there are concerns about a reliance on batteries, particularly in terms of the use of the ever rarer Rare Earths, such as Lithium. Those of us, who’ve bought rechargeable batteries for digital devices have found that not only do they lose the ability to store energy but the voltage output drops quickly below the level needed for their operation. Now there’s a report that rechargeable car batteries do not hold as much power in cold climates.

When you run out of petrol, you can always try trudging off to a petrol station but what do you do if your electric car sighs and gives up in the fast lane?

2)

A lot of the readers’ letters, supporting Jeremy Corbyn, were telling us to disregard the ditching of Brexit promises. Many Labour Leave voters will do that to end Tory cruelty but, whilst many of Jewish descent are ignoring the Anti-Semitism smears, it seems, according to many papers, that some of our Jewish neighbours can ignore what they see around them and vote to re-instate a right-wing and racist Tory party. This support being on the basis of Johnson joining Trump in support of the right wing Government of Israel.

3)

When I was young, I was encouraged to build up a Building Society account to put down a deposit on a house. At the time, you could only get a mortgage equivalent to 2.5x your annual salary. After the equal rights act, we were suddenly deemed to be households with two incomes and we could get mortgages of 2.5 times the joint income. This has now become 8x any household’s income, with very little in way of a deposit needed. It’s small wonder that house prices have risen beyond the reach of many and builders prefer to construct executive housing.

4)

Joseph McCann pretty well demonstrates that imprisonment reduces crime and protects the Public If he had been kept in prison, eleven lives would not have been so badly damaged.

The rehabilitation argument doesn’t stand up well to scrutiny, either, when my local paper has recently reported cases of released prisoners immediately re-offending, one for his 200th offence of shoplifting.

 

14/12/2019 10:34

As a baby boomer, I find it hard to believe the pundits telling me that it is my generation and  older, who’ve voted for this Government.

It is we who’ll suffer and die waiting in A&E.

I’d have thought it was we, who best remembered tales of how it was before The Welfare State was created by our parents and it was we, who bemoaned the deliberate deterioration of its structure by Thatcher’s heirs and by those now being described as Labour grandees.

Corbyn was elected by ordinary Labour voters, who, like myself, wanted someone who would save our Welfare State and restore the fairer Society that our parents had been promised during the War, when Churchill told them “we’re all in it together”.

It is my generation, who’ve watched our country being gradually delivered into an increasingly stronger embrace of federal Europe and saw it as indifferent to a parochial desire for self-rule I.e. rule by politicians, answerable to us and who put our interests above their own.

The choice came down to saving the Welfare State, or escaping the E.U.

I can’t believe that so many trusted  Boris Johnson to deliver either.

I can’t believe that the Labour grandees, who were kicked out in favour of Cameron, now claim the right to try and re-impose one of their own on the Labour Party.

 

14/12/2019 12:00

Fiona Phillips must live near different High Streets to those near me

On my forays into Town, for Xmas shopping, I do not “mix with strangers full of Xmas cheer”; I struggle through throngs of zombies, shambling past shop windows, hoping one will shout out “here’s what to get Uncle John, Aunt Mary etc.”. This throng is interspersed with grim-faced commuters, grasping the one item they came into Town for and now struggling to get back out. It’s time to forget about saving the High Street, where items are increasingly “no longer in stock but we can order one for you”. You know that they’re merely going to go on-line and charge you extra for doing so. The stock that they do have is, in differing stores, all off the same container ship.

What Fiona needs is a local (I mean within walking distance) Poste Restante, where parcels, ordered on-line, can be delivered and rescued, on production of the delivery note, left in her post-box).

 

19/12/2019 09:58

Lisa Nandy has shown herself a very able Labour politician and she could make a capable leader, if she can restrain those MP’s, who have supported Tory policies in the past. However she has an uphill job winning back the heartlands, which provided financial support and local intelligence through the many Labour clubs.

Labour club we used to have, before they were all closed during the Blair years, as no longer wanted, or relevant to the Parliamentary Labour Party, who had turned to Big Business for donations and instruction. There isn’t a single Labour club left in this part of Wigan, where a local MP, or Councillor could meet and converse with their heartland supporters, on an informal basis.

 

30/12/2019 11:28

The House of Lords seems in need of reform, rather than abolition.

