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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Time for a change.

 British Summer Time arrives at last.


Did everyone remember to put their clocks forward by one hour? It is not a problem for your PC or television or all the other “controlled” items which do it automatically because you entered “GMT” as the time zone when first registering. The problem is all the other fiddly little things like the cooker for example, where it seems to be necessary to have three hands in order to press down two buttons simultaneously, whilst at the same time pressing another button to set the hour and minute functions. The bedroom clock is another problem where match stick type fingers would be distinctly advantageous, because all the buttons are smaller than the full stops in this text, or at least they seem to be for someone with normal size fingers.
Now all these irritants, problems and distractions could be illuminated for ever with just one stroke of a pen. Someone, somewhere just has to grasp the nettle and decree that the ludicrous practice of changing the clocks by one hour in spring and autumn of every year will cease as from now and is forever banned in the UK. I say “now” in order to secure that Great Britain, or at least England if the others do not choose to join in, is permanently locked into BST or as some prefer, British Summer Time.
Why we have to be subjected to the forward and backward motion of clocks every year has always been a mystery to me and I suspect many others. It may, almost but not quite, have been understandable in wartime even with the British Double Summer Time, but today it is beyond logic.
Another advantage to having permanent BST, is that the body clock returns to, and stays at “normal” and restores a proper sleeping pattern.
I remain convinced that moods are intrinsically linked to both season and clocks. During the periods of lighter evenings and BST, there is a distinct improvement in mood. It therefore follows that retaining BST all year round, (there is even an argument to have and retain Double BST) has a beneficial effect. As it is not possible to effect the seasons, apart that is from climate change, controlling one out of two is a 50% success.
Message to those who are responsible for such things, in the matter of clocks, leave the bloody things alone.

It is still state theft. They are just taking a larger percentage.

People with over 100,000 euros (£84,300) in Bank of Cyprus accounts could lose up to 60% of their savings in a harsh new EU and IMF bailout deal.


 Cyprus bailout

How many more "little details" have the Troika, the banks and the politicians kept up their sleeves? Stealing 60% of  £84,000 from peoples savings is a big shift from stealing only 10%. Which ever way you look at it, it is still state theft. It is just that they are stealing a larger amount.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

The costs could be met by Bankers bonuses.

 NHS Drug Plea For Child With Blood Disorder.


Indie Smith 

The parents of a two-year-old girl with a rare blood disorder fear she faces a "lifetime of hospital visits and dialysis" unless the NHS funds an expensive new drug.Her problem is that the NHS will not continue to fund her treatment, at a cost of £250,000 a year, despite a Government advisory body recommending the drug be commissioned nationally.

 It seems to me that there is a very simple solution to this problem.
Select any 3 bankers from RBS, Barclays, HSBC, or any of the others, and confiscate £1million from each of  their bonuses for 2012, (just like the bankers in Cyprus confiscated money from savers), and use the £3miilion to fund the treatment for 12 years.
By the end of that period, NICE should have come to some conclusion (or better still will have been dismantled and replaced by a more useful body). If no decision has been reached by 2025, confiscate another sum from bankers bonuses and use that to fund another 12 years of treatment..

Friday, 29 March 2013

Norman Bettison abused his position, but keeps his pension!

'Gross misconduct' – but police watchdog still won’t throw the book at Hillsborough police chief

Sir Norman Bettison.

Norman Bettison abused his position and would have faced dismissal for gross misconduct, but he resigned from the police and so he keeps his full pension, £83,000 per year, and his knighthood. How is that for injustice.

Another Iain Duncan Smith failure.

Ministers have significantly scaled back plans to begin piloting their controversial universal credit programme next month.

 Iain Duncan Smith: Secretary of State for Work and pensions


Another Iain Duncan Smith failure.This man is an embarrassment to all and sundry. Everything Midas touched turned to gold, but in the case of IDS, everything he touches turns to rat droppings.

Bailout "saves" Cyprus, but the people have to pay. 

