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Thursday, 31 October 2013

It is action that is required, not more inquiries, rhetoric and prevarication.


Cameron calls for immediate inquiry into competition in energy industry

David Cameron at PMQs
David Cameron at PMQ's

Inquiries, reports, debates, select committees etc etc.More prevarication and side stepping of the real issues, by intent and design rather than accident.
There is a principle in English law of "res ipsa loquitur" which, when used in the context of the current situation, could be interpreted as an argument for "cut the hot air, rhetoric and the endless chatter, and do what everyone, (except the energy companies and their political co conspirators) knows to be the only solution".
Either the energy companies must be controlled by new, effective and legally enforceable legislation, or they must be returned to public ownership. There is no other option so there is nothing to discuss.

Un elected and un accountable "officers" should not be running the Council.

Weymouth Angling Society reaches for lifeline as Council Officers reject Management Board decision.

DELIGHT: Supporters and members of Weymouth Angling Society welcome the vote
Supporters and members of Weymouth Angling Society welcome the vote on 22 October
 COUNCILLORS have voted against plans to demolish the harbourside clubhouse used by Weymouth Angling Society.
They recommended the club be offered a new 10-year lease for its Weymouth inner harbour site.
Anglers celebrated the outcome of the vote after the meeting but said the future of the club was not secure until a final decision was made at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s management committee next month.(Dorset Echo 22nd October 2013)

Who actually runs Weymouth and Portland Borough Council? Elected members or the "officers"?
The council’s harbour management board (elected members) voted to renew the lease for 10 years, but the "officers" (un elected and un accountable) have decided that this is not a good idea and that their recommendation of a short term lease renewal should be passed.
A similar situation existed on a council of which I was an elected member some years ago, in that for many years, officers had enjoyed a position of bringing their recommendations to council meetings and having such recommendations passed "on the nod".
Within a short space of time after local elections had resulted in a intake of new members who did not share the view that being a Councillor was a glorified club membership which involved no more than passing recommendations from officers, having a free lunch and claiming their expenses, did the relationship change.
Within a few days of the election, the officers of the council were made very aware, (sometimes quite dramatically) that it was their function to implement policy and it was the responsibility of elected members to produce policy.
Elected members of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council should remember that they are elected to serve the community, not just endorse officer recommendations.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The arrogance and contempt of the Energy Companies.

Representatives from Big Six accused of behaving like a 'chorus line acting in concert' as they attempt to justify recent price hikes

Energy company bosses at Commons select Committee

The energy companies treat their customers with contempt because nobody is prepared, or able, to stop them. Consumers are unable to take on the companies because energy is a basic need and no matter how often people "switch" suppliers, the end result is ever increasing domestic charges. The political parties are unwilling to legislate to prevent such excesses and in many cases are more likely to actively support the energy companies position in the name of "free markets and competition".
The notion of "self regulation" in the supply of energy would be as effective in this market as it has been in any of the other areas where the fox has been put in charge of the chicken coop. The privatisation of energy supply to the consumer and generation for the wholesale market has been a complete disaster for the customer and the country. The absurdity of allowing Energy companies to be both generator and supplier has crated a situation where the companies, through another part of their own organisations can sell themselves  energy and generate huge profits, and then claim that wholesale prices have increased using that as a justification for hiking the price to consumers and thereby generate even more profits. Thus, both parts of the organisation make substantial profit at the expense of the consumer. This situation is complete lunacy and has no moral, ethical or social justification. It merely serves as a device to exploit customers and produce obscene levels of profit for companies who in many case are actually based outside the United Kingdom.  
Until such time as politicians recognise (or perhaps concede) that energy is a basic human need, the supply of which is too important to be left to the vagaries of private companies where the profit motive far outweighs the social benefits and that no amount of tinkering at the margins will make one iota of difference to the exploitation of consumers and the manipulation of the markets, nothing will change. The demand for a radical solution to this problem is compelling. Either the energy companies must be controlled by new, effective and legally enforceable legislation, or they must be returned to public ownership. All that is needed is for the politicians to acquire the resolve to do what is necessary.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Sue Lewis sees little wrong with usury.