This could be achieved without much disruption by capping the number of sitting members and waiting for them to die off, or be disgraced.

Replacements should then come from the ranks of MP’s who have lost office.

However, rather than being in the gift of the PM’s recommendation to the Queen, it should be based on those who’ve applied, with the principle of those who’ve waited longest, getting the job. This would ensure a continued turnover (as older members die) and a drag on reforming Governments, trying to seize too much control.

 

17/1/2020 13:41

If Johnson wants to put money into the NHS where it will be more effective, then purpose built triage units on hospital car parks would free up corridor nurses and queueing ambulances.

 

17/1/2020 13:48

the Home Office claim, that longer drive times for fire engines is down to traffic, is deceitful.

I’m sure the Fire Brigade Union would be happy to remind them of how many fire stations were closed, because drive times from other stations would be sufficient to cover the homes losing immediate cover

 

21/1/2020 10:17

If HS2 could cost £106Bn (+), what will be the estimated cost of a ticket and how many are expected to be able to afford the fare?

Why has there never been any mention of this aspect?

Will HS2 just be a novelty for the rich, as Concord was?

 

PUBLISHED VERSION

– If HS2 could cost £106bn what will be the estimated cost of a ticket and how many are expected to be able to afford the fare?

Will HS2 just be a novelty for the rich as Concorde once was?

 

21/1/2020 11:10

The report, on stone age man using skulls as drinking cups, suggests cannibalistic, or mystic powers as reasons for the practice. Wouldn’t a simpler reason be that the only other source of drinking vessels relies on kilns to turn clay into fragile pots, whilst skull cups will bounce when dropped.

 

24/1/2020 10:21

On Thursday night’s ”BBC Question Time”, we heard an audience and panellists moaning about the numerous deaths of young men, from knife crime.

Presumably the discussion followed on from the report that gangs were hiding knives in gardens and parks to avoid arrest for carrying an offensive weapon.

So it was a surprise to read in the following day’s paper that a 20” bladed machete was not considered an offensive weapon and that attacking someone with it, including blows to the head,  was not attempted murder.

Small wonder that the public has no faith in those who run our country (so badly).

 

24/1/2020 10:28

The view, amongst those, I’m reading on Twitter, is that Victoria Derbyshire’s show was axed by the BBC, because it was discussing issues that the present Government would rather weren’t discussed. The BBC is fearlessly independent, were told, and no doubt the new D.G. will want to keep it that way.

It’s a pity so many people are prepared to believe otherwise.

 

27/1/2020 16:44

The report that smart motor ways are under review, after a huge rise in near-miss collisions, was only to be expected.

Many motorists have claimed to have been confused, genuinely, or otherwise, over when the new lanes are in use.

The hard shoulder serves a genuine need, for motorists experiencing tyre blowouts etc.,

and this plan was always a short-sighted quick fix to a congestion problem .

That problem will remain, making it unlikely that the review will call for the concept to be abandoned.

But if politicians were brave enough to take that decision, they could always save face by converting the scheme to a rapid transit system for the emergency services.

 

28/1/2020 16:04

Gary Lineker suggests TV Licence payment should be voluntary.

Let’s go further and try a sort of post pay per view.

I.e. a system where we rate a program, we’ve watched, with marks out of 10.

A monthly tot up of marks would give an immediate feedback of what viewers really wanted and encourage value for money.

I’d probably ignore BBC News and Question Time: Favouring some BBC2 progs and downrating Match of the Day and other progs where presenters were paid 5 figure sums for a few hours natter each week.

 

30/1/2020 12:38

With Alexa and her mates listening in on our conversations and all the other electronic invasions of our privacy (anti-terrorism legislation allowing many officials to intercept our e-mails, GCHQ recording phone conversations – shared with USA, Google etc. required by the USA  to keep records of our web searches and even private companies compiling our meta-data) does it really matter to us whether it’s China or the USA, in control of 5G data streams?

 

3/2/2020 09:16

The situation with Sudesh Amman was unavoidable in a civilised country during peace time.

We must expect further civilian deaths, whilst we deny that we are on a war footing with IS supporters and that the rules of War should be applied to them.

Blogpost 40: 7/12/19– 7/10/19

March 16, 2020

 

Letters to the Daily Mirror

Thu 10/10/2019 12:32

As I live well away from London, Extinction Rebellion Protests  have little effect on me, apart from media reports, which I tend to skip.

