It is immoral that we are helpless to prevent the party in power from deceitfully & deliberately reversing a manifesto pledge e.g. #NHS

March 7, 2017

This was a letter to the Daily Mirror , published but with a hard edit

22/2/17
With what’s happening to our NHS, it’s unbelievable, for me, that we are helpless to prevent it.
There was no mention of this destruction in any pre-election speeches.
In fact we were assured that the NHS was “safe” in Tory hands.
In normal circumstances, one can understand the need for Governments to have the stability of a five year term of office but the Sovereignty of Parliament becomes a farce, when the wishes of the Population are ignored as an irrelevance, even in times of War.
There needs to be a means for the population to demand a General Election, or, at least, a referendum on issues, which directly affect the whole population

#|t’s unbelievable what’s happening to our NHS and it has left me feeling helpless. There was no mention of plans to shut hospitals in any pre-election speeches. In fact, we were assured that the NHS was safe
in Tory hands. There must be a means for people to demand a referendum on huge issues.

some TV producers need to tune down the “atmosphere” and let us hear the dialogue

March 7, 2017

A letter to the Daily Mirror with minimal editting
22/2/17
Sound recordist Simon Clark is reported as putting the blame for poor sound quality on flat screen TV’s.
I don’t believe this is the case.
As someone with poor hearing, I use radio headphones to listen to TV.
More often the problem is “atmosphere”.
Trying to distinguish what is being said in noisy offices, restaurants, dance halls is too realistic.
It doesn’t happen in old Hollywood films, where the “atmosphere” is set as the stars walk into a noisy room, then once the dialogue starts, the “atmosphere” is tuned out.
The same complaint applies to football matches, where the commentators might as well give up and go for a pie.

WON’T LISTEN TO EXCUSE
#Sound recordist Simon Clark is reported as putting the blame for poor sound quality on flat screen TVs (Mirror, February 22). I don’t believe this.
As someone with poor hearing I use radio headphones to listen to the TV and more often the problem is “atmosphere”.
Trying to distinguish what is being said in noisy offices, restaurants, dance halls is too realistic.
It doesn’t happen in old Hollywood films, where the “atmosphere” is set as the stars walk into a noisy room, then once the dialogue starts it is tuned out. The same complaint applies to football matches, where the commentators might as well go for a pie.

various blogs 7 (5/3/17)

March 7, 2017

5/3/17
I understand the logic of the Law against “stealing by finding” but I have strong sympathy for the woman prosecuted for pocketing a stray £20 note.
I have known a case where someone found a £20 note being blown along a beach.
Someone, who found one folded up on the floor of a packed New Year’s Eve pub.
Whom do you tell?
To whom would you pass it?
Legally, you take it to the police, you get a chitty and in 6 month’s time, if no-one has reported it lost, you are invited to claim it.
Would you be able to take it into a cop shop and explain what you were doing?
Would you be able to tell anyone that you had done this?
What if it was a 10p coin?
If you lost a £20 note would you report it to the Police, hoping to recover it?
There’s legality and morality and there’s a fear of ridicule.

3/3/17
Although I can’t endorse The Lords interference in the brexit process, their amendment has pointed up the lack of support for Theresa May’s intent to use the future of EU residents as a negotiation tactic.
This total lack of support must surely have lost her any hoped for leverage in her negotiations.
Her EU opponents will be confident that she can’t play this “chip”
Consequently she might as well go for the humane option of assuring all law-abiding EU citizens resident here that they will be allowed to stay, if a reciprocal arrangement is agreed
I would think that those, who do consider themselves as British, would formalise that status and apply for citizenship to avoid future problems.
1/3/17
I was told that in order to sell their cars in the EU, Nissan had to agree to incorporate poorer but more expensive French components such as the nylon reeled electronic window winder (5 million imported parts per day).
If Nissan remains in the UK and has surcharges imposed by the Single Market, then Nissan would presumably be able to manufacture their own, better quality, components here.
They would be producing a superior product, more cheaply.
It would be worth the Government’s while to try to keep Nissan here, if they cared about the Economy and UK jobs.
26/2/17
Reading the article on the Sunday Mirror Poll, it says nearly two-thirds of Labour voters are satisfied with Corbyn staying as leader.
We need to grow on that and find out why the remaining voters aren’t happy.
It also says that over 5 in 6 think Labour has the right policies.
Presumably the remainder have some concern over particular issues.
We obviously need to consider what these may be, bearing in mind that you can’t please all the people all the time.
Perhaps further polls are needed but ones which seek to find what aspects of Tory policy concern their voters.
I can’t believe that all of their voters are happy with their policies on the NHS, prisons, police, HS2, trains and schools.