Payday loans defended by new consumer champion

Sue Lewis, head of the FCA consumer panel
Sue Lewis, head of the FCA consumer panel

Sue Lewis, the new chair of a City watchdog for consumers, is clearly living in a world of her own creation. The example of a £50 charge on her credit card for a meal as being no different than the usury practiced by many if not all of the so called "Payday loan" companies in the high street or on the internet, is both facile and patronising.
To the vast majority of those having to resort to the "services" of these parasitic money lenders, the notion of paying £50.00 for a meal is completely scandalous when they may have only that amount for food for a week or even a fortnight to feed their families.

A sample of the payday loan companies

Only recently, Wonga one of the biggest money lending companies reported profits of £84.5m for 2012, an increase of 35% on the previous year and in its annual statement, they announced £1.2bn in lending, up 68% on the previous year.
The money lenders grow rich and become fat on others misery and Sue Lewis sees nothing despicable in their activities.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Danny Alexander flexes his muscles?.

 Chief Secretary to the Treasury

Danny Alexander has sent a tough message to energy firms over their tax avoidance, telling them: 'Stop it.'The energy firms must be shaking in their boots with fear of the mighty Alexander. Or perhaps more likely to be laughing into their Champagne cocktails at the thought of this inept Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury having the front to threaten them.
Like someone once said "Being threatened by Danny Alexander, is rather similar to being savaged by a dead sheep"

A most futile and pointless practice.

 A most futile and pointless practice.


I woke at my usual time this morning. My usual time that is according to my body clock, which for many, many years, has determined that I should wake (all other things being equal) at any time between 04:00 and 05:00 every day, including weekends.. This morning, I woke at 04:15. I knew it was that time, because the little traveling clock, which has served well for a number of years, indicated such when the button on top was pressed to turn on the light to illuminate the digital face.
Apart from the sound of rain against the window, and the beginnings of the winds promised for later today, it was very quiet and peaceful.
Suddenly a cold and very disturbing feeling came to mind and I looked at the clock again. It now showed 04:22 and then I realised what had taken place over night. Some faceless shadowy set of bureaucrats or "administrators" somewhere in the dark recesses of some nondescript government building, had decreed that as from the night of 16th/27th October 2013, or more accurately 02:23 (or some equally ridiculous and arbitrary time set) on the 27th October, all the clocks in this Nation, on mantle pieces in all the homes, on cookers, on bedside cabinets and anywhere else that clocks may be located and including all wrist watches or other personal time pieces, must be put back by one hour.
Consequently, as I am one of those people who think that  the ludicrous practice of changing the clocks by one hour in spring and autumn of every year is one of the most futile and pointless practices ever devised, particularly in peacetime, I muttered an unprintable word as the reality dawned that it was, at least according to the BBC and probably a few million people in Great Britain, only 03:22. I muttered a few more obscenities and got up. Trying to go back to sleep is not an option, as it has never been successful over the years and only results in a headache and irritability for hours. 
This disruption of my sleeping patterns will last over the coming months (as it invariably does) and continue until sanity returns to the country sometime in March of next year, when the clocks return to their proper settings and we put the stolen hour back on. In the meantime, my bedside clock will remain set to BST (as will the clock on my car's dashboard) as an act of defiance to the absurd custom of time manipulation we indulge in on two occasions every year.

Pauline West with some of her 5,000 clocks. Image: Rex, Solent News
Pauline West with some of her 5,000 clocks.

As for Mrs Pauline West and her 5000 odd clocks, watches and assorted time pieces, is it really necessary to have them all working and all telling the same time? It is little wonder that it takes three days, twice a year to change them all.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Leave the clocks alone !

Time for debate? Don't forget the clocks go back overnight... but should they? 



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.

Royal Mail share allocated to "advisers" rise in value by £29m since floatation.

Royal Mail sell-off advisers allocated millions of shares

City advisers were given the opportunity to buy 13m shares in Royal Mail


The "advisers" including Goldman Sachs and UBS, advice to Vince Cable, results in the government selling the shares at a "discounted price" of £3.30. The "advisers" are allocated millions of shares which are now trading at £5.50 per share.
There is something very smelly about the whole privatisation of Royal Mail scam which has made hedge funds (one of which is now the major shareholder in the "new" Royal Mail), institutional investors, speculators and "advisers" all a very great amount of money, at the expense of the British taxpayers and the people who are (currently) working for Royal Mail.
Vince Cable and the ConDem coalition government, have some very serious questions to answer about this latest rip off of publicly owned assets. It is however highly unlikely that such questions will ever be asked.