I was disturbed to read that protestors are being paid for this disservice.

Who has that kind of money to throw away on disrupting other people’s lives.

Protestors aren’t bothering MP’s, who could do something about their claims. (they’re more concerned about the stress of trying to prevent Brexit).

They’re not even getting that much publicity.

If someone has the cash for this, why not pay for musical flash mobs to put out their message, outside the BBC, Buckingham Palace and other venues.

Instead of creating negative feelings towards their cause by irritating ordinary working people who have to take detours, they could create positive ones amongst onlookers who would welcome having their day uplifted by the unexpected entertainment.

It says something about the joyless nature of such people that they prefer to express themselves by paying for disharmony.

or, for EUphiles (slow start)

 

Fri 11/10/2019 11:38

It seems every day there’s another new voice clamouring to further complicate and regiment our lives and always “in a good cause”.

Although I’ve no wish to encourage snacking on public transport, why put a ban on it. The logic should demand that the ban be extended to all public places, including cafes. Why should sitting in a shop window be deemed less “wrong” than sitting on a bus?

I want to throw in my own bit of prodnosery by calling for a ban on wearing dark clothing and I can justify it on two counts. First, one of the curses of Winter night driving is straining to catch sight of pedestrians (and some cyclists), who will emerge from the shadows straight in front of traffic, assuming that they are just as visible to drivers, as their brightly lit vehicles are to them.

Second, with the ice caps melting, less sunlight is being reflected allowing the planet to get warmer. Wearing lighter clothing will raise the average albedo of the planet and reduce global warming, which is of great concern to many of us.

PUBLISHED VERSION

– It seems that every day there’s another new voice clamouring to further regiment our lives.

Although I’ve no wish to encourage snacking on public transport, whyban it?

Logic demands that such a ban should extend to all public places, whichwould be ridiculous.

 

Fri 11/10/2019 11:38

It seems every day there’s another new voice clamouring to further complicate and regiment our lives and always “in a good cause”.

Although I’ve no wish to encourage snacking on public transport, why put a ban on it. The logic should demand that the ban be extended to all public places, including cafes. Why should sitting in a shop window be deemed less “wrong” than sitting on a bus?

I want to throw in my own bit of prodnosery by calling for a ban on wearing dark clothing and I can justify it on two counts. First, one of the curses of Winter night driving is straining to catch sight of pedestrians (and some cyclists), who will emerge from the shadows straight in front of traffic, assuming that they are just as visible to drivers, as their brightly lit vehicles are to them.

Second, with the ice caps melting, less sunlight is being reflected allowing the planet to get warmer. Wearing lighter clothing will raise the average albedo of the planet and reduce global warming, which is of great concern to many of us.

 

Fri 01/11/2019 11:02

While it is good that the loophole, about using mobile phones whilst driving,  has been closed, it begs the question of how this loophole came into existence.

All it needed was a law saying that it’s illegal to use a phone whilst driving, yet the actual legislation will likely be full of “whereas” and “whereof”  and “ as stated in subsection (a),  paragraph (iv), clause (b)…”. written by highly paid legal experts. It will then have been chewed over by 650 highly paid MP’s. It beggars belief that none of these people spotted the loophole, yet it was so quickly exploited when tested in court.

Perhaps we should scrap our legal experts and Parliamentary scrutiny and use more loosely worded legislation with judges ruling on the perceived intent of the legislation, rather than the precise phrasing of it.

 

Sun 03/11/2019 11:45

There was a plea in the Sunday Mirror for people to turn out and vote but it’s unlikely to be heeded.

Voter turnout was already low, before MP’s tried to wriggle out of accepting the result of the EU Referendum.

MP’s have made it clear that they don’t really want to hear what we think.

If they did they could easily increase voter turnout by telling the Electoral Commission to follow the example of “Brewster’s Millions” and allow people to vote for

“None Of The Above”

 

Sun 03/11/2019 11:47

A recent edition of France 24 announced Bercow’s standing down as Speaker and offered to explain why he was always shouting “Order, Order!”.

It’s bad enough watching our Parliament in action, without the French laughing at us. Whoever replaces Bercow needs a more effective control than this ineffectual pleading.

