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?"

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Denmark saves money by tightening up on Immigration

The favourite mantra of the left that immigrants help to boost the economy has been shown to be incorrect in the case of Denmark.
A Danish Government report shows that immigrants and descendants from non-western countries as costing Danish society 15.7 billion. (1.87 billion sterling) per year, while immigrants and descendants from Western countries contributing to the exchequer by 2.2 billion. DKK.
See here.
And remember that the population of Denmark is only 5.5 Million, about one eleventh of that of Great Britain. Think of the savings that we could make!

Opposition Priorities

John Redwood's brief blog today is worth reading.
Our country is still trying to work it's way out of the financial crisis, for which the last government, in part at least was responsible, we are at war in Afghanistan with our troops being killed almost on a daily basis, we are deeply involved in Libya, other middle-east countries are on the verge of war and local elections are pending, and the best that our Labour opposition can do is to complain about the political correctness of a catch-phrase from an insurance advertisement which Cameron used towards a female MP.

Personally, I prefer some of Churchill's "put-downs":
Bessie Braddock to Churchill (late one evening): "You're Drunk"
Churchill: "Yes, and you're fat and ugly. But in the morning, I'll be sober"
I can imagine the outrage if Cameron said something like that in this modern politically correct world.

The modern MP's are all wimps!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Sunday - Words worth reading

Normally, I wouldn't suggest reading an article in the Daily Mail as a thought for today, but I think this article is well worth reading by anyone who still considers themselves to be a Christian.

The author, Andrea Minichiello Williams, is the founder and director of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, an organisation that I never thought would be required in Britain.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

St George's Day

Today is England's Saint's Day
Today is St George's Day

So we've  Hung out the Flags

Large and Small
Not a mention of St George on the BBC, or even in my Newspaper
(but then what should I expect!)

And if the flags upset the people living opposite, who are of non-European descent,
that's their problem, not mine.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Another Mine Clearance Expert Killed

This is a World War 2 flail tank at work dealing with land mines. It was reasonably safe, and reasonably effective. There are now more modern variants of this such as the Aardvark flail, or the American MRAP, or Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles
South Africa has produced the Matador, a vehicle designed to resist the impact of land mines and maximise the protection of the occupants.
Yet our soldiers are still getting killed clearing mines manually.
In all walks of life these days, we are forever hearing the phrase "If only one life is saved it will be worth it", but it seems that this does not apply in the case of our armed forces.
There is an argument that these methods of clearance don't work against remote controlled mines; it is fallacious because neither does manual clearance work, as the person operating the remote control  explodes the device just as clearance is about to start, killing the soldier who has located the device.
It is ludicrous that our military should still be using such antiquated clearance methods in this modern age.
As an afterthought, does anyone know whether the US military in Afghanistan still use the same method of mine clearance as our troops?

My sympathy goes out to the family of the latest victim, Captain Lisa Jade Head, 29, of Huddersfield who was the 364th member of our military to be killed in Afghanistan  and the 6th member of her regiment killed clearing mines.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Computer Aided Waste!

My wife had heart surgery some years ago, and at her annual check up, a couple of weeks ago, her consultant suggested that she had an echo-cardiogram.
Last Friday she received a phone call from the local hospital saying that they had a cancellation and offered her an appointment for Monday morning, which she accepted. As arranged she attended and was obviously pleased to be told all was well.
Today (Wednesday 20th), she received a letter, first class mail, informing her that an appointment had been made for to attend the hospital on Monday 18th, etc.
Now I know it is only the cost of a first class stamp, an envelope and a page of computer print-out, by why waste even this amount?
But then I suppose, because of the ignorance of those who placed the contracts for the NHS IT system, it would now cost a fortune for a line of code to be added to the program to prevent this happening.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Make Up Your Minds!

The media has been reporting today that, according to Government figures, more than a quarter of children aged 16 and under today can expect to live to see their 100th birthday.
The Daily Mail reports it here and the Evening Standard here.

Wait, hang on a bit, surely it was only a couple of weeks ago that the Media were reporting Government figures showing that obesity and excessive alcohol consumption were going to result in many of today's youngsters not living as long as their parents.

