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?"

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Help the Aged

Was visiting a friend of mine earlier today when there was a knock on the door.
Two bright young things collecting - "Help the aged" they said.
Quick as a flash, my friend said "Yes please, all these leaves in the front garden need raking up. Hang on I'll go and get the rake"
Somewhat taken by surprise they didn't quite know what to say, so he continued
"I am the bloody aged and I need your help as offered"
They just fled. We couldn't stop laughing.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Out of Recession, Part Two

I rather liked this heading:

Leading the World Out of Recession
(From Behind Everyone Else)

see Iain Martin's WSJ Blog

Out of Recession ! ! !

According to the today's news we are out of the recession because the economy grew by 0.1% in the last quarter of 2009.
Great isn't it! A whole tenth of one percent growth (probably rounded up from some lower figure)!
Now the definitions of going into and coming out of recessions are funny things. The generally accepted definition of entering a recession is when there are two consecutive quarters of negative growth. However to come out of a recession, it seems that we only need to have one quarter of infinitesimal growth and hey presto, its all over!
This, of course suits politicians, particularly Labour politicians, as it is now impossible for us to be in recession at the time of a general election as we cannot now have two further quarters of negative growth because the figures for the second quarter cannot come before the end of July!

But then we have to remember that this was fully expected! We were assured by Gordon that our country was best placed to come out of the recession. Well, he's really tried! Reducing VAT cost the country a lot of taxation revenue; Interest rates are stupidly low, and less than inflation, so anyone with spare cash was tempted to spend it whilst the going was good, no wonder people went out spending. Even so, a mere 0.1% growth, how low can you get! But will it even be this minuscule amount next month? Well time will tell. Not that it matters to Gordon, because we are out of the recession!

Incidentally, if we were so well placed, why is it that Germany, without any major government activity has been out of recession for two quarters, 0.4% in the June quarter and 0.7% in the September quarter with the figures for the final quarter not yet available. By any measure they are way ahead of us.

But We are Out of Recession. Neither the government or the BBC will let us forget this, whatever happens in the next quarter!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Bans - Day Seven - Final Day!

When I started upon the subject of Bans, I was quite convinced that I'd find a new one every day, or at a minimum someone wanting a new ban every day. It seems that I was wrong, or perhaps those people who like thinking of new bans haven't yet recovered from Christmas due to their having been doing the very things that they would like to stop the rest of us from doing - overindulging with food and drink (and possibly cigarettes). Perhaps next week they will recover, I propose to keep an eye on this situation where officials, do-gooders, crackpots and all the rest want to stop the English people from doing things that they've done for generations.
My total wasn't bad, three on day one and another couple the next day. A couple more on day three, although one was only a local council and the other from France, but unfortunately nothing on day four. One on day five, and on day six no banns as such but several new laws which are in fact bans on various activities.
Perhaps they all gave up for Sunday (or I suppose actually Saturday), but its not a bad haul for the week, certainly an average of one a day!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Bans - Day Six

Well I haven't actually found any proposed bans in today's papers, but I have discovered a few interesting new laws passed by this government which are effectively banns on personal freedom.
For example, there is an offence of disturbing a pack of eggs when directed not to by an authorised officer. I'd better be careful next time I go into Tesco for half a dozen eggs; how often have I found two packs each with a broken egg and done a bit of judicious swapping to get six unbroken eggs. I wonder who this "authorised officer" is who might tell me not to do this.
There is a new offence of swimming within the Titanic. As this is somewhere in the cold North Atlantic, one could hardly imagine that it is a popular past time! I wonder if they've installed CCTV cameras to catch people who do this without authorisation from the appropriate Cabinet Minister! And if an American citizen decides to have a swim there, will they try to extradite him?
Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, attacked the Government for an "acute and prolonged bout of legislative diarrhoea". For once I must, reluctantly, agree with the Lib Dems. Labour apparently has created around 4,300 crimes since the came to power
When UKIP talks about "Independence" not only meaning independence from Europe but also in our personal lives, is is easy to understand what they mean.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Bans - Day Five

Yesterday seemed to be a ban free day, I searched through all the main British newspapers on the internet and failed to find even a hint of someone wanting a new ban.
Today we're back on track, the Daily Mail reports that
Swimming pool users banned from showering naked 'in case children are offended' HERE
It does seem that, according to some adults, children are far more sensitive these days that they used to be. My impression is the exact reverse and is that children are now much more likely to take most things in their stride without a second thought.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

