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Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The destruction of another historic United Kingdom industry.

This is not about the price of Fish and Chips.

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We have fishing boats in mothballs for many years or broken up for scrap. We have men from the fishing ports of Grimsby, Hull, Fleetwood, Whitby and a hundred other ports around the country who used to fish the waters around the UK, but who now stack shelves in Tesco or draw unemployment benefits. Our fishing industry has been systematically destroyed, not in the name of conservation, but to meet "quota's" imposed by European bureaucrats who no nothing about fishing but much about regulation. Regulations, which in any case have historically been ignored by French fishermen and other European partners, with no visible sanctions taken against them. In the meantime, the "regulations" have enforced the grotesque "policy" of throwing Cod, Haddock and other fish back into the sea for no other reason other than the quota had been exceeded.

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Seagulls follow a fishing boat to pick up fish thrown back into the sea
An outrageous and extravagant waste of food resources, at a time when people in the United Kingdom rely on charities and Food-banks for their next meal. This is not about the price of Fish and Chips. It is about the wanton destruction of an industry which has been part of the British way of life for a thousand or more years. It is about the societies where outside regulation has shattered the lives of fishermen, their families and those industries indirectly reliant on the fishing industry. No where else in the world is there an island nation with no thriving fishing industry, nor has there ever been.
Of course, there is always the question of conservation of fish stocks and we must always be mindful of the consequences of over fishing. However, as the United Kingdom has no real fishing potential as more and more boats are scrapped and those that remain are handicapped by the quota system, we must draw the conclusion that "over fishing" is the consequence of actions by others.
The politics of Europe and successive United Kingdom governments, have destroyed another historic British industry and we have allowed this to happen. Forget the price of a large cod and chips and think instead of a once thriving industry, which is now but a shadow of its former self. Think also of societies where the decline of the fishing industry has condemned thousands to a life on benefits both for this generation and many to come.
The steel industry has been destroyed as has the coal industry. We still have time to save the fishing industry, provided of course that we have the will to do it.

Monday, 13 February 2017

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 12 February 2017

Good morning everyone

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Swing low, sweet chariot. England beat Wales 16 pts to 21 pts in what was a really good, thrilling game. Last week, after their performance against the French, I wrote that England will have to significantly improve their game to make any impact on this seasons 6 Nations competition.
On Saturday, at the Millennium Stadium, or he Principality stadium or even Cardiff Arms Park (or what ever it may be called this week), England did just that, but left it until the last 4 minutes of the match for Elliot Daly to go over for the match winning try with Owen Farrell adding the extra points. There is no question of divided loyalty in our house (my wife is from South Wales) England were second best for some sections of the second half, but in the end ran out deserved winners.
We can improve on this performance and we will have to against Scotland, Italy and particularly Ireland.

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Ronald Coyne and chums.

Pembroke College student Ronald Coyne sparked outrage across the country after being filmed burning a £20 note in front of a rough sleeper who asked him for help.
Make a note of the name of the "Tory Student", reported burning the £20 note. One day he may be the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, following in the footsteps of previous caring, compassionate incumbents, like Iain Duncan Smith or Stephen Crabb. I have never been able to understand how some people can be so selfish and obnoxious to behave in this and similar ways towards their fellow human beings.

Derelict site in Terminal building

Meanwhile, back in Jersey, Elizabeth Harbour the St Helier Ferry Terminal, remains without a restaurant for the fourth summer in a row. Four years after the old restaurant closed, the site for the new 250 seat facility to be called the Terminal GBJ, remains derelict. The next time you are passing through the terminal, or stranded there waiting for a cancelled ferry, there is a small kiosk owned by operated by the same person who will operate the new restaurant. That is provided that planning applications are eventually submitted to the States and "Terminal GBJ" actually gets built. In the meantime, if you want a "proper" meal while waiting for your ferry, you will have to stroll into St Helier about a 15 minute walk!

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Jersey Chief Minister: Senator Ian Gorst 

It seems that pay restraint is not part of the Jersey political scene. A report by the States Members’ Remuneration Review Body has concluded that the Island’s most senior politician should be given a 15 per cent pay rise from 2018, while other Members’ salaries should be kept at £46,600 a year. You may draw your own conclusions.

At last the much heralded snow arrived on Saturday (11th February) morning. I counted at least 35 flakes drifting past the window with some actually settling! I shall be able to build a snowman soon! Hang on a minute. The forecast is for warmer weather coming in on Wednesday.

Have a nice week

Monday, 6 February 2017

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 05 February 2017

Good morning everyone

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Swing low, sweet chariot. England beat France 19 pts to 16 pts which is a flattering score line for the team in white shirts. Kicking the ball away at almost every opportunity and giving possession back to the French is a tactic which is difficult to understand.
During the course of this 6 Nations, England might play better than they did yesterday and loose.
If they are to retain the Grand Slam honour, let alone the Tripple Crown or Championship, they will have to improve their performance significantly.

