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Monday, 30 July 2012

Romney seeking the Jewish American vote.

 http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/after-a-day-meeting-israel-s-leaders-romney-gives-speech-in-jerusalem-1.454386


After a day meeting Israel's leaders, Romney gives speech in Jerusalem  Romney's staff picked the 150 guests carefully. Religious American immigrants dominated the crowd; secular Jews and native-born Israelis were few and far between. Those present included Jewish-American millionaires, settler leaders like the former chairman of the Yesha Council of settlements Israel Harel, and former Netanyahu aides such as Dore Gold, Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Yoaz Hendel.





This was not a speech. It was a crass and blatant pitch for the Jewish American vote at the November election, in exchange for the promise of American support for Israel actions against Iran, Palestine and its people and anyone else who criticises or opposes Israeli aggression and barbarism. In other words, Romney said that Israel can do whatever it likes to anyone it chooses and America will back them all the way. Romney also proposed moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Romney, an evil despicable cynic promising support to an evil barbaric Netanyahu.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

The Thought Police of Downing Street

 http://news.sky.com/story/966090/tory-mp-forced-to-say-sorry-over-olympic-gaffe















 A Conservative MP has been forced to apologise



I did not see the ceremony and therefore cannot comment on the "multi-cultural crap" remark. However, if that is what Aidan Burley thinks then so be it. The thought police of Downing Street and elsewhere have enough influence in this country already. Like the "Senior Source" in Downing Street said,  "We do not agree with him.". Fine, but that does not give you the right to demand an apology. Message to "Senior Source" and the others,from me. You may not agree with what I say (or think) but Hell will freeze over before I apologise for it. 

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Profiteering of Privatised energy suppliers.


 http://news.sky.com/story/965230/british-gas-posts-23-percent-rise-in-profits





 British Gas Residential arm rose 23% to £345m in the six months to June 30.
 The rise in profits means that British Gas Residential made some £1.9m of profit a day as consumers struggle to cope after the average dual fuel bill rose to £1,310 a year - more than £200 higher than two years ago.
As predicted, this parasitic energy supplier, heralds a 5% reduction in prices to the consumer earlier this year (having raised the price by 25% over the previous year), and STILL makes £345 million pounds profit in the first 6 months of 2012. Are prices being reduced next week? I do not think so. This profiteering at the expense of the consumer is obscene.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

The warped logic of Dominic Raab.

Last night (Tuesday 24th July 2012), Conservative MP Dominic Raab said there was growing concern that public sector workers were being called out on the basis of tiny turnouts in strike votes.
He said there was a clear case to require unions to secure the support of 50 per cent of balloted members to make industrial action legal. Perhaps if the same logic were applied in the wider real world, this country would be spared the undemocratic insult where a government can be elected to run the country for up to 5 years when only 3 or 4 of all people voting actually vote for them. Speak up Raab and all the rest of the hypocritical morons who utter the same nonsense, how do you reconcile the obvious inconsistency in your reasoning?



Dominic Raab is the Conservative MP for Esher and Walton. He entered Parliament at the 2010 general election

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Blair defends the bankers and praises Thatcher.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/tony-blair/9422096/Tony-Blair-hanging-bankers-wont-help.html

The approach promoted by Baroness Thatcher’s government is not to blame for the recent financial and economic crisis. “Don’t take 30 years of liberalisation, beginning under Mrs Thatcher, and say this is what caused the financial crisis.”

Tony Blair: hanging bankers won't help




 Letting them have their huge £1miilion + bonuses won't help either. The War criminal Blair comes to the defence of the thieving parasites. A classic case of defending the indefensible. He praises Thatcher’s work to reduce government involvement in free markets, and seeks to re join the Labour Party. Perhaps it's Blair that should be hanging from the lamp post at the end of the street along side 20 bankers.


