We All Rely On A Dodgy Submarine

May 19, 2015
Trident Whistleblower

Trident Whistleblower

Submariner William McNeilly, hero or villain?

We spend billions on Trident which the Government say is critical to our security but if what he says is true, we skimp on day to day elements.

Could this be because the big contracts that line the pockets of the Governments pals are only to be had on the major projects and once the paperwork is signed, no one cares?

It also seems the security onboard isn’t what you would expect and it’s possible for a terrorist to get on board – on the plus side though, the equipment isn’t maintained correctly so they won’t be able to turn the weapons on us.

We probably wouldn’t believe this if it wasn’t for the fact that we’ve seen it all before – remember the lack of equipment in Afghanistan?

Whatever your views on Trident, it doesn’t make sense to spend billions on something that, potentially, won’t work when you most need it.

So the Government should address these claims publicly, although we know that ‘National Security’ will take precedence and it will be done in secret.

That, to me, will prove William McNeilly is telling the truth ….. and that means he is standing up for us and for what he believes in – which makes him a hero in my blog.

Fight For the Right, or Left, or Centre ……

May 10, 2015
Old Labour/New Labour

Left, Right, Centre

Talk about missing the bleeding obvious!

After their terrible performance in the election we’re now seeing the Labour Party trying to decide where they went wrong.

The fact they are already arguing about whether they should be targetting their traditional working class audience or aiming for the aspirational vote just highlights the real problem – no one knows what they stand for.

They seem more interested in power for power’s sake than standing for a set of principles. Hate Love or hate the conservatives, they stand for what they stand for with no apologies, as do the The Green Party.

Which brings us to another point – the Labour Party say they are the party of fairness and equality but we haven’t heard them mentioning a change to the voting system which we so obviously need because that might affect their chances of getting into power – that thing they want at any cost.

So when the candidates finally stand for the leadership election, how about we hear what they are actually standing for – maybe then people would know who and what they are voting for.

What’s the Story This Morning – Tory!

May 8, 2015
Post Election

No Comment

Waking up to this awful news.

Might be great for the economy but terrible for ordinary people, the environment and fairness.

Lags and Thugs and Helping Souls

May 4, 2015
Nepal Earthquake

It Takes a Criminal

The earthquake in Nepal is a truly horrific natural disaster. One of many we have seen around the world and with climate change taking hold, we can only expect more extreme events to come.

As a country we’ve already pledged something like 5 million pounds in aid which is a help but there is a way we could do more and at the same time benefit ourselves – the two things don’t have to be mutually exclusive and there’s nothing wrong with doing it.

All it needs is a bit of joined up thinking and some backbone from politicians.

Pledging money is fine although I don’t know or trust how much will be delivered and in the case of some countries, how much will reach it’s intended recipients. What they need is help on the ground, people who can move rubble, tend the sick and injured, even help to rebuild.

What if we could have teams on standby who could be flown out to disaster zones at short notice, not just leaving it to charities and NGO’s.

The UK prison population is a bit shy of 90,000 people at the moment and among them will be people with the skills needed, people who, let’s face it, have time on their hands. How about we offer them the chance to be on standby so when one of these disasters occurs, they can be pretty quickly organised and on planes, taking the aid on the same flights.

The benefit for the country receiving help is obvious but at the same time we’d be saving money in the prison service. We tend to think all prisoners are simply bad people but this isn’t the case. There will be a large percentage who have just made mistakes they regret or been in situations they didn’t want to be in and don’t want to be in again and could see this as a way to make amends.

For those who might be career criminals, this is an opportunity to get away from prison life which could have unexpected results. I’ve been to what we would class as third world countries, not to disaster zones and not in the poorest areas admittedly but I’ve seen enough to totally change my outlook and I’m pretty sure this would be the case for a lot of people – if it’s not then they are probably beyond help but those who are open to it could learn skills that would be useful in the outside world and have something different to put on their CV’s. So another benefit for us would be less re-offending.

It would have to be totally voluntary and they would have to agree to sign off from being able to claim for injurys, disease and accidents but I’d imagine that is the case for aid workers anyway. There will be details that need working on ie how many times can a prisoner volunteer, logistics, who is excluded etc but at least it’s a starting point.

This might sound radical but then many things we take for granted today probably seemed radical in their time … the NHS, the benefits system, votes for women etc.