Npower energy bill

The price of your electricity and gas is to be increased by as much as 15% adding an average of £109 per year to domestic bills which are already above £1100 every 12 months. That is of course if your supplier is the German owned NPower who have announced the price hike as from next month. The fuel price cartel amongst the other companies, British Gas, E.on, SSE and the others will follow suit within the next couple of weeks, so there is little point in "switching". The never ending price hikes of energy and the fallacy of "switching" suppliers.
Read the full story at: "Another price hike from a privatised foreign owned energy supplier"
(copy and paste link.)

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It seems that David Beckham (the former football player for those who may be living in a bubble and have never heard of the tattoo covered other half of the former Spice Girl) is a tadd miffed because he has not been given a Knighthood. Remarking about this rebuff Beckham has been ranting that it was, "A F***ing joke.”and branding the honours committee “unappreciative c***s”, all in a series of e-mails sent out by him. How strange that this UNICEF Ambassador, major contributor to numerous charitable organisations, guest speaker at many fund raising events and many other good works during and since his football career, should be so upset at being overlooked for membership of an outmoded, irrelevent and bankrupt honours system.

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Meanwhile, back in Jersey, tough new rules limiting the number of commercial fishermen who are allowed to catch bass and banning recreational anglers from keeping the fish have been introduced. I have always been puzzled by these sort of regulations, not only in Jersey but elsewhere where these unenforceable rules have been imposed. If fishermen, commercial or otherwise find Bass in their catch, are they expected to toss the dead fish back into the sea?
By 2100, seal levels around the island are predicted to rise by up to 1 metre (That's 3 feet 3 inches or so in real money). If I am still around by then, I may have to find another place to soak up the sun and watch the sea go by or risk getting my feet wet.

It has been a funny week. with rain, sunshine, cold, frost, fog, humid warmth and all points in between. No sign of snow yet (apart from that on the Somerset side of the A35) so the snow shoes and wellies, stay in the garage.

Have a nice week

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Another price hike from a privatised foreign owned energy supplier

Npower is to increase its electricity and gas prices for 1.4 million customers

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One of the greatest lies ever foisted upon the British people was that repeated almost daily during the 1980's by the Thatcher government. The deception, which gave proof to the theory that if you tell a big enough lie and repeat it often, people will accept it as truth. The great falsehood filling the media, being repeated at every opportunity by conservative politicians and being driven by those with their own, not very well hidden agendas, met the conditions for forceful propaganda, being short and easily remembered. "Privatisation introduces competition, drives down costs and improves services". The history of privatised industries since 1980 is littered with examples evidencing that far from being the great blessing for the consumers as promised by the hype spewed out at the time, the customers and the workers employed in such industries, have invariably been given a very raw deal for the benefit of the company and its shareholders. Prices have risen significantly, usually well above the rate of inflation, and the number of people working for these companies have been substantially reduced. At the same time, the profits accruing to the businesses have continued to rise year on year as the services provided have deteriorated. The link between rising prices, reduced staff levels and increasing profits, is not a coincidence.

The latest "twist" in the annual round of price hikes, is that revealed yesterday (3rd February 2017) by Npower, a subsidiary company of RWE AG, a German electric utilities company based in Essen, announcing a 15% increase in electricity prices and a 4.8% rise for gas, earning the company an additional £152 million per year, and raising the average annual household bill by £109 to £1,187 a year. The industry "watchdog" OFGEM has called on Npower to “justify the decision”, demonstrating yet again that the "watchdog" for this and other privatised industries have a whining, whimpering bark but few (if any) teeth with which to frighten those responsible for the profiteering.
Three of the other big suppliers, British Gas, E.on and SSE have their prices fixed until the end of March, but will no doubt announce price hikes shortly thereafter in April, followed by the other energy suppliers who have not already put forward their own price increases by that time. This regular procession of "follow my leader", makes a mockery of the advice usually spewed out to the effect that consumers should switch suppliers for the best deals. When all suppliers are profiteering with cartel like price increases, the only winners in this charade are the energy companies, invariably foreign owned, themselves who are raking in the excess cash.

The latest price increases, and those certainly to follow, will only increase the incidence of fuel poverty in this country as more people fall into the trap created by profiteering companies and a government which shows a callous disregard for the hardship which they have created. Those least able to afford the higher charges, the sick, those on benefits, our pensioners, the disabled will be faced with the choice which has become even more prevalent in society today. Heat or eat, is not a catch phrase to make a point. It is the reality facing more and more people in our country today and is a direct consequence of the lies spread by government of the 1980's.

Monday, 30 January 2017

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 29 January 2017

Good morning everybody.

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Donald Trump, who is the New President of the United States, has banned practically everyone from going to America, which has sparked protests and demonstrations not only on the streets of towns and cities in the US, but also in countries around the world. Trump is a very dangerous individual who now occupies the position of the most powerful man in the world. It seems that the "hand holding" incident was nothing to do with some romantic affection, but was