Cyprus: a haircut for the people, a pay cut for President Nicos Anastasiades – but banks open amid tight security and cash restrictions that could last a month.
Savers formed "orderly" queues

"a haircut for the people, a pay cut for the President but banks are open amid tight security".
No mention of the speculators, or the Troika, who have made some profits from the "crisis", or the other "depositors" who withdrew much of their cash in February, before the scandal broke (Who tipped them off?), or the bankers who created the mess in the first place. As usual, ordinary people pay for the incompetence, greed and mismanagement of banks and politicians.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Tory cliches fill Twitter.

David Miliband's Resignation Signals Labour 'Lurch To The Left', Claim Tories

The Milliband brothers.

Conservative MPs have seized on David Miliband's decision to quit parliament as evidence the Labour Party is "lurching to the left" under the leadership of his brother.
(Huffington Post 28th March 2013)

Tory bigots doing what Tory bigots always do when seeking to divert attention away from their own incompetence and ineptitude. The "reds under the bed" cliches have been around for decades and are as shallow now as they have always been. Moreover they are fallacious and puerile in suggesting that Labour has "lurched to the left". If that were the case, the party membership would have increased by thousands overnight as all those disillusioned activists who have left the Labour party in droves since 1990 and the days of Blair's "New Labour" renewed their memberships. If (when) that happens, the Tory bigots  will really notice the difference and will feel the heat.

Sky News or Fox News? What an awful choice to face.

Sky News Or Fox News? Peers Suggest Ditching Impartiality Rules

Adam Boulton

Bill O'Reily leaving Fox ?

 Sky News is already politically biased. It is just that Fox News is far more obnoxious in its presentation. As they are both part of the same empire, we should be thankful that O'Riely has not got a permanent slot following "Boulton and Co"............Yet !

The cover up is extensive.

"If you are not following the revelations about Jimmy Savile closely and believe that he was a loaner who touched-up a few young groupies, then you have been deceived. Jimmy Savile’s actions go far beyond what you can even begin to believe: until you look at the evidence".
March 27 2013 the madlands


Savile at Haut De La Garenne. He visited it on many occasions

This article raises some disturbing issues. The reasons for a thorough investigation become more numerous and are compelling.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

David Milliband leaves UK for USA

David Miliband Resigns: Former Foreign Secretary To Step Down As MP To Take Job At 'Top Charity' In New York
David Milliband.

From the general tone of this article, (David Miliband Resigns:), the hyperbole ridden “Tweets” and a significant number of the contributions in the comments section, readers could be excused for believing that a great catastrophe has befallen the country generally and the Labour Party in particular. It will come as no surprise to anyone reading my contributions, either on Huffington Post or here on the pages of this Blog, that I do not share the gloom at the prospect of political life without the presence of Milliband major.
The “Blairite” faction of the Labour party has lost another, perhaps the only remaining rallying point, for those awaiting the return of a messiah to lead them back to “good old days”, with a Blair coloured administration perhaps even with the ghost of Blair lurking in the shadows behind the throne. How disappointed they were when Milliband minor secured an, albeit narrow, victory in the leadership election. How disappointed the other Milliband was, to be “robbed” of the crown, despite his protestations to the contrary and his “enthusiastic” endorsement of his younger brother. 

David and Ed Miliband (Pics:PA and Reuters)
David and Ed Milliband

The jury is still out on the question of Milliband minor being the right choice as leader for the future of the Labour party. Certainly, the Blairite wing do not think so, but may now be a little more reticent with their public criticisms and covert whisperings.
Milliband major now wanders off to foreign parts, following the example of Blair and others who have left this country, to expand their fame, and their fortunes.
I, for one, will not miss him.

Monday, 25 March 2013

State theft endorsed by the Troika.

EU ministers approve €10bn bailout deal to save Cyprus

From television reports on BBC and on Sky, the reporters in Nicosia are saying that the only people happy with this "bailout to save Cyprus", are the "markets" and the politicians. There is no mention of the people of Cyprus and their savings, or the ex-pats  and retired British residents who may have their entire life savings on deposit. 100,000 Euro is around £85,000 on today's rates, and can hardly be described as fortune and yet the entire amount could be confiscated from peoples accounts. I stand by what I have said previously. This solution is nothing but state theft given legitimacy by the Eurozone..Another "victory" for the Troika and the aspirations of Legarde and Merkel for German/IMF domination of Europe and to hell with the ordinary people who live there..

