Posts Tagged ‘Brexit’

Blogpost 38: 7/08/19 – 26/6/2019

August 7, 2019

Letters to the Daily Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blogpost 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 19 : 26/2/18

April 6, 2018

Letters to Daily Mirror


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24/2/18   TV  pap

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

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

Blog post 16. 29/10/17

November 4, 2017

Letter to Daily Mirror 11/10/17

Anyone who has watched shows such as “It was alright in the 70’s” will have seen that older men being overly familiar with young women was accepted as part of the texture of life, back then: Indeed, in your article on Sabrina, it was seen to be the basis of her career.

The History of Weinstein can be traced back to that era but mores have changed and no-one told him. The fact that he was never rebuked would have reinforced his behaviour.

That the decades of young women, who came under his eyes, never made a fuss is understandable but similar cases will continue until women are able to report such issues.

Whistle-blowing to official bodies won’t work, because they will require the victims to bear witness, without even the certainty of a conviction, or protection of what was under threat.

I would suggest that, what is needed, is a group of more powerful sympathetic women to set up a well publicised independent body.
Such a body could set up stings to obtain solid evidence to catch enough culprits, as to make them think twice before repeating their behaviour.

Better to deter them, than try to pick up the pieces, after the event.
Letter to Daily Mirror 14/10/17

If meteorite takes out your prize petunia’s.
If you find a dead dog outside your house.
If you are a young girl alone in an unknown part of town and can’t find your way home.
If you are old and infirm and can’t find your TV remote.
There are thousands of reasons why someone might want a little help but don’t know who to turn to.
Even with a telephone directory to hand, you could still be stuck.
It’s understandable why desperate people may dial 999.
Constant berating of the General Public by self-righteous officialdom may make good newspaper copy but it is unhelpful and unlikely to stop further calls from those in distress.
The whole idea of 999 was that it was an easy to remember number, which could be used by people who might be in an emotional state.
It’s a great idea and if we had politicians, who weren’t intent on saving pennies, whilst squandering £ Billions, we’d expand it.
How difficult, or expensive, would it be to have a second line of operators to take calls?
They’d direct first response to police, fire, ambulance or to volunteer services e.g. Citizens Advice, Samaritans, Local Government Association, crank caller prosecutions, or whatever.
Instead of Bureaucrats in uniform using “crank calls” as a cliche deflection of criticism, we’d have Government serving its function and a more content populace.
Letter to Daily Mirror 14/10/17
I don’t often find cause for dispute with Brian Reade but popular ignorance of Hitler’s role in WWII is an indictment of Maggie’s National Curriculum, not the Nation’s intelligence.
Anyone, sufficiently intelligent to actively take part in the EU referendum and work out how to get to the polling station, or fill in a postal vote, is capable of forming a worthwhile opinion.
In this case, it seems the majority of intelligent opinion decided that the other 27 countries were not capable of acting in our best interests. An opinion seemingly borne out by their antagonistic negotiating of our withdrawal from the EU.
Letter to Daily Mirror 17/10/17
I’m not surprised that the Post Office, which Vince Cable sold cheaply to his friends in the City, is doling out £500,000 to those shareholders, each day
The amount of advertising, which I’m forced to empty out of my letterbox and transfer to my recycling bin, is ridiculous.
I know it’s not all from the Post Office but if Politicians are so keen to appear to be Green, why don’t they make such advertising illegal?
It’s annoying; it’s wasteful and it’s a cost on Councils having to dispose of it.

Letter to Daily Mirror 17/10/17
The intention of raising the age of exemption from paying National Insurance is being put across as a Tory gimmick to make younger voters think they are being wooed.
However, National Insurance was brought in to finance the NHS, pensions etc. and this measure looks more like the first stage in their previously announced intention of obliterating the last vestiges of our Welfare State.

Letter to Daily Mirror 29/10/17
When I visited Marakesh, on holiday, I noticed that streets were bordered by orange trees.
I don’t know if they were free to harvest but it struck me that no-one in this desert country needed to die of thirst, or hunger.
It occurs to me, in these days of food banks, that it seems mean not to copy this civility.
In some ways it would be like H.F-W’s urban guerilla gardening but not so demanding of resources.
We have lots of open land near Wigan, with many, new, tree-lined roads.
Some of these trees bear edible cherries, presumably to feed the wild life, but why not plant more.
Add in walnuts, edible peaches, almonds, hazel nuts, medlars, apples etc.
Verges could bear strawberries, ramsons.
Wild patches could be planted with currants and raspberries. These are easily propagated fruits, for those inclined to help.
Some patches would, no doubt, revert to bramble and nettle, through neglect, but many would be adopted by volunteer groups and some plants, such as rhubarb, can easily outcompete the weeds.
The best thing is that the cost would be minimal and if done in quantity, it’d defeat the spoilers: A lesson learned through the wholesale planting of daffodils.
When Councils first laid out such roadside displays, they were raided by door to door peddlers. Nowadays this is no longer profitable.
I believe this could be true for wayside foods sources and could ease life for many.

blog post 14,,, 21/9/17

October 8, 2017

Sent to Daily Mirror 18/9/17
If the side of Boris Johnson’s bus had said we pay £154 Mn/week towards maintaining Brussels’ Bureaucracy, would less people have voted for #Brexit?

