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Monday, 30 January 2017

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 29 January 2017

https://paper.li/f-1346065353#/


Good morning everybody.


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Donald Trump, who is the New President of the United States, has banned practically everyone from going to America, which has sparked protests and demonstrations not only on the streets of towns and cities in the US, but also in countries around the world. Trump is a very dangerous individual who now occupies the position of the most powerful man in the world. It seems that the "hand holding" incident was nothing to do with some romantic affection, but was Theresa May supporting the 70 year old son of immigrant parents, who suffers from Bathmophobia, a fear of slopes or stairs. (I had to Google the word too.) With Trump in the lead, and Theresa May "standing shoulder to shoulder", (or more accurately peeping out from Trump's pocket), will anyone hold our hands as we are dragged down the slippery slope of international tension?



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In an historic judgement on the 24th January 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that government executive prerogative powers do not take precedence over Parliament, and that Parliament shall debate Brexit, prior to the triggering of Article 50. A judgement with which I completely agree, even though there are those misguided people who will still argue that the judiciary are interfering on the question of United Kingdom membership of the EU and there are elements of the media who continue to contend that judges are attempting to overturn the decision of the British people as expressed in the Referendum result of 23rd June 2016.
(Read the whole story at http://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/supreme-court-confirms-parliamentary.html. copy and paste link.)



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This week also saw the passing of another two great talents from the entertainment industry.
I was always a great fan of "Allo, Allo" and after watching all the episodes on television, I now have the entire series on boxed DVD.The exchanges between Rene and the other characters, together with his "introductions" were well written and often hilarious.
Gordon Fitzgerald Kaye (7 April 1941 – 23 January 2017), known professionally as Gorden Kaye,probably best known for playing Rene Artois in the British TV comedy series 'Allo 'Allo!

A great series and a great actor. R I P.
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Another of the great British actors who is no longer with us.
Sir John Vincent Hurt, CBE January 1940 – 27 January 2017 was an English actor and voice actor whose career spanned six decades.
He had roles in over 129 films with dozens of television roles.

John Hurt R I P

Meanwhile, back in Jersey, there is a well known developer and builder who has secured yet another development contract.

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Developer Dandara was given approval to construct 12 homes on the land in St Peter, which is the site of the former "Living Legend-Jersey Experience" tourist attraction. The development will see nine four-bedroom homes and three six-bedroom homes being built on the site of the former tourist attraction, which announced that it was closing last year after 24 years of business. Dandara given approval to construct 12 homes on the land in St Peter. What a surprise. 


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A former bank in St Aubin is to be transformed into an Indian restaurant. Approval has be granted on an application to change the use of the old NatWest building opposite St Brelade’s Parish Hall . Great news. We used to eat regularly at the Shapla before Mia closed the restaurant. The "Spice House" which replaced it, we visited once which was more than enough. (Once too often in fact).It will be good to have a proper Indian restaurant in the village again and to renew our acquaintance with Mia and the family.

The Express seems to have gone very quiet with its weather forecasting role. Perhaps they are waiting for their new seaweed to arrive at 10 Lower Thames Street, but in the meantime it is still raining, or frosty, or windy (or both) or mild and bright, or snowing all dependant of course upon what time of day you happen to look out of the window.
Ce'st la vie.

Have a nice week. February 1st on Wednesday!! Another year flashing by.

John


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Supreme Court confirms Parliamentary precedence over government "Executive prerogative".

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jan/24/what-happens-next-with-article-50-and-brexit


Parliament alone is sovereign.