I do wish they'd make up their minds!

Wales - "One in Four work for the State"

Listening to the coverage of the Welsh Assembly elections on TV this morning, one of the statements made was that one in four people in Wales works for is employed by the state.
A good job the country gets buckets of money from the English Taxpayer! I can't imagine real workers in Wales being very happy with the thought that a third of the money that they earn has to go straight to the government to pay the wages of these state workers employees!
The sooner Wales has full independence, the better!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Computers - User names and passwords

Why does life have to be so complicated?
 Why is it so difficult to log-on to an internet account?
I can understand why banks and the like need to have very secure systems, but surely there is not the need for this level of security to post questions on internet forums or to ask a question of a manufacturer's technical support department.

I can guarantee when trying to open a new "account", I can get more error messages than anyone I know!
User name? This usually produces a response from the simple "invalid name" (no clue why), through "invalid characters" to either "too long" or "too short" and "must include a figure".
Passwords are just as bad, producing all the above responses, and probably some that I've forgotten.
Then, even if I manage to complete this phase, there seems to be an odds on chance that I will fail to manage to actually log onto my new account.

This happened this morning; I wanted to join a particular forum dealing with a subject in which I have an interest. I went through all the hassle and in due course received an e-mail advising me to confirm my registration by clicking on a link. What did I get but
Of course the e-mail comes from "no-reply@" the organisation concerned, so a dead end as far as I'm concerned..

The same has happened recently with the Hewlett-Packard web site; I'm busy accumulating new user names and passwords as the same one never seems to work twice. Here there is an added complication that they need your e-mail address and you can't have more that one Username for the same address; fortunately I can have as many as I like on my domain, so I'm working my way through HP1@, HP2@ in order to communicate - they all go into my "postmaster box".

And of course there is the question of why they all demand my age! Except for my bank and the like, everybody else gets the earliest date that their system will accept, usually 1/1/1900. I suspect that statistically there are quite a lot of 111 year olds with "accounts" on the web as it seems to be standard practice adopted by most of my friends.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Is there any point in Parliament?

According to the BBC, a Parliamentary Committee has decided that Ofsted has "got too big to function properly" and its responsibilities should be split up to separate its educational responsibilities from its child protection work. However Downing Street has announced that they have no plans to make any changes.

Now one of the areas where I believe MPs can contribute to this country is not by standing up in the House as part of a routine "Yah-boo" act, but by quietly contributing, largely behind the scenes, to parliamentary committees. Most members of these committees are usually MPs with particular knowledge of the subject covered by the committee. Their reports and conclusions are invariably well worth consideration, and invariably their findings are ignored by government.
This of course gives rise to the question, "Why should MPs bother? "  Why not just take an even longer break, there is no real purpose in them attending the House if their hard work is to be ignored..
Parliamentary committees should have more powers and the government of the day should be obliged to give full and proper consideration to their findings, and indeed, provide an explanation as to why they are not being adopted. We should have more parliamentary committees, one for each of the government departments, and they should have to vet and approve the departmental budgets.

Thursday, 14 April 2011


So now we  clearly know where the LibDems stand on immigration.
According to the BBC,
'Vince Cable has criticised David Cameron over his promise to cut immigration to "tens of thousands" of people a year.
The Lib Dem business secretary said the prime minister had been "very unwise" and that such a target was Conservative - not coalition government - policy.'
So it is now very clear, Cutting emigration is not LibDem policy.

If the people of this country foolishly decide to adopt AV in the forthcoming referendum, with statements like this, there is only one party that will be the winner, the BNP!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Safety Instructions

Mrs EP bought a "Matchbox" type vehicle from Sainsburys for our grandson.

Being a responsible grandfather, I naturally read the warnings before totally ignoring them!

However it does seem that items 3 and 4 are mutually contradictory, unless Sainsburys expect me to get a pair of scissors and cut out the warnings for retention.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Single Fathers - Why don't they get the support given to single mothers?

We read all the time in the newspapers of all the support being given by the state to single mothers and one would assume that single fathers trying to bring up a child would get similar help.
The son of close friends of ours has recently been put into this position.  His wife died of cancer when their daughter was just over three years old and he has been left in the difficult position of trying to earn a living and look after the child. Far from offering help, the Social Services seem to want to prove that he is incapable of looking after a child, and particularly a girl by himself, presumably with the aim of taking her into care and possibly adopted.
Why shouldn't a father be capable of raising a daughter? Why is it acceptable in the eyes of Social Services that a single mother should be provided with accommodation and encouraged to raise her child, however dissolute her life style might be, yet a widower father who dearly loves his child is given minimal help? As he remarked, apparently the only males whom are considered capable of bringing up a child, in the eyes of Social Services,  appear to be gays!

Fortunately, in this case, the grandparents are prepared to help to look after the child, but like myself, they are well past their biblical "use by date" and are finding a round trip of sixty miles nearly every day is getting a bit too much at their ages. Is it too unreasonable for the state to give the father some help with day nursery costs, or perhaps some assistance to find affordable accommodation nearer to the child's grandparents so that they will be able to take and collect their granddaughter from school when the time comes? Here is someone who wants to work, who doesn't want to live at the expense of the state. It would cost the system a lot less to give him a bit of support now until he can get organised and back on his feet, than for him to "throw in the towel", loose his job and go on the dole. But the way the system works, if he did the latter, he would get all sorts of help.

This is not the first time I have come across this problem;  When I was working a member of my staff lost his wife, leaving him with  two children. I gave him as much latitude as I could with timekeeping and the like and other members of our shift were prepared to assist by covering his duties if necessary. But he got zero help from management. If it had been a female member of staff losing her husband, I am quite sure that our personnel section would have been rushing around offering every assistance.

There is definitely severe prejudice against fathers bringing up children by themselves, and it is even worse in these two cases as the fathers were widowers, not unmarried females bringing fatherless children into the world in order to provide a state meal ticket.

So I mist reiterate my original question
Why don't single fathers get the support given to single mothers?

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Phone Hacking - How do they know?

How does one know one's phone has been hacked?
Surely a reasonable question to ask, and one for which I have so far failed to find an answer.
In the recent cases, it was not so much the phone that was hacked, but the voice mail which are recordings held by your phone provider containing messages from other people who were unable to speak to you directly. I don't own a mobile phone, but my daughters both tell me that they listen to these messages using their mobile phone following which they erase them.
It is a simple procedure, and you need a password in order to hear the messages.

But my question still remains, how do you know someone has been listening to your messages? Surely unless the person leaving the message can confirm that they have told no-one else the contents of the message, and you don't subsequently tell anyone of the content, you only know it has been hacked if some third party also has the information. Research amongst family members failed to reveal any single item of information which they could honestly claim was only known by them and one other person.

Now, I'm not disputing the fact that phones have been hacked, but in view of the ever growing list of failed politicians and "celebrities" who are making the claims, I am becoming more sceptical about the whole affair. Of course, politicians, as has been shown, will do anything for money, whilst these so-called "celebrities" (many of whom I have never heard of) will say anything for publicity (and were probably stupid enough to leave the default password on their phones).

But in spite of all the column inches and extended news bulletins, my basic question "How do they know" remains unanswered.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Why buy a Daily Newspaper?

Ever since I started work, I have bought a daily newspaper. At first it was the Express ( a good paper in its time), then the Mail, and then for most of my life the Telegraph.
For the last few years, I have had an annual subscription to the Telegraph, which provided it, seven days a week, for little more than half price, but even with this reduction, I have reached the conclusion that it is no longer worth the money.
Now I realise that a newspaper can't compete with radio and television in terms of providing up-to-the-minute news, but until the last few years, my newspaper usually provided considerably more in-depth coverage and background information than the television, along with reasonably impartial informed comment. Of late, however, I have felt that the standard of news coverage had declined, particularly in respect of events outside this country and the proportion of non-news items, in which I have minimal interest, has been on the increase. This situation is at its worse on a Saturday, when the assorted supplements, none of which I would purchase if offered individually, amount to some 120 pages or so, plus a “magazine”, as compared with the 36 pages in the main paper of which approximately half is news.
Ever since I got broadband and have been able to read the news on line, I have become more aware of what is happening around the world, and the fact that much of it is not being reported in the UK . With only the Murdoch media empire making a charge, I can now read news from most countries around the world where frequently the local version differs considerably from that published here. Even in non-English speaking countries, the media frequently offers an English version on the internet, and if they don't, various bloggers do.
With the saving, I am considering a new laptop, or possibly one of these tablet PCs or iPads, which will enable me to sit in my arm chair and read the news exactly as I do now.

Mrs EP approves of the decision as long as I buy her the Radio Times or equivalent so that she can organise her TV viewing; she suggests the Daily Mail on Saturdays as she prefers their TV supplement. At 80p, its a considerable saving on the £2 for the Telegraph and its unwanted supplements!

Incidentally, when I first started to buy a daily newspaper, most cost 1d (one penny in the good old money), with the Telegraph and the Times costing 1½d. Now the Monday to Friday Telegraph costs £1,  which is 160 times more than it did back then! (an increase of 16000%).
Whilst I'm no friend of Royal Mail, it is worth noting that a postage stamp then cost 2½d and that it now costs 46p for a first class letter. So from a situation where a stamp cost 2½ times the cost of most morning newspapers, we now have one where it costs less than half the price of the Telegraph. Perhaps postage charges aren't as bad as we like to think!

So we'll see how things go; possibly I'll need to buy a book of crossword puzzles or Sudoku; or are these available on line and I've just not found them yet?

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Cameron: "Britain is to blame for the world's problems"

I was incensed to read in this morning's Daily Telegraph   
"Cameron: UK caused many of the world's problems"
He may have been to University, but he clearly learned his history from some politically correct source and it clearly bears little resemblance to the history that I was taught at school, or indeed reasonably accessible facts.
He demonstrated his total lack of historical knowledge on his last visit to the US when  he was apparently totally unaware of the fact that Britain entered World War 2 against Germany in 1939, long before America. In view of his ignorance in not being aware of what happened as recently as 1940, one would have thought that he would have shown enough sense to keep his mouth firmly closed about earlier times.

This "taking the blame" culture seems to have stemmed from Blair who though it necessary to take the blame for the Irish potato famine, and in this sense Cameron has shown that he is truly the "Heir to Blair". Now apparently we caused the world's problems.
I would argue that this is totally contrary to the facts.

In general, the Colonial powers kept the peace for many years in countries which are now racked by civil war. This applied not only in the British Colonies, but also in the French, Dutch and Belgian colonies.
Yes, we went there to exploit the natural resources, but what is wrong with that? We weren't stealing them, because no-one had any interest in them. But at the same time, it was in our interest to keep the peace, we stopped the warring tribes and were totally impartial in our actions, never favouring one tribe over another. We maintained peace in large areas of the Indian sub-continent, through Burma, Malaysia, Singapore (an unoccupied swamp) as far as Borneo. And all this with probably less personel than the average County Council today! Peace reigned, the standards of living of the indigenous inhabitants improved (demonstrated by the rapidly rising birthrate) and we built many of the new facilities such as  railways and harbours.
Then came independence for these countries and so-called democratic governments, followed by dictatorships and chaos. I cannot think of any of our ex-colonies except Australia, Canada and New Zealand that any reasonable person would now consider to have a democratic government..
Does anybody think that Pakistan, where Cameron made his ridiculous remarks, has a democratic government? How can we possibly be responsible for what is happening there where political leaders are routinely assassinated, and those who survive go to live elsewhere with huge fortunes?
Look at Africa; currently there is civil war in the Ivory Coast, we have had genocide in Rwanda and in the Congo whilst Rhodesia has been reduced from one of the richest countries in Africa with probably the highest standard of living, to one where people are daily dying of starvation and their life expectancy is one of the lowest on the continent, being less than half ours in the UK.
How on earth can the actions of Britain (or any of the other ex-colonial powers) when they were in control be responsible for what has happened since?
As far as I am concerned the man's a total idiot.