More to do with "Jollies" and making money than sport

 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/london-2012-red-carpet-and-a-hard-sell-for-biggest-ever-gathering-of-world-leaders-7966125.html



 Queen Elizabeth II Hosts A Reception For Members Of The International Olympic Committee


I hope that the athletes enjoy their games (and I do not mean only the 150,000 free condoms which will be available for them during the course of the events) and that the spirit of competitiveness continues. However, I am getting very hacked off with the hangers on and their endless committees, dignitaries, business sponsors, Franchise holders, Heads of State, Civic members etc etc and their numerous receptions, dinners, functions, hospitality events and other "jollies". These "games" have turned out to be what many have always suspected, a never ending procession of social events for the media to cover showing off frocks, suits and other more colourful attire of people only interested in making huge sums of money from those punters probably least able to afford the extortionate prices of events, and the prices charged by the franchises for food, drink and other necessities. This is supposed to be about sport. It is actually about money and the sooner it is over the better. 

Morally Wrong to pay cash, but only to some.


http://news.sky.com/story/964120/mp-paying-tradesmen-in-cash-is-morally-wrong



 A Treasury minister has hit out at households who pay tradesmen in cash, saying it is "morally wrong" as it helps workers avoid tax.
"Getting a discount with your plumber by paying cash in hand is something that is a big cost to the Revenue and means others have to pay more in tax.






Exchequer Secretary David Gauke is a complete pillock. I can negotiate a discount for paying cash with all sorts of businesses. The high street shops are more than willing to reduce prices, sometime by as much as 15% in order to secure business especially in the furniture or white goods products. Car franchises usually offer cash discounts on the purchase of cars and vehicles. When Gauke and his ConDem coalition government has inflicted this pressure on the economy and consumers, there is every reason for the consumer to secure the best deal possible whenever a purchase is made. The privatised companies also offer what is equivalent to a cash discount in the pricing structure of their "special deals" for gas, electricity water etc etc. So Mr. Gauke, please no not lecture me onhow, where or with whom I should spend my money. If you have a problem with tax avoidance, you are looking the wrong way for a solution.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Frank Walker blew it.

 http://t.co/f4d76PTW

In a recent Guardian Article, the former Chief Minister of Jersey, Frank Walker, was given the opportunity to show the world that Jersey is none of these things and is willing to engage with anybody who believes otherwise. The Guardian Newspaper asked the Former Chief Minister a set of questions (below) that could help shed some light on the (possibly illegal) suspension of Jersey's most Senior Police Officer during the middle of an investigation into allegations of State Sponsored Pedophilia and related matters.



Frank Walker has been avoiding issues and questions for years and getting away with it. It always seemed to me that many States Members were afraid to challenge anything he said or did. This interview from 2008 is enlightening.( Stuart Syvret wins) .

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghJrJEUNxBY
 

Friday, 20 July 2012

The tradgedy of Syria





Damascus is often claimed to be the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, Ever since I first went there in the early part of 1985, I have loved the city and Syria, the people I met on numerous visits, the location, the climate, the restaurants everything in fact. Paradoxically, my first view of the country was a chilling one. Arriving at DAM the Damascus International Airport very late at night (the Airport was opened specially to receive the Company aircraft) from a refuelling stop at Larnaca, we were met on the tarmac by a deputation of high ranking army officers who accompanied us to the terminal building on special buses to collect our luggage and the trunks containing the 25 volumes of our (as yet incomplete) proposal for Phase 2 of the local manufacturing of communications equipment Contract for the Syrian Government.
Almost as soon as we left the airport for the drive into the City and what was to be our home, office, meeting venue etc over the next weeks and months, at the Sheraton Hotel, we passed a checkpoint which contained a large tank, some heavy machine guns and about 8 soldiers, all behind stacks of sandbags.
The following day, looking out from the window of my room across the city to the rim of the mountain range, I was hooked. Over the course of the next few months, I met and became friends with many people. Some Palestinians, Armenians and I suppose Sunni, Shia, Alawites, Christians, I have no idea what as I never asked. To me they were Syrians.
These were the days of Hafez al-Assad, Bashar al Assad's father. From the impressions I had, it seems that Bashar has never been able to adequately fill his fathers shoes. He has given me the impression of being an indecisive character, influenced and probably controlled by others. True, his father was a ruthless man who together with his brother and other family members carried out many acts which many outside considered to be barbaric. Yet, as far as I could tell, there were many people in the country who felt him to be a great man and were generally supportive of his rule.
It is now very sad for me to see the country tearing itself apart in the current civil war. In many ways it was probably inevitable that this series of events would eventually come about, as Syria, along with many countries in the Middle East have come into existence through the ineptitude and indifference of the former colonial powers of the United Kingdom and France following the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Straight lines drawn in the sand to establish borders on the map would always result in problems. No recognition, or even understanding, of religious, ethnic or tribal differences, have resulted in many conflicts over the years since the 1920's. In turn this has led to mistrust and probably some hatred amongst the Arab peoples towards the west.
The Syrian civil war may go on for months or may be over in a few weeks it is impossible to tell. What we do know, even now, is that there is a great change taking place in the Arab world and that their collective position and relationship with the west will never be the same again. The “status quo” is dead.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Lies, Damn lies and Government Statistics