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Brexit Supreme Court ruling on Article 50 vote
In an historic judgement yesterday (24th January 2017), the Supreme Court ruled that government executive prerogative powers do not take precedence over Parliament, and that Parliament shall debate Brexit, prior to the triggering of Article 50. There are those who will still argue that the judiciary are interfering on the question of United Kingdom membership of the EU and there are elements of the media who continue to contend that judges are attempting to overturn the decision of the British people as expressed in the Referendum result of 23rd June 2016. Their argument either by accident, or more probably design, fails to address the fundamental issue involved in this controversy, which has been raging since the Prime Minister announced that Executive powers would be used to trigger Article 50 and commence negotiations with the EU on the terms of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, and that it was not necessary for Parliament to be involved.
For too long now, successive governments, particularly during and since the Tony Blair governments, have used executive powers to by pass Parliament, to introduce policies and measures which they considered may be contentious or too difficult to be subject to the normal parliamentary process. In effect, executive powers, enabled the government of the day or more accurately, a small cabal of Prime Minister and a few cabinet colleagues, to undermine and bypass Parliament. With yesterday's ruling, the Supreme Court has finally buried that practice and has reasserted the role of Parliament as the sovereign body in the United Kingdom.
That now puts the members of the House of Commons in the invidious position of having to choose between implementing the decision of the people as expressed in the referendum result and supporting the triggering of Article 50, or complying to their own Constituency result, where many constituencies voted to remain, by voting against pressing on with Article 50. In any event, there will be "rebels" on government and opposition benches which make the result of any vote difficult to predict. The only clear cut position is that of the SNP who have already stated that they will vote against implementing Article 50 as they have a clear mandate that the whole of Scotland and every Scottish constituency voted to remain in the European Union.
The Labour party members in the House of Commons are certain to divide with some supporting the Government and the implementation of Article 50 while others will vote against whatever bill eventually emerges and vote in accordance with their individual constituencies. In "the other place"Peter Hain, the former MP for Neath and now Baron Hain of Neath, has stated that he and some colleagues, will vote against triggering article 50 in the House of Lords, at least according to Anushka Asthana and Rowena Mason, writing in the Guardian. The main reason it seems is because Hain believes that Theresa May’s Brexit will be damaging for the poorest communities.
There is of course, the question of an individual MP's conscience where personal belief may influence the way in which the MP may vote. All in all, it is a complex and volatile mixture where nothing in either house is yet finalised in the minds of either Commons or Lords. Over the coming weeks and perhaps even months, there will be much argument and speculation. Whatever the outcome of triggering Article 50 may be, it is Parliament who will make the decision and not a cabal of Prime Minister and a few others. It is also very clear, that there is much water to go under the bridge before the final position of the United Kingdom and it relationship with the European Union is finally resolved.





Monday, 23 January 2017

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 22 January 2017



Good morning everyone


In case you may have missed the story, Donald Trump is the new President of the United States and hundreds of thousands of people (predominately women according to reports) have marched in protest, in towns and cities around the world. The inauguration ceremony was watched by either 250,000 people who braved the intermittent rain in Washington or "by the largest audience ever to watch an inauguration, PERIOD". 

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The Whitehouse Press Secretary Sean Spicer seems to be an excitable little chap who promises more "gems" over the rest of his time in front of the assembled media. Meanwhile, the rest of us look forward to the next four years with mild anticipation, or do I mean trepidation?




Image result for Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Dartmouth and Paignton hospital to be shut


Our NHS is in crisis with chronic overcrowding in many hospitals and reports of A&E facilities in many areas of the verge of collapse. It may therefore come as something of a surprise to learn that yet another CCG is recommending more hospital closures in their areas. This time the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group is proposing that Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Dartmouth and Paignton hospital be shut and the sites sold off "for development". As in all the other cases, the South Devon and Torbay CCG justification for the closure's is encased in the usual clichés of "improving services" and controlling costs. The CCG states,
"In making these recommendations, the Governing Body is being advised that the proposals will deliver the changes needed to improve services and to support more people effectively in a way that is both sustainable and affordable."
Remember that "closing hospitals improves services and reduces costs", the next time that you or someone you know has an 80 mile (or more) round trip to see a consultant or visit a patient, or even worse, has urgent need of A & E facilities.
While on the subject of the NHS, Dorset Healthcare (DHUFT) last year spent £12 million on private agency personnel because there were not enough full time NHS nurses and other staff to cover hospital requirements. If only a fraction of the CGC's around the country spent the same amount on temporary staff, a staggering £2,508 million would be paid to private agency companies.
Perhaps it would "improve services and reduced costs" if we recruited full time and paid our NHS nurses and other staff a proper salary in the first place.

A convicted murderer has gone on the run for a third time after breaking his licence conditions. The police have warned people " not to approach him, as he could present a risk to the public, but immediately contact Dorset Police on 999." The question of course is that if this man is a risk to the public, why is he wandering about the streets out on licence? The judiciary and the powers that be have a very strange view on custodial sentencing.

Meanwhile, back in Jersey, further investigation is to be undertaken at the Grouville field where the world’s biggest Celtic coin hoard was discovered in 2012. 70,000 coins, a range of gold necklaces and ancient pouches have been recovered from the find and more treasures are anticipated from further work at the site.

Image result for Jersey coin hoard left by Celtic tribe in flight from Caesar army.