 (Goldman Sachs and UBS declined to comment.)

Friday, 25 October 2013

Planning Minister Nick Boles blames "elderly" for housing crisis

Elderly More To Blame For Housing Crisis Than Immigrants

Planning Minister Nick Boles

Nick Boles, Conservative MP, Planning minister and complete arsehole, claims that the elderly are responsible for the housing crisis. The "crisis" which many commentators and contributors to the comments sections of the Mail, the Telegraph and yes even the Huffington Post, argue does not exist and is in fact no more than a sinister left wing plot created to destabilise the government and create alarm amongst the people.
Clearly, Boles is out of step with that analysis.
We should perhaps take some comfort in the knowledge that the housing crisis has nothing to do with years of neglect by successive governments and their collective failure to address the problem of affordable housing. Moreover, since Thatcher decreed that building of "social housing" was to be terminated and that existing stocks should wherever possible be sold off at massively discounted prices to their existing tenants. (not that this in itself is an evil crime, but when coupled with the directive that no new social housing shall be built,) the conditions for a worsening housing shortage are set.
The housing crisis is caused by the lack of homes available either for sale or rent, not by elderly people living longer. 

(Conservative MP for  Grantham and Stamford Nick Boles was educated at Winchester, Magdalen College Oxford, JFK School of Government at Harvard University. Boles has called for amongst other things, an end to winter fuel payments, free prescriptions, free bus travel and free TV licences for better-off pensioners from 2015; Boles has also claimed expenses for Hebrew lessons, which the Daily Mail and the Taxpayers' Alliance stated was so he could talk to his civil partner)

Pope Blair the First ?

 Tony Blair: 'I am good at absorbing others' pain'

Tony Blair

A Blair quote which speaks volumes for the mental state of this warmongering megalomaniac.
He now sees himself as some form of deity as well as all the other incarnations he has assumed over the years. Perhaps we may even see a "Pope Blair 1st" in the future.

The Americans spy on everyone.

NSA Spied On 35 World Leaders

The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders

The real reason why the Americans are so hysterical in their persecution of Edward Snowden. Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and probably others.
It has nothing to do with leaking "state secrets" or  putting the country's intelligence network at risk or compromising "sources". It is and always has been, about embarrassing the American government and the security organisations, by exposing their dubious and illegal intelligence gathering methods and the way in which they assume that they are above the laws of any country, including their own.

Edward Snowden

The arrogance of the American establishment is breath taking in their deeply held conviction that they have some automatic right to spy on anyone they choose and even to remove people from the streets of any country and consign them without charge or trial to an indefinite stay in Guantanamo.  Just like Nixon once said, "I am the American President. I can bomb who the hell I like".

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Paxman can be a really pompous arse sometimes.

Russell Brand Takes On Jeremy Paxman


Paxman can be a really irritating  individual sometimes. The question "How do you have any authority to talk about politics then?" after Brand confirmed that he did not vote, demonstrated that Paxman was either being deliberately provocative, incredibly naive or perhaps just plain frivolous.
I am not and never have been a great fan of Russel brand, however he raises a number of valid arguments, both in this interview and in a number of previous appearances on "Question time".
The fact that a person does not vote, does not automatically exclude them from having an opinion on any given subject and expressing that opinion in any forum they happen to be.
For example, I do not vote. In fact, I have not voted since Blair, Brown, Mandelson and Campbell took over the Labour party and turned it into a quasi SDP/Tory/LibDem grouping populating the so called centre right morass of British politics under the guise of "New Labour". A party which discarded any shred of principle for the objective of propelling Blair to the center stage of the political arena, with the three sycophants clinging to his coat tails.
I do not vote because there is no political party currently offering any manifesto which I could possibly support, but that should not and does not prohibit me from putting forward arguments for policies which I believe to be right and proper.
Paxman conducted this interview with an air of patronising flippancy throughout and lost any credibility he may have had, whilst Brand put forward reasoned and logical observations and clearly "won" the exchanges.

Video link: