Friday, 30 September 2011

Janet Street-Porter

I can't get my head around JSP. Something seems to compel me to like her, but I can't think why. She doesn't possess any particular talent and yet the girl done well in the artificial world of the media. Her performance on QT was typical.

On some levels JSP talks sense, but then you get this sort of thing; the subject was the proposal to increase the speed 'limit' on motorways to 80mph. JSP started by saying she didn't like driving on motorways and then rattled on about people already driving too fast and increasing it was madness. Her first statement kind of precluded the second part being a rational, objective and considered opinion. It was a prejudice.

That's OK though, the Left these days have become adept at saying things that amount only to their own personal opinion, as if it were an established fact. A truth that cannot be gainsaid. Her opinion was also that Top Gear was the cause of fast driving and Jeremy Clarkson in particular, irresponsible in this regard.

Top Gear of course does like speed, but has never suggested it should be applied inappropriately (they do theirs for instance, on a track). Clarkson himself is intolerant of the intolerance of the Left and thinks that people should be allowed to make more decisions for themselves. Consequently, he is a dangerous person for the Left and politicians in general and thus created as a figure of hate. It was suggested he would be bad company, though I imagine he would be great company, not least for an intelligent argument.

But anyway, JSP had a point to make and it was her view. She then berated Caroline Flint for Labour's lack of positive discrimination in favour of women. She was disappointed that companies were not forced to have a certain percentage of women on their boards. JSP didn't concern herself with ability or talent, which I suppose in her experience isn't a prerequisite. Public broadcasters low quality output being unconnected I imagine.

There has been and I'm sure there still is, much discrimination against women (though women bosses I have known have been among the best), but that doesn't make the promotion of those of the female gender regardless of ability, a sensible decision. Maybe JSP would put the 16 year old girl who tried to murder her grandfather for an inheritance, in charge of a bank. She has at least demonstrated a keen interest in financial matters and her overweening self interest must appeal to the Left.

Aside from JSP though, there was something else in QT I found amazing. A woman in the audience, on the subject of increasing the speed limit said it was just a ploy by business to get their products to market quicker, despite the increased danger. I don't know if she is a Left leaning individual or if she merely says things like these because of Left indoctrination, to which we are all subject these days.

It was a strongly voiced opinion, but as commercial traffic is time limited and speed limited with on board monitors that ensure regulation, I don't think she had any understanding of the subject she was happy to spout about. And nowadays, no-one thinks to ask a question to understand. She could just as easily have said that she feared it was just to aid business and would limits for commercial vehicles be raised too?

But no, the Left has insisted that we all assume we are each, individually much more important than anyone else, so an opinion, however ill-informed is valid. The removal of respect for others has been a key plank of the Left's undermining of our social structure.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Get Out, Stay Out and Get the Brigade Out

QT is in Liverpool and the audience are strangely split in their own minds. Whilst they resolutely stick to their 'sponger' reputation in opposing anything that doesn't end with people getting something for nothing, they also seem to grasp that the EU is wasting money. Maybe they are happy for money to be hosed over scousers but not Greeks. You would have thought the kebab would have built some bridges, but hey ho.

It was interesting though to see the squirming by the panel at the vehemence of the objection to the EU, full stop, not just bailouts or technical detail. The usual tosh was talked about jobs relying on the EU. The only jobs that rely on the EU are those of politicians. Let's be clear; companies in the EU (as in any foreign country) buy from Britain because of the efforts of their sales force and then lorries and ships. Those are the 'links' not any rubbish about a political union.

There was also some suggestion that whilst the Euro isn't helping the financial crisis, it didn't cause it, the banks did. Well, yes and no. The banking crisis just shone a light on what the EU was up to; the Euro was actually designed to cause a mild shock to the economies of countries like Greece and Ireland and allow the empire-building French and Germans to take them over (ever closer union). But with another crisis bursting over them the tail began wagging the dog.

It is reported that the belief is that 75% of Germans do not want to continue throwing money at Greece, but the politicians are thankful that democracy has its limits and the people cannot say but can pay, for their folly. That is what the EU is about, using the people to support a small political class. It is corrupt, immoral and anti-democratic.

William Hague has correctly judged that the Eurozone is a building on fire with no exits. For my part I would repeat what I have said before regarding the EU (and mis-quoting an old Fire Brigade advert); Get out, Stay out and get the Brigade out. (The Brigade here being the Brigade of Guards, the bulwark that ensures our sovereignty, which the EU and our politicians certainly do not).

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Is This Just Pandering To Politicians Egos?

The single European currency cannot work and should never have been installed. Of course, it could work if the whole of Europe was a totalitarian superstate, with wealth shifted around to support corrupt and failing regions. A bit like Labour did with Britain; no attempt to cure problems just tax and spend (on friends).

Naturally, a European superstate is the whole point of setting up the EU in the first place. But the genius of the people running it from the outset has also been their downfall. The genius centres around the pragmatic realisation that a construct, serving only the political class would never be accepted by the electorates and cancelling national democracy first couldn't be achieved either. This all had to be done by stealth.

Stealth in politics means lies and so Edward Heath did his best pre-cursor of Blair role in lying about joining the 'Common Market'. It always seemed far away and foreign so we pretty much ignored it and let the politicians play their games. Now we find that they were deadly serious and deadly dangerous. Trying to keep it quiet meant that the single nation had to wait, but the single currency would make it inevitable.

Once the crisis occurred that was the only outcome of a single Europe wide currency, then the technocrats could step up and say, 'well, the only solution is to make the whole of Europe one country'. It isn't of course, but it is the desired outcome of those pronouncing on it. When Argentina pegged their currency to the dollar and the economy went to pot, did they say, 'oh well, I suppose we must become part of the US'? No, they broke the link.

The worldwide financial crisis that is being fed by the US and its refusal to put proper checks on state spending and reduce taxes, is being exacerbated by the entirely artificial crisis in the Eurozone. Don't forget, the Euro is not only wrong for the Greek economy (and Irish, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian....), the EU itself created the environment in which corruption could flourish.

And don't misunderstand; these are not just bad political decisions, or dodgy ideology. No, these are crimes and as we saw with Blair here in the UK, when the people who run the show are messing up, even a democracy struggles to deal with them. The EU is not, never has been and was never intended to be a democracy. So how do we get rid of them....? We stop paying them.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Getting Angry? You Should Be

Lunchtime news on BBC. An article about BAe shedding 3000 jobs (which is mainly a political stunt, played out with people's jobs) is quickly followed by a report from the Labour Party conference. From the latter you become aware of the sheer volume of people hanging on to politics, who 'earn' their living from this circus. It is insulting to the highest degree when people in productive, high technology jobs are dispensed with but those around the public sector and particularly government, carry on like it is Christmas every day.

What about the Euro? Have you become angry yet about the huge amount of your money that goes, without you having any say, or ability to affect, to the EU? Not just to be a member, but to prop up their currency, the one that cannot possibly work in the real world. And now there is talk of cancelling some of Greece's debt. Yeah, that will make them behave more responsibly in future! We may as well not punish the London rioters, as their behaviour will improve if we allow unfettered looting.