http://news.sky.com/story/961678/olympics-give-uk-jobs-market-a-boost 






 The manipulation of statistics on behalf of governments is nothing new. The way in which inflation figure are calculated and announced always depends upon which set of measurements is most flattering to government policies at that time. RPI or CPI ? It depends on whether there is an r in the month. The art of manipulating figures was not in fact, invented by Thatcher, but it was certainly developed during the 1980's into a very persuasive method of convincing the public into accepting the lies of government in respect of many aspects of British society. If the figures used last month for example, do not show improvement, then change the method of calculation by adding something here or omitting something there until you reach the position that you had decided that  you wanted in the first place, then call it something else, and hey presto, all is well. Previous, and subsequent governments to Thatcher have all indulged in this cynical skullduggery. This ConDem coalition is no exception. Today's unemployment figures are no exception. On the one hand, there is euphoria that the number of unemployed fell by 65,000 in the 3 months to May to 2.58 million or 8.1% of the UK workforce. Down 0.1% on Aprils figure. However, the numbers claiming Jobseeker's Allowance jumped by 6,100 last month to 1.6 million, including an increase of 8,000 among women to 530,700, the highest figure for 17 years. So the number claiming benefit increase while the number out of work falls. That, to me at least, is a tadd confusing. Now, if you have been claiming Jobseeker's Allowance for 12 months, you are no longer counted in the unemployed figure but are moved some where else. More confusion. The pundits and politicians on our television screens will no doubt revel in the euphoria of the "green shoots of recovery" for the economy while the presenters on Sky News, never known for impartiality when it comes to Tory propaganda,  will ensure that their good news is repeated often enough to convince themselves at least. The people of course,  are expected to soak it all up and be thankful for the "progress" on the road to economic recovery.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Grave crisis facing the international banking sector..

http://news.sky.com/story/960858/exclusive-banks-face-27bn-libor-hit



The banks under investigation in the Libor rate-fixing scandal face combined losses of up to $42bn (£27bn).16 banks face a financial hit.






These parasite criminals would probably have the audacity to come to the government for another hand out of tax payers money to bail them out of the self inflicted mess. The government should tell them to go to hell or face full nationalisation and permanent public ownership.

A very one sided "special relationship".


http://news.sky.com/story/961071/us-security-agents-at-heathrow-for-olympics
US security agents are to be based at Heathrow and some other UK airports for the duration of the Olympic‬ Games. How many will be in uniform and how many in plain clothes?



Why? No other nation would be allowed the same facilities.These "specialist agents", probably armed to the teeth, and probably containing a good number of CIA operatives, will do what American "security" people always do. A law unto themselves and responsible to no one. Yet another example of another British government kow-towing to  America in the very one sided "special relationship".

Monday, 16 July 2012

Dump the 'market' in the NHS


 http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com




This item appeared in my Twitter inbox today.
It will never cease to amaze me how it is, that with all the public and professional opposition that exists towards the governments proposals for NHS reforms, that Cameron, Lansley and Co persist in their lurch towards implementation. From the threats, inducements, blackmail and other dubious tactics, it is clearly obvious that reform is another word for destruction and that the Tory dogma of dismantling all aspects of the welfare state is alive and well in Downing Street.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Nothing to apologise for?

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/stop-apologising-says-clegg-7944473.html


Nick Clegg has "had it with apologising" and told Liberal Democrats to stop being "sensitive violets" put off by having doors slammed in their faces.