25/2/17
Why are some Labour MP’s joining the Tory chorus of attacking Jeremy Corbyn?
It can’t just be the loss of Copeland, where the Labour vote has been dropping by thousands ever since the initial success of Blair’s Gov’t in ousting the “Sleaze” ridden Tory Gov’t.
Blair was encouraged to quit in favour of Brown, because of his unpopularity.
Brown lost the following election mainly because of his beggaring the Nation to bail out the banker’s but partly because of his “bigot” attack on a Labour supporter.
I think the latter carried more impact for the ordinary voter.
Miliband lost the next election and gave fuel to UKIP by further deriding Labour supporters and denying them the right to a referendum on the EU and by not challenging the Tory claim that Labour were not responsible with money.
Two elections lost but Corbyn has yet to lose an election.
Nevertheless, he has been subjected to so much abuse by MP’s of his own party, that Labour voters at the far Left and far Centrist have been given cause to withhold their vote.
Whether, or not, Corbyn is replaced, Labour looks set to lose the next election, unless the whole of the Parliamentary Labour Party starts singing from the same song sheet and a tune that all sections of the Labour vote can endorse.
Judging by recent comments, still being made by some MP’s, this will never happen.
No doubt there will be plenty of suggestions as to who can replace Jeremy Corbyn but they will all be tainted by either Blairite or Corbynista attacks and will lose votes from one of those sections of voters.
I fear we are about to lose our NHS and enter a period of far Right control, which will take us back to the 1930’s

24/2/17
Remind me why our Gas and Electricity were privatised.
To turn us into a shareholder nation? But if working people had enough spare cash to keep shares, Wonga and Visa would be out of business.
They were going to build new power stations etc., which is why some are still running decades after they were supposed to be closed down. It’s why the Government has agreed to pay an extortionate price for the French and Chinese to build a new nuclear power station.
Prices would come down through greater efficiency.
It’s all a nonsense, really. Instead of one overpaid CEO (like British Gas boss, Iain Conn), we have a dozen, each with a duplication of Accounts, Computer, Admin, PR, Sales and Advertising departments.
We have a whole industry badgering us to Switch suppliers, wasting a few more hours of our lives. Who pays for them?
I remember the bad old days, when the Nationalised Industries weren’t pre-occupied with maximising shareholder profits but with keeping the Nation supplied and minimising customer complaints, delivered through badgered MP’s and Ministers. I even remember complaining about having to wait in for the gasman to bother to show up. Still some things never change.

10/2/17
Why has the BBC started asking “when” we should be charged to see a GP?
The question should be what is the point of a GP, if you are going to charge to see them?
It’s the GP who does the initial diagnosis and then re-directs to a specialist, as needed.
It’s the GP, who judges, whether you should be allowed prescription medication.
It shouldn’t an overworked random intern in A&E.
In a civilised Society it shouldn’t be a return of Blackadder’s “wise woman”, or ancient folk remedies for the masses and a privatised NHS for our “betters”

10/2/17
What is the point of asking anyone on BBC’s Question Time, how they’d feel, if an elderly relative had had to wait 8 hours on a trolley in A&E?
This is root cause of the disaffection between voters and politicians.
We know that their elderly relatives would be snug and secure in a hospital bed, whilst most of ours were waiting for an ambulance.

The same applies with many of the public services, which the majority rely on, such as education, social care, pensions, public transport and so on.
Small wonder that panellists rarely answer questions directly, when they can not speak from a common experience