What about state theft? Are you likely to get annoyed that government resorts to illegal measures to extort and bully money out of you? Today we read more people are going to be allowed to issue fines for littering and such like. This of course is not to improve society but to pull in funds; money that they need to make ends meet but do not, for political reasons want to put on direct tax. Money they need because they will not restrain their areas of involvement (interference) nor cut back on waste.

My son chose to pay more for a 'course' after a speeding 'offence', rather than pay a fine and receive penalty points. The target driven authorities though, still awarded the points and added a 50% uplift to the fine, for not paying within the prescribed time! Can you complain? No, it goes to the same people who ignore you and claim 'no one made a mistake', which doesn't answer the question but is the final answer you are going to get.

I was pursued and threatened relentlessly by HMRC for years over allegedly unpaid tax, until at last someone answered the question I had asked from the outset, 'why do I owe anything?' and realised they had got it wrong. So far, they have investigated themselves and, you guessed it found that 'no one at HMRC made a mistake'.

We have found, huge, really huge deposits of shale gas off our coasts and it could stabilise our economy much more quickly, but the Greens don't like it. It is capitalist and would mean keeping carbon dioxide producing technologies. As Man Made Global Warming is, put simply, just a lie, we should ignore these communists and get on with producing a working economy. But you have to do your part, You have to let the politicians know you are angry. Angry about their stupidity and theft.

They have to understand the consequences of continuing to ignore those they happily see as 'the little people'.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Oops, HP

Ah well, being CEO shouldn't be a secure job. It seems that a change at the top suggests the idea of drastically changing the direction of HP did not have wide support and and also that the CEO hadn't tested the temperature internally.

The next set of pronouncements should be very interesting, but I bet the move away from computing hardware will not be on. So my earlier disbelief at the future that was being mapped out was spot on and the planned drastic and incorrect change has been cancelled. Good.

Party Conferences

The silly season of political parties getting together to show just how pathetic they are, is upon us. The Lib Dems are desperately trying to hide how having some access to power has shown up how fanciful their policies are.

And now the Labour party are about to start their own shindig. For the people of the country, as opposed to the nonsense inside a party, the political scene is relatively simple. The Coalition has some problems but we cannot know how well they will deal with the financial crisis we are engulfed by. Labour however are very much a known entity. They got us into a terrible position as an uneducated country, with rising levels of crime due to the politicisation of the police and no justice for victims and a country flooded with immigrants seeking favours.

Labour are the party of extreme ignorance; they took no care over any aspect of the 'work' they did; the Fire Control system anyone? How about a computer system for the NHS, the whole of the PFI scam or the run down of the military (whilst expecting much more of them)? Then there are the insults the Labour system added to these injuries, such as the overpaid monkeys in the MoD bureaucracy and their inability to run a procurement system properly.

Prescott, an insult to any country anyway, was responsible for the illegal structure of regional governments (as well as the fire brigade farce) and then there is the management of the NHS who have spent all their energy protecting their own positions and destroying well performing hospitals.

So, what we know is that Labour cannot be trusted with any aspect of government and certainly not the economy. The New Left, the Lib Dems have been exposed too as a bunch of dreamers and the Conservatives still seem to have no idea that the country, which wants proper Conservative policies to effectively get us out of recession, is in fact right and Cameron is wrong. Remember, it was the people who kept Britain out of the euro, not the politicians.

Friday, 23 September 2011

'Dale Farm'

I am amazed at the stupidity of people in this country (and by being able to vote, we have got the politicians we deserve). Here is what has happened at the nice sounding Dale Farm site. A group of Travellers (who are reluctant, it seems, to travel) bought a plot of land. They had planning permission to build on some of it. They exceeded the terms of that permission and have been pursued by the law.

Hardly rushed, the situation today is the result of ten years of to-ing and fro-ing. That is it. But whining Lefties are pitching up saying something is unfair, but we are not sure what. A cry goes up that there are not enough pitches for them. Why should the authorities provide any?

The only contact I have had with people who claim to be Travellers have been when a group camped in a Mercury Communications car park and proceeded to attempt to break into cars of the staff. Told to clear off by my wife, they came back and loosened the wheel nuts on her car. The other incident was when a group occupied a business estate over the road and all the garages were rifled in the nearby streets, mine included.

Oh and our council had to build high berms as we have large grassed verges around here and Travellers tended to use them. For a short while to live on and then to leave whatever detritus they didn't want when they moved on. There may be many lovely people in their community, but the Travellers are disliked for very real reasons. They might want to address that, before spouting off that any laws they don't like shouldn't apply to them.

Thursday, 22 September 2011


If a group of people in Britain are asked whether the Palestinians should be given a state of their own, most people say they should. They say this mainly due to the propaganda of the Left that they have been subjected to and through ignorance. This ignorance is because our education system and the actions of government do not suggest that people should think for themselves. These days you do not have to have considered a subject before having a view on it.

There has never been a state called Palestine, so the idea of a Palestinian people is a little disingenuous. The reason it has become an issue is because of the unreserved violence of the organisations supporting a Palestinian state, that has kept them in the press and due to the continuing opposition to Judaism. The Jews may or may not be God's chosen people, but they certainly are the most persecuted. And it is currently 'in fashion', according to the Left.

Israel may not be a blameless society and they should remember they were 'given' a homeland, so a little humility might be expected, but similarly no-one should expect them to negotiate with men of violence. It is odd that Israel is so vilified by Western Lefties, but Jordan turning its army on the Palestinians and chasing them out of their country, passed without comment.

I wonder if the Israelis would accept a Palestinian nation if the price was, that all the terrorist organisations running 'Palestine' currently were locked up first. It would definitely appeal to the ordinary Palestinian who suffers at the hands of these people (and the West's interfering Lefties).

Pickled Politicians

The economic straits we find ourselves in today are, at the base due to politicians. Obviously, Labour were running the country into the ground, but the Coalition of the Unwilling is fiddling at the edges. The reason for this is because the Civil Service is not the reliable resource it once was (largely due to Blair) and politicians rely too much on vested interests, whom they insist are advisers.

Politicians are completely disconnected and have no idea why energy prices are rising so rapidly (eh, Huhne), do not know how the City works (or doesn't) and stumbles to answer straightforward questions because everything outside the arcane world of Westminster is a mystery to them. Listen at PMQ's and all you hear is point scoring and satisfaction at causing some opposition embarrassment, with only accidental contact with the workings of the real world.

So the first step in recovery for the UK would be if we had some adult politicians in parliament, people who felt that they were elected to serve, well, someone! Harriet Harman is outraged that the Coalition is not planning to grow the economy and she bases this on her assertion that they are getting rid of twice as many public sector workers, than the private sector are taking on. Being Labour of course she sees public sector workers as key elements of the economy. Or maybe she speaks up for them because they vote for the Labour Party.

The private sector is the engine and small businesses particularly so. This is also true in America and, saddled with Obama not enough is being done there either. It is a broad problem of socialism across the Western world and is something else that we need to get rid of and quickly.