 
A strange comment coming from Clegg.
He should be on his knees begging forgiveness from the people of Britain and his own Party members and supporters, for the treachery, hypocrisy and evil cynicism that he has been guilty of since the ConDem coalition came into existence. Clegg has condemned the Liberal democrats to political oblivion for decades to come by his own lust for "power" and personal ambition. 

The reference to Rasputin is a little unfortunate.He, you may remember, was ultimately poisoned, then shot numerous times bludgeoned and then pushed under the ice of the Neva River.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards or decorators with whitewash?

 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/banks-inquiry-branded-total-joke-as-key-inquisitors-excluded-7941466.html



 The parliamentary inquiry into the banking industry and Libor scandal was branded a “total joke” today after two of the Commons' toughest inquisitors on financial issues were excluded from it.






The first step in Cameron's plan to give the bankers a soft ride in the inquiry, Kick the whole thing into the long grass to wait for the heat to die down and then whitewash the city criminals. This first pass in selecting these lightweight committee members,apart perhaps from Andrew Tyrie in the chair, proves beyond any doubt that there has to be an independent judge led inquiry into the whole rotten scandal.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

The sinister shadow of Blair returns.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ed-unveils-labours-new-signing-7936576.html

Tony Blair last night announced he is to take on his first job in  British politics since leaving  Downing Street – advising Labour on its policy review.



Mr Blair appeared alongside Mr. Miliband at the Emirates stadium, home to Arsenal Football Club in North London.
During his speech, Milliband commented that,  ‘....... I want to thank Tony for what he did for our party and for our country,’
For "our" party, it should be remembered that Blair destroyed party democracy and replaced it with a dictatorship of a small cabal, abandoned principles upon which the Labour Party was created, presided over a mass decline in membership, perpetuated and expanded privatisation, and failed to advance the real aspirations of working people in Britain.
For our Country, the reality is that Blair played second fiddle to Clinton and Bush in his drive to gain favour with the United States, lied to the cabinet and Parliament in order to drag this country into an illegal war in Iraq, committed Britain to a war in Afghanistan which has claimed the lives of more than 400 British service personnel so far (not to mention the civilian lives) where history shows that the war cannot be won.
His involvement in the Middle East is nothing short of disgraceful with his, not very well disguised, support for Israel coupled with his bias against the Palestinians.
In addition to these few "highlights" the Blair legacy to this country and the Labour party is one of lies, hypocrisy, shame and betrayal. Any thoughts that I may have had, in respect of re-joining the Labour Party, have gone and the membership application has been destroyed. If Labour wish to re employ Blair, they are welcome to him.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Cameron and his enforcers


 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Stephen Crabb, Philip Dunne, Bill Wiggin and James Duddridge, just who the hell do these thugs think they are? 
 
 
 
It is one thing to have a whipping system to ensure support for or against any particular government proposal. It is quite another thing to have what seems, from their reported actions, to be something more resembling a group of “enforcers” from the plot of a cheap Hollywood B movie.
No matter what some MP's may subsequently say, it is outrageous and, to me at least, completely unacceptable, that an elected member of Parliament, a representative of the people, can be ejected from the parliamentary estate as a result of what is no more than a fit of pique on the part of the PM and his thug whips.
On Tuesday night (10th July 2012), the government withdrew a motion on the timetable for the Lords Reform bill, as it became clear that scores of Tory MPs would defy a three line whip and vote against. This action seems to have provoked a temper tantrum from the PM, who confronted Jesse Norman MP, (who masterminded the rebellion over Lords reform), just outside the House of Commons division lobbies.
A short time later, Tory whips sought out the rebel leader to suggest he should leave the parliamentary estate for the night. As he relaxed with fellow rebels in the Strangers' Bar shortly after the vote, four whips entered the bar to ask him for a private word. The whips – Stephen Crabb, Philip Dunne, Bill Wiggin and James Duddridge – were said to have confronted Norman in an even more aggressive manner than the prime minister. A rebel MP source said, "The whips went to find Jesse and basically told him to go. They basically said to him that he knew he had damaged the government and he should leave”.
These four “enforcers” should be publicly chastised for their outrageous behaviour which, by any measure, is a breech of privilege.