7/2/17
I find it hard to believe that Tiverton Town Council lost two full years of Council Documents.
The first thing that should be taught on computer security course is the grandfather, father storage system for files.
Even a basic Windows domestic PC platform will recommend a monthly backup of your files.
Computer memory is extremely cheap and fast nowadays; it should be a routine to save working files and archive others.
To lose two years worth can only be construed as mismanagement, or an administrative convenience.
5/2/17
I have to agree with Saira Khan’s support of MP’s taking their babies into The Commons.
After all who’d notice, if one began screaming its head off during PMQ’s.
5/2/17
When HS2 was first announced, the price tag was given as £40 Bn, quickly revised to £50 Bn.
Although some pundits suggested that it might be £80 Bn, when finally underway, it has been consistently priced at £50-60 Bn.
Then this morning, I’m sure the figure of £90 Bn slipped off Andrew Marr’s tongue.
These slipping figures seem so slight, one thinks of only another £10 Bn increase at a time.
Then one asks how much has NHS funding been cut by the Tories and feels despair.
One also has to ask if HS2 will be necessary, once the Northern Powerhouse is underway and businesses realise that there are great ports at either end of these linked cities, with greater room for airport expansion and new cheaper housing.
Who is pushing for HS2 and why?
5/2/17
Your piece in the Sunday Mirror questioning the Honour’s System and the lack of a knighthood for David Beckham, does form an indictment of decisions being made by those claiming to represent us.
A more honourable system would be if such honours were decided by populist vote.
Of course, this is unlikely to happen when the likes of Lord Prescott, who having been on the wrong side of two referenda, has expressed a distaste for them.
He says, in the same issue of the Sunday Mirror, that he prefers the sovereignty of Parliament, over populist sovereignty.
He was happy to become an MP by populist vote but like many other MP’s (past and present) of both parties, he now expresses contempt for the ability of the People to make rational choices.
How can we respect such people, who are repeatedly telling us that decisions on Honours and Government policy can not be entrusted to us and, moreover, should in many cases, be kept secret from us, until an irrevocable decision has been made and published?
2/2/17
Candidates in local bye-elections are supporting constituency view on #brexit, although, for some, it’s contrary to their own views.
On the other hand, we are repeatedly told by MP’s that they are entitled to vote in Parliament, according to their own consciences, regardless of voter, leader, or constituency wishes.
what are we actually being asked to vote for, if candidates can be so blatantly hypocritical in their campaigning?

27/1/17
Gina Miller’s court case was, allegedly, merely to establish the Sovereignty of Parliament.
It was successful, so what does it matter if MP’s are only being asked for permission to sign Article50
signing Article50 doesn’t commit us to any pre-conditions, it merely initiates the avowed intent of all parties to obey the plebiscite’s wish to leave the EU?
I’m sure every step of the negotiations will be reported and chewed over, every step of the way.
Every agreed point will be objected to in Parliament, with the time limit reached before our Sovereign Parliament has reached any concensus about what the 27 EU leaders have been prepared to concede.

27/1/17
Just before Blair issued his demand, for more homework, OFSTED had announced that Homework was of little benefit except in certain instances such as in Maths.
Blunkett then demanded minimum amounts for all pupils, regardless of relevance.
It then became a duty of teacher’s to set, mark and (especially) record such work.
Some pupils are incapable of such an effort and were ordered to be punished for their failure to comply, creating resentful and disruptive pupils.
Compulsory homework has been the cause of most of the social problems in schools.

Why doesn’t Big Business get together and build a new Capital City and leave London to the hired help.

February 26, 2017

What if the cost of business rates etc. in London were hurting profits, wouldn’t it pay a Consortium to create a new Business Capital.
Pick some place with lots of brown land property, central to the largest connurbations, with adequate transport links close-by.
I’m thinking somewhere at the base of the Pennines but somewhere like Huddersfield might be an alternative, used as a Northern Capital, leaving London for politicians and tourists.
This new Capital (or second Capital) would serve as the business capital.
It would be laid out with an ergonomic view to function and futurosity.
My personal choice would be based on the human body

{ i.e. A large area for inward goods and warehousing would be the mouth and stomach. The Admin and Head Offices would be next with Entertainment and Service businesses following. Finally would come the lowly manufacturing, waste management and export facilities. The body of the population would be housed on either side of this alimentary canal.One side would be cheap housing and the other would be executive housing (just like A US railway town). The whole thing would have buffer regions for future expansion/contraction and re-routing, as new or different modes of transport arose and to allow for major disruptions. There would be large underground tunnels (blood vessels) to incorporate the utilities and reduce the digging up of roads.}

Whatever the chosen layout, its main importance would be to ditch London and its associated problems of patchwork structure, potential flooding, high pollution, commuter snarl-ups, high living costs etc.

Consider; Business and the population don’t need to be in London for access to Parliament.
All Government produces is Newspaper copy and verbiage, which can all be obtained digitally.
In fact the only reason that Business has its HQ’s in London, is because Business has its HQ’s in London. Any other place would serve as well. At least that’s the reason used by banks to continually threaten to move, unless Government gives them more money.
Covent Garden, National Theatre, The Oval etc. can all be re-located in purpose built venues in the new Entertainment zone.
There is nothing London can offer, which can’t be improved on and replaced in a new capital

@guardian time to create a defence to cyber warfare

January 25, 2017

There appears to be a lot of concern about cyber warfare but no plan of action.

