Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"



Saturday, 28 February 2015

HS2 - Something Different?

I was intrigued to read about the proposed Hyperloop passenger transport system and that a prototype is to be built in California next year. It is being backed by Elon Musk, the PayPal billionaire and is being crowd funded. Available details are sparse, but a description is given in today's Daily Telegraph.

The basic idea is for the trains to run in tube from which the air has been partially evacuated, at speeds of up to 800mph, although the short prototype track will only allow them to reach about 200mph.

Whether it is feasible or not, only time will tell, but if it is, it seems that the Americans will have an entirely new type of ground transport whilst we are still arguing over HS2. We were the inventors of the steam railway and led its development all over the world, but it seems that now we have lost all appetite for new innovations and are happy to build our new high speed line using technology which is already considered out-of-date in Japan and China.

I wish the Americans good luck with this project, it is nice to see that innovation there does not depend on government funding and that people are willing to put up money to give it a try. Clearly the pioneering spirit is still alive.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

UKIP - Media Hypocrisy


The latest Facebook posting by one of the UKIP branches has produced more synthetic rage from politicians and the media.

Ukip's Newport branch was blasted for an 'abhorrent' Facebook post likening the EU to the Nazis with this Swastika graphic

Apparently the main cause of offence is the Swastika which, we are told by the politically correct, must never be used as it is a symbol of evil. We are told that its use will do nothing to promote "community cohesion". To me the EU is a dictatorial organisation which makes a pretence of being a democracy when in fact it is run by non-elected officials and where the so-called parliament has virtually no powers. 

In view of the mess that the EU has led us into with its meddling in the Ukraine, perhaps we should be glad that, as yet, it's not the Russian flag instead of the EU emblem.

The outrage here follows an attempt earlier this week to link Nigel Farage to racism by publishing  a photograph of him (taken some time ago) with one of the alleged racists involved in the incident on the French Metro. Unlike the major parties, where everyone who meets the leaders is checked in advance, the UKIP leader meets all kinds of people whilst out canvassing.

Meanwhile, the media says nothing about the election agent for Peterborough Labour Party, Andrew Palmer, being a convicted paedophile. Or about some Labour and Conservative Winchester Councillors resigning over a High Court judgement which found the council guilty of acting unlawfully over a redevelopment contract. Or even about a Leicester Labour councillor who has been convicted of intending to pervert the course of justice. Details are on the Bloggers4UKIP web site

Whilst the UKIP posting might be considered by some to be in poor taste, that is all that is wrong with it; no laws have been broken but nevertheless it has been well publicised by main media outlets. The hypocrisy is that the very same media outlets prefer to ignore those cases where the law has most definitely been broken by both Labour and Conservative party members.   

Monday, 9 February 2015

Hospital Fines

The Telegraph reports that
Hospitals will be fined £10,000 if they are found to have lied over negligence claims, under new Government plans to tackle a “cover-up culture” in the NHS

Apart from the fact that Hospitals are buildings and that it is human beings within those hospitals who cover-up the problems, what on earth is the point of fining the Hospital Trusts?

Every fine they have to pay reduces the amount of money that they have available to treat patients or improve the conditions within the hospital. In no way does it have any impact on those who were complicit in the cover-up. The top executives invariably carry on exactly as normal, and occasionally, should enough pressure be applied, they usually manage to leave "by mutual agreement" with a large pay off, only to be re-employed in a similar position elsewhere.

The only real sanction would be to fine or sack the individuals involved. In the latter case, they should be banned from employment within the NHS. The government proposals don't address the problem and the government is effectively proposing to fine patients for the misdemeanours of their employees.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Sex Abuse

The top item on the BBC's web site at the moment is
"Glitter guilty of child sex abuse"

You have to look amongst the small news items to find "Twenty men charged with sex crime". If you bother to follow the link, you find a mere 12 lines about these arrests by the Northumbria police and absolutely no indication as to the names or ethnic origin of those involved.
If you want to know more, you either have to go to Breitbart or the local Newcastle newspaper, the Chronicle.

Breitbart also reveals that 25 men from Calderdale have been charged with the sexual exploitation of a girl, more details are in the Halifax Courier.

Only Breitbart makes any reference to the ethnic origin of those charge, but you can perhaps draw your own conclusions from their names as in both cases there are several named "Mohammed" amongst those arrested.

At the time of writing, the news feeds from both the Telegraph and the Mail make no reference to either of the cases although, like the BBC, they both seem to go overboard to cover the conviction of Garry Glitter.

Why should one have to rely on an American owned web site to bring us such news? 45 men have been charged with offences, and the UK media feel it is more important to give blanket coverage to the conviction of a 70 year old man for crimes committed 40 years ago.

However one must congratulate the two police forces involved for taking action, unlike the South Yorkshire police in Rotherham who did nothing for many years.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Not My Responsibility!

During my lifetime there seems to have been an enormous decline in the number of people who are willing to take personal responsibility for themselves. No longer will anyone who suffers a misfortune accept that this might be a result of their own actions, someone else is to blame.

The latest organisation to support this concept is the Centre for Social Justice  which said that wine, beer and spirits bought in off-licenses and supermarkets should be subject to a levy of a penny per unit to fund rehabilitation for alcoholics.

Why? Why should we all be charged to pay for the treatment of those who don't have the responsibility to look after themselves? In my view anyone who attends A&E as a result of either drink or drugs should be made to pay for their own treatment.