The terminal decline of M & S ?


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-



The past decade has not been kind to Marks & Spencer, and yesterday the company reported that like-for-like sales in the past quarter had fallen by 2.8 per cent.








M & S have been in decline for some years. It seems to stem from the time when a television programme exposed the fact that M & S were sending labels showing "Marks and Spencer: Made in England" to third world countries to be attached to garments made in local sweat shops. There has been a significant fall in quality of the vast majority of their product range over the last few years, and control of consistency, particularly in size range is non existent. Their decline in the high street, may well be terminal, but would not come as a surprise.

Cameron was not happy.

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jul/11/cameron-clashes-with-lords-reform-revolt-leader



An angry prime minister confronted Jesse Norman just outside the House of Commons division lobbies. PM and Tory whips reprimand MP who masterminded rebellion over Lords reform.




This is disgraceful and demonstrates the extent to which a Prime Minister considers all his parliamentary party to be no more than "lobby fodder" to troop, lemming like, through which ever lobby the government and the whips dictate. Like a spoilt brat the PM and his little gang of thug whips, jump up and down frothing at the mouth in a collective temper tantrum. The motion was not all that Cameron lost last night.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Tell Kennedy to go to hell.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jul/09/lib-dem-labour-rescue-lords-reform


 Charles Kennedy wants Labour MPs to join a 'progressive alliance' to defeat the Conservative rebels






There seems to be no depths that the sniveling, treacherous Liberal Democrats, will not sink in their hypocritical pursuit of power. Having betrayed their party, the electorate and every shred of honour they may have held, the Lib Dem  parliamentary party now seek the support of the Labour Party to hang on to their ill gotten gains. Should the Labour Party agree to this they will be perpetuating this rag bag evil ConDem coalition and thereby supporting the government that is destroying the very fabric of British society. Tell Kennedy to go to hell.

The "Politics" of Jersey

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-jersey-18767068

A motion to reprimand Jersey's treasury minister for his handling of a failed deal to buy a new police station has been withdrawn.



Why am I not surprised that another senior Jersey politician has avoided the potential criticism from a States debate, notwithstanding his protestations that he "..........was disappointed the censure call would not go forward as he wanted a debate on it." There is an old saying that those who can not remember the past are condemned to repeat it. How true.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Plemont development or return to nature?

 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-jersey-



 A date has been set for a public inquiry into plans for Plemont Headland.





This exceptional location must be sold to the National trust for Jersey, and returned to nature. Any other outcome involving development of the site, can only demonstrate the extent to which greed and self interest have become endemic in Jersey.

Parliamentary Inquiry is a cul de sac


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/were-powerless-to-get-truth-about-bankers-says-key-mp-7923528.html


Politicians have been virtually "useless"  at getting to the truth behind the banking scandal, one of the MP's responsible for investigating the affair has admitted.







This is the real reason why Cameron and Co are insisting on a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Banking Scandal rather than a judge led independent  inquiry. It is a not very subtle ploy to ensure that the witness are allowed to ramble on at length, saying nothing, being asked weak, inane questions and ensuring that no one is any the wiser at the end of their "evidence". The Parliamentary "Inquiry", will ensure that the banks and their crooked practices, together with those of their employees, and the subsequent conspiracy to cover up the whole rotten system are protected from the full glare of public exposure for as long as it takes to bury the matter under heaps of frivolous side issues and paper mountains and loose the real reasons why the inquiry was established in the first place. MP's admit that they are powerless to get to the truth. Consequently, there is little benefit  in appointing them to a meaningless committee which will do nothing and have no effect.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

The writing on the wall?




 British democracy in terminal decline.