May I suggest a line of attack?

It requires our politicians to forego the desire to foster the interests of businesses and help them in their quest to find new ways of extracting profit from the masses.

I mean that The State should protect the domestic computer market and its customers.

I’m not referring to legislation against malware but in removing our vulnerability to it.

There are freeware programs (spybot, ccleaner, malware malbytes, AVG antivirus etc.), which do a good job of reducing viruses on business websites by helping to reduce the wild populations.

How much better would it be, if we had a cyber version of the NHS?

A State run (MI5 in alliance with some of the freeware companies ) UK computer Health Service (UKCHS), where professional teams monitored the latest hacks, viruses, trojans etc. and created counter-measures.

There must be many small business’s, which do not have the expertise, or finance, to defend themselves from ransomware etc.

One of the bugbears, of even large organisations, is the use of DOS attacks. These rely on a myriad of domestic PC’s infected with Bots.

The UKCHS would, potentially, be able to inoculate and clean out this source of pestilence. This, last, assumes a globally accessible service, which, in turn, means it’d be able to monitor the earliest manifestations of any malware and variants.

The icing on the cake would be, if the UKCHS could create a rival platform to Microsoft Windows.

We have supported Microsoft Windows by relying on it in our schools and by its pre-installed presence on domestic PC’s.

God knows how much cash flees these shores to fund The USA Treasury (America first?) and Bill Gates’s  lifestyle.

The problem with Microsoft Windows has always been its design flaws, aimed at controlling consumer access to software and in mining our data.  (I read that It enabled the USA to have access to high level USSR secrets).

Every new generation has gone out with backdoors and other exploitable faults, which has fostered a subculture of hackers (antagonistic to Microsoft charges) intent on discovering them.

Add in unintentional flaws, such as the millennium bug, which was present in several generations of windows and which caused a global panic.

How many hours are spent, by all users, installing updates to patch up a designed-in vulnerability, which has then needed further patches?

A platform, free from intentional vulnerabilities, would be a lot easier to defend from cyber attack and it would pay for itself in reduced downtime.

 

musings on salary cap

January 14, 2017

I had already considered the need for a salary cap, as mentioned in some older blogs. The fact that Corbyn and his team have hit on this, as a solution to inequity, has caused me to commit sume of my own musings to blogdom.

It’s not intended as a fully thought-out plan. Just a contribution.

In an era when we have marriages and partnership’s, no longer conforming to the classical concept of a family unit, it is time to re-evaluate income tax structure.
We no longer have the male breadwinner and the stay at home housewife, so it’s time to treat all citizens as stand-alone taxpayers.
The family allowance was to encourage the creation of a stronger nation, at a time when workers and soldiers were of importance.
This no longer applies, as technology is increasingly replacing muscle power.
In fact, the problem of a geometrically increasing overpopulation demands that we should take measures to gently resist it.
Everybody is entitled to receive consideration from the whole of Society and to return it in equal measure.
In terms of taxation, this means everyone legally defined as an adult (of sufficiently sound mind and body to make a useful contribution to Society *), should be remunerated in proportion to their contribution to Society. This can not be decided by committee and must relate to market forces. The only problem with market forces is that they are corrupted by monopolies and cartels.
The only way to defeat the conniving of bureaucratic committee’s and avaricious cartels etc. is to limit the range of remuneration (a cap on income).
The bottom of the range must be a citizen’s pension, for those unable to contribute to any useful extent. This should cover the cost of basic needs, which humanity insists should include a modicum of joie de vivre. (Gandhi is supposed to have said that you can judge how a nation treats its people by how it treats its animals.. joie de vivre).
The next rung must be to reward those in employment that can, or would be done, by anyone. I would say that this would include employment such as shop assistant, call centre operative, porter etc. but Society should decide.
Society would also have to decide how many tiers of employment there should be and the appropriate pay increments.
First Society needs to decide on the top of the range of pay and this will be the real problem.
For me, any person’s income must relate to how much greater his, or her, contribution to Society is, than someone on the lowest rung.
Consider a few of the, at present, highest paid.
{Don’t quibble about the exact values being quoted, they are extremely rough guestimates but carry the essence of the position being presented}
A premier league footballer, for instance: In my lifetime, such a salary has gone from 5x basic wage, to 500 x  basic wage. This is a reflection of the joie de vivre that they contribute, to a much larger number of people, but also to their political muscle, or market forces.
How about an M.P.? Their basic pay is only about 4x basic wage. Add in allowances, golden pensions etc. and it’s probably nearer 10 x basic wage.
A banker? their pay is just obscene, so skip it for a minute.
A C.E.O. of a multi-national? Paid millions with some paid hundreds of millions. Again, skip for a minute.
A pop-star? Internationally known pop-stars rake in more than banker’s, although they do add joie de vivre to millions. Only problem is they decide how much each person pays for it, so effectively in a monopoly position.