Sunday, 24 March 2013

State theft is wrong.

Savers at the Bank of Cyprus will pay one-off tax of 20 per cent on deposits of over €100,000


Regardless of what the cash figure is, or the % levy to be imposed or even who the "depositors" actually are, this is a proposal to legalise state theft from banks. It would set an unhealthy precedent not only for Cyprus, but for every other state in Europe and would encourage governments to believe that they can behave no better than pirates in the knowledge that their actions are endorsed and supported by the "Troika" of the European Union, International Monetary Fund and ECB. The ordinary people of Cyprus and every other country must stand firm against the excesses of the politicians and the sinister members of the troika. The financial crisis in Europe (and beyond) has essentially, been created by the banks and financial institutions, not by the ordinary people of the country. It is completely unacceptable, that they should be forced to pay for others incompetence, greed and deceptions. 

The reality of the "Olympic legacy"

After the Olympic glory, cash crisis hits athletics clubs

The legacy

The "Olympic legacy", was always nothing more than a myth, a mirage generated by the government and the myriad vested interests, all conspiring to sell the proposition that if we, the taxpayers, spent £ billions there would be long term benefits for public and sports facilities across the country. Anyone at the time or since, arguing that the Olympics were a waste of money, particularly at a period of national austerity, were labeled as killjoys, or worse, as the level of overspend on the project grew and grew out of control. The taxpayers in this country do not have an " Olympic legacy" other than the millstone of paying for the extravaganza for years to come, while the athlete's go back to trawling round the charities and local councils with the begging bowl.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Jersey pricing itself out of the tourism market

Tourism in Jersey has been on a steady decline for ten years but back in the island’s hay day, the tourism industry was booming.

Condor Ferries


 Is Jersey pricing itself out of the tourism market? The short answer is of course, Yes.
However, the reasons for this situation are complex and varied.The cost of getting to the Island, by sea or air, is expensive and then the prices of the traditional tourist attractions (those that are still left that is), make a day out for Mum Dad and two children rather prohibitive. The article mentions the fact that air travel to Jersey is cheaper than Malaga or Ibiza for a family of Mum Dad and two children. That may well be the case but when the complete cost, including car hire and accommodation is considered, the all up cost of a holiday in jersey is considerably more expensive. The same family, coming by sea with their own car, would pay £595 just for the travel cost. On arrival, the family would quickly become aware that prices are higher than they  expected. The days of duty and tax free goods, spirits and cigarettes are a distant memory, with a bottle of wine being around the same price on the Island as it is in our local Morrisons supermarket, and I remember not too long ago, paying more for a litre of petrol on La Route des Quennevais than at Tesco in Dorchester. The imposition of GST (Goods and Services Tax) has not helped the problem. The costs of tourist accommodation, is another factor contributing to a decline in visitor numbers, with restaurant and food prices generally noticeably higher each time we visit.

St Brelade
For an island of just 45 square miles to have so little in the way of "tourist attractions" available for the family visitors (particularly when it rains!) and to have what is available priced at almost prohibitive levels, (Jersey War Tunnels £36.80 and £47.00 for Durrell) almost suggests that encouraging tourism is not considered as a priority, either in the States or in the High Street.
Condor 2012
What's on in Jersey?

 e have friends in Jersey, and so will continue to visit the island regardless of the decline of the  "attractions",  but I fear that unless there is a significant shift in the attitudes of those responsible for such matters, the number of visitors to Jersey will remain on the downward spiral.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Liam Byrne, demanded that Labour MPs abstain, or hide in the toilet.


Workfare: Why did so many Labour MPs accept this attack on vulnerable people?

 Liam Byrne, demanded that Labour MPs abstain; sit on their hands, hide in the toilet, whatever.