This can’t be a replacement for overseas aid, it’s just a way to help with unforseen disasters which I would hope would be copied by other countries …. and there’s another benefit for us, we’re seen as a force for good for once.

#RoyalBaby Love

May 2, 2015
Royal Baby

It’s a Girl

Congratulations to William and Kate on the birth of their new baby girl …. no, I mean it. I’m as happy for them as I am for any couple.

The difference is, of course, they aren’t just any couple and this little girl, less than a day old, is already wealthier than most people could ever dream of due to an accident of birth.

Watching the sycophantic coverage on TV you have to wonder if these people really mean what they say, are being told to say it, or are vying for a gong some time in the future.

Two comments stood out for me. “It’s interesting Kate is wearing yellow” was one. No it’s not. It could be that she didn’t know what sex the baby would be or it could just be that a yellow outfit came to hand as she left. Interesting would have been if she’d worn a Green Party tee shirt or a Sex Pistols ‘God Save The Queen’ one.

Another comment, when they left was “It’s interesting that Kate is holding the baby, last time it was William”. Again, that’s not interesting. One of them has to hold it (and it really isn’t that much of a big deal to see a Dad putting a car seat in).

One thing they said that was interesting was when they mentioned that not everyone is interested in this event. The fact that was even acknowledged seems like step forward to me, although I’m sure it won’t stop the wall to wall coverage we’ll be getting. At least it will only last a few days though because soon the election will take over again. Call me cynical but you have to wonder if the baby ‘had’ to be born before the election because that really would have detracted from it.

Then they went on to talk about succession to the throne. Apparently this princess is now 4th in line which, considering how long Prince Charles has been 1st in line is pretty irrelevant barring an outbreak of terminal royal lurgey.

Now of course, we’ll have all the fuss over the name although the favourite on Twitter seems to be #RoyalBaby – now that really would bring the monarchy into the 21st century. That or Kylie Sprinkledust …

And you can understand the comments about dysfunctional families living off the state producing another child we must support because, well, they are a dysfunctional family living off the state producing another child we must support! I’m often told this doesn’t matter because the royals bring so much income into the country (aren’t I mum?) but let’s say a benefits family graffiti up their local area and the graffiti becomes popular and sought after, like Banksy. If this brought fans in to see the graffiti and generated a local tourist industry, by extension we’d be happy to continue supporting them – no?

So to sum up, on a personal level a great thing for a happy couple but should that happiness be at the expense of the rest of us?

Rail to No Profit

April 20, 2015
Public Transport

Cattle Truck

I don’t think anyone who supports a party in the election agrees with all their policies and I’m no exception.

I think the Green Party have it slightly wrong on the issue of public transport. I don’t think nationalising the railways would be a return to the bad old days of British Rail because times have changed, expectations of customer service are different and technology has totally altered how we book and while I agree it should be de-privatised, I don’t think Central Government is the place.

Instead, I’d like to see public transport turned into a ‘Not For Profit’ organisation. That way, they can make money but that money will go back into the service, not into the pockets of investors and shareholders and definitely not into Government coffers.

We also need a simpler system of fares. It’s ridiculous that the same route can cost different prices if you break it into sections or if you book at different times. Surely a cost per mile or per station would make more sense, after all the same train runs the same route for the same cost so why can’t it be averaged out?

The Not For Profit would include the booking system (we don’t need all those comparison sites when one centralised one could do the job), the maintenance, tracks, stations, trains – everything. So you would only need one management team and hopefully there would be more efficient communications inter-company.

And in the 21st Century, should we really have a first and second class – doesn’t that represent all that is bad in society?

This could also be extended to a National coach service and improved local bus services – working together with better connections.

One final advantage of removing Public Transport from state ownership is that it stops the Government using it in any way for their own political ends …. speaking of which, let’s scrap HS2!

Will Get Fooled Again

April 19, 2015

Lloyds Bank Sell-Off

Horses for Votes

So, another Tory policy straight out of the handbag of Margaret Thatcher.

This time they are going to let ordinary people buy shares in Lloyds Bank that the Government owns.

By ‘The Government’ of course, they mean us, the public.

We’ve already paid once for these shares and now we’re getting the opportunity to buy them again… wow, thanks! And everyone can benefit – as long as they have at least £250 kicking around doing nothing.

After the great success of the sale of the Post Office, what could possibly go wrong?