How do you decide their worth?
Few have the skills of Wayne Rooney but he does give pleasure to many, for a few hours, each week, of the football season.
On the other hand, how does he compare to a G.P.? A person with skills, years of training, making a huge difference to the lives of several thousand, as and when needed.
I think most would say that a G.P. earns his salary and possibly more.
This pay is about 5x basic wage.
So does Wayne Rooney contribute 100 x more to Society than a G.P.?
It seems to depend on replaceability and the amount of positive interaction with other people.
It’s all very subjective and would need to be put to a public vote.
Simplest would be rate to these jobs in terms of swapsies.
How many G.P.’s for one teacher, road sweeper, nurse, surgeon, M.P., banker, CEO, farmer, shepherd, coalminer, etc.?
At the end of the exercise, we take the figure, which is the largest multiple of the basic wage.
Let’s say it’s 100 x basic wage.
We set a tax system which starts with zero tax for those on 2 x basic wage and goes up to 100% at 101 x basic wage (a cap). That’s not a mistake. If you are being paid 101 x basic wage, you can reduce your tax rate to say 50% (whatever the top rate is), by a simple tax donation of the excess. It would be up to the individual to ensure that they don’t get caught cheating, e.g. by taking payment in kind.
The last would require an end to all bonuses and allowances for business expenses. No farmer’s Range Rovers, no business man’s entertainment in strip club’s, no private jets etc. for PM’s and CEO’s.
Some leeway might be excused for accidental oversight’s but only upto 1 x basic wage.

This is just a skeleton view, which those capable of deeper thought could flesh out and those on obscene pay would want thrown out.

Some attention has to be paid to those unable to make a significant contribution. Ignoring young entrepreneur’s and the likes of Bruce Forsyth, most non-adults, disabled and elderly would qualify for the basic wage.
Now, another problem arises. Ever since “Cathy come home”, popular support has been in favour of supporting the unmarried Mother, or “single parent”. Previously, “having a bastard” was almost a sin and so Cathy had been cast out by Society. In order to take the moral sting out of the situation, the “bastard” became “the innocent child, who didn’t ask to be born”. Abortion was still illegal and back street abortions (the film “Alfie”) were morally repugnant.
It became social mores that all children should be supported by the State, if the errant father couldn’t be hunted down etc.
The CSA apparently does a wonderful job of persecuting and prosecuting those fathers, who are happy and willing to support their progeny but offer little service in terms of the feckless and prolific, who service equally feckless young women who see State support for single parents as a means of avoiding responsibility for their own lives.
If each child received the minimum wage, there would appear to be a problem but only if their single parent had control of it. Instead, each parent could be given control of one child’s wage, whilst the wages of any further children would go to the local Council’s care fund, giving them a co-parental duty of care, when needed..
A single parent could have more than one child but would have to treat the Council care officer as a partner, supporting when needed, or stepping in, if the parent was unable to cope.
Families, who were able to fund their progeny, from their own income, would merely need to show it through regular school attendance etc. (i.e. by not becoming a cause of concern to local authorities).
Errant father’s could still be pursued by the CSA but, on the assumption that they were on min wage, could be conscripted into some form of Community support…. depends on what could be made to work!