The problem with such a policy is there is no knowing where it might end. Obesity is a matter of increasing concern and today some of the media highlighted the number of teenagers awaiting surgery. The cost of gastric band operations is difficult to ascertain from the media, prices of between five and ten thousand pounds being mentioned, although it is not clear whether this also includes aftercare.

So following the logic of a tax on alcohol to cover treatment, why not take it a step further and have a tax on junk-food, sugar and all the other foods stated to be the causes of obesity in order to fund gastric band operations? Where does it end?

If you take out insurance to cover you or your property against possible misfortunes there is always a clause requiring you to make your best endeavours to safeguard your insured items, whether it is your person or your home. Few holiday insurance policies will pay out if you end up in hospital as a result of being drunk. If you want to engage in some risky holiday activity, you will be expected to pay an additional premium, as indeed I do because of my age.

Why shouldn't the NHS take a similar approach? If there is good reason to believe that you are responsible for your own misfortune, surely it is reasonable to make a charge. Why should we all pay for your irresponsibility? I like my quite regular drop of Scotch, but I don't drink to excess and have never had to have any medical treatment because of my drinking. Indeed my doctor, not so long ago, suggested that a glass of wine of an evening would help me to relax and sleep better and would probably do me less harm than any pills that he might prescribe.

I take responsibility for myself, as do most people of my age for as long as they are capable; I resent the thought of paying for those who have abrogated any personal responsibility.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill died fifty years ago this week and in my view he was the greatest Prime Minister that we've had during my lifetime, and in my father's view he was also the greatest one that he'd had during his lifetime. So that takes us back to the 1899!

To me, Churchill was one of those rare Prime Ministers who achieved as much outside politics as he did as a politician. He wrote numerous books, and these days anyone who wrote so many authoritative books would achieve fame solely on the strength of that alone. But no, he was a soldier, a newspaper war reporter, a painter, a politician and much more before becoming Prime Minister. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.

My father was a great admirer of Churchill because he was one of the few who spoke out against the appeasement policy of the thirties and who  recognised that, sooner or later, war with Germany under Hitler was inevitable. This was because my father visited Germany numerous times during the thirties and always said that anyone who was prepared to open their eyes would have seen the preparations for war.  Churchill was one of the few who did, and saw what was happening. He was prepared to stand by his convictions regardless of the prevailing political viewpoint.

Certainly, we have had no Prime Minister since Churchill who was such a great orator and could speak with such conviction, which I'm sure was one of the many reasons which made him such a good war-time leader. I'm sure that I will never see, or hear the likes of him again.

A question that I ask myself, from time to time, is who would lead and inspire this country if we had a major crisis as in 1940? I simply can't think of anyone either inside or outside the current political establishment who has Churchill's qualities.



Saturday, 10 January 2015

Islamophobia

phobia, noun, an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.

Following the tragic events in France, most politicians have been at pains to try to stress that what happened is nothing to do with Islam, but was the actions of a few extremists who are not representative of the majority of Muslims. The general consensus seems to be that anyone who doesn't take that view and dislikes Muslims is suffering from Islamophobia.

So far there has just been one British politician who disagreed with this consensus and that was Nigel Farage who spoke about the "Fifth Column" within this country, as a result of which, he was roundly condemned by the usual appeasers for "making a political point" out of a tragedy. Sky News, to their credit, interviewed a French MP about the events and he, too, spoke about the enemy within. But as far as I'm aware, not one other UK politician has said anything about the event other than to offer condolences to those involved and to the French nation, whilst, in most cases stressing that the events were nothing to do with Islam.

I'm sorry, but the events have everything to do with Islam, and many "moderate" Muslims are quite happy to accept such events in the name of their religion, as was reported in our local press at the time of 9/11 when pupils at a couple of schools were said to have all cheered as the tragedy unfolded, something that was hastily denied by the local education authorities. It seems to be the case that no Muslim will ever publicly criticise what another Muslim does however heinous the crime. It is impossible to have a dialogue with even "moderate" Muslims. Suggest that they should obey the law of our country, and one will be informed that it is not our country but it belongs to Allah. You cannot have dialogue with a religion which believes in Taqiyya, a concept that accepts it is perfectly in order to lie to a non-believer in order to advance the religion.  When I see Muslims wearing T-shirts saying "Not in My Name" or "Not in the Name of Islam" following an atrocity, I may start to believe in "moderate" Muslims.

I believe that the media of the western world should have stood in solidarity with the murdered journalists, but they have done very little. If they'd had any guts, they would all have simultaneously reprinted the offending cartoon on their front pages to demonstrate our free speech and freedom of expression.

Surprisingly, one small section of the press did this, in Quebec where all the French language newspapers reprinted the cartoons. The English language papers opted out! My respect for the French language media in Quebec has increased immensely.
See: "Prophet Muhammad cartoon in Quebec papers after Charlie Hebdo shooting"
(H/T to Anna Raccoon)

Coming back to my original heading. I do not have an irrational fear of Islam, I have a genuine fear of what the religion is doing to my country. There is absolutely nothing irrational about a fear of a religion which instructs its adherents that they should either enslave or kill all non-believers. There is nothing wrong with a fear of a religion which claims to be the "Religion of Peace" and yet finds it acceptable for its adherents to murder anyone who "insults" the religion. No other religion goes to such extremes, and there is no way that I could possibly believe in a God who advocates such action.

So, I am not suffering from Islamophobia, as the politicians and appeasers would claim, I have a real and genuine fear of Islam and of the future that it is leading us into.