We do not have many "Labour" MP's. We have a PLP dominated by the centre right opportunists who have sold out principle in exchange for position (shadow or otherwise) and a rump of Blairites who, in pursuit of popularity,  change their positions more often than their underwear.
The front bench

 The history of the Parliamentary Labour Party is littered with "disgraceful, grubby chapters" where working people and the poorest in society have been betrayed by the very party created to represent them. Most, but not all, of the PLP have reverted to being members of "the club" in the corridors, and bars, of Westminster where improving their position in the pecking order of politics is the most important consideration. During the 1970's and early 1980's there were those of us in the party (including some who have since sold out in order to to gain seats on the front bench), who argued and pressurised within the constituencies, the trade unions and the affiliated organisations, to make the party more accountable to itself and more representative of working people, the sick and unemployed and the poor, the traditional "working class" of British society. However, an orchestrated campaign of vilification dis information and untruths ensured that the advances made during the democratisation of the Labour Party, were reversed paving the way for Blair, Mandelson, Campbell and Brown and the disaster of New Labour. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the majority of the present PLP actively assist the government on so many issues either by abstaining or even voting in the government lobbies. The last Labour government failed to repeal anti trade union legislation. The last labour government actively encouraged privatisation in many areas.
This latest betrayal will ensure that even more people will turn away from the Labour party and either vote for another option (if there is one) or will simply not vote at all. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

All sides were right and all sides have won.

David Cameron Tells Tory MPs He 'Called Ed Miliband's Bluff' On Leveson.

Prime Minister Cameron.
No matter how you view it, self regulation is self regulation which has proved to be at best ineffective in the majority of instances where such regulatory bodies operate. A Royal Charter to back up press regulation, or press regulation with statutory underpinning may seem diametrically opposed positions, but in the bizarre world of Westminster political intrigue, both options are in fact the same thing. Of course, there are those who may believe that a solution such as this, is no more than a fudged up compromise by two, or is it three, protagonists who have "bottled it". That may however be a bit cynical.
Cameron, Clegg and Milliband.

On television last night, on numerous channels, first Cameron then Clegg and finally Milliband appeared and all said the solution agreed at 02:30 that morning, was what they had been proposing all along. In other words, all sides were right and all sides had won. Nothing could be further from the truth. Even with the "endorsement" of Hacked Off, this compromise is nothing more than a seedy little sham created as a face saving exercise for the benefit of people who were anxious to avoid a vote in the House of Commons. "The  Press" have already expressed grave concerns with the agreement and will no doubt huff and puff for a few days, but over the coming months and years, will settle back into that cosy privileged position of being a law unto themselves with political parties jockeying for positions of favour with "the media". In the event that circumstances of alleged abuse by the media arise and which are subsequently referred to the new "independent watchdog", the lawyers will be queuing up to argue in court what the meaning of the words in the Charter mean and what the intention of the parties actually are.
 We have not seen the last of stories like those covering Hillsborough or the Joanna Yeates murder, or any of the others which lead to the Leveson inquiry being established in the first place.

The most inept Chancellor in 100 years.

 Austerity Policies Attacked By Former Bank Of England Economists.

 David Blanchflower: The chancellor’s austerity measures have “completely failed”, says the professor of economics at Dartmouth College in the United States. Osborne, he adds, is the “most inept chancellor in 100 years. We have the worst economic recovery since the late 19th century.”
Chancellor George Osborne

‘MOST INEPT CHANCELLOR IN 100 YEARS’. When you consider how many "inept" people have had that job since 1913, that's quite an achievement for Osborne. The worrying point is that being Chancellor of the Exchequer, is considered as a stepping stone to becoming Prime Minister ! Now there is a thought. Osborne could eventually hold both titles. Most inept Chancellor and most inept Prime Minister in 100 years.

Monday, 18 March 2013

State theft from private accounts is wrong no matter what the level is.

 Traders braced for market turbulence amid bailout chaos in Cyprus.

*Brussels and Nicosia try to secure a bailout for Cyprus amid a storm of controversy. 

*Reports that Cyprus is working on a proposal to soften the impact on smaller savers.

Cyprus bailout, cash machines
People withdraw money from a cash machine in the Cypriot capital

It aught to be the politicians of Cyprus and the Eurozone, together with the IMF and the other bankers who should be facing "a turbulent day",  as they are arrested and interned for theft, usury and conspiracy to misappropriate funds. 

Helicopter rescue poised for privatisation

Britain’s search and rescue operation is currently run by the Royal Navy, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and the RAF.