Businesses would also need to be capped in some form, perhaps in terms of the number of subsidiaries, or divisions, or partnerships. No one person can usefully be said to control hundred’s of diverse businesses, in diverse locations operating in various fields of commerce.
In any work group, you have one leader, an aide and four or five co-workers. Any bigger group has non-contributing members, or a clique working in opposition to the leader. The leader of a group can only really oversee about 30 people. This is, co-incidentally, a typical teacher’s class size. Taking this further, in school terms, each faculty has upto 9 teachers, with some heads of Department, under the head of Faculty. The headteacher may have a group of Assisstant Headteacher, Deputy Head teacher and Senior teacher’s, each overseeing a few faculties, pastoral heads (one for each year group, with 6/7 form teachers). Essentially groups of six.
Any boardroom, committee, cabinet etc., with more than six people, effectively has a load of makeweights (and they know it).
Continuing with the Secondary school model, any business with more than about 1200 (a cap) shop floor employee’s, is too large and should be split up, under a new tier of management. However, no new tier should coninequity trol businesses with no direct link.
No single person, or group of persons, should own so many businesses that the hierarchical salary structure takes their pay above the income cap for individuals.
Obviously businesses can hire very clever people, who can invent ways and arguments to try and circumvent such control but the spirit of the cap

Various blogs 6

January 11, 2017

11/1/17
Why do the rail operators want to get rid of guards?
The likeliest answer is to save money for improved share dividends.
The unlikeliest answer is that savings will go to improved facilities, or fare cuts.

The service to the public is reduced and made yet more impersonal.
The Public also loses, because of reduced tax revenue and an increase in benefits payments to the now unemployed guards.

It is in the interests of the Government to increase employment, so why are they not supporting the strikers against the money-grubbing of the operators?

As always, Tories are pennywise and pound foolish, blinded by the dogma of keeping the peasants in line and toadying to the money men.

Giving Billions to those behind HS2, whilst saving a few million by severely cutting hospital beds

5/1/17
Has Defence Minister Harriet Baldwin latched onto a new form of Laser?
Back when President Reagan hit on his own Star Wars defence systems, they quickly realised that shiny metal missiles reflect light.
They also move incredibly fast, making them hard to target.
I’m sure the Pentagon spent a lot more than £30 million trying to overcome these problems but they had to concede defeat, as did the Russians, who invested in a ground based Maser.
Swapping one Americanism for another, I expect that Harriet Baldwin will find herself not ahead of the curve but behind the eight ball.
30/12/16
Whilst focus is rightly on “Anna” in the Secret Slave case, it disturbing that the story of the other women in the house is being ignored.
The original report says that these other women colluded in keeping “Anna” enslaved, because they were also subject to intimidation and beatings.
Why are they not also being defended?
Why is there not talk of taking action to prevent their abuse?
Socialism is about treating everyone equally.
This has led to the creed of respecting cultural diversity but in doing so, we have committed ourselves to protecting behaviours, which have legitimised the actions of “Malik” and other’s like him.
Such men could never be described as Socialist, Christian, or, I presume, Islamic.

28/12/16
The Tory plan to demand photo ID is annoying in a number of ways.
Initially, because it’s smacks of an attempt to, once more, enforce the national ID card.
It is also resonant of the way that many poorer voters (mostly black) in the Southern States of America have been denied a vote, because of the cost and the bureaucratic hurdles put in place.
Then there’s the core issue of the validity of photo ID as a means of security.
The two photo’s of the Tunisian assassin, recently shown throughout the Media, are so different that I wonder if they are the same man.
Such photo’s are, often, so unlike the person presenting them that few photo ID’s are given more than a passing glance.
Apparently, the Tunisian assassin found it easy to procure three legitimate (?) passports in different names.
They are neither secure, nor feasible, when dealing with even local elections, which often rely on volunteers working in adverse, makeshift conditions.

17/12/16
A 101 yr old paedophile, sent to prison, was reported to show no remorse.
It strikes me that he may have shown gratitude.
What other person of that age can be guaranteed immediate access to medical aid, should he need it.
Free heating, regular hot meals and constant care.
Outside prison, he would have to fend for himself, risk losing his home and while away many hours in solitude.
It’s another Wonderful Life story for Brian Reade

14/12/16

This was from Twitter. Nothing on TV.
It’s the sort of thing that is more relevant (to those affected) than who’s won Strictly, or X-factor.
http://www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information/traffic-information-services/highways-england-post-incident-bulletin/january-2016-post-incident-bulletins/december-2016-post-incident-bulletins/m6-closure-northbound-lancashire-monday-12-tuesday-13-december-2016/