It is clear that consumers are a key driver of economic performance and the lack of money in people's pockets is part of the current problem. Fingers are regularly pointed at the financial crisis as the reason we have no money to spend, but it isn't. The biggest problem is the government. Tax is too high both on income and on economic life, hitting you on almost everything you buy, on every business transaction. Government does things it has no business doing such as green projects in pursuit of a chimera and blatant and consistent waste, The latter of course very much a growth industry due to the ignorance highlighted earlier.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Binge Drinking

There was an article on the lunchtime news that the French, for so long able to drink without being stupid about it, are turning to binge drinking. Of course this doesn't just affect the people who do it, it also leads to extremes of behaviour and violence. Not a good sign for France.

However, it was interesting to note the tone of the article. Now it may just be the BBC's inability to report anything as news alone, without adding their own left-liberal spin, but you perhaps would not be surprised at what they were saying. The cause they decided was small shops selling drink late at night and music bars and the price of alcohol being too low.

At no point was there any criticism of the individuals who act in such an anti-social and idiotic fashion. For the Left there is never a situation where criticism of the individual has a place when the state can get involved. Hence the 'low price' jibe. It is only tangentially relevant, as being able to afford a lot of drink means you can binge drink. But it still isn't the whole truth, else why does not everyone who can afford alcohol, binge?

No, the state can interfere with price controls and bans on the timing and the way that alcohol is sold. In the main. the Left don't care whether these measures work or not, their only concern is the accretion of power. The reason that people see nothing wrong with binge drinking, is because they have lost the respect for others that used to underpin civilised society. Now, it is only important that you do what you want and no one has the right to criticise. This moral decline is the result of the socialist policies that have held sway for so long now.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Can Councils Learn?

It seems they can! After deciding to delete the last remaining 'free' parking spaces in the Central Milton Keynes area, a decision based on stupidity and greed, word now reaches me of it's reversal. Apparently the sight of expensive parking spaces near offices remaining resolutely empty every day has led to a rethink. I'm not sure I thought councillors capable of anything close to common sense, let alone serving the people.

We should withhold more often. By making the spaces an embarrassment rather than the expected gold mine, the people have forced the issue. Maybe direct action should be deployed by the people more often. If the politicians don't think the ballot box has any relevance to them any more, perhaps we should withhold payments, for services expected but unfulfilled. The step after that I suppose is the one the Arabs have been taking recently?

Anti Terror Raids

The latest action against terrorism is going on in Birmingham, with arrests taking place. What strikes me though is the way the police talk about it. As usual they cannot give us any detail and that is fair enough, no one wants to prejudice a case. But the phrase 'I believe it was necessary to take action at this time in order to ensure public safety', hardly inspires confidence.

If there was a serious plot and this is what is being suggested, then why such a weak statement? 'Police speak' was always the butt of jokes, along with a meticulous form of speech; 'Ay was proceeding in a Westerly direction when I became aware....' However, the latest is clearly not in that vein, it is very much of a modern nature. Careful speak, I suppose you could call it, but it is usually deployed to cover the possibility of impending failure. As in, no proof whatsoever being available.

And that exact state of affairs has been the case in a surprisingly large number of operations 'keeping the public safe'. Suspects arrested with much fanfare later released quietly with compensation payments. Or the deadly ricin plot that turned out not to have been a plot and that there was at no time, any ricin involved. At all.

Let us see, but I am just jaded with the exceptionally low standards that pass for any type of standard, these days. If our senior police officers were not such political animals they might not make the same kind of idiotic mistakes politicians are justly famous for. But they are and they do.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Maybe I'm Just Thick...

The news breaks today that a 'rogue trader' has lost UBS something like £1.3 billion. I'm guessing it won't be found down the back of the sofa. But explain something to me. We have had a number of witch-hunts to find those responsible in a number of cases like this, not least Nick Leeson, with a lot of damage done and in the case of Barings the demise of an old, established bank.

But haven't we just had a whole raft of bank 'failures'? Only not quite failures as that was not allowed to happen, they being bailed out with taxpayers cash instead. And these problems, were they not caused by deals that were somewhat shady? Mortgages sold that were cheap at the start but when the full rate kicked in the repayments would be too high. When these were bundled, and sold on it was an admission that they knew of the toxicity.

Yet, and please correct me if I am wrong here, no-one has been arrested? It was a system failure we are told, there is no one to blame. For me the analogy is this. If you go into a bank and run off with £100 you are a crook, but if you mastermind a very clever theft involving millions of pounds and with great sophistication, then it becomes a 'system' and no-one is guilty of wrong doing. Is that how it works? Or only if the system is called banking? Do politicians not pursue such people because they operate in such a similar way themselves?

I love the outrage with which senior bankers vent at people like Leeson, whilst being a) not so different themselves and b) more than happy when illegal trades work out fine. But most importantly, they clearly have systems in place that allow these things to go on. If you genuinely do not want something to happen you put careful checks in place, but with banks and their trading (more correctly, gambling) they seem to carefully ensure the checks are absent. Why would that be?

It is like the whole corrupt business of banking. For decades current account banking was free. We knew they used our money to make themselves money and the slight service we were offered was the pay off. Then, with the advent of electronic transfers that made their job easier and cheaper, they introduced charges. These appeared because with the electronic age you had to have a bank account and you couldn't move without using electronic transfer.

With a grip on the throat of the money-go-round banks could blithely behave however they pleased. Not that they were a cartel you understand. In the same way the Kray brothers weren't criminals. Having been slapped for that, they then began over charging for the things they could and mis-selling loan insurance. In fact, either banking is extremely accident prone or they set out to conduct these underhand tactics because they know people have little option.

And then their was the ultimate sophistication of 'credit default swaps' and their family. So sophisticated the bosses didn't have a clue what was going on. They just nod when someone says, 'this will make us a lot of money'.

As Sarah Palin said recently, how often do you see people enter politics with modest means and leave very rich? The answer is of course, all the time, though not always as seriously as Blair and Mandleson, nor often with so little 'audit trail'. So the people we elect to watch over people like the bankers are in receipt of cash and sinecures from these people. Just why do banks and big companies find talentless politicians so attractive to have on their boards? Are these things connected and do they inevitably lead to madness like banks going bust? While we get all excited about a 'rogue trader'.

Sell By Dates

The always controversial 'sell by' date is to go, so say the papers. When I was a kid you checked the bread for stiffness and mould and if there wasn't any, you ate it. The 'sell by' date seemed a good idea though, as it just covered the responsibility of the retailer. Except the natural reaction is to err on the side of caution and we end up throwing away perfectly good food.

The last shopping expedition in this house was to Tesco, a not often visited store for us. All of the products were short dated, which I found shocking. I have to say that I don't pay much (any) attention to 'sell by' dates when buying, but will glance at them later, as an indication as to how long I've had it sometimes!

A cheese and tomato flatbread was dated the day after it was bought, as were both packs of sausages. The former was eaten with no problem 3 days past sell-by and the sausages will be experimented with tonight, 5 days 'late' (wish me luck!). The other meat products were also within a couples of days.

Whilst not a great believer in 'sell by' dates I have to say I am shocked at the short dates at Tesco, it is not something I have experienced elsewhere. Because it was the same with several items it would appear that Tesco are similarly not that concerned. I have to say, I have always viewed Tesco as a careless company regarding their relationship to customers, a real like-it-or-lump-it merchant.