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JERSEY’S business leaders are due to meet the Chief Minister next week as concerns grow that firms could be hit with import and export tariffs post-Brexit. In a statement, the Chamber said: ‘The Jersey Chamber of Commerce is closely monitoring Brexit developments following on from Theresa May’s speech on Wednesday regarding the UK government’s plans to negotiate new trade deals and tariffs, proposals which could have a considerable impact on Island businesses."
Jersey business leaders are worried about Brexit! Aren't we all.

The weather remains predictably unpredictable. This week we have had fog, frost, rain sunshine, the coldest day (and night) of the winter so far and on other days, temperatures in double figures. The Express however continues to predict heavy snow coming!
The most accurate way to obtain a weather situation report is to look out of your window.


Have a nice week.



John

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Another step on the road to a Two Tier health service.


Another CCG is recommending more hospital closures in their areas. 



Image result for Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Dartmouth and Paignton hospital to be shut

Our NHS is in crisis with chronic overcrowding in many hospitals and reports of A&E facilities in many areas of the verge of collapse. It may therefore come as something of a surprise to learn that yet another CCG is recommending more hospital closures in their areas. This time the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group is proposing that Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Dartmouth and Paignton hospital be shut and the sites sold off "for development". This is not however a unique situation in our NHS where hospitals, beds, Doctors surgeries and other health facilities around the country are being systematically closed and sold off by a government hell bent on dismantling the NHS in preparation for the private companies, not least of all Richard Branson's "Virgin Care", hovering like vultures ready to swoop in and pick over the carcass.



Virgin Care wins £700 million contract to provide health care services
As in all the other cases, the South Devon and Torbay CCG justification for the closure's is encased in the usual clichés of "improving services" and controlling costs. A statement from the CCG states,

"In making these recommendations, the Governing Body is being advised that the proposals will deliver the changes needed to improve services and to support more people effectively in a way that is both sustainable and affordable."

Empty rhetoric which seeks to conceal the real motives and which nobody now believes.

Since 1948, the Conservative party and conservative governments during that period, have been covertly hostile to the NHS and have employed numerous tactics to undermine and discredit both the institution and those working within it. The current stratagem is to deprive the NHS of adequate funding, close hospitals and facilities, create a crisis within the hospitals and in the care system generally then argue that the health service and care provisions should be sold off to private companies in order to save money and improve services. It is a crisis that the conservatives have themselves created.
The natural result of this process is the creation of a two tier Health Service where those who are able to pay the premium prices will receive care in the private sector while the others will be reliant on a very basic provision or even charities for their health needs.
It is this prospect which we must resist and challenge all over the country. The NHS is too valuable a service to be left to the vagaries of private companies and the political dogma of Conservative Central Office.





Wednesday, 18 January 2017

After 6 months of dithering, the 12 point "plan" is revealed.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/17/theresa-may-britain-prime-minister-speech


Prime minister gives tough speech outlining government’s 12 priorities for Brexit negotiations 



Image result for Prime minister gives tough speech outlining government’s 12 priorities for Brexit negotiations