Sent to Daily Mirror 19/9/17
The on-line presence of ISIS can best controlled through the problem that they create.
They promote murder and terrorism; so make it a criminal offence to promote, facilitate, or incite acts of murder, or other terrorist acts.
This would directly affect Social media Companies in that each screen-shot can be tested in law as an offence, carrying a £1000 fine. There’d be no need to legislate against Facebook etc. directly, as these fines could be assessed and implemented very quickly in a special magistrates court.
Large on-line organisations would act quickly to stop this loss of cash, which is their life-blood.

Sent to Daily Mirror 21/9/17
The consumer group, who, because of Grenfell Towers, want manufacturers to stop putting plastic backs on fridges, may have to wait until we leave the E.U.
In the UK, mains electric has a potential of 240 Volts, compared to the 110 Volts prevalent on the Continent.
This was why, c

Sent to Daily Mirror 18/9/17
If the side of Boris Johnson’s bus had said we pay £154 Mn/week towards maintaining Brussels’ Bureaucracy, would less people have voted for #Brexit?

Sent to Daily Mirror 19/9/17
The on-line presence of ISIS can best controlled through the problem that they create.
They promote murder and terrorism; so make it a criminal offence to promote, facilitate, or incite acts of murder, or other terrorist acts.
This would directly affect Social media Companies in that each screen-shot can be tested in law as an offence, carrying a £1000 fine. There’d be no need to legislate against Facebook etc. directly, as these fines could be assessed and implemented very quickly in a special magistrates court.
Large on-line organisations would act quickly to stop this loss of cash, which is their life-blood.

Sent to Daily Mirror 21/9/17
The consumer group, who, because of Grenfell Towers, want manufacturers to stop putting plastic backs on fridges, may have to wait until we leave the E.U.
In the UK, mains electric has a potential of 240 Volts, compared to the 110 Volts prevalent on the Continent.
This was why, before we joined the EU, all UK appliances were required to have metal casings, which were earthed via a 3-pin plug.
EU manufacturers used plastic casings, especially on small appliances such as hair-dryers; so this requirement, for an earthed metal casing, was dropped in favour of the “double insulated” EU safety standard.
EU manufacturers used plastic casings, especially on small appliances such as hair-dryers; so this requirement, for an earthed metal casing, was dropped in favour of the “double insulated” EU safety standard.

Poor Lib Dems: lost a moralist leader and seem to have got an amoralist one

September 19, 2017

#bbcdp Most remoaners just say 17.4 Mn of us morons.
@vincecable is saying we’re worse.
He called us #Brexit fundamentalists, implying we’re on par with Jihadi’s and KKK Christians i.e.religious fanatics.
He also called for “Remoaner” politicians to come together to have an “adult” conversation on how to overturn #Brexit. The implication is that no pro-brexit politician is grown-up enough to be taken seriously.
He must have worked hard to find new ways to sneer and smear by such semantically worded phrasing.


@vincecable, who sold the P.O. to his mates in a Fire-Sale, is reared up on his hind legs (pretending that he wasn’t a Tory fellow traveller) claiming to be their Arch-foe and spouting Corbynist policies as if he originated them.

@daily_politics ..@DailyMirror survey says 2/3 don’t want a second #EUref. Most want quick #Brexit

September 7, 2017

The Daily Mirror’s survey raises the point that voters were given insufficient information on the EU referendum to enable them to make valid choices and, then, it proceeds to give us hard facts from its survey.
The problem is that the way it’s presented actually misinforms.
For instance, we’re told that 66.6%, of those voting remain, and 12.8% of those voting leave, want a second referendum.
Anyone who has watched “8 out of 10 cats does Countdown” can see the abysmal Math ability of non-specialists.
It is highly likely that too many Daily Mirror readers would read these hard facts as:
(66.6 + 12.8 =) 79.4% want a second EU referendum.
If the Daily Mirror were truly concerned about voters being given enough information to make sound choices, then it would provide the simple analysis,below.

