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, 31 March 2010

Why our Councils cost so much

A report in today's Daily Telegraph says that council officials refused to remove a mattress dumped on an embankment because it would require four men and a JCB!
This was as a result of a risk assessment carried out by a council official who looked into what was involved! In the end, two local residents dragged it to the roadside (which they said took them four minutes) and the council later condescended to collect it in a van.
In a similar manner, I reported to our County Council in November last, that one of their trees outside my house was potentially dangerous as one of the branches had broken off in the winds. In February, I got a letter saying that the tree would be examined by their arbourologist when he was next in the area and he would advise as to any necessary action.
Now, although I was firmly in favour of Councils privatising some of their activities, there was much to be said  for the "odd job men" that councils had in the old days. There were usually two of them in a small truck which carried an assortment of tools, ladder, a few paving stones, etc. They would go to minor tasks, make their own safety assessment and usually fix the problems, whether it was an overhanging tree, a dumped mattress, a small pot hole or a broken paving stone. If they felt the task was beyond them, when they got back to base, they'd arrange for someone more appropriate to deal with it.

These days, a "suit" in a posh car has to first look at the job, make a safety assessment and no doubt fill in dozens of forms before a contract is let to some company to carry out the work, which I imagine costs more per job than the old fashioned method cost in a week.
But then they are spending our money, not their own.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Teachers - Do they have any common sense?

Teachers these days seem to be obsessed with everything except teaching.
Earlier this week we had reports of a boy who was left to die of asthma in a school corridor because the teachers were unwilling to do anything until his mother arrived at the normal time to collect him (in spite of knowing he was an asthmatic and his elder brother urging them to do something). Today we have a report in the Daily Mail that a five year old boy who had climbed twenty feet up a tree was left there because staff followed guidelines and retreated inside the school building to ‘observe from a distance’ so the child would not get ‘distracted and fall’. He was rescued by a passer-by who was subsequently interviewed by the police for trespassing on school premises.

So it was better to risk a five year old falling twenty feet (equivalent to falling from an upstairs window in his home) and seriously injuring himself, than take the risk of doing anything! Frankly, if I had a child at the school I'd want to withdraw him immediately on health and safety grounds in that it would be unsafe to leave him in charge of a group of adults who are totally devoid of any common sense.

Perhaps the lady who was passing by should have dialled 999 and called the fire service to the rescue - at least it might have embarrassed someone at the school.

Everyone who comes near a child these days has to be vetted under the child protection act. From what I have read lately, it would seem that children are at far greater risk from stupid teachers obeying rules and regulations than they ever were from paedophiles!

No wonder more parents are considering educating children at home; at least they know they'll be safe.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Destroying England

We have already heard how Labour decided to change the face of Britain by letting in an unlimited number of immigrants and calling them British. But most of us English have remained largely unmoved, and endeavoured to continue with our English way of life. One of the symbols of this was always fox-hunting , but although they tried hard, Labour have failed to stop this form of Englishness which goes back for centuries.
Another symbol is, of course, the English pub, and particularly the English country pub. Suddenly those who want to change the face of Britain have realised that they will never achieve this whilst the English Pub still exists. There is nothing like it anywhere else in the world except possibly in Ireland, and if they can get rid of this, it will be the end of Englishness.
The first prong of the attack was to introduce twenty-four drinking which has changed the face of many town pubs so that they are unrecognisable and wouldn't be frequented by any reasonable Englishman.
Next came the No Smoking ban. Now I'm a non-smoker, and didn't like smoky bars, but this was rarely a problem at my sort of pub. By and large the smokers were considerate and tried not to inconvenience others. However since the ban, a huge number of pubs have closed, simply because their customers started drinking at home.
Now we have the proposed reduction in the legal alcohol limits for driving. This will have a huge impact on pubs, particularly those in the country as the limit will be lower than the equivalent of a pint of beer. This lowering is totally illogical; it is said that it will save maybe 200 or so lives a year, a figure that is strongly disputed by many. If the government wants to save unnecessary deaths, perhaps it should look at the larger numbers first; it was claimed that last year there were over 25,000 totally unnecessary deaths within our NHS hospitals. So rather than try to reduce the hospital deaths by even 1% which would save more lives than the proposed new drink/driving proposals, they ignore this and go for the motorist.
As all these government actions are totally illogical, the only conclusion I can reach is that they are part of some greater plan to get rid of the English pub as we know it.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Totally meaningless statement by Cameron!

Apparently, in an interview to be shown on ITV tomorrow, David Cameron has said that he would sack George Osborne from the post of shadow chancellor if necessary.
What are the probabilities of him never finding it necessary?
This sort of statement is typical of Cameron; it sounds good but is totally meaningless. I might easily say that I would divorce Mrs EP if necessary, but this hardly seems likely after more than 40 years.