"The contract is expected to be awarded to Bristow, a US listed company. If Bristow is selected, the news will come as a bitter blow to UK rival, Bond Aviation, which is owned by private equity firm KKR."
£3bn privatisation project for helicopter rescue across the UK.

The privatisation obsession reaches new insanity. The "friends" of the Tory party must be rubbing their hands in anticipation of huge profits for such a small "investment".

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Savings stolen to bailout banks.

Cyprus: panic as savings levy is imposed

Cypriots reacted with disbelief at news they would have to pay a levy
Cypriots reacted with disbelief at news they would have to pay a levy

 Cypriots reacted with shock that turned to panic on Saturday after a 10% one-off levy on savings was forced on them as part of an extraordinary 10bn euro (£8.7bn) bailout agreed in Brussels.
State endorsed theft.

The theft of savings from pensioners, ex pats, UK service personnel, and the people of Cyprus generally would be regarded as the most despicable crime that any government could impose in its pursuit of "austerity" savings to secure a bailout. When this act of gross piracy is carried out by and in the name of the Eurozone "officials" in Brussels, and the bankers it becomes even more odious. The Eurozone, dominated by the Germans, the Bankers the IMF and the European political cabal sink to a new level of economic and political iniquity.

A difference of opinion.


Huffington Post generates debate.

The Arab Spring

Yesterday, I posted a story under the heading of In Bahrain the protests continue. 

The entry was also posted in the "Huffington Post" comments section, and drew some replies. This is one which particularly caught my attention:

" posted by“katertaif”16 Mar 2013 at 11:35:22.

Unfortunately I believe there is a flaw in your analysis. Up until now, those who have come out on top in the countries that have experienced the "Arab Spring" tend to be radical Islamist, who are not friendly towards the West in any way.We have particularly seen how grateful Libya is to us, in spite of all the help and money they received. While words are inadequate to describe what is happening in Syria, we have to remember that the forces opposed to Assad, are themselves committing atrocities, and using children both as cannon fodder and as human shields.Also already persecuting Christian minorities which Assad did not. These are all Muslim dominated countries, and democracy has no part to play in Islam.They simply do not recognise it, it is as alien to them as cannibalism would be to us. So who do you side with? if anyone at all.
Whoever emerges victorious they will again be Islamist and anti West." 

This post I believe, demonstrates an attitude all too common in the west, and prompted me to respond with the following.

Having spent some considerable time in the Middle east, including Syria, it seems to me that there is a significant body of opinion in the west which is based not on experience or personal observation, but on the comments, reporting and often biased news coverage from the media, and from some western politicians with their own covert agendas. Generally, the collective "Arab" mistrust of the west is based firmly in the history of the region and the way in which peoples have been betrayed by the west for hundreds of years. First the Ottoman's then the Europeans have imposed rulers in these artificially created lands (have you ever wondered why there are so many straight line borders between the countries of the Middle east?) which have been installed not because they are wanted by their peoples, but because they are friendly and cooperative towards western governments. They also purchase vast quantities of "defence equipment" to maintain their positions and provide "bases" for the western nations to retain a foothold in the region.
When these artificial regimes are overthrown and replaced by administrations which may well be Islamist, but are sometimes secular, they are immediately condemned and isolated by the west for no better reason than that western influence and values have been rejected. Just because an administration is Islamist, it does not automatically follow that it is wrong or unpopular within its own borders. The west does not have the right to assume that if countries do not follow the "western model" they are automatically hostile. The hostility of many of the emergent administration is brought about by the duplicity of the west with previous administrations and their role in the "uprisings".

Perhaps my contribution may encourage  “katertaif” to look a little deeper into what is a very complex situation.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

In Bahrain the protests continue.

Bahrain Protester Holding Explosive Bursts Into Flames As Police Guards Open Fire

 bahraini antigovernment protester

The "forgotten Arab Spring" goes on. It is to our continuing shame in the west that we still support, endorse and welcome to this country, the tyrants and criminals of the al-Khalifa family.

Rachel Corrie.

Extract from an email to her mother, February 28 2003.
"I think I could see a Palestinian state or a democratic Israeli-Palestinian state within my lifetime. I think freedom for Palestine could be an incredible source of hope to people struggling all over the world. I think it could also be an incredible inspiration to Arab people in the Middle East, who are struggling under undemocratic regimes which the US supports."

Rachel Corrie

Ten years ago today, Rachel Corrie was murdered by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) in Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza. Her killer(s) have never been brought to justice. Another atrocity by the Israeli occupation forces in Palestine.

Rachel Corrie (April 10, 1979 – March 16, 2003).


Friday, 15 March 2013

Cameron's bizarre resistance to Leveson recommendations.

 Cameron calls off talks on press reform.

Cameron called a press conference to explain his decision

Lord Justice Leveson with his inquiry report


There is something quite sinister in the way that Cameron continues to defy overwhelming evidence and opinion, and renage on his previous commitments to implement the Leveson recommendations. It has been felt for some time that there is a hidden agenda somewhere, probably put together behind closed doors during cosy little sessions at Chequers or even at Number 10 and known only to Cameron and a few carefully selected confidants. It is clearly evident from numerous other examples that the concept of "Self Regulation" does not work. For Cameron to argue that statutory underpinning of regulation as proposed by Leveson would somehow remove the freedom of the press to undertake investigative journalism is perverse. The test is always one of  "fair comment on a matter of public interest" and exposure of malpractice, corruption, criminal activity and even fiddling expenses claims can always be taken to law. The problems now, which have become even more odious over the past few years, are the cavalier excesses of the press and media in their intrusions into private lives or their coverage of other events such as Hillsborough or murder investigations and their apparent immunity from any form of accountability for their actions.
It is clear that Cameron is seeking to continue that immunity and to ensure that "self regulation" remains as just a toothless gesture to public opinion. The questions however will not go away. What is the hidden agenda, why is Cameron so determined to resist the Leveson recommendations, and what profit will Cameron receive from his continuing opposition?

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Seeing through rose coloured glasses.

Prince Charles And Camilla Visit Syrian Refugee Camps In Jordan

(AP Photo/Jamal Nasrallah, Pool)
Charles and Camilla at King Abdullah Park camp

(AP Photo/Jamal Nasrallah, Pool). Britain's Prince Charles, center, sits with Syrian refugee children during his visit to the King Abdullah Park for Syrian Refugees in Ramtha city north of Amman, Jordan, Wednesday, March 13, 2013.
Charles with Syrian refugee children

A sanitised visit to the King Abdullah Park camp is hardly likely to give Charles and his wife any real   understanding of what a "refugee camp" usually is. Once again royals are given a view of the world from inside a carefully constructed bubble, rather like the "Gents" sign on the public toilets in the railway station being covered up so that the passenger on the train is not embarrassed as the Royal Express thunders through. Perhaps the couple should have been taken to the Zaatari refugee camp or even the Bashabsheh camp, just two of the many camps established in Jordon for refugees from Syria.

Syrian refugee children at the Zaatari camp

Click to enlarge
Al Bashabsheh refugee camp in Jordan

There are estimated to be more than 450,000 Syrian refugees in Jordon today in numerous camps across the country established by the government with United Nations assistance. A visit to a camp housing less than 1000, is hardly indicative of typical conditions. Charles described the plight of Syrian refugees as "heartbreaking" as he toured the King Abdullah Park camp. He was presumably not given the opportunity to comment on or visit other locations close to the Syrian border.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The Westminster Stakes.

Tory Leadership Challenge Hots Up

Theresa May: 4/1

Boris Johnson: 5/1

Michael Gove: 9/1

Philip  Hammond: 10/1

Adam Afriyie: 25/1
Liam Fox: 33/1

 What a motley collection of miscreants and malcontents, all apparently bidding for the position of Conservative Party leader and potential Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Not being a member or supporter of the Tory party, (or of the Labour party anymore), I suppose that I should not have an axe to grind one way or another, but as this person may at some time become the "leader" of the country, I do have more than a passing interest. If this is really the best that Torries have to offer, we shall just have to live in hope that there is a figure, a "dark horse" lurking in the shadows of Central Office, poised to gallop through the field and prevent the prize falling into disrepute (again). In fact, a Foinaven of Westminster.

They're Off !!