The problem is, that when the big retailers are released from the constraints of the sell by date, just how cavalier would they be? No matter how much sell-by dates can and have been ridiculed, there is still a distinct smell of big business telling big government what to do, here.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Police Chief's Feelings Hurt

The Chief Constable of Northumbria Police, Sue Sim has said publicly that she was hurt by the jokes made about her appearance, as she led the hunt for Raoul Moat. This was the woman who had a lot to say, often about the fact she was in charge, whilst they couldn't find the man and who was responsible, ultimately for her officers deploying with unlicensed weapons.

But it is her feelings that she is most keen to talk about. In pointing out that the jibes were personal and nothing to do with her professional role she is entirely correct. Some of us are not that attractive. What you do have to be careful of though, is how you 'enhance' your image. Ms Sim seems to fall into the 'MMM' bracket - no Mum, no Mates, no Mirror. These are all sources of good advice.

What I particularly like though (and which points to her character flaws) is the way, having established that the remarks were hurtful, she says they referred to her as looking like Margaret Beckett. Now, that seems to me as though she is saying, 'good Lord that can't be true, Beckett is ugly'. Or the rejoinder that people wouldn't have thought to be nasty about her if she had been a short, fat man. Again, such people she seems to suggest actually would be deserving of the ridicule she received.

This woman is running a police force. A force that couldn't find Moat under their noses and walking the streets. A woman you cannot stop talking when nothing is happening and who suddenly becomes camera shy when the drama comes to  a head. Was it her fault, her force's fault Moat shot himself? I doubt it, though there is a suspicion that they, like all other forces seemed rather too keen to force events, rather than sitting it out.

John Lewis

How can you not love JL? When I first came across the store I was immediately smitten. It may be packed, but it works. There are differing layouts in different areas and you keep seeing stuff that you might not want, but it delights the eye and somehow other people's interest in it seems magical. I remember heading for an exit and my way was blocked as a salesman was spreading out carpets from a stack to show a customer.

Most times I would have been annoyed but here it was right and brought a smile. I just waited. The store is able to bring a civilising influence and exudes a calm, whether busy or not. Rude customers make you bristle, as they have no place in this realm.

And in the hard nosed world of reality there is a recession on and The John Lewis Partnership suffer as do others. Yes I'm sure their 'never knowingly undersold' is costing them dear, but it is a creed that has stood them in good stead. But do they still need it? Surely their customers are savvy enough and if they buy from JL it is because they want to and they trust the store to offer good prices, if not the absolute lowest.

Most importantly though, they must not view price pressures as being a precursor to lower quality merchandise.  The reduction in profits is only to be expected and I like the attitude of store expansion at Waitrose, but they need to keep cool heads.

The Eurozone - A Fairytale Of Our Time

When the gross incompetence of Gordon Brown was finally realised, he puffed himself up and blamed the bankers for our troubles. They had, he said acted irresponsibly and they had taken unacceptable financial risks. For good measure he added that the crisis was caused by America. So pretty much anyone but the guy who had acted irresponsibly by borrowing recklessly and in so doing had taken reckless financial risks with the entire nations wealth.

But he was partly right of course, that the decision by the Clinton administration to force mortgage providers, by law to extend loans to people who hadn't 'traditionally' been able to afford them, was the root cause of the crisis. Because they not only couldn't 'traditionally' afford these mortgages, they couldn't in reality either. Add in suicidal risk taking by greedy corporate bankers and hey presto! an entirely predictable crash that was a shock to the bankers and regulators alike.

In effect, these extremely stupid people had bought a parking lot full of cars, many of which were on fire. 'That's OK' they assured themselves, 'the profit we make on the good ones will cover those on fire.' Then they watched the fire spread until the whole lot was gone. 'Oh well, I'd better ask my old mate Mr Politician to give me a sackful of cash, for no justifiable reason and with no strings attached', was the resigned sigh on the banker.

Now it is payback time and American politicians are accusing the Eurozone of continuing, exacerbating and feeding the world wide economic crisis. A charge that cannot be denied. Take Angela Merkel. On the face of it she is a German politician representing the best interests of Germans. So when she stands up and pronounces on the latest measures to control the financial crisis, she is doing the best for her country and the wider community of nations, we all being reliant on each other in this financially interconnected world, of course.

But no, Merkel is in actual fact supporting only a small cabal of EU politicians, of which she is one and the technocrats behind them who run the EU. Greece is in trouble and that trouble is caused by the Euro. And they cannot grow their way out of trouble, because of the Euro, so huge bailouts of EU cash (much of it German) is passed to the Greeks. It doesn't really help as the problem is systemic -the Euro, but it tides them over. That the bailouts are illegal under EU law seems to be overlooked.

Here is the logic Merkel and all of the 'top table' EU politicians are working to; if the EU were a single nation then the Greek crisis could be contained the same as the disparity between North and South in the UK. But that means setting up a superstate called Europe, centrally run and with a single set of laws and taxes, which amazingly also happens to be what the whole project was set up to achieve. So a crisis caused by the politicians and that cannot be cured without Union, will result in what the politicians have wanted all along. Ever felt you are being played?

The tiny, insignificant fly in the ointment is that the people of Europe do not want this solution, but what EU politician ever thought that what the people wanted was important?! If these politicians grant themselves the present they have always wanted, there is no guarantee that the world economic recession they are currently exacerbating, will end. That can be achieved though, by simply throwing the whole idea of a united Europe into the same bin in which currently resides the last great soviet project. It is funny how authoritarian communism, no matter how it tries to disguise itself always implodes. Maybe, it is just a bad idea, don't you think?

No School Today

Or should I say 'Hey, Teacher, Leave Them Kids Alone'. In saying the latter I am not referring to the current, it seems, vogue for teachers to become 'involved' with their pupils. No I am thinking of their eponymous role; teaching. Having seen a 'maths' question from a recent GCSE paper, 'write 50,000 in words', I am in no doubt that teaching is at a spectacularly low level in this country.

We know also that many of the teachers are barely above this standard of education themselves. The reason for this of course, is the invasion of teacher training colleges in the Sixties by Left wing activists. It is from these people that such useless and trendy ideas as 'child centred learning' comes. Teachers had airy fairy schemes and concepts put into their heads, spelt out in long titles of absolute drivel. Made worse when Blair's lazy, target culture took hold and the 'educationalists' had to lie about lack of ability in children.

Then of course learning was replaced with pure Left propaganda. Here is the sort of ideal teaching manual of today's airhead, professional educational expert;

Current Affairs: How Global Warming is destroying the planet
Maths: Calculations to show the damage Global Warming is doing to the planet
History: The history of how Man's industrial age is causing Global Warming
English Language: Write an essay on how Global Warming is destroying the planet
English Literature: Read books by Al Gore
Geography: How Global Warming affects every region of the World
Science: Global Warming is a fact according to scientists, so there being nothing on which study is allowed, this subject can be deleted.
Sport: Mainly talking about Global Warming and breathing difficulties, because actually doing sport might show some can run faster than others, which is elitist and elitism leads to Global Warming.