I’m a strong fan of the technique used in the film “Cromwell”, whereby an armed constabulary could be called on to eject any Honourable members, who won’t give Order.

 

Wed 06/11/2019 10:44

I may be mistaken in thinking that you could at, one time, be charged with actions likely to offend Public Decency but couldn’t such a charge be brought against those posting distasteful images on Social Media.

Images of beheadings, or morgue images of the bodies of those named in News stories.

It doesn’t need great sensitivity to decide which images meet the criterion, so it could be decided by a member of the CPS and quickly presented to a magistrate.

If, for example, it appeared on Twitter, then Twitter would be required to name the publisher of the image, or be guilty of the offence, themselves.

Each re-tweet would count as an offence and carry the same fine.

This would discourage others from offending and incentivise Twitter to police such matters, more efficiently.

 

Wed 06/11/2019 10:59

You published a quote by Stormzy, where he used “could of”, meaning “could’ve”.

It would be helpful to those who’ve been poorly educated, as well as those wishing to learn our language, if Newspapers could put a correction in brackets. After all, why insist that Journalists be required to reach a good standard in the language, if they’re going to perpetuate it’s misuse?

If Stormzy used it deliberately, for street cred, then it shouldn’t bother him and he could always claim that such was the case.

 

Fri 08/11/2019 16:17

Ever since Osborne made it possible for people to dip into their private pension funds, we’ve read of numerous cases of such people being scammed, defrauded, or otherwise robbed of their retirement funds and ending up having to rely on the State Pension, which is one of the lowest in the EU.

The State Pension was meant to protect those unable, for whatever reason, to provide for their old age. It was intended to do this without reliance on the likes of pension credit, Winter fuel allowance and other such sticking plaster remedies.

Throughout my working life, I was under the impression that an extra tax, called NI, was to fund this, only to find as I came closer to retirement that this was no longer deemed to be so: that all such money went into one big chest at the Treasury, from which Ministers drew what they wanted. My NI contributions being recorded on paper with a nominal (derisory) interest rate being added.

So most of my Pension went on the likes of the Millennium Dome and Trident.

The News that Labour will introduce a Treasury of The North raises the question of could we get rid of the “big chest” and have all such supposedly stand-alone taxes, go directly to the relevant fund holders.

 

Sun 10/11/2019 10:46

Nigel Nelson is correct in saying that the first duty of politicians is to make life better for the people they serve; although I doubt the word “serve” exists in most MP’s vocabulary, nowadays.

The story of the councillor getting a chief exec. to procure an extra recycling bin for a voter seems to be an exception.

In‌stead of BBC Question time discussing Brexit in Brighton and announcing it will be discussing Brexit in Bolton the week after, perhaps a program where the local paper provides a list of local concerns for a panel of the Council’s CEO, Council Leader and opposition leader, local MP and a famous son/daughter would be more interesting.

I’m sure the same sort of issues will crop up in each location and could provide common solutions to local grievances.

Bins were always a big issue, when I went canvassing.

 

Mon 11/11/2019 12:41

It’d be easier to understand why the Queen shed a tear on Remembrance Day, if one  took account of the age of her generation during the War.

People in their twenties looking forward to life, surrounded by friends and colleagues, forming relationships.

Most of her generation will have lost very close friends and relatives and may well have personally seen them blown apart.

Even as a Baby Boomer, the faces of the adults around me, when names were mentioned, had an impact. Then there were, at times, tears of schoolmates, whose Dad’s hadn’t come home.

Even on the dullest and dreariest of official Remembrance day parades, there are bound to be a few, who will actually remember and find it hard not to shed a tear.

 

Sat 16/11/2019 13:43

I know Labour’s free Broadband isn’t off the drawing board yet but I’d hope the people made to pay for its upkeep and maintenance are the banks and other businesses, who’re insisting that they’ll only engage with us on-line.

Let them worry about the security and loss of business, caused by their penny-pinching economies.

 

Sat 16/11/2019 13:46

Great as your plant a tree campaign is, I noticed that the first one planted, in your campaign,  was a mountain ash, which, thanks to the birds, are common around here.

I usually uproot one from my garden, every year.

Thanks to train drivers on the coal fields, once prevalent around here, we also have plenty of wild apple trees.

The need is not for more trees, where people live but for re-foresting the Downs and Grouse Moors, denuded in the Iron Age.

Perhaps you could get together with the Woodland Trust and hire planes to fly over such sparsely populated areas and scatter acorns, cherry stones, beech nuts etc.

 

Sat 16/11/2019 13:47

Your story about Great Anglia Rail fining a woman, who, because of overcrowding, had one foot in a first-class compartment, has to be one of the best arguments for de-privatising the railways.

 

Sat 16/11/2019 13:48

It’s nice that people in authority are waking up to the fact that London could be flooded but it’d be nicer if they began to plan for it.

As a child, I built a sandcastle and then tried building a sea wall to protect it, as the tide came in. It’s pretty obvious to me that barricading London won’t work.

Dreams of a Venice of The North won’t work, in respect of London’s Artesian water supply and especially its sewage dispersal.

Government has to move to higher ground in the Pennines and leave London for the tourists.

 

Sat 16/11/2019 13:49

It’s nice that people in authority are waking up to the fact that London could be flooded but it’d be nicer if they began to plan for it.

As a child, I built a sandcastle and then tried building a sea wall to protect it, as the tide came in. It’s pretty obvious to me that barricading London won’t work.

Dreams of a Venice of The North won’t work, in respect of London’s Artesian water supply and especially its sewage dispersal.

Government has to move to higher ground in the Pennines and leave London for the tourists.

 

Sat 16/11/2019 14:42

As a Boomer, I’m continually made aware by advertising the need to make plans for my death and this I’ve tried to do.

However, there’s one nagging concern, which is continuous debit.

This has been a concern for all of us; as we are told it is not possible (?) for the Banks to stop them and we have to contact those dipping into our accounts.

Obviously this has been exploited by scammers but what about the utilities etc.

For instance, I pay my TV licence this way. When I die, I can’t stop it. How difficult will it be for my executor to stop it? There may be such a payment that I’ve forgotten and which my executor is unlikely to be aware of.

Is there any legal protection against pillaging of people’s accounts?

Then there’s those credit accounts, which have money resting in them e.g. gas and elec, or store accounts.

There needs to be a way that ” register of death” requires businesses to take note and act appropriately, but I’ve never heard/read of such.

 

Thu 21/11/2019 10:38

I, personally, can’t believe that anyone, mad enough to attack us with nuclear weapons, would be worried about our counter-attacking.

Any sane politician would know that no bunker would be safe enough to survive an inevitable Nuclear Winter and that other Nations would take an offensive stance against them, if they, somehow, managed to survive

Jo Swinson obviously believes otherwise and has firmly stated, more than once, that she is ready to press that Big Red Button.

Now, I read that LibDems have said they want to abandon Operation Relentless.

What’s the point of banging that Big Red Button, if it’s out of commission?

This woman’s reasoning powers are not up to the standard for someone who bleats that she is a credible Prime Minister.

 

Tue 26/11/2019 11:01

The campaign to boycott Amazon and support High Street shops is perverse. We are being asked to pay higher prices and transport costs, so more money can be transferred Councils and Government, through various forms of taxation.

We would be rewarding the incompetence of our legislators in Parliament.

They created the tax laws which have brought about this imbalance favouring Amazon.

Who gave them the power to do this? Who voted Tory? It’s not just their rich donors, looking for favours.

It must include millions of ordinary voters, who bemoan its passing, as a place to visit and waste a few hours.

Blogpost 39: 7/10/19– 7/08/19

March 16, 2020

 

Letters to the Daily Mirror

19/09/2019 I like watching Bear Gryll’s island survival style programs, in which the common theme is find a shelter, light a fire, find water and then forage.

Of course, they always take place on tropical isles, where you’re unlikely to face one our freezing Winter nights.

Surely in a civilised Society, we’d expect our Government to ensure that those made homeless were assured of a shelter, a fire, water and a bit of forage, whether, or not they deserved them.

 

Fri 27/09/2019 14:03

I have no problem with Naga Munchetty stating that President Trump is a racist. It seems, to me, a statement of fact but then there are many pronouncements, by those in the public eye, which they treat as facts, yet are merely displays of bias.

Twitter is awash with accusations of bias by announcers and their program editors.

We can do little about celebrities,  politicians and Newspapers but it would be nice if TV presenters and announcers could try to avoid expressing opinions as facts, even when, as in Trump’s case, they are obviously true.