The vote in the EU referendum was51.9% leave 48.1% remain

66.6% of 48.1% = 32.0% remainers
& 12.8% of 51.9% = 6.6% leavers
—————–> 38.6% wanted a second vote

check the complementary figures

(100-66.6=) 33.4% of 48.1% = 16.1% remainers
& (100-12.8=) 87.2% of 51.9% = 45.3% leavers
—————–> 61.4% don’t want a second vote

It shows that if their survey were applied to the way votes had been cast, the correct conclusion is very different, from the one that readers might infer.
Only about one third of the people, whom they had surveyed, wanted a second referendum.
Twice as many didn’t want another referendum.
This is the hypocrisy of The Media in its presentation of “facts”

And a little warning for Keir Starmer.

The Daily Mirror survey says that 45.6% of those they surveyed supported Labour’s delayed withdrawal from the EU.                That’s slightly less than those who voted to Remain (48.1%).
Put another way, the 51.9% who voted to leave has risen to 54.4%, who don’t want the delayed withdrawal, which Keir and the old guard hope will kill off Brexit.

@SadiqKhan what plausible excuse can remoaners use to force a second referendum?

August 1, 2017
Here’s a puzzle.
The majority of those voting in the referendum called for Brexit.
They were told that the economy would crash, yet they still voted to leave.
They were told they wouldn’t get a second vote, yet they still voted to leave.
They were told they’d lose their jobs, yet they still voted to leave.
So how can these be used as justifications for a second referendum?
Remainers say that Leavers were conned by Boris’s bus, but it’s not Leavers claiming they were so stupid that they believed what the Tories were telling them.
Only remainers are claiming that they believed them.
What other excuses for a second referendum have been put forward?
The Tories are making a mess of it?
Did we think any of our politicians were so skilled at negotiation that we’d leave the EU with a Europe wide party and a car boot full of going away presents?
When we actually get towards the end of this exercise and remainers are still calling for a second referendum, what excuse will they use to force one on us?
Will they claim a poll (a mini referendum aimed at a selection of people likely to have voted to remain) says we must?
Are they of the opinion that they can spend more money on a new Project Fear than was used last time?
That another £9 million Government leaflet, explaining the disadvantages of leaving, could be better designed?
The only case for a second referendum, would be if we end up inside the Single Market and the Customs Union but I can’t see it happening in that situation.

blog posts 10 (20/6/2017)

June 20, 2017

Letters to Daily Mirror with any printed versions

You report that no action can be taken against anyone, who might be destroying evidence, relating to the Grenfell Tower fire, until a court of inquiry has been set up.
I find this hard to believe.
It would be reasonable to believe that anyone destroying anything, which might be required as evidence, was deliberately trying to pervert the course of justice and guilty of a criminal action.
Regardless of this presumption of guilt, it should be possible for Police to be issued with warrants to seize potential evidence, whether, or not, an inquiry is called.

Do we really have to wait for an inquiry into the London Tower Block Fire?
There can’t be anyone, who has followed events, who doesn’t “know” that the cladding (banned in the USA and Germany after a similar disaster in Melbourne) was responsible for so many deaths.
We will be told that it is important to wait for an official verdict to avoid panic.
Yet, those in similar tower blocks will still be panicking.
How long will they have to wait, while another inquiry is set up and a report printed ?
Meanwhile; officials, politicians and contractors will take their time concocting a plausible, low cost solution to what they may see as merely an administrative problem.

Obviously the Media will focus on the immediate aspects of the terrible fire block disaster.
We’ll be told of the sequence of events, those who’ve lost their lives, the members of the emergency services and the Public, who have come to the aid of survivors.
But perhaps the Media could go further than just reporting such tragedies and task politicians on the long term effects for those who survived.
Locals have already made offers of accommodation but for how long?
We know there is a shortage of housing but it is clear that we need spare capacity for those who lose their homes in such events. Not just temporary housing but permanent homes, where families can close the door and try to quickly gather up the reins of their lives again.


How can we have tariff-free access to the European Market(Corbyn), whilst not being forced to stay in the Single Market (McDonnell).
These are the same thing, as far as I can tell.
What distinction are they seeing?
Labour needs to remember that the majority voted to leave EU control.
Popular support for Labour could evaporate overnight, if Jeremy Corbyn is made to look less straightforward than his present, very popular image.

Printed version
#How can we have tariff-free access to the European market, Mr
Corbyn, without freedom of movement?
Labour needs to remember that the majority voted to leave EU control.
Support for Labour could evaporate overnight if Jeremy Corbyn is made
to look less straightforward than his present, popular image.
I strongly doubt that Boris Johnson is correct in believing that the Public don’t want another GE.
I’m sure there are many, beside myself, who want this reverse Robin Hood party evicted, as soon as possible, and replaced by a People’s party.
Even if Theresa May’s Tory Government doesn’t immediately collapse, it will face large scale public demands as parents take their children back to school in the Autumn and see what this party for the privileged thinks of them.

he pundits are already squabbling over the meaning of the GE vote.
Whilst there is no doubt that Theresa May wanted it to be about Brexit, it’s quite wrong for the likes of Gina Miller to claim that the results prove that was the only issue voted on.
Brexit was important but the most vociferous people on Social Media were those with cause to oppose the Tory austerity issues i.e. the destruction of the NHS, the decimation of our police forces, food banks, tuition fees, disability allowances, the bedroom tax, the dementia tax etc.
These are still desperate issues for large portions of the country and Parliament needs to be confronted on all of them,continuously.
Only one aspect puzzles me; who’s voting Conservative and why?