Public Sector Strikes

There are a good many hard working, decent, respectable people doing jobs of real utility in our public services. There is an overwhelming majority though, who are doing jobs with no useful outcome (hardly their fault though), others who are incompetent, lazy and unreliable. These people tend to shout the loudest too.

Currently we have the farce of trades union conferences. This is when a bunch of politically active, communists get together to provide the 'leadership' their members expect. These highly paid union bosses are of course interested in their members welfare in the same way that Stalin loved his people. At the conferences they say what they want, not what is affordable or reasonable. They are childish.

Naturally, the 'delegates' at the meeting are delighted by what they hear. This is the current situation. A government (strangely a Labour one and even more strangely one led by Tony Blair) hired millions of unnecessary public sector workers. Their pay was increased for no discernible reason and their pensions lucrative. Holiday entitlement was at the forefront and sickness was treated as an entitlement to extra holiday. Being sacked was unlikely.

Naturally, in the real world none of this was 'sustainable' (that is a word the Left will understand, is it not?) and the sector of society that actually pays the bills could not afford the largesse of New Labour. Then, when another bunch of carefully cultivated mates of Labour, the bankers, displayed how woefully inadequate and out of control they were, we were all pitched into the most frightful mess. and Gordon Brown's particular inability as a Chancellor, let alone PM was thrown into the harsh light of day.

So cutbacks are absolutely essential, painful or not. Enter the mindset of the public sector worker (referring only to the majority). Not contributing to the national wealth but rather being a drain on it, both in cost and the mindless rules and regulations they use up their time devising, they have no concept it seems of reality. In their view, the pensions they have, being wildly above what they fund themselves should be left untouched. Their retirement age should remain lower than the private sector and they should not be subject to redundancies either.

The answer is to strike. Obviously. This of course achieves only one thing generally; they get on the news. Teachers can severely inconvenience the people trying to work to pay the wages of these pampered souls, but otherwise a public sector strike usually passes completely unnoticed. With often some clear benefits. The teachers union boss thinks that the government isn't negotiating so they are right to strike. But what does she think the government should do? Why leave everything as it is. (Or maybe a little extra pay/holiday/pension would be nice).

And of course the attitudes and talents of people who 'work' in the public sector often doesn't translate well into the private sector, so they cannot get jobs there. A company that needs to produce quality products and make a profit isn't likely to able to afford a professional 'meeting attender', who needs to fly regularly to foreign (hot) countries on fact finding missions and who is in seemingly poor health, going by their sick record.

No, the public sector must feel the pain as much as the rest of the country (and might be fitting because I bet most of them voted for Labour), though I accept that they do have a right to complain that the government isn't savaging the top earming Quangocrats as they very surely should.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


I have just finished reading a book about the Sixties. I never knew so much was going on whilst I went about the business of scratching together an education. Well, something like anyway. There is a retained image that it was a time of peace and love and anti-war protests.

But in fact it was a whole lot more. The Hippies, representing the intellectual Left as they did, were a painful group of self-impressed, inward looking trouble makers, who thought that taking drugs improved the correctness of their views and that 'free love' referred to men doing what they liked to women.

The anti-war movement came up with the brilliant idea that they should kill people to make their point. In fact, as an age it seemed that a collective view of the Left was, that violence was the answer to pretty much everything. It certainly managed to avoid that troublesome irritant, debate. If you were right about something, you didn't need some smart-arse pointing out the flaws in your reasoning.

Of course, having failed miserably during the Sixties to derail civilised society (by which I mean people who work for a living, contribute to society and don't blow things up), they had to change their plans. Out went confrontation and in came taking up jobs in the institutions to undermine them. Hence the Left wing allegiance of academia, with the concomitant lack of rigour or desire to educate. In too, came Political Correctness to close down debate, still the hated enemy of the Left (see Global Warming).

The damage that decade did (and not least by infesting the institutions creating lasting harm) is coming out as a pustular poison now. People have allowed the brainwashing that has led us sleepwalking into the nanny state, but slowly and surely those same people are coming to realise something is wrong. State education we were told was the finest and we swallowed it. But now, with legions of 'highly qualified' children who cannot read properly and cannot add up, the penny has dropped that we have been conned.

Everywhere you look, the effects of Left wing propaganda spouted in Universities confounds manners and achievement, stops social mobility, leads to an elitist political class, incompetence across the public sector and high taxes.

People are beginning to ask 'why?' to all kinds of actions of the state and there really is no satisfactory answer. If the Left cannot find another way to again stifle debate, they may well be in real trouble.

Friday, 9 September 2011

HP Tablets Again

Seems Dixons Group have got more HP Tablets according to and the PC World website. More expensive now though (but some accessories thrown in) so not sure what the marketing policy on ditching stuff is. Funny how fashion (iPad) loses to value! Just depends on at what price it seems.

Has It Come To This

I see in passing that the headline on the Mail is about Bulgarian and Romanian staff coming to the UK to join the NHS who cannot speak English. Apparently the notable socialist, Professor Winston thinks this will compromise patient safety.

Has our country really come to this, that a newspaper has to headline a Professor saying such a blatantly obvious truth? Are the bureaucrats responsible for running the killing machine known as the National Health Service, so tied up with their arcane processes and rules (all thought up to keep them in work) that they cannot see the wood for the trees?

Is it really so unapparent to these people that the organisation, once believed to be for the care and recovery of the sick, that they should be focussed on patients? Mind you that is probably still to wide a remit for them to do something useful. Should I more accurately say the provision of timely and appropriate attention to the health of the patients as they arrive?

Let me give you a vignette of a personal tragedy and you can see where the NHS lets us down. My mother suddenly developed a problem in that she lost the power to walk whilst waiting to cross the road outside her house. She also had a 'dropped shoulder' and some other minor symptoms. On entering 'the system' she was told that as she had had a minor cancerous lump previously (on her leg, removed by surgery) it was 'probably cancer'. So she started a series of many visits to hospital to be prodded and sampled, being told variously over several months that she had cancer everywhere and finally that she had no cancer at all.

She was then handed over to neurology who diagnosed the problem the instant they saw her. Treatment; massive doses of steroids to be commenced as soon as possible (though that opportunity had now been missed). She had a fall at home and couldn't get up so was put into a care home where she had a fall (answer to written complaint, it was her fault and it was a controlled fall observed by two staff and the bruising was what should be expected) and became dehydrated (again 'her fault'; water was available).

She was then taken into hospital to deal with the dehydration where she got 'an infection' and died. It was suggested that it was just one of those things. no-one mentioned a hospital acquired superbug and the death certificate said septicaemia (which is blood poisoning without saying what caused it, like perhaps MRSA. But the authorities were trying hard at the time to reduce the statistics on deaths from hospital bugs, though possibly less hard on reducing the actual deaths).

What happened to treating the whole patient? Why the fixation, for months with cancer only to find it wasn't that? Why the compartmentalising of symptoms and over such a long time? Why the appalling lack of basic nursing care? It is clear though, that the self-serving, rude and blatant lies in management responses to complaints are a key to the problem. I am also suspicious that the cause of death was less than truthful which means that doctors now have to lie too.