 

Firstly, let us dispel the myth that Britain is a democracy. It is not and never has been. In Britain, we are ruled by an elected dictatorship, which we have the "democratic right" to change every 5 years or so. The Country is in fact governed by the Prime Minister aided and abetted by "the cabinet" or as in the case of Tony Blair, a very few close "advisers". This little cabal, usually meet in secret, take decisions and create policy, and then tell the rest of their respective parliamentary party what the policy is and rely on this "lobby fodder" to march through the Government lobbies in pursuit of Party unity. Only rarely is this "unity" challenged when Government rebels find some proposal so obnoxious that they publicly object and indicate that they will at least abstain, or horror of horrors, they will vote against the Government. At this time the "Government whips" get to work, threatening a member's career in the house, or promising a promotion, or some other seedy inducement or threat to the individual MP, and usually but not thankfully always, the objections melt away and the Government "survives" the vote. There are fortunately a few members in the House who manage to retain a degree of honour and principal. It is against this background that the "long-term terminal decline" of British politics should be viewed.
This decline has been evident over many years but only in recent years has this decline accelerated at such a rate. Probably the biggest factor in this is the ever increasing availability and use of social networking and its ability to spread comment, news and debate to a wider and wider audience. Tweeters are now everywhere commenting and spreading news more quickly than newspapers or television news could ever possibly compete with. Political events are instantly analysed, commented on and passed on and the activities of politicians are closely scrutinised. With this relatively new public awareness, there comes the realisation that currently all political parties are basically the same with the "rush to the centre ground" of the late 1980's now producing the effect that there is no real choice when voting and all options lead to the same result. The voting system in any case leads to the anomaly of more than 60% of those bothering to vote, choose nit to vote for the party which wins under the "First past the post" election method. Under these circumstances, it is difficult to see any reversal of the decline, particularly as Governments become even more unrepresentative of the people in the country. Perhaps a complete replacement of the current political system is called for, in my view it is certainly necessary..

Friday, 6 July 2012

Why we should not trust politicians to carry out an inquiry.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jul/05/balls-osborne


Balls and Osborne clash.





Why does the Guardian again fail to provide readers with the opportunity to comment on specific issues?
This time its the article "Balls and Osborne slug it out in dispatch box "thrilla". Ironically, this item vividly demonstrates why an inquiry into the banking scandal cannot be carried out by politicians with their point scoring politically motivated private agenda's. Collectively, the banks appear to have been involved in criminal activities at the expense of their customers and British tax payers generally. It may well be that politicians were actively involved in these alleged crimes and therefore should not be part of any investigation. The only solution that would have an iota of credibility would be an independent public inquiry.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Were the Bank of England and Whitehall in on it?


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-libor-conspiracy-were-the-bank-of-england-and-whitehall-in-on-it-7906916.html


The Greta British Banking Scandal.




 
Why all this hysteria now. Many people have been saying for years that the banks were out of control, ripping off customers and it many cases worse, and that they were run by a cartel  of overpaid individuals who's activities verged on criminal fraud. The banks have been caught with their sticky fingers in the till, and now are being exposed for what they really are. It remains to be seen to what extent the Bank of England and politicians are  involved in this scandalous conspiracy against the public.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The great privatised industry racket.



 Arrogance and greed of the privatised energy companies





I have just had another telephone conversation with EDF, (our supplier of electricity, who who will soon be our FORMER supplier.). After the usual 20 minutes of brain-dead “music”, interrupted at various times by a monotone voice repeating a selection of options, I was eventually connected to a human. The background to this latest “frank exchange of views” revolves around the arrogance and greed of the privatised energy companies and their treatment of their victims otherwise known as customers. In early June, we received a demand for an increase in our direct debit payment from £75.00 per month to £83.00, following their “review” of our energy consumption. This arbitrary figure was arrived at not withstanding a £400.00 credit from the previous bill and a £70.00 credit on the current bill. This request prompted a phone call to EDF and after the 20minute “music break” someone at their offices picked up the phone, allowed me to listen to office noises for a few seconds and then hung up. Another telephone call, another 20 minutes, more music and then a human. There then followed a rather one sided conversation with a customer services operative who eventually agreed that the calculation was wrong and the new monthly Direct Debit should in fact, be reduced to £65.00, and as the bill was estimated again, she would arrange for a meter reader to visit our box and take a reading. Needless to say, this did not happen, hence today's call.
This morning's EDF human, had no record of previous exchanges, and took great pleasure in advising me that they, EDF, only arranged for meter readings when their customers were “unable to take their own readings” and were only obliged to carry out an “actual reading” once every two years. (One wonders what the reaction would be if someone sent them an “estimated payment”). Having listened to this patronising little woman for another 4 seconds, I advised her that I was now going to change suppliers, said goodbye and hung up. I am now logging on to “U switch” to find another firm of extortionists to take my payments. We need electricity.
We were sold the lie that privatised industries drive costs down and increase customer service. In fact, privatised industries provide a legalised extortion racket, and we pay the price.


