Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

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

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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 (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/number-of-schools-teachers-and-students-in-england/number-of-schools-teachers-and-students-in-england) 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.
PRINTED VERSION
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
concrete.

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

Blogpost 28: 10/9/18

December 9, 2018

Letters sent to Dail Mirror:

20/8/18 republic
I couldn’t agree more with Kevin Maguire’s belief that top pay in an organisation should be capped at 10 x the lowest but if that was ever enacted, we all know that they’d find ways to get around it. Just look at how MP’s get all sorts of add-ons, golden pensions, donations(?) and lobbying deals. (To my mind, lobbying verges on criminality).
I understand Kevin Maguire’s Republican sentiments but would we truly save £345 Mn a year, if we deposed the Monarchy.
Would we truly save £369 Mn on Buck House?
Look across the Channel at Republican France, where Macron assumes the role of The Queen and The Elysee Palace stands in for Buck House. I don’t know the exact costs to the French Treasury but I’m sure the usual trappings of State, Parades, Security etc. will be of similar magnitude. As for the hangers-on; while we have Princess Eugenie’s wedding and Tony Blair’s police protection, the French have a regular turnover of ex-Presidents to look after. Regarding that, think of the extra annoyance of regular presidential elections, on top of General elections for Parliament.
The only thing to envy about the Republican French Government is that their MP’s are forbidden to have outside interests.

22/8/18 robot MPs
I’m really looking forward to my robot MP. No need for The Palace of Westminster. No cries of “Sucks, Yah, Boo!” posing as intelligent debate. No need for “advisory” referenda. No need for expenses claims. Local problems will actually be dealt with by more than “a letter to the Minister”. The P.M. will be a lap-top computer, in Wi-Fi contact with all robot MP’s and able to form policy based on their consensus.

25/8/18 twitter
There are a lot of stories about Russian Bots and trolls on Twitter.
Instead of pointlessly threatening huge fines, as Tom Watson suggested, why not have Twitter extend the same sort of authentication that’s required for Gambling sites and such.
At present Twitter awards a blue authentication tick for various personalities, politicians etc.
This could be exxtended, for ordinary tweeters, who can be authenticated via credit card etc., They could be attributed with a similar icon, say a yellow tick.
The database of users could be held by the Police, or similar, and uk users cautioned, if tweeting inappropriately.
They could also be prosecuted, if re-tweeting offensive/criminal tweets from unauthenticated people.
Honest users would be deterred from re-tweeting trolls, or bots, and such mischief would be vastly reduced.

28/8/18 fair trade
Finally, an action by Theresa May, of which I can approve.
I don’t know if her declared motive for improving trade is sincerely held but it is one that can be justified.
Improved trade with African Nations will boost their Economies and help stem the spread of terrorism and emigration.
The effect will be even greater, after Brexit, when we no longer have to impose the EU’s Value Added Tax on their goods.
Instead of just selling us unimproved products such as coffee beans, these countries will be able to offer jars of coffee at prices lower than EU members do and British firms can lead the way in helping them set up such trade.
published version
Finally, Theresa May does something I approve of. Improved trade with African nations will boost their economies and help stem the spread of terrorism and emigration.
The effect will be even greater after Brexit, when we no longer have to impose EU taxes on African goods.
These countries will be able to offer jars of coffee at prices lower than the EU, and British firms can lead the way in helping them set up such trade.

31/8/18 racist incitement
The attacks on Jeremy Corbyn over Labour members speaking in support of the Palestinians because the Israeli State is seizing their lands and destroying their homes, seems nothing more than malice
A situation made worse by our Tory Prime Minister inflaming the situation.
One columnist, in a right wing Newspaper, urged readers to see the word Zionist as meaning Jew, which, to my mind, is an incitement to racism.
Just as not all muslims are Iraqi and not all Iraqi are Jihadists, so not all Jews are Israelis and not all Israelis are Zionists.
Why are the Police not taking action against those racists, on the Right, who claim “for Zionist read Jew”.
I’m sure action would be taken against those who urge us to read “for Jihadist read Muslim”, when reporting on the other big issue in the Middle East.

3/9/18 identity theft
People are being increasingly forced to go on-line by the Government, Banks and the Utilities Companies, despite the proliferation of hacking tools and identity theft, which you have reported.
It’s small wonder that many, disparaged as technophobes, are increasingly feeling stressed, when all Government can offer is advice to avoid phishing emails and install a good anti-virus program.
It’s not good enough. Government could and should do more. A Government provided anti-virus package would create crowd immunity, helping to protect the Economy from leaking funds abroad, which, we are told, may then fund criminals, terrorists and foreign powers.
Such software umbrella, under national control, would also help pinpoint the sources of such attacks, during up-dates.

8/9/18 fast cars
Having recently had a Porsche tail-gate me on a 40mph road and a little red sports job do it, as I overtook two lorries on the motorway, I then read about the footballer done for speeding, in his gas-guzzler.
In a country, where the max speed limit is 70mph, why does anyone buy a car capable of double that?

9/9/18 MoD losses
I can understand laptops being lost, or , more likely , stolen. They are designed to be carried about and could easily be slipped into a briefcase but how do you walk off a premises, with a desktop computer?
You can’t just walk in and out of a Government building without security clearance, or terrorists would have a field day.
The only possible explanation are theft by politicians, or security has been contracted out to G4S, or Serco.

9/9/18 on-line delivery
I assume that the GMB union chiefs are in favour of Brexit.
They’re looking forward to the likes of Amazon being forced to improve the working conditions and pay, because they won’t be able to exploit EU workers.
The Union chiefs say that unless Warehouses improve pay, to attract enough UK workers, we will no longer be able to expect next day delivery.
Is this a real problem?
If I want something really urgently, I’ll pay a premium rate, or drive to the shops. So more UK jobs in the warehouses and on the High Street but we’ll have to wait an extra day, or so, for that Xmas present for the wife?

10/9/18 Brexit
How could a second referendum on Brexit work?
Assuming we voted for a deal that was acceptable to the majority of MP’s, it would still have to be acceptable to the EU and Barnier.
He has already made it crystal clear that we would have to effectively re-enter the EU on its terms.
Whatever the wording of the second referendum, it would so strengthen Barnier’s position that he could impose any form of humiliating extra conditions, which the EU felt was needed to scare other members, who were planning to leave.

Blogpost 27: 18/8/18

August 20, 2018

Letters sent to the Daily Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blogpost 26: 27/7/18

August 20, 2018

Letters sent to the Daily Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blogpost 25: 30/6/18

August 20, 2018

Letters sent to the Daily Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ViviLnk

Blogpost 24: 6/6/18

June 6, 2018

Letters sent to the Daily Mirror

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

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

6/6/18

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blogpost 23: 6/4/18

May 24, 2018

Letters to the Daily Mirror

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

Published version.

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

Published

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

published as:

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