 

Tue 01/10/2019 12:38

There seems to be a culture emerged from the “greed is good” period of rampant Thatcherism. It isn’t just about making money but about actively doing it at the expense of others. It’s not just about the undeserved bonuses of the directors running Carillion, or Thomas Cook, or even the likes of Jamie Oliver. It’s about the way employees and small dependent businesses are squeezed like grapes to maximise profits, before walking away and leaving others to repair the lives, wrecked by their selfish indifference.

 

Tue 01/10/2019 12:40

The surprising thing about Graham Norton’s comments on ITV pay, is that TV advertising is so lucrative. Admittedly, ITV probably doesn’t spend so much on quality programming but their adverts aren’t as intrusive as on Sky (I’m sure over 50% of their air-time is adverts and trailers). Of course,  we indirectly pay for that advertising, which leaves the question of how much are we being over-charged on branded goods.

 

Thu 03/10/2019 18:50

So the Waspi women have lost their court case and I’m sure MP’s feel vindicated in their pension theft but the monetary savings made can’t be balanced by the Social deprivation they’ve created.

Apart from making those, who’ve carried out the more arduous and low paid jobs, work during their less active years, thereby also shortening life expectancy, MP’s have deprived younger working women of their granny bonus. I.e. the ability to call on grans and adopted grans to help advise on and mind their children.

It’s not just the child-minding fees (which Female MP’s can easily afford; it’s the availability of someone with a vested interest in the children, who can step in and allow young Mums to enjoy a bit of a social life.

Feminist MP’s may rejoice at gaining the right for working class women to have an equal right to be self-supporting, for as long as men, but have they made most women’s lives better, or worse?

 PUBLISHED VERSION

– So, the Waspis (Women Against State Pension Inequality) have lost

and while I’m sure MPs feel vindicated, savings aren’t balanced by the –

deprivation they’ve created. Apart from making those who’ve carried out

low-paid jobs work longer, they have deprived younger working women

of the ability to call on grans to help look after children.

 

Thu 03/10/2019 18:52

The reason that a few thousand voters were able to make Boris Johnson PM was because as leader of the largest party  in the House of Commons, he could guarantee, under Parliamentary Democracy, to win the vote of most MP’s.

If a vote of no confidence was given, then they don’t have to go to the expense of a General Election.

The Leader of the House could call for nominations of a new Premier to be voted on, in the same way the Speaker is chosen.

I don’t suppose this will happen but it would be fun watching those who were hoping to keep their heads down, possibly offering up their necks.

Ending the two party system @johnmcdonnellMP

February 12, 2020

I wrote this withe MP’s in mind but it might be better introduced with the House of Lords, first.

There really is no justification for that assembly’s membership in its present form. A Senate, based on the principle outlined below, should be quite easy to set up and implement. It could, if it worked as well as I believe it would, enable its introduction into the Commons,  Ending the two party system

I live in Wigan and Leigh. We have three parliamentary constituencies: Wigan, Makerfield and Leigh. All safe seats, prior to the last election and Brexit. Each had a female candidate parachuted in by the NEC, because of this.

Each, at the last election, lost 5000 votes to the Brexit Party, so Leigh became Tory by default. It’ll probably return to Labour, if Brexit happens.
The main point is my vote counts for nothing.
If my MP were a dud, she’d still get in. The same applies in many constituemcies and even in those swing constituencies, where a few voters can get rid of a bad MP, their only option may be to let another bad MP in, because we have a two party system. A system where voter wishes count very little compared to the wishes of those who can bribe MP’s to pass the Laws they favour.
The system is corrupt and only pays a token respect to democracy.
The Brexit farce has shown this in its ugliest fashion. The only way in which my vote counts is in a referendum but Parliament has now denied me this, claiming referenda are only advisory and can be ignored.
Whilst voting is based on where your house is, we’ll persist with this corrupt two party system.
We may as well have each party toss a coin to decide which benches they sit on, who’ll be sat on them and who’ll be our dictator for the next 5 years.