How teachers have changed

Writing below about my economics teacher who taught about the free market in terms of bartering on the then black market, it brought to mind how different teachers were then than now; I remembered his lesson for life, which would have been unlikely if it had been a dry textbook study.
Our chemistry master always seemed to have a series of uncontrolled disasters, explosions, stinks, etc, but looking back it is clear that he was a sort of Tommy Cooper in disguise. Our history master alwanys seemed to manage to end the lesson with a good battle or a nice juicy murder. Our maths master always seemed to manage to find practical examples for our algebra (if a rifle with fifty rounds and three grenades cost . . .  etc, rather than apples and oranges). Our French master even manage to introduce some pictures of sexy-looking (to 15year old boys) females into the lesson. We had to work hard, risked a piece of flying chalk if we were inattentive, but we generally remembered what we were taught and none of us could say they didn't do their best for us. Most were past retiring age, because of the war, but that didn't seem to have dampened their enthusiasm.

I love the thought that somehow these teachers could come back from the past and take over at our local boy's school! It would be wonderful to be able to watch the reactions of not only the boys, who would probably enjoy it, but the reactions of the health and safety experts, OFSTED, child protection maniacs, education experts, council officials, school governors and all the others who try to tell teachers how to do their job. Contrary to David Cameron's belief, it is clear to me that teaching skills are far more important than mere academic qualifications.

Ah well, It's nice to dream occasionally!

Why do we bother with the Bank Rate?

When I "did" basic economics at school almost 60 years ago, we were taught that in a free economy prices were fixed by supply and demand. I remember it clearly, because our economics teacher was obviously a practical countryman and illustrated it in terms how the number of eggs required to barter for a rabbit varied on the black market throughout the year according to laying habits of the hens and the breeding habits of the rabbits! This was in a time of rationing and price controls so this was probably one of the few practical examples available to him!
My father, an accountant, who didn't quite approve of the example (although we kept ducks and occasionally had rabbit for Sunday lunch), pointed out to me that this argument was true with most transactions in life where neither the buyer or the seller were subject to coercion.
The fact that today that the Skipton Building Society had decided to enforce a “exceptional circumstances” clause in their mortgage contracts and increase the rate of interest, illustrates the truth of what I was taught. The Building Society had tied their loan interest rates to something like 3% above base rate, which as we all know, is being held artificially low. Whilst there were plenty of borrowers at that rate, there were getting less and less lenders who were prepared to put money into the Society at around 2% above base rate. Obviously it would have not been possible for this to continue indefinitely, particularly if there was more money being withdrawn than invested. The basic rules of supply and demand were working exactly as they have always done; the sellers (lenders) wanted a higher price (more interest) and at the moment dominate the market. The buyers (the Building Society on behalf of the borrowers) would simply have to pay more. Hopefully, the rate the Skipton BS has set will now attract in sufficient money to fund all those who want to borrow; if not, no doubt they will make further adjustments. Of interest to me personally is what rate will they offer to savers, and which bank/building society will be the next to break rank.

So as I said in my heading, "What is the point of the Bank of England's Base Rate?" If it was a guide figure at which transactions were being carried out, similar, in effect to the published prices on the Stock Exchange or Commodity Exchanges, it would have some purpose. Whether I want to know the current price of gold,  copper, cocoa beans, bank shares or dollars, I can look up the the price from the appropriate exchange via the internet and get some reasonable idea of what I would need to pay, both now and in the future. If I want to know the price of borrowing or lending money, there is no such figure, because the Bank of England insists it is 0.5% which is not only untrue, but totally meaningless. Because of this meaningless figure, contracts based on it have become grossly distorted, resulting in the action by the Skipton Building Society. It is the Government's and Bank of England's fault that this has happened, no-one else's.
Perhaps the Stock exchange should publish a daily interest rate figure based on reality to be used for financial transactions. After all, they publish a rate (the FTSE100) which is used to calculate the value of equity based savings, why should they not publish an interest rate (or rates) for other financial transactions?
The Base Rate could then be left to wither on the vine as a mere academic curiosity!.

A Private Hospital.

