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?"

Monday, 17 February 2014

The Cost of the Floods - plus VAT !

 It is difficult to find figures about the cost of the floods, mainly because public and private costs are invariably lumped together to give an overall figure.
The BBC has a very interesting report in which it says that
"Severe flooding in the UK is not unusual."
and adds
"In 2007 there was extensive damage in several urban areas including Hull and Tewkesbury. The insurance bill for this year's flooding could well end up a lot lower than the payouts required seven years ago.
"Between May and July 2007, England and Wales experienced the wettest conditions in 200 years. Nearly 50,000 households were affected"
This is an interesting statement because it rather contradicts the Green's arguments about climate change, as the recent floods are clearly not the worse floods that the country has experienced.
The 2007 summer floods gave rise to payouts of about £3billion.
"According to the insurer Hiscox, the latest floods could, if they continue for a couple more weeks, result in payouts of about £1bn. This would still be well short of the claims seven years ago."
These figures don't, of course, represent the total overall cost of the floods and won't include the cost of repairs to our infrastructure, such as the damage to the railways as at Dawlish, and the repair of flood defences. Nor, of course does it include the costs of flood prevention measures, belatedly being put in place by the military.

However, the Treasury doesn't come out of this too badly. VAT is payable on building repairs and replacement contents. Based on Hiscox's figures this would come to around £200 million, which should easily pay for Cameron's "No efforts will be spared . . . . . . " and even leave enough to cover the costs of dredging the rivers in Somerset.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Purge all those who don't accept climate change!

The Green Party have demanded that 'Any Minister or senior advisor refusing to accept "the scientific consensus on climate change" should be sacked'.
Well, now we know, the Greens are budding Stalinists who given a chance would purge all those who don't agree with their view of the world.
The BBC reports in some detail that 'The Greens are now insisting the government get rids of any cabinet minister who takes a different view on climate change' and that 'even the chief veterinary officer should be removed if he didn't sign up to the view on climate change also taken by the Green Party'.
Apart from the fact as each day passes it becomes more apparent that there is no real "scientific consensus on climate change", and that many of the predictions of the alarmists have been totally wrong, there is no reason to believe that the present abnormal weather is due to climate change. How many times have we heard from the alarmists that "weather isn't climate" when their predictions are wrong, the most recent being when a group of them were on a vessel stuck in what should have been non-existent Antarctic ice!
Its a good job that the Greens are never likely to get into power in this country otherwise we would all soon learn what it was like to have lived in the old USSR.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Floods and Smoking

Large tracts of the West Country and the Thames Valley are under water, large numbers of people are homeless, and what does the House of Commons have a debate on?  Not the floods, as one might expect, but the possible harm that second hand smoke might do to children travelling in cars.

Meanwhile, after weeks of dithering, the Environment Agency decides some extra pumps are needed and a Dutch company gets 20 of them on the road within 4 hours of receiving a phone call.

There are all the signs that panic has set in within our government with different Ministers meeting the media, but no-one seemingly being in charge and having overall responsibility.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Save the Children

According to the Daily Mail, "Three staff at Save the Children earn more than £140,000. The highest is chief operating officer Annabel Hoult who earned £168,653 last year". Say an average of £150,000, that makes a total of around £450,000 for just three of their staff.
Save the Children have recently been running a series of adverts on commercial TV, urging us to give £2 a month to save a child. My maths shows that it would require around 14,500 people to sign up to give this amount simply to pay the salaries of these three staff before they even get round to saving any children. As for the cost of the TV advertisements, well the mind boggles!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Blame the EU !

I know there is a tendency to blame the EU for all this country's woes but when you start to look at various problems in detail, one finds that this is not just rhetoric but there that are very strong arguments that most of these problems originate from the EU.

Consider the floods in Somerset, for example. These areas were first drained starting back in the 1700's and have generally remained free of flooding with the dykes being properly maintained and improved over the years, and although the rains this year have been exceptional, there would have been unlikely to have been such widespread floods if such maintenance had continued.

But, as Christopher Booker explains in today's Sunday Telegraph, the EU has issued directives which actually require certain plains to become flooded as part of their quest for bio-diversity. The Environment Agency went along with this directive, without actually telling anyone, simply by giving up the maintenance of the dykes and the dredging of the rivers. Not only that, but the EU banned the use of any silt dredged from the rivers to raise the level of the land as in the past.

This is just one example of how the EU contributes to our problems. The EU's transport experts want high speed rail travel between all major cities, whether it would be used or not, hence the HS2 rail link which by no stretch of the imagination will be cost effective, and is unlikely ever to bring in enough revenue to repay the debts. There are arguments that by the time it is built, we will be in an era of driverless cars and that we should be improving our roads to cope with future technology rather than looking to the past. The editorial in today's Sunday Telegraph on this subject is worth reading.

Our likely problems with electricity shortages within the next year or so are due to EU directives on coal-fired power stations. We have had to close down perfectly good power stations which were far from the end of their life, because of the Greens' desire to cut carbon emissions. Strange, but Germany which has given up the idea of nuclear power, seems to have managed to get round the directives and is now building coal-fired power stations.

Excessive emigration and the loss of control of our borders is exacerbated by the EU "Free Movement" directives; not only that, they tell us we must pay benefits to any EU citizens in the UK and have recently stated that our benefits are too low! We are now reaching the stage where the majority of crime in London is being committed by foreigners and they represent a large, disproportionate number of those in prison. We can't deport them, because of their "Human Rights", another piece of legislation which can be laid at the EU's doorstep.

Even the NHS has problems as a result of the working hours directive which has reduced the number of doctors available in hospitals. It is suggested that the rise of hospital acquired infections is a result of the abandonment of the old-fashioned hospital laundries where all the linen was boiled to sterilise it, in favour of low energy, low temperature washing using modern detergents. This may produce "clean looking" linen, but is it totally germ free? Are our illnesses actually increasing as a result of this EU "green" policy?

As I read the news from day to day, and think about the difficulties that this country is facing, it is hard to find any significant problems in this country that can't in some way be traced back to Brussels.

And people ask why I support UKIP !