In the remote eventuality of Cameron sacking Osborne, my choice as a replacement would be John Redwood, at least he writes sense in his blog which I always find worth reading.

Two items of encouraging news

Having felt quite depressed after I'd read the newspaper and had a rant about corruption, I felt that I should look for some encouraging news, and to my surprise I found a couple of items!

Firstly, the Vatican has told all Priests that their homilies should be "short, pithy and topical", and less than eight minutes in length. Whilst this does not affect me directly one might hope that the Archdruid of Canterbury might issue similar guidance. I was once told that a good sermon should have an interesting start, a rousing finish and as little as possible in between!

Secondly, we have a Judge showing some sense!!!!
We all remember the recent case of a burglar who was chased by his victim and assaulted which led to the victim ending up in prison and the burglar, Walid Salem, claiming that he had been left with brain damage.
 He is now pleading at Northampton Crown Court that he is unfit to stand trial by virtue of this brain damage, and it seems that no-one, except the Judge, has bothered to questioned whether the brain damage actually exists!
Judge Charles Wilde said that the Crown had far too easily accepted that Salem was brain damaged and that the matter had never been properly investigated. In the understatement of the year, he said that for "a case as serious as this, it is disappointing". He has postponed the hearing pending the investigation of the matter.

A Corrupt Country

One gets very little encouragement concerning the future of this country from reading today's newspapers.
The main headline in the Daily Telegraph show how the figures have been fixed by Post Office workers to show that mail delivery times are meeting their targets when anyone who receives any significant amount of mail clearly realises that they are not! Management denies that they were involved in this fixing - but as their bonuses depend upon the "performance figures", they would, wouldn't they! This comes on top of an inflation busting pay and conditions award secured this week by the Unions.

Next comes their secondary headline; Baroness Uddin is to escape prosecution for naming a rarely used,  empty property in Maidstone as her main residence and claiming expenses for a property which any reasonable person, except the House of Lords authorities, would consider to be her main residence. These "authorities" which seem to be as corrupt as some of the "Lords", apparently consider that it is only necessary to visit a property once a month for it to qualify!

Moving inside the paper we discover that the "National Association of Muslim Police" received a grant of £90,000 in the last two years, whilst the "Christian Police Association" got a grant of only £15,000. Both have about 2000 members. As a Christian I resent the blatant discrimination against Christians, but as a taxpayer, I resent even more that either group should receive any public money whatsoever.

Further on their is a piece about yet another victim being made into a criminal by our "Human Rights" obsessed police force service. Yet another businessman, in this case a restaurant owner, was arrested and held in custody for five hours (and had his fingerprints and DNA taken) because he detained two teenagers whom he caught breaking into his beer cellar.

This is not the England in which I was born and brought up, it seems to be some alien country!

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Jon Venables

The media are making considerable noise over why they the public should be informed of the reasons that Jon Venables  has been returned to jail for breaking his parole.
Can I offer one argument why this information might not be released at the moment.

Suppose he has (as has been suggested) committed a serious crime. If so I would hope that he would be charged with this crime, not just returned to prison.  If, as has been claimed, he has committed a serious sexual assault, and he was put on trial under his new name, how long would it take for the media to realise that the 27 year old Joseph Bloggs charged with, say, rape was the same person as Jon Venables returned to prison for the identical offence. Thus it could be argued that he couldn't get a fair trial and he would have to be released, which is hardly what the public would want.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Staff Reduction?

According to today's news, Councils are likely to have to carry out the worse staff cuts for a generation. It is estimated that a total of 25,000 people could loose their jobs.
It sounds horrendous until you think about it. This figure was calculated from a on a survey of 49 Councils with a total of 256,000 staff. There are 150 Councils, so it is reasonable to assume, if this is a random selection of 49 Councils, that there are something like 750,000 staff employed by councils overall.. This staff reduction is thus about one thirtieth of the total staff, hardly significant when you compare it with what has happened outside the public sector.  Indeed, unless all the staff serve for at least 30 years, this figure is the loss that would be exepcted due to normal retirement, so a simple non-recruitment policy would be adequate.
In my view, councils need to reduce staff by 10% or more (excepting teachers) and should reduce top management by even more!

Legislative Mania?

According to the Daily Telegraph today (Here), all dog owners face tests to prove their fitness to keep a dog.
Yet another Quango, no doubt costing many millions each year. Can we afford it, however desireable?
How do you test a dog owner?
Don't these people realise that we used to have dog licences and  they were  abandoned because of their impracticality?
Both the RSPCA and the Dogs Trust support this proposal at least in part, that is, as usual, they favour everybody in the country compulsorily contributing towards their own aims.