Yesterday, we took a widowed friend of ours to the hospital to be seen by her consultant following a  hip-replacement operation which she had had there a few weeks ago. It was not the first time I had visited the hospital as we had been to see her a couple of days after the operation, but I remain impressed by the cleanliness and orderliness  of the hospital as compared with our local NHS hospitals.
Firstly, the original operation. She went in on a Friday morning and the plan was that she would have the operation later the same day. Unfortunately, for some reason it was not carried out (a problem in the theatre), but unlike the NHS, she wasn't sent home without explanation and told another booking would be made, they kept her in and in due course carried out the operation starting at 8.00 on Sunday morning. One wonders when was the last time the NHS carried out a so-called non urgent operation on a Sunday.
Visiting her after surgery, a nurse escorted us to her room, first checking that she was awake and able to receive visitors, and when the afternoon tea came round we were offered the same as the patient.
Yesterday, at outpatients, there seemed to be an air of efficiency; compared with our local NHS outpatients it was peaceful but at the same time a hive of activity; there were not dozens of staff wandering aimlessly about, no the need to book in twice, once at the main outpatients reception and again at the particular clinic. The place was tidy, and if anyone, for example, left a magazine on a chair when going, one of the  receptionists would tidy it up immediately. The appointment was for 2.00 pm, and exactly to the second (I happened to be looking at the clock)  the consultant came in, found her, exchanged a few pleasantries with us all, and took her off to his room. We had a coffee each whilst we waited. A cup of very nice coffee, served nicely on a tray and with a jug of milk and two shortbread biscuits cost £1.20 a cup, better than Starbucks! Oh and the car park was free with no problem in finding a space although the hospital is within walking distance of the town centre.

Now I'm not saying that all NHS hospitals can be like this, but one thing that struck me was the whole air of quiet efficiency, the absence of (administrative) drones and the feeling that the staff were really there to help the patients. There was a lot that the NHS could emulate without running up a huge bill in the process.

And as a matter of interest, our friend's operation was paid for by the NHS; they had failed to provide the operation within the specified time from when she first saw the consultant, and thus, admittedly under pressure, they paid the costs for private treatment.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

What was this meeting all about?

Yesterday, when I switched on the television asI had my late breakfast, the BBC news was full of itself as we held on for some eagerly awaited very important statements from our Prime Minister and the EU president following some very important breakfast economics summit.
In due course Brown and Von Rumpole appeared before the cameras and, in turn, each made statements full of all the usual platitudes. I don’t know how long they took over their breakfasts having the very important discussions, but the statements took me all the way through my cornflakes, toast and coffee! Much of their statements covered Haiti, and it appeared that the EU will be setting up a committee some time soon to look into what help the EU might give.
As I was still half asleep, I thought that I’d read all about this very important summit in today’s papers, but to my surprise there doesn’t seem to be a mention anywhere.
Hence my question – What was it all about? Did it happen or was I still dreaming? Was it really worth all the trouble of von Rumpole coming to London for a few minutes chat? What’s wrong with the telephone or even establishing a video link? My daughter regularly has video conferences with both France and California; if a small company can manage it, surely it should be within the capability of the EU. Or perhaps von Rumpole just fancied a proper English, or perhaps Scottish, breakfast instead of those awful croissants.

Incidentally, I wonder of von Rumpole of the EU is in any way related to my old friend Rumpole of the Bailey?

Bans - Day Three

I haven't read my morning newspaper yet as I don't have it delivered and go to collect it myself, mainly for the exercise. But I've managed to find a local council ban on the internet.
Council bans roadside floral tributes to crash victims.
Highways bosses at Bolton Council say the tributes can be a distraction to other motorists and could cause a fatal accident themselves.  HERE
Actually, I think the Daily Mail is a bit OTT here as the Council is only proposing to remove them after 30 days, which doesn't seem too unreasonable to me.