Here’s what. ‘Ordinary’ people will take the risk of buying a number of the original shares. The Tories, because this is a bribe to keep them in power, will make more cuts and those ‘ordinary’ people will sell the shares off for a small profit in order to make ends meet.

Pension funds and the super-rich will pick up the shares and of course they will have the time to sit on them until they are more valuable.

In other words, those who can’t afford it, or in this case can just about afford it, will be used for the good of the wealthy. Cameron looking after his buddies again.

As much as it hurts me to say it, I think these shares should be sold on the open market to get the maximum value back on them and the money received should be ring fenced for the NHS – that way, indirectly, the banks will fund some investment in the NHS.

At least that would be honest (look it up in the dictionary Mr Cameron, it’s under H).

It Means Nothing To Me, Ah Inflation

April 15, 2015
Cost of Living

Statistics and Lies

Great to hear that inflation is at zero percent, give or take.

Yet again though, a perfect example of how politicians live in a cloud and don’t inhabit the real world we all live in.

We’ve spent the last 5 years, together or otherwise, bailing out the banks while having to cut back and make do – fixing our own cars, repairing our vacuum cleaners, bodging jobs around the house etc.

But now, or very soon, these things will come back to bite us. The large items we’ve been supergluing and cable tying together will need replacing, so although our weekly/monthly outgoings stay the same, we’ve somehow got to find the money to afford them.

Most people will have to take out loans or use credit cards getting themselves in debt but the Government, whichever flavour, won’t care because on paper we’ll be spending more and that will show in the economic figures.

And guess who will claim the credit (no pun intended)?

Fight, for the Right, to Buuuy

April 14, 2015
Right To Buy

Maggie Sang the Blues

For a party that constantly reminds us about ‘market forces’, the Tories seem to have missed the point with their new ‘Right to Buy’ proposal.

When they originally sold off public housing stock it didn’t take a genius to see that a reduction in that stock would lead to higher house prices and rents. Simple supply and demand economics, if you’re going to get rid of stock, you need to replace it or prices rise.

And of course they didn’t replace the stock, neither did Labour for that matter, they all left it to the private sector because ‘market forces’ take care of everything …. except when they don’t!

So now we have ridiculous house prices and rents and they think the answer is to sell more stock off.

If the theory is that by paying rent over a long period, you are somehow entitled to some ownership of that property, then surely this should be extended to the private sector. So if you pay a private landlord, after a period you should have a right to some of the value of the property.

Of course that won’t happen because the big private landlords (the property companies) are the Tories pals.

If they really must go down this route of vote buying by proxy, it should be fully costed, not financially but they should have to show how the properties will be replaced.

Just seen this on Twitter from @SuziePerkins- if it’s true, and I’ve no reason to think it’s not, this is just disgraceful.

Richard Benyon Tory MP owns 300+ council houses Thatcher sold. Makes millions each year in Housing Benefit. Sums up Tory housing policy!!!!”

You Can Leave Your Hatton

April 13, 2015
Hatton Garden Heist

Bit late officer?

OK, it’s a bit late but I thought I’d mention the Hatton Garden Heist – from a slightly different perspective.

There’s been a lot said, rightly, about the police response … or lack of it but at the end of the day you have to have a grudging respect for the gang. No one injured, 2 days of work and even a break in between.

I feel sorry for any small family businesses that have lost out but presumably they will be insured because all their records will be up to date and legit…

Some of the stolen goods are supposedly previously stolen by their current owners so you can’t have a lot of sympathy there.

Then there are the people who had large amounts of cash or jewellery – well, the jewellery will have been documented and insured (won’t it) and if there are large amounts of cash you have to ask yourself why? Tax avoidance anyone?

But the real story should be that this is just one example of the police not bothering to turn up and it’s only getting the publicity because of the amounts involved.

What about all the ordinary people who are robbed, have houses burgled, cars stolen or are assaulted with no response from the police. These are the real victims and they deserve better.

Basically, the wealthier you are, the more likely you will get a police response – I remember when a well known footballer had his mansion robbed a few years ago, there were police at the electric gates, helicopters above and a large police presence. Don’t see that happening when old women or war veterans are attacked in their homes!

And watch out the gang involved in the heist because if they do track you down, and there will be massive resources allocated to it, your punishment will be much harsher than if you had stolen from Joe Public.


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