14/12/16

The report on the lives of the children in North Korea is so depressing and so hard to deal with.
As individuals we can do nothing and we look to politicians to act on our behalf.
The UN seems totally incapable of anything other than passing votes condemning such regimes. Although in this case a demand of all nations to totally ostracise North Korea and expulsion of its representatives might have an effect.
There will be calls for further action but what?
For instance, Paddy Ashdown has called for action on Aleppo but I fail to see how a few more bombs in that region of The World helps.
Nothing will change in these places, in India’s sweatshops, Brazil’s favela’s, China’s industrialised regions, Africa’s desert regions etc. until politicians slough off their reliance on the rich and end exploitation of the vulnerable.
We won’t see it in our lifetimes and we won’t even see it in our own country whilst we have a political system that can cut taxes on the rich and care services to the poor.
Happy Xmas, to all
11/12/16
Sunday morning BBC1; I’m watching Fern Briton telling Michael Gove that homework is counterproductive and I’m loving it.
As a teacher, I was compelled to set homework, whether, or not, it was helpful.
I was compelled to mark, grade and record it in a particular way and then punish pupils for not completing it, regardless of their ability, home circumstances, or any other consideration.
Consequent discipline problems, alienation and disaffection made attempts to interest pupils in my subject grow less possible, even amongst pupils with an aptitude for it.
Before Blunkett set down rules on homework, I could set homework when and where it would help.
Some homeworks would merely need a tick of approval, some would need chasing, some would need detailed examination but it was as I judged suitable for each pupil.
It would be nice if politicians could lose interest in Education and left school’s, teacher’s, parent’s and those with an investment in it, to get on with it.

“it was alright in the 70’s” is so sanctimonious.

December 10, 2016

I’m watching “it was alright in the 70’s” and I’m amazed at the prudish attitude of the present generation.
I suppose it’s our fault; It was our generation, who encouraged this puritan attitude, as part of our “everyone has rights” and should stand up for them.

It’s become a culture of “look for offence and condemn it, unconditionally”.

In the 70’s, I was in my late 20’s. We had entered a period, where we no longer went from children to responsible adults at 21. We were liberated young adults, who could define our own boundaries.
The key was that the contraceptive pill had become available.

Previously, any man forcing himself on a woman, was a potential rapist and would not be tolerated. Any girl, who became pregnant was “no better than she ought to be”.

Now women could have sex without fear of pregnancy. Combine that with the surge of post-war feminism, Germaine Greer’s “female Eunuch”,”burn your bra” and the Summer of Love, suddenly it was OK for men to be more aggressive and for women to be more approachable. Newspapers reported pubescent girls fighting to have sex with rock stars. It was a period where new boundaries were being set and, to an extent, it’s still settling in with ladettes, Ibiza and same sex marriage.
Perhaps in another 30 years, the next generation will be perplexed by the sanctimony oozing out of this TV series.
It’s also worth pointing out that we had only recently got 4 terrestrial TV channels, which not everybody could receive, and we did not have PC’s or Google. A phone call to the USA cost £’s per second. We were not as sophisticated as we are now. Anything we knew of other cultures, came to us third hand. As for racial stereotypes, even ultra-sophisticated Hollywood still used white actors faking Asiatics(Charlie Chan, Flash Gordon). It was still possible for the BBC to cast public school actors as Scouser’s using cod Brummie accents. For the Public School types it was on par with actors holding masks in Greek theatre and we accepted it ( although I admit to a slight aggravation at the Brummie accent)

various blogs 5

December 10, 2016

letters to Daily Mirror, not published:

10/12/16
It seems obvious what Labour must do to wim the next general election.
Stop opposing brexit and start opposing the privatisation of the NHS.
Brexit is going ahead and whilst a soft brexit won’t win any more votes from Remainers, it will lose them votes from Brexiteers.
Jeremy Corbyn and all Labour MP’s must go on the offensive over the NHS.
Not just whinging about Hunt’s manic delight but promising to overturn all his actions and hit the privateer’s where it hurts.
Brexit can only win votes for Tories and UKIP
NHS can win votes from Tories and UKIP
 

9/12/16
I’ll agree with your reader on compulsory voting, if we can have a “none of rhe above” box on the ballot.
It’d be interesting to see how often it would collect the most votes.

9/12/16
Your Reader is wrong to say that we have a representative democracy.
If it were so, our MP’s would vote according to what they believe their electorate would wish them to vote.
We actually have a Parliamentary Democracy, in which MP’s only consider their own wishes and self interest.
Usually that means, in order of priority, the party whip (Leader’s views), a rich lobbyist, a political clique, or, when needing to be re-elected, what their party agent advises.