Still with the Daily Mail, a ban from France
Ban women wearing the burka from benefits and public transport, demands French government spokesman
"His comments came the day after the head of president Nicolas Sarkozy's party said Muslim women wearing full-face veils should not be granted French nationality."  HERE

This is obviously of interest here as there are already demands for a ban onthe burka in public  places in England. If the French succeed, I wonder if it will become EU law and thus mandatory here. Still, that's not a good enough reason for our remaining in the EU however attractive the idea!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Our prison population

As is perhaps obvious from my views, I take the Daily Telegraph each day, and on most socio-political issues I find that I usually broadly agree with their columnists. However, one that I cannot ever seem to agree with is Mary Riddell who today writes about prisons. HERE First she comments on the rise of the prison population. Hasn’t she noticed that the general population is also rising, and that it would not be unexpected for the two to go hand-in-hand? Apparently, the French imprisonment rate is only two-thirds of ours, but you have only to watch the French gendarmerie at work to see that summary justice features far more on their agenda than ours!
Ms Riddell writes that 47% of prisoners sentenced to up to a year are repeat offenders within a year, and that even more of those given longer sentences become repeat offenders. Her convoluted logic suggests that if you give them shorter (or no) sentences, the number of repeat offences will decline! The same would apply if you gave them far longer sentences! If  “life had meant life” in a recent case, there would have been no chance for a second murder, as recently happened.
She states that it “is unlikely that the British people are twice as bad as in the 1970s”, but fails to give any reasoning for this view. If you look at discipline in schools, where children first learn that (often encouraged by their parents) they can disobey the rules with impunity, it is no surprise that once they leave school they treat the law with the same contempt. She refers to “an era of falling crime”; yet even without newspapers and statistics you can simply walk around your home town and see signs of minor crime everywhere.
Finally she reaches the conclusion that we should do what the Canadian Government has done and amend the law so that no one should be jailed if reasonable alternatives are available. What on earth does she think governments have been doing since WW2? What are Community orders, Probation, ASBOS and all the other “initiatives” which have been introduced by this and previous governments but “reasonable alternatives”. Magistrates already are effectively prevented from sending offenders to jail if there is any alternative. How does she think that the young burglar who was recently beaten up by his victim (with the victim ending up in jail rather than the burglar), managed to commit so many crimes? Had not alternatives been tried?
What we need to make it clear is that we will try to be compassionate with first time offenders, but if they commit any repeat offence and we will come down like a ton of bricks. Multiple repeat offenders would be taken off the streets, and other aspiring criminals might learn that they can’t get away with it.
Of course the easiest and cheapest solution would be to bring back the birch. Many years ago when I was in my twenties, I remember talking to a long retired hulk of a police sergeant in a pub up in Shropshire. He used to administer the birch at a magistrates court, probably Ludlow. He was very proud of the fact that he had never had to administer it twice to the same person! Yet if the do-gooders are to be believed, corporeal punishment traumatises people for life, but I must say that I have never ever come across anyone suffering in that respect.
We need change, but this can only come as a result of proper sentencing and minimising repeat offences along with real supervision of those on probation, with the probation workers being given real authority to get on with the job and not having to spend all their time on case meetings.

In my view this was an artice unworthy of the Daily Telegraph.

Bans - Day two

Its not quite as easy to find a ban every day as I thought, but there are two possibilities today on the drinking front as reported in the Daily Telegraph
A new mandatory code will ban promotions that encourage people to drink quickly or irresponsibly. Shops will be banned from [selling] alcohol at below cost – so called "loss leader" promotions. HERE

The Daily Mail reports that there is a
"Ban on drug that relieves arthritis pain... but not if you live in Scotland." HERE
Apparently NHS Scotland will be providing the drug, RoActemra, which is already widely used elsewhere in Europe, to patients north of the border. However NICE has decided that it will not be available to patients in England and Wales.
Whether 'non-provision' can strictly be called a 'ban' is perhaps arguable, but as doctors here are presumably not allowed to prescribe it, I think this can be included in my list.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Ban the Bans

For the last year or so I have been constantly saying to Mrs EP that everyday I open the newspaper or listen to the news there is some person or some organisation wanting something to be banned. Now I was brought up in a country where, even during the war, there were very few bans. Effectively you could generally do as you like (particularly in your own home) provided that by doing so, you didn't interfere with the rights of others. These days one gets the reverse impression, that the authorities, including various self-appointed do-good organisations, would like to ban us from doing anything without their express permission.
So this week, I intend to try to find out if my belief of finding one proposed ban a day is true, or just my imagination. My first problem is that I have found three proposed bans today without looking any further than the Daily Telegraph; do I count them all today, or can I claim two of them for Tuesday and Wednesday?

1. Ban on the wearing of the burka in public.
This has been suggested by Lord Pearson of Rannoch, the leader of UKIP, and could possibly become party policy. HERE

2. Frail elderly drivers 'should be banned from motorways'.
This by Neil Greig, The Institute for Advanced Motorists' director of policy.
"For their own good"
Its nice to know he's thinking of others! HERE

3. Ban butter to save our hearts.
From Dr Shyam Kolvekar at University College London Hospital. Supported by Dr Sarah Jarvis. What about banning cheese and full milk as well whilst they are at it! I await the comments of the dairy industry! HERE

So there's three for today and I'm off to a good start; if I happen to have missed any new ones proposed today, I'd be happy to receive a comment.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Help for married families

Ed Balls is a man whose surname invariably says much about the nature of his latest pronouncement. Today the news bulletins, particularly the BBC as might be expected, featured his reasons for opposing the Tories plan to bring in some form of tax relief for married parents.
Was the objection that it would be a waste of money; that he disagreed with the view that it is advantageous for married parents to bring up children and that until the children were eighteen, such families on average cost the state far less that other domestic set-ups?  Oh no, such considerations were no mentioned.
In fact it was all about accusing the Tories of trying to carry out social engineering – talk about the pot calling the kettle black!
According to him, children whose parents who did not get the relief would feel disadvantaged compared with those who did. That is the last of the reasons which might cause children to feel disadvantaged, they would have noticed it long before then, and for reasons not solely based on income. How would a child know what another child’s parents either pay in tax or got as tax-relief? How would he discover that he is supposed to be disadvantaged?
It is the State’s job to maximise its return for its investment, and if you get a better return from your limited resources by encouraging marriage it’s what needs to be done.

Oh and a plea to the Tories, when considering such allowances, I would like to suggest that it should be extended to widows bringing up children on their own. For so many purposes they seem to be treated as “single women”, and to use Balls’ own words “disadvantaged” by their status. Widowhood is not a voluntary situation like that of a single mother, and always was in the past regarded as a honourable status. We should return to that situation.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Check you Electrical Appliances!

Mrs EP had a nasty shock yesterday.
From this 

She'd almost finished drying her hair, sitting at the kitchen table as usual, and I was upstairs at my computer (as usual) when I heard a scream.
It wasn't the usual "There's a spider scream" which I tend to ignore, but a more serious one so I thought I'd better put in an appearance!
The hair dryer was on the table, there was a familiar smell of burnt electrical equipment, and Mrs EP was holding her hand under the cold tap.
Fortunately things weren't as bad as they looked; her hand was black but from burnt PVC insulation, but there was quite a nasty blister. Things could have been worse, she didn't actually get an electric shock which might have caused real problems. This was the actual cause:

The cable had worn where it emerged from the drier, so it was just the flash and the burning insulation which did the damage. The fuse in the plug did its job and the flash was limited to a 5 amp flash rather than a 13 amp flash, and the supply breaker didn't trip.
My fault, I suppose. As a retired electrical engineer, I of all people, should have kept an eye on such things. I immediately had a look at the cables on all the other electrical appliances, particularly on the moveable things like the electric iron and kettle, the vacuum cleaner, coffee maker, etc.  It didn't take long, and I would now strongly advise any readers to do the same.
Mrs EP used it as an excuse to visit John Lewis (in spite of the snow) and buy a more upmarket drier. My suggestion that I should fit a new lead was totally ignored!

Monday, 11 January 2010


According to "Whats up with that?", The Northern Hemisphere in December 2009 has had the second heaviest snowfall since records began in 1966. North America set a new record level.
Strange how we always hear when it has been the hottest day since some date in the distant past, but we never hear about the coldest day. The BBC said that the temperature a couple of nights ago made this the coldest day of the year, but no suggestion that it might in fact have been the coldest day since the 1950's or even earlier.

And I suppose that we should not be surprised that Local Councils and Schools were totally unprepared for the snow. My waste time and money when the government experts all insisted that it was unlikely to happen, one professor apparently stating that we were unlikely to see snow in this country again.

Computer problems

I've been having computer problems lately. I know mine is old, but even so I can see no great advantage of lashing out on a new one.
I decided to fit an additional hard drive, but when I came to do so, I found that the spare slot had the cables to the front panel USB sockets and card reader fed via this slot blocking any possibility of installing a second drive. (Moral - never believe the manufacturer's specification!)
So I decided to bite the bullet and fit a larger drive, theoretically a simple exercise. The drive arrived on Christmas Eve in spite of the snow, thanks to e-Buyer and the man in the yellow van, and I resolved to sort out my computer immediately the Christmas festivities were over.
And that was where my troubles started, so at the moment I'm temporarily using a borrowed laptop (which has an awful keyboard!) Apologies to those who commented on my earlier blogs, I just wasn't able to look at your comments.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Does the crime of Treason still exist?

The Treason Act 1351 has since been amended several times, and currently provides for four categories of treasonable offences, one of which is
"if a man do levy war against our lord the King in his realm, or be adherent to the King’s enemies in his realm, giving to them aid and comfort in the realm, or elsewhere".
The duty of the Crown towards its subjects is to govern and protect. The reciprocal duty of the subject towards the Crown is that of allegiance. Allegiance is owed both to the Sovereign as a person and, perhaps more importantly these days,  to the Sovereign in the political capacity.
The definition of treason depends on this allegiance and all British Nationals owe allegiance to the Queen  wherever they may be, which includes those who hold a British passport however obtained. The law also includes aliens (excepting diplomats) present in the United Kingdom at the time of the treasonable act.
Although the law is very complex, the above statements seem quite clear; anyone who endeavours to overthrow the government by force or give aid and comfort to the enemies of the Queen is committing treason.

I have been reading what the media has said about Anjem Choudary and his proposed demonstration at Wootton Basset and also about the Seven Muslim protesters who screamed insults at soldiers on parade at Luton. Her Majesty's Forces are servants of the Crown in both a personal and political capacity, and any insults or demonstrations against them are also demonstrations against the Crown, which in the past has been considered to be treason. If there is any doubt about this, in Choudary's case, he has been preaching the overthrow of British Law and its replacement by Sharia Law. He also is giving aid and comfort to the Queen's enemies in many of his statements and actions. These actions are both clearly contrary to the Treason Act.

So why haven't there been any prosecutions? Has the Attorney General got cold feet or is he too busy arguing against the Tory case for changing the self-defence laws? Or does the government think it would harm racial relations? The latter argument, I believe is fallacious; it is claimed that a majority of Muslims are opposed to the extremists, firm action by our government would convince them and the white majority, that these people are not going to be allowed to interfere with our way of life.

When aliens get UK citizenship they should be made to understand that part and parcel of this is allegiance to the Crown, not just the ability to go and collect the Job Seeker's Allowance and other benefits. Most apparently don't realize this and its about time they learnt, and the best way for them to learn would be a few prosecutions for treason. Anjem Choudary would be a good starting place.


It is still snowing and has been since yesterday evening. It's a nice calm day, the garden looks nice, the birds have been fed, I have no need to go out and all's well as far as I am concerned.
But it is the first of my observations that is the most important, the snow is falling straight down and there is no sign of drifting here on the edge of the Chilterns.
So what? Well it would appear that most people are staying indoors with the heating turned up, lights on and possibly, like me, sitting at a computer. Our electricity consumption will be at an all time high under these circumstances; indeed I imagine the generating companies are struggling to cope. And at the same time as we most need it, the main source of supply advocated by this government has failed. There is absolutely no wind and no wind-generated power. This appears to be generally the case in the UK, whenever we get these cold spells of winter the air is usually quite still and it's not too uncomfortable going out.
I trust all those who signed up for "Green Electricity" have turned off all their appliances, or are they taking part of my dirty electricity?

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

More Nanny State

"Restaurants and takeaway shops will now have to provide food warnings on menus as part of a government campaign to prevent obesity, climate change and global food shortages" according to today's Daily Telegraph .
We must be told the amount of sugar and fat in unhealthy meals! Customers are to be encouraged to eat less red meat and dairy produce in order to cut down on methane produced by cows. Shops will have to show food's "carbon footprint" to discourage transport over long distances. All this from Hilary Benn, our Environment Secretary and a vegetarian.
Just who do they think is going to take any notice of this rubbish. When we eat out it is because we are hungry and it is our normal meal time. In our case, this usually means a fast food outlet if we happen to be out shopping and Mrs EP has taken longer than I anticipated, or a leisurely meal in a pub or restaurant for pleasure and to save Mrs EP from having to cook. In neither case are we likely to take a blind bit of notice of how many calories are in the food, we eat what we feel like and have done this all our lives, except perhaps during and in the aftermath of the war. No government campaign is going to change us from our frequent routine of going to the "Royal Standard", as we did last Sunday, and having Roast Beef, Yorkshire Pudding and, to please the government, a good portion of fresh vegetables. And a lovely hot treacle sponge with excellent custard, just the thing for a cold day. Not of course forgetting suitable alcoholic refreshment which probably took me well over the government's limit for the week and forcing Mrs EP, whose alcoholic intake is regrettably restricted due to medication, to drive us home.
Has the government considered what all their proposals will cost. We have no idea how much fat or calories were in our meals nor do we care, we simply enjoyed it. But does the pub have any more idea? I doubt it. But what is it going to cost them (and ultimately the customer) to find out and make sure that they display it in accordance with the government rules. They'll certainly need a bigger blackboard chalkboard!
And how many more jobsworths will be employed checking up that the rules are being followed, taking samples of beefburgers from McDonald's and having them analysed; it's total madness.

But that isn't the end of it. "Best Before" and "Sell by" dates are to be discouraged to stop us throwing away good food. A few years ago, we were being told they were essential and they should never be ignored under any circumstance in order to avoid food poisoning. And aren't they a E.U. requirement; how can they possibly ignore Brussels?

And finally we are all going to have slop buckets for waste food which will need to be kept apart from other waste and composted. We did this during the war when the waste was used as food for pigs, but apparently it is no longer good enough for them. Mrs EP suggests that we will have to get one of those waste-pipe disposal thingies as she's not having smelly, rotting food hanging around the house, in or out, for two weeks at a time especially as the rats locally are already on the increase.
I just wonder how much electricity and water these waste disposal units use; probably more electricity than I'll save from energy saving lamps!

Happy New Year

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Judge shows common sense

Judge uses Common Sense - Nationwide Protests - Judge overruled by Straw's Supreme Court

Well, not exactly, but the first has happened and I expect the second to take place any time now.

Today the Daily Telegraph revealed that an Employment Tribunal Judge had stated "An individual's race or colour is a fact of life. It does not follow that alluding to such matters to or in the presence of the individual concerned necessarily involves racism or less favourable treatment of the individual."  An employee was claiming damages for wrongful dismissal, having been sacked on the grounds that the banter between him and a coloured worker was racist and that he had added to the offence by being a member of the BNP. (Since when was being a member of the BNP a sacking matter?)
The Judge ruled that he had been wrongfully dismissed, the comments were normal workplace banter and that there was no evidence that the sacked worker belonged to the BNP. The Judge awarded him damages against Lambeth Council.
Incidentally, the original disciplinary hearing was chaired by a council official  whose title is Head of Resilience. What on earth can this mean? (see below)

The question now is "When will the protests start?". Surely the Race Relations Industry can't allow such a decision to stand as it would undermine the whole purpose of their existence. What would politicians do without the right to make unfounded racist allegations against an opponent when they have no logical arguments against what he is saying. These days the words "Racism" or "Racist" are used by anyone in order  to try to smear a person against whom they have a grudge.

And if protests do start, no doubt Lambeth Council will use Council Tax payers' money to fund appeals all the way to the Straw's "Supreme Court" in spite of their initial statement that they will accept the ruling.

Of course, the obvious question to ask is why everybody except the English seem to be getting so sensitive; it's not only the coloureds, but also the Scots and the Irish, where members of both groups have recently made claims of racism on the basis of normal workplace banter. Personally, I don't believe that they are more sensitive and that it is more likely these people are the modern fortune hunters; making complaints in the hope of hitting the compensation jackpot.

Before I retired, I had a Barbadian working for me. When I came back from my summer holiday he would joke that my tan had a long way to go to reach his standard; I'd make a comment when he returned along the lines that I was sure he was lighter than when he went. No doubt similar comments were exchanged with others and no-one minded the least. When he retired he went back to Barbados because of racism here; not he assured me racism from the whites, but from the more recently arrived coloureds who used such phrases as a "whitey's friend" and who suggested that he should have accused our employer of racism as he hadn't been promoted to a higher grade and that he should take more advantage of his colour.

Yes there has been the odd cases of severe racial harassment, but I remain convinced that probably 99% of the cases are being brought in the hope of getting money out of someone.


1. The ability to recover quickly from illness, change, or misfortune; buoyancy.
2. The property of a material that enables it to resume its original shape or position after being bent, stretched, or compressed; elasticity.