#brexit I filched this from the fuller-money newsletter. Shows what the money men think of the EU

May 3, 2017
On a baking hot day in July 2015 Greece’s radical-Left Syriza government won a spectacular mandate to defy the austerity regime of the EU-IMF Troika.

Against all expectations, 61pc of the Greek people voted in a referendum to reject the Carthaginian terms of their latest bail-out deal, a scorched-earth ‘Memorandum’ described by a young French economy minister named Emmanuel Macron as a “modern day version of the Versailles Treaty”.

It seemed as if the long-running showdown between Athens and the EU authorities had reached an explosive juncture. Markets were braced for the ejection of Greece from the euro in short order. Monetary union was on the verge of break-up.

Yet the rebel victory instantly and inexplicably metamorphosed into surrender, and with it died the final hopes of the European Left. Premier Alexis Tsipras stunned his own people and the world by announcing that there would be no rupture with the Troika after all, and furthermore that he would join hands with the conservative cadres of Greece’s ancien regime.

The extraordinary developments are recounted by Yanis Varoufakis in his deeply unsettling account, ‘Adults In The Room, My Battle With Europe’s Deep Establishment’, published in extracts in the Telegraph. What the former finance minister reveals is that leaders of the Syriza government were seriously worried about dark forces in the shadows. They were frightened.

Vested interests with huge sums at stake – within Greece, and implicitly across the eurozone – were prepared to defend the existing financial order by any means necessary. The prime minister feared a military coup.

His warnings to Mr Varoufakis in soul-searching talks that night certainly raise eyebrows, all vividly narrated in a subchapter entitled ‘the overthrowing of a people’.

The final days of the referendum were surreal. Unbeknownst to the Greek people, Alexis Tsipras had called the snap-vote expecting to lose. Most of the Syriza leaders did not campaign. What they wanted was an “emergency exit”, calculating that a respectable defeat would give them a way out after boxing themselves into a corner.

But humiliated and long-suffering Greeks instead seized on the chance to express their defiance, rising to a “gigantic celebration of freedom from fear” in the final intoxicating rally at Syntagma Square.


As the scale of the victory became clear on election day Mr Varoufakis penned a triumphant piece. “In 1967, foreign powers, in cahoots with local stooges, used tanks to overthrow Greek democracy. In 2015 foreign powers tried to do the same by using the banks. But they came up against an insanely brave people who refused to submit to fear.”

He then went to join the victory party at the prime minister’s Maximos Mansion, only to discover that the betrayal of the vote was already under way. “As I walked in, Maximos felt as cold as a morgue, as joyful as a cemetery. The ministers and functionaries I encountered looked numb, uncomfortable in my presence, as if they had just suffered a major electoral defeat,” he said.

Only he and his wife Danae were wearing jeans, once de rigueur in Syriza circles. “Sitting there, I began noticing things about the people around me that had previously escaped me. The men resembled accountants. The women were dressed as if for a state gala,” he said. They were like the pigs on two legs, drinking with men, glimpsed through the window in George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

Mr Varoufakis told the prime minister that it was his duty to honour the referendum, that he should seize on the thundering expression of popular will to escalate Greece’s war of resistance, and to present the ECB and Berlin with a stark choice. It was wasted breath. The decision to accept what he calls “unconditional surrender” had already been taken, and a new finance minister willing to go along with this volte face had already been picked.

David Fuller’s view

The EU has been a costly mistake since the launch of the single currency in 1999, without a Federal State to deal with the inevitable inequities between individual states (formerly independent countries) which would arise.  EU bureaucrats knew that they did not have the votes for a Federal Union.  Nevertheless, they undermined democracies in the region and also their economic prosperity by launching the Euro in an environment which several centuries of previous history showed was bound to fail.

Subsequently, unofficially centralised governance within the EU resembles a left-wing mafia rather than a healthy democracy.  That is what Prime Minister Theresa May faces, despite her best efforts to sincerely promote an agreement in the mutual interests of both a departing UK and also the EU. Fortunately, she now realises this, as do a sufficient proportion of the UK electorate to give her a significant majority.  That may not influence the EU but it will help the UK to first deal with turbulence following a hasty exit from the EU before fulfilling its potential in the global economy.