8/12/16
It’s sad, when a retired ship like HMS Illustrious ( Lusty ) is sent to the scrapyard but why is it invariably a foreign scrapyard?
In this case, a Turkish one.
Wouldn’t it make political sense to dismantle her in the same yards where she was assembled?
It’d create work for our domestic workforce, reduce the need for imported steel feedstock and enable ship designer’s to re-examine the viability of their original technique’s.

This was published as was a response but not my response Viz:

published
#|t’s sad when a retired ship like HMS Illustrious is sent to the scrapyard, but why is it invariably a foreign scrapyard (Mirror, Dec 8)?
Wouldn’t it make sense to dismantle her in the same yards where she was assembled, creating jobs for our domestic workforce?
John Shale, Wigan

published
SINKING FEELING
# John Shale of Wigan asks why HMS Illustrious was scrapped abroad (Madeuthink,
Decemberi 2).
In Hartlepool, Able UK scrapped ships and won a contract from the US to scrap 13 of its Navy ships. Four were brought to the yard. There followed a five-year legal battle brought by people who said it was dangerous to scrap ships in the UK.
The go-ahead was finally given but because of the case, the contract for the others was lost. I imagine no UK yard wants that sort of hassle.
Alan Short Redcar, North Yorks

Not published
Thanks to to Alan Short from Redcar for his letter on the response to my query about HMS Illustrious.
I was able to find details here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tees-24636597
 It’s a shame that a compromise couldn’t be reached.
I’m sure that a British scrapyard would have been a lot more conscientious in the waste handling than often happens, elsewhere.
This BBC report suggests that the waste from the four ships, which were dismantled, was dealt with in a proper manner.
It’s also worth noting that the USA mostly handles the dismantling of old naval vessels in its own facilities, such as the Philadelphia naval yard (http://www.navsource.org/archives/05/scrappers.htm)

3/12/16

Brian Reade has correctly identified the problem with paedophiles in football.
It’s not that there are no whistleblowers but that those in authority have always tried to cover it up.
It is not a crime to do so and maybe it should be, at least in this particular case.
So, let’s make it a criminal offence to not report such cases to the Police.
The Police may not have sufficient evidence to take action but they can, at least, make the accused formally aware that the matter is on file.
To make it effective, it should also be a crime for any member of the police force to not log the accusations.
That way repeat offenders can become known and the newly created Police Commissioners can justify closer surveillance of suspected paedophiles.

2/12/16
Wonderful!
Scientists in Bern say that we could have a decade of of icy Winter’s bringing starvation and death.
 Perhaps we should re-open the pits?

2/12/16
Politically there are two main issues, which concern the UK electorate.
They are Brexit and the NHS.
The Remain political elite are saying they’ll accept a “soft” Brexit but, as seen on BBC Question Time, Brexit voter’s do not want that.
This would seem to indicate another “shock” vote at the next General Election with only UKIP offering a true , or “hard”, Brexit.
Then, again UKIP is happy with the privatisation of the NHS, so, many  won’t vote UKIP.
But what if it’s true, as some say, that the EU rules mean that the privatisation of the NHS can not be reversed.
No-one seems to be offering a re-nationalisation of the NHS, even Corbyn has stayed eerily quiet on that point, whilst Tony Blair has teemed up with Branson, who looks to make millions out of the NHS.
On polling day, politicians and pundits will be hoping that voters will go for a “soft” Brexit.
It all depends on whether voters are as simple as politicians are hoping they are.
As I said, a “shock” vote could be on the cards, despite Blair and Branson’s millions and their “not for profit” trust.

The @DailyMirror campaign, to force an opt-out organ donation scheme on the UK, could be a cause for concern.

December 10, 2016

Would there be a lower age limit, or would those, too young to vote, be automatic candidates?
In view of the privatisation of the NHS and what we’ve seen with blood donations, would the trade in organs be administered by a private organisation (I include those claiming charitable status) and, if so, how would priorities be arranged? Hopefully not by auction.
Some people, because of religious beliefs, see their body as a temple to God and oppose desecration of that temple. It is likely that an over-zealous Hospital administration may be remiss in verifying that a deceased patient had opted out. Will there be sanctions for such cases, or will a “lessons will be learned” apology be deemed sufficient.
Will organs be harvested, “just in case”?
I’m sure there may be other issues but none seem to be addressed in this campaign, which dwells entirely on the feel-good gratitude of the recipients and the “everyone else is doing it” argument.

 

 

 

tweeted this last night. I wonder if the phrase “political cousins” will catch on.
“the Leader of the Opposition is one of a few Socialists The rest are political cousins”.