Which ever way you may have voted in last year's referendum on continued membership of the European Union, one thing is today, in January of 2017, abundantly clear. The United Kingdom is in complete and utter chaos regarding our exit, or even non exit of the EU. There is no doubt that 17,410,742, (51.89%) of those voting, opted for Brexit, while 16,141,241 (48.11%) voted Remain.
There is also no doubt that Cameron was completely unprepared for a Leave result, and quickly scurried off, standing down as first as Prime Minister and then as the MP for Witney, to do other things outside Parliament. The departure of Cameron left others to clean up the mess that the lack of planning and foresight had created, but unfortunately for the Country, the new Prime Minister and her party had even less notion of "the next move" than Cameron had. The problem we are facing today is deep and complex.
Firstly, the division between the Brexit vote and those voting to remain, varies not only between geographic locations but also within historic political affiliations.
For example, Scotland as a whole, voted to Remain taking 62% of the votes cast and resulting in the whole country opting to remain as a member of the European Union. Strangely, this was a major issue in the Scottish independence referendum, where the government argued that voting to remain part of the UK, was the only way for Scotland to stay within the European Union.
Wales on the other hand, voted to Leave the EU taking 52.5% of the vote, compared to Northern Ireland where the Remain camp took 55.8% of the vote, with just 44.2% voting for Brexit and in England, 53.4% opted to leave. All in all a vote which has split not only the country, but also created division within families.
After some 6 months of dithering and confused thought, Theresa May now breaks cover with her plan for "Brexit", announced not in the chamber of the House of Commons where she would be, faced with questions from members, but in the relative "safety" of a Lancaster House press conference convened specifically for the purpose of unveiling her 12 point plan. She may as well have continued with the dithering and confused thought as the plan as presented has more to do with appeasing her own backbench MP's, than with ensuring that the British people obtain the best possible agreement, which may be salvaged from the predicament created by the Cameron government.
In effect, the Theresa May plan abandons huge elements of European employment legislation which safeguards workers rights. Health and safety at work, Agency worker protection, Anti discrimination legislation, limits on working hours provisions, all these and others are at risk under the Prime Minister's proposals. She also, probably for the first time, concedes that the United Kingdom will rule out membership of the single market and by implication rules out any "relationship" with the single market, consigning this country to the prospect of huge tariffs against our goods and services which could result in a "trade war" with the continent.
Interestingly enough, she still refuses to concede that Parliament should debate the issue of triggering Article 50 even before negotiations commence, (still seeking to bypass Parliament and disregarding what the Supreme Court may actually rule) relying instead on some vague "promise" that the House will be able to debate and vote on the "final terms" of the deal which is of course completely meaningless.
The question arises of course, that as each layer of lies, distortions and misrepresentations are peeled away from the arguments and scare scaremongering tactics employed by the Leave camp during the referendum campaign, would the result be any different today?
There are already many indications that a significant number of people feel cheated by the lies and distortions, which suggests that opinion may well have shifted in favour of "Remain". The result may still be very close, but might certainly be very different.
There is still much water to pass under the bridge before the United Kingdom's relationship with Europe is eventually finalised, but it is abundantly clear that Theresa May and her necessity to satisfy her own MP's is contributing to the problem and not resolving it. There is clearly a distinct possibility that she could be the Prime Minister who presided over the fragmentation of the United Kingdom, in pursuit of Conservative party interests rather than national interest.





Monday, 9 January 2017

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 08 January 2017




Good morning everyone





Jan Leeming is sick of actors mumbling their way through shows

Jan Leeming, (remember her with the exploding studio lights?), has revealed that she resorts to the use of subtitles when watching some recent television drama. Me too. The latest, Sherlock (and the Halcyon) episodes had my wife reaching for the "Zapper" quite early in the broadcast, to turn of the subtitles. 

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Rillington Place

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Jamaica Inn


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The Halcyon


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Sherlock


This seems to be the latest "style" for productions of television drama on all channels over recent years. The more incoherent and mumbling the dialogue, then the more atmospheric and dramatic each scene becomes according to the director. Never mind the viewers who immediately have to switch on the "subtitles" option in an attempt to follow the story. Good drama ruined by intentionally poor quality sound. Perhaps the production people are under the impression that these "arty gimmicks" will bring awards for artistic content from other luvies in the industry.



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It seems that everyone from the Archbishop of Canterbury and Theresa May, through various "names" in the entertainment industry (including the Beckham's), through journalists, scientists and economists have been sending out their "New Years Messages" to the world. This year in a departure from the norm, I have joined this illustrious band and produced, "The New Year 2017 has arrived". http://new-agenda2012.blogspot.co.uk/2017/01/the-new-year-2017-has-arruved.html. (copy and paste link)


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Sophy Ridge

I note that Sophy Ridge now has her own new television programme slot "Sophy Ridge on Sunday" which is the latest "political comment" offering from Sky Television News. This weeks guest was none other than Prime Minister Theresa May. Unfortunately, washing what remains of my hair took up more time than usual resulting in my missing the entire programme !
The smug, patronising and self opinionated Ridge (who's entire career since graduating with an English Literature degree, has consisted entirely of employment at the News of the World followed by her current position at Sky which says everything), and the bumbling, inconsistent and confused PM were given recorded coverage in subsequent news slots from which and from other sources, I was able to gather the following snippet.
And it is the job of government to encourage and nurture these relationships and institutions where it can, and to correct the injustice and unfairness that divides us wherever it is found.”
What the hell does that mean?
Theresa May spewing out double talk and rhetorical nonsense.
She has completely lost the plot and should do the decent thing.
Retire to the country and grow some roses.



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Ridge and May. It sounds like a bottom of the bill Music Hall act.


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Following what has now become a tradition in the United Kingdom the Express is (again) predicting that we are about to freeze in the first “real blast of winter” with Arctic gales and more than 4 inches of widespread snow set to hit within days. In the meantime, it is still raining on and off, the fog is widespread our heaters are still in strategic locations around the house, the outside temperature is remains in double figures (except at night).
Perhaps the Express should replace their now out of date seaweed.

Have a nice week.


John