Whether the NHS model is the best one for providing healthcare is a big question, but we also have to cure the managerialism that has destroyed the whole point of healthcare at the most basic level. It has come as a result of Tony Blair's belief that giving institutions large sums of money and leaving what they spend in on up to them, is a sensible way to behave. The damage that man did is inestimable.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Plane Crashes

As the terrible news of the crash of a Soviet era plane taking the lives of 45 people including some of the best ice hockey players in the world, attention is also drawn to and Air France aircraft that nearly 'fell out of the sky'.

In a scene reminiscent of the earlier flight AF447 in which 228 died, an Air France Airbus flying at 35,000 feet hit a storm, had its autopilot disconnect and as it climbed lost airspeed and nearly stalled. The pilots we understand, acted quickly to save the day.

What puzzles me is that when the autopilot cut out the aircraft climbed, which suggests maybe that the software decided that the aircraft was going too fast (as it was pushed by the storm's wind -an 'overspeed' alarm had sounded), so initiated a climb to take off speed. At this point the idea would be that the crew would take over and fly the plane safely, but the report seems to suggest the aircraft was put in grave danger, coming close to a stall. Now, I'm no pilot but my understanding is that, unless the aircraft goes into a 'flat spin' in a stall, the pilots put the nose down to recover forward speed and fly the plane out of trouble.

Not what you want to happen in a routine flight, but not Buck Rogers stuff either. It would seem from the report that the aircraft was in some danger, which might suggest that the disconnect of the autopilot and the need for human intervention caught those humans unaware and they took some time to react. If that was the case, that is what I would want to read in the report.

Police And Weapons, Again

During the operation to find and apprehend the murderer Raoul Moat, police deployed 'shotgun' like taser weapons that do not have approval for use in the UK. Assistant Chief Constable Steven Ashman has had a think about his actions in authorising their use and come to the conclusion that everything was OK and he did the right thing. This is a common situation these days, From expenses fiddling MP's, to Sharon Shoesmith, to Assistant Chief Constable Steven Ashman, senior figures in the public sector are allowed to make a judgement on their actions and absolve themselves of any wrongdoing.

Steve has been quoted as saying that he deployed the weapons, illegally, as he could see only two outcomes otherwise; either Raoul would shoot himself, or they would shoot him. So the Tasers were deployed and Raoul still shot himself, which leaves me a little confused over the defence the ACC has come up with, even with the benefit of hindsight. Maybe I expect too much.

I wonder if relatives of those shot by police, even where they did have a gun, perhaps a 'converted weapon', but still viable, can sue the police? I mean, though the possession of the weapon was technically illegal he was carrying it for a good reason, self protection say and that consideration outweighs the legal niceties. Or am I missing something? Are only state employees allowed to invent new rules to cover every eventuality?

You see, I would quite like the police to operate within the law and to think that so doing was part of the reason they hold that position, the reason they can take away someone else's liberty; because they have a moral superiority. Maybe, where a senior officer doesn't justify his serious misjudgement during riots by saying he is pleased no-one was hurt. I might be wrong, but I think a society where robbers are told to ply their trade at will on the proviso that they don't hurt anyone, would be a poor society indeed.

It seems that the order of priorities for senior police officers these days runs something like this; salary, position, pension, size of office, opportunity to apply all that was learnt in sociology degree, crime. And quite often they can't fit it all in.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Penal Reform

Ken 'Muddled' Clarke comments that the recent riots were due to the inadequacies of the penal system; that prison hasn't stopped re-offending. It seems you see, that fully 75% of those arrested for riot related crimes already had a criminal record. Once again the bleat is that the state, the justice system, the prison service, do not do enough for these poor lost souls.

Being of a left leaning persuasion Clarke is bound to come to these conclusions. For the Left a dependent class supports their reason for existing, it gives them something to pontificate about and people to order around. That their ideas are proved wrong time and time again is no reason to abandon them; according to the logic of the Left it means more intervention is needed, that anyone opposing (i.e. proving them wrong) should be silenced.

Prison, the wets believe, should rehabilitate the offender, ready to go into society a changed person, ready to take a proper, law abiding place in the ranks. The other extreme says that locking them up on bread and water would teach them a lesson, be a proper punishment and make them not want to go back. Either way, what we are talking about is changing their mindset. And that is the key.

It is a key that is perpetually missed though, by the Left because they don't care, their interest in criminals is self-serving, by the others because they don't give them a second thought. Until they are back again. You see, you can only change someone if they want to. Much as the Left are totally wrong about poverty leading to crime, which is demonstrably untrue, so they are wrong about their attitude to crime. The criminal makes the choice to be a criminal. He makes the choice to go back to crime.

His reasoning will be varied and individual but will conform to a broad stereotype. He will not want to work and take the instruction of others this will doubtless entail. He wants material things but lacks the means due to his decision not to work. Just as his immaturity will not allow him to take instruction, so he will not have any empathy with those he steals from, mugs or kills. He will instead be filled with his own self worth and a baseless opinion of superiority.Thus dangerously equipped he goes out into the world.

This is the mindset we have to target. A mindset of selfish arrogance. Sure we have to show him that making different choices make sense. But that means we also have to improve our educational standards, removing the Left's insistence on keeping the 'workers' down, to maintain their constituency. We have to have proper education, that teaches and expects respect based on ability, not 'respec' based on the threat of violence.

We would also need a proper prison regime, that is an unpleasant though not brutal experience one best not repeated, as it presents them with that choice. Currently it makes absolute sense for them to commit crimes as the chance of getting caught is slight, the sentence if caught will be light and prison a place of constant apology for the inconvenience to their lifestyle. An impact that is minimised by expensive equipment to keep them entertained and a fairly relaxed attitude to drug taking (no matter how loud governors and Ministers squeal the opposite to be true).

It starts in the classroom where the teacher who fails to maintain discipline either through lack of personality or institutional diktat, will be mercilessly dealt with by the pupils in his charge. And so this display of weakness will be used to gain advantage at every turn. As indeed it is in the current criminal justice set up we have and into which Clarke wishes to introduce further weakness. As I have said before, you can call it toughness or tough love, but we have to take away the options from these feral youths.

It is why people kick out and say take away their benefits, because that will frighten them. It will show their actions have consequences and will affect their choices. We have to crack this quickly though, otherwise we will have to take this route and it will inevitably mean a return of something very like the workhouse. If evicting someone makes them homeless, what does that achieve? But if you cannot use the sanction how do you succeed? It would mean a further step down to a barracks style accommodation that is locked at night, with food provided, if you are back by the time the compound gates are closed.

Everywhere you look the infection of the dangerous and damaging Left ideology is seen, causing all manner of problems. In schools, in the managerial style adopted by the NHS that is now able to kill people at an accelerated rate. In hopeless policing and hapless government. In the constant revelations of incompetence in IT systems and MoD procurement. All of these debasements of our abilities and our society's worth have been brought about by Left ideology creeping up on us through the institutions.

An idiot senior police officer, addressing a government committee looking into the riots said that the only reason they were as extensive as they were was not due to strategy (his responsibility) but to a lack of officers (a veiled reference to 'cuts' -that haven't happened yet). He was pleased he said, that no-one was in hospital, seriously hurt because they went in short-handed. Forgetting of course that his officers had recently shot and killed a man posing no threat to them. Again. In fact, it was entirely due to strategy and the glaring lack of it. The officers were available, but he hadn't mobilised them, didn't use those he had effectively, didn't have a plan and felt entirely at ease 'standing back'. The ideology of the Left.

We know this because if there is any hint of right wing affiliation then they turn up in strength and go in hard, even when not necessary. Hence the tolerance of Muslim violence (in accordance with Multiculturalism) but attacks against those who oppose them (who must be right wing by default). But most shocking of all, was the politically motivated attack on a peaceful march in support of the rights of countryside folk. This was an outburst of Left agitation against its enemies, hidden under the acceptable (to them) code of class hatred. In fact of course it doesn't refer to class, it is the same as Nazism in Germany of the Thirties, using violence to deal with political opposition.

Skyscraper Fires

I have long suspected, without really forming any cohesive thought on it, that skyscrapers were built with a large amount of cynicism. I thought that as a turntable ladder couldn't reach the top, that a judgement had been made that a) there probably wouldn't be a fire, b) that if there was it would probably be small and those around and above could get out using the fire stairs, c) that if it was bad, firefighters would be able to contain the fire and rescue at least most of the people and d) if they couldn't it was a risk worth taking for the benefits perceived to be bought with the erection of a tall building.

Seeing all the programmes flooding our screens now about 9/11 it seems that the risks involved were just ignored. It was a price worth someone else's life. Consider, in any high-rise fire the action of the fire service on arrival is to get up to the fire, using the stairs and fight it using risers and pumps within the building or carrying up hoses. I would imagine anything above the third floor would start to compromise the abilities of firefighters due to fatigue.

In a programme about people escaping from the 88th floor of the World Trade Centre building we learned that the people had to take 2000 steps to escape. The plane hit the 93rd floor. It is not difficult to imagine a scenario in which a fire would be fairly extensive by the time any serious amount of fire-fighting effort could be deployed on the 93rd floor of a building. (As an aside, it was appalling to also hear that standard procedure in the WTC was that on hearing a fire alarm people should gather in their office and stay put, and to await further instructions. This would ensure any fire had more time to perhaps block escape routes).

Of course in the 9/11 strike the cause was something that was extreme, but is considered in the construction of skyscrapers; aircraft strike. Unfortunately, the scenario they envisage seems centred around older, lighter planes and takes little or no notice of the effects of the ensuring fire, accelerated as it would be with a large amount of aviation fuel. The effect they sought to prevent was catastrophic structural damage.

A large fire generates large amounts of smoke and as we saw in 9/11 there was no ability to use the roof as a rescue point, using helicopters, due to the smoke. So, the conclusion that is forced upon you is that, anyone considering the outcome of a serious fire in a very tall building is, that it is highly likely the people above the fire will die. A kind of practical, architecture induced, disaster planned logic. Probably won't happen, probably won't be that bad, but, well, fingers crossed.

Almost as bad is the fact that it seems the fireman's life is also as disposable as the unfortunate occupants, because the only way to deal with the fire is to send them into the blazing building. Some will say that it is ever the case and yes, firemen do enter buildings searching for trapped people and to attack a blaze internally, but always with a care for their own safety and you never see that as the exclusive method. If the building can be, at all, attacked from outside, it is. Think of the recent properties burned in Croydon during rioting. A platform was used to pour water down onto the fire from above, so clear is the advantage of doing this.

The spectacular and rapid collapse of the buildings at the World Trade Centre are seared into our memories. But buildings collapsing like that are, it seems as rare as those attacked by hijacked airliners, even where an extreme fire is involved. Naturally this has led to conspiracy theories suggesting that the fall of the buildings was too perfect and closely resembled a demolition job. Whilst it is spooky and strange to behold, you have to question the premise of the suggestion that the government did it.

Firstly, the charges would have to have been placed without anyone noticing. The preparation for such an event is extensive, but it is just about possible to believe it could be accomplished. Secondly, to need to collapse the tower you would also have to be responsible for the aircraft attacks. So who did that? People so dedicated to the cause of democracy that they gave their lives? Remote control? The planes had to hit in the right location, so not prematurely setting off the demolition charges and finally, with the level of devastation that you have agreed to cause, why bother to stack the rubble neatly in a compact heap?

Are we to believe that the cunning government plot was exposed by an agent's excessive OCD problem? If the plane didn't knock the building down (which would have been a very messy collapse) then surely blowing the supports in the underground car park would have done (and been easier to conceal), much as Al Qaeda tried to do in 1993?

No, for me the real scandal is that those involved with the design, building and disaster planning for such tall buildings have no real concern for the safety of the occupants of that building. Whilst most things involve compromise, the compromise here is people's lives. There needs to be a serious rethink and some real planning done, to rectify the cynical disregard for life that currently exists in commissioning these buildings. In any war, the most detailed planning goes to pieces with first contact with the enemy. In a disaster there are usually casualties from the unforeseen and the unforeseeable and it will ever be so, but that is unavoidable.

To plan for the safety of others with your fingers crossed and hope in your heart just isn't good enough.

Monday, 5 September 2011

The Way Of The World

There used to be a simple notion. The people elected politicians who, generally did what was expected of them or they were voted out. Industry was given the incentive to do things by the mass of buyers choosing their product. Today things are rather different.

Big money attracts the attention of politicians and elections are some kind of ritual farce. Retail policy is derived by asking big retail how the sector should look; strangely it favours big companies. Turkeys are asked their views on Christmas. The people pay for what they get (or if it is a government service, that they often don't get) not what they want.

Man made global warming is a scam; the scientists who back it are either ideologically locked in or support the theory because their funds rely on it. But we should be earnestly looking for replacement energy sources, different ways of doing things. The emissions may not be doing what the idiots think, but aren't good anyway. But can you say that any real effort is being expended? Not if the pathetic 'electric car' is the best we can do.

These things wouldn't have been considered working prototypes years ago, but so depleted is our knowledge that car manufacturers churn them out as if they are viable and on the whole, we seem to believe them. An electric car with a 100 mile range. Whoopee! Except, what if it is night time and I need the lights on? And winter so I also need the wipers and blower on and where do I get heat from? I'm guessing we could now perhaps manage a couple of hundred yards.

We need politicians who think the electorate are their masters not the money of big business. We need a complete reversal of current warped thinking and to do that we need finally to get the left liberal monkey off our back.

Green Energy

It is becoming more of a topic talked about openly; the cost of 'green' energy. So, how much tax are you prepared to pay, to get 'sustainable' energy? It seems a lot of people answer 'very little', or 'none' to that question.

But nobody is asking that question, as we already are paying greatly inflated prices for our energy, to pay for fantasy 'solutions' to a non existent problem. Wind farms receive subsidies to get them built. They are then guaranteed a purchaser and at twice the price of 'normal' electricity. Naturally, many people are keen to have windmills on their land because of the large rents paid (such as the £1000 a day Cameron's father in law gets) and the people who run the monsters have guaranteed profits for decades.

But for those who believe in AGW (and presumably any other passing fashion) paying this tax and more may be acceptable. But wind power only works when the wind is blowing at the right speed, not too fast not too slow and this is unpredictable, so a back up, non wind related power station has to be up and running the whole time, for the moment the wind stops providing. And sometimes wind generates too much and overloads the system (because of its unpredictability) as has happened in Europe.

So, wind power, mainly pointless (produces about 21% of its theoretical maximum) and costs more in CO2, not less. But, hey a lot of rich people are getting richer and as Al Gore knows, that is the reason politicians support the scam (though it is entirely possible Chris Huhne actually believes in fairies).

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Should I have known better than to go into the Centre for some essential shopping on a Sunday? Well, Spanish dictionaries don't just turn up you know (Oh yes, Amazon). The circuit included WH Smith, Superdrug and BHS (and a wander through Boots).

I love books and I came to hate WH Smith when they seemed to pull back from being a bookseller, but that has reversed and it has a useful and OK laid out library of tomes. Still facing the challenge of buy it now at full cost or online later. They stock a wide range of magazines and must be praised for that. The rest of the store seems to be decorated with random displays of knick-knacks and cheap junk. With lots of primary colours again. I think this repulses the older people so must be aimed at youngsters. Do they really use their significant buying power in response to bright colours. Is our youth really so stupid, or just marketing people?

Superdrug is that brightly lit cornucopia of all manner of household necessities such as polish and cleaners and perfumes. Except now it is a hopelessly laid out, brightly lit, not that cheap also ran. With a cheap name. It wasn't busy and it didn't deserve to be. Lord knows what motivates their buyers.

BHS. A decent store I think but desperately schizoid. Own brand walking style shoes at £42; is that a bargain? In the crowded market place, no. The range of things on offer are not graduated but seem random and overlapping. The use of space is thoughtless beyond 'sections'. Sight-lines could be better but are not as bad as Boots.

How do Boots survive? What are they known for or do well? It is a mess, you cannot understand the layout and sight-lines are non-existent. I hate the place and only use it as a thoroughfare to somewhere else.

Oh, I mustn't forget The Works. You have to love this place. They have some very interesting stock, it is reasonably laid out around a compact store and everything is easy to find. And they do live up to their promise of attractive prices. With quite a bit of tat.

Retail does give you the impression in these especially stressful times that the big decisions are not well founded, that stores could do better by standing back and looking properly at their business (metaphorically as a construct and actually in their stores) and thinking around the subject of people buying their wares instead of trying to be 'clever', with bright colours.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Predict A Decision

Actually, thinking about councils, I thought I should attempt a prediction. A decision is due any time now about where a large casino is going to be authorised in Milton Keynes. There are three candidates; the Xscape building in the centre, the Leisure Plaza near the railway station and the MK Dons football stadium.

Xscape has a lot of leisure activity and is near what is known as theatre district, which sounds sophisticated (and the theatre is fantastic) but is actually a warren of little alleyways and often sees an infestation of drunken 'malcontent's'. The addition of a casino may overload the area.

The Leisure Plaza is an area that is now quite run down, with a long-closed nightclub standing empty, a bowling alley, an ice rink and unfortunately a lap dancing club. Putting a casino here would mean the regeneration of the whole area, with new facilities, enough out of the way to not be a nuisance, but close to road and rail links to bring in custom. (I must declare an interest here; I have links to ice hockey, so my sport would gain in this scenario. I don't mean financially, there isn't any money in it! I mean giving youngsters somewhere to play and locals a bit of exotic sport to watch, in rejuvenated facilities).

The last option is the football stadium. This is well out of the way, which is fine for a sport like football, with large crowds arriving and departing at roughly the same time, during the day or perhaps early evening. For a casino it seems a bit detached, no cohesive reason to be there. But the man responsible for the stadium is a bit of a local hero, with a high profile and crucially, contacts. Now, to the best of my knowledge, he is a lovely bloke and I wish him no harm, but he may have access that no competitor does.

Most people, if taking a bet (pun intended) would plump for the stadium, for exactly these reasons. But is that right? Should a decision be made where the most good can be done, or where (perhaps) the benefit is to the relationship between councillors and local businessmen?

Councils And Car Parking

Back on to another pet subject! Milton Keynes council decided to rake in more money a while back by doing away with free car parking spaces around the shopping and business areas of Central Milton Keynes. The replacement is a two price band scheme, moderate and expensive. The expensive ones are close to the shops and around prime business locations like the Santander building.

Being morons, council people think this is an excellent ruse and they start flipping through executive furniture brochures in anticipation of the wads of cash rolling in. Naturally, the general public who often have to work for a living and only keep their job by at least being competent, parked in the surrounding estates and avoided the new high priced bays, which generally are now empty.

Now, with more Tories on board a rethink is in the wind, to bring back free spaces. I'm sure it is beyond their capacity to understand a concept of serving a community and go back to universal, free parking but hey, it's a step in the right direction. However, the annoyed residents of the streets nearby, have been helped by the council buying a huge number of posts and signs, to turn these areas into 'permit parking' only. I'm guessing that the permits will cost the home owners money. and give a degree of control, unwarranted of course, to the council.

So a mess the council created can be resolved, apparently by the spending of more taxpayers money and by planting a forest of signposts. Come on, there must be some kind of test you have to pass to become a councillor, like genuinely not being able to tie your own shoelaces. Some people, paid no doubt from public funds, may think I am being a bit harsh. If so, show me a quality decision by a council, one that is in the interests of the community, works and isn't run by a relation.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Nick Clegg Picks Riot Team

The inquiry into the recent riots seems not destined to reflect the public mood. Firstly, absent-minded Nick Clegg (I don't mean he forgets things, I mean his mind is absent) has been given the job of selecting which left-liberals should lead the official apology. Apology for an inquiry that is.

Secondly, if all the rage and 'lock em up' and swift justice, was the government's reaction to the wanton destruction, why now a limp wristed, effete inquiry team? Why have such people been picked? Did Clegg pick them or just advertise in the Guardian?

And why should socialist state sector job-hoppers only be applicable? If the inquiry panel has 'I feel your pain' members, why not some from the wrecked establishments and communities; 'I have actually felt your pain'?

We know why they rioted; because they could. We know why they looted; because they always want to. They exist in a dead-in-the-head, materialistic community. One that has a high opinion of itself and owes nothing to anyone. An opinion based on no substance.

What the inquiry should almost exclusively look into is why they were able to riot. Why the police response was so, so Guardian. But of course, that would mean going against the instincts and actions of fellow socialist, social worker senior police officers. So the result will go like this; it can't be the rioters fault, they are victims of a cruel and divisive, Tory society and it can't be the fault of the police, who just wanted to care for these helpless souls. Not to judge and punish, but to find ways to meet them on equal terms, by perhaps giving them free, exotic adventure holidays, or vouchers towards trainers if they lay off burning down important buildings for a while.

No, it must be our fault. We don't pay enough tax to properly supply the outreach workers and level of financial support these people demand, er need. I think 'Bonfire of the Vanities' may have been hitting the wrong target. Can you think of a title that more accurately depicts the loathsome character of the socialist cabal that infects and infests the public sector? Self satisfied and mutually congratulatory for no input and no effort, taking ever larger salaries and creating meaningless empires. And pontificating about why riots happen.