I propose a better way than this, which gets rid of the two party system, ends the power of lobbyists (and their alleged importance) and reduces the power of the Media.
I propose having constituencies based on common interests, instead of geography.
Any group which can muster about 100,000 members (600 seats gives us the 60 million population) could be a constituency. Each constituency would have to achieve accreditation from the Electoral Commission. Each constituency would have to create its own rulebook, collect its own subscriptions (for running costs), decide on its own candidate selection/election methods. Each constituency would have to register and check the validity of its own members against the electoral register.
How would this work?                                                                                                                     Any voter could choose to register with any one constituency. It could be related to a trade, or profession. It could be based on an interest in football, motherhood, or any amalgamated groups. Suppose you were a teacher, you might register with an educational group. You could even choose to belong to one of the present political parties, which could, if it had enough members split into multiple sub groups. Suppose you disagreed with the running of your chosen group, you could apply to another group, in which you have an interest. The new group would be responsible for switching your membership details just as easily as you can now switch bank accounts.
Any failure to properly administer its membership registration could lead to their MP being red-carded for 3 months: Long enough for their membership numbers to take a decent hit.
Instead of one political party choosing the national Leader and his/her cabinet, the whole house would be free to choose them, as was originally intended and as The Speaker still is. The choice of Ministers might still be in the hands of the elected P.M. but the PM would have a choice of MP’s with a wide range of experiences and interests to draw upon and any excessive cronyism would be quickly apparent. Without Party Politics to deliver blind support, any PM would have to be mindful of majority support on all and any issue. He/She would have to truly represent the wishes of the Nation and not merely be representative of it.
At present Lobbyists not only try to buy MP’s, with “perfectly legal” donations and freebies e.g free trips to Israel. (so long as they are declared.) but they are invited to “give evidence” to House Committees, so MP’s (who’ve no real life experience) can gain from their specialist knowledge. That woold no longer be necessary, as there should be MP’s, with relevant experience, to advise the House and act as advocates for their constituencies’ interests.

As Society changes Interests and their group sizes would change and their would be less tendency to fossilise traditional alliances.
The problems would arise from attempts to stabilise Government, i.e. reduce the need, for those in power to pay attention to the demands of different factions. E.g by setting up fixed terms of tenure for PM’s such as fixed terms of office. There would have to be a procedure for MP’s to block this tendency to gather power into the hands of any one group (A petition to the Monarch?).

While we’re at it, why not replace the House of Lords with a similar set-up? A second house is useful as a brake on impetuous legislation. The analogy being of a cow’s cud-chewing; allowing a fresh set of minds to pick up points that were missed or glossed over in the original. Rather than a House of Lords, I suppose we could make it into a Senate. Senators would also have constituencies to nominate them but would be from groups outside those in the House of Commons (House of Delegates?). There will be those who don’t want to be associated with the 600 MP constituencies and would prefer a separate voice. Such groups would be registered with the Electoral Commission, who could then select 600 to propose their candidates for Senator, based on Membership size. By their nature, they would tend to oppose and counter any overly enthusiastic wishes of the Commons.
Overall, we have to have a Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? The Queen is unelected and there are many Republicans, who would replace her with a Politician. I would oppose that. A President, or Chancellor, or grand Vizier can be replaced too easily by a political puppet, or displaced as Bismarck was. A Monarch can only be legally replaced, by his/her next in line. As custodian of the Nation, The Monarch would have no say on policy, only on whatever constitutional rules were drawn up. The Monarch would be free to interpret the intention of the constitution as he/she felt best without being later held to that interpretation. I’m thinking here of how the US constitution held “the right to bear arms” (being meant as a safeguard against a venal Government forcing its will on an unarmed civilian population) has been perverted into a justification for privately armed militia and out of control mass shootings, re-inforced by precedents set by previous judges under different social conditions. The Monarch would be able to call on private army units (a Praetorian guard with limited weaponry (no need to set the scene for Civil War)) and Civil Police to arrest any politician/s seeking to override the constitution.

 

Blogpost 38: 7/08/19 – 26/6/2019

August 7, 2019

Letters to the Daily Mirror

6/8/19
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?

5/8/19
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.

1/8/19
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.

1/8/19
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.

28/7/19
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?

28/7/19
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

27/7/19
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.

21/7/19
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.

19/7/19
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.

11/7/19
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.

11/7/19
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”

8/7/19
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.

6/7/19
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.

6/7/19
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

4/7/19
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.

4/7/19
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.

2/7/19
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.

2/7/19
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

28/6/19
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

28/6/19
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

27/6/19
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.

published.
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