Monday, 2 July 2012

£250,000 on a lost cause?




Jersey Tourism is spending £250,000 on extra TV advertising in the UK after a drop in visitors.








Having been a frequent visitor to Jersey since the days of Caledonian Princess, Earl Godwin, Corbiere etc (and we were passengers on the last sailing of the Havelet. It was very rough, but that is another story), it seems to me to be rather optimistic of Jersey Tourism to hope for some tangible return on their £250,000 TV campaign. Over the years, I have witnessed a significant decline in visitors specifically from the UK. I am unable to comment on the visitor numbers from Europe, but I would imagine that the same situation applies. In my view, there are a number of factors contributing to this decline.
The provision of accommodation in the traditional tourist sector, the Guest House and small hotel range has been decimated. On each visit, there have been numerous examples of this type of accommodation disappearing from the landscape as more and more sites are turned over to “a development of luxury apartments” or some similar description. True, there have been a number of new hotels built, particularly around the Waterside development area, but these are not attractive to the family visitor. A spokesperson being interviewed on BBC Spotlight last year, said that the traditional Guest House and the 2 or 3 star hotels operators, would have to accept that the mix of visitors to the Island had changed with the family units of parents and two children with buckets and spades being things of the past. The emphasis now was to the business and conference visitors staying for two or three days who demanded the highest levels of quality and service. This could only be provided by larger more luxurious hotels.
The attraction of the Island as a tax and duty free holiday location has also gone. At one time, when I was still a smoker, my favourite cigarettes were roughly one third of the price of those on the mainland. Over the years this differential has been eroded by various measures and now, I should imagine that there is very little if any price differential. The same also applies to wines and spirits.
On visits to Jersey over a period a few years ago, I was astonished to find that the cost of filling my car in England was actually a few pence cheaper than using petrol stations on the Island. Fortunately, this phenomenon lasted only for a short period but even now the variation between the Jersey price and the mainland price is very small.
The attractions for tourists are now very limited, particularly if the weather is not very kind. At one time, I recall the Fort regent complex providing an all day haven with live entertainment, amusements, sports, educational exhibits, night clubs and numerous other activities for children, teens and adults alike. Now, the condition of the fort and its long gone facilities, especially the state of the swimming pool are nothing short of a disgrace and do not reflect well on the administration. Other entertainments are now but memories and have not been replaced by any alternative. Ceaser's Palace, now houses, The Inn on the Park gone, The Jersey Experience formally the Strawberry farm is now only a shadow of what it was and has it is reported, applied for planning permission to demolish the facilities for development as a “care home and accommodation units”, even the Jersey Pottery will soon be completely gone. The list of lost attractions is almost endless.
I understand that there must be progress, but the word progress implies that there is a direction and ultimately an objective, but I have difficulty seeing in which direction the Island is going or where they aim to be.
It seems to me that Frank Walker's vision of creating a Dubai type Island off the coat of France full of exclusive hotels, rich financiers, Corporate Banks and luxury accommodation was only ever a wishful thinking mirage, and in pursuit of that dream the Island has fallen between stools and now has an identity crisis of huge proportions.
The fact remains that many hotels are lacking guests, numerous new homes remain empty, businesses are closing and farms are almost gone. To all intents and purposes the skills of agriculture have been irretrievably lost.
The lack of tourists in Jersey has little to do with the weather, perhaps something to do with the recession, but most of all it is the outcome of neglect of a cornerstone of the Jersey economy while perusing a pipe dream. There needs to be a rethink of objectives by the States and Tourism sooner rather than later. In the overall scheme of things another £250,000 is a drop in the ocean in comparison to the money already wasted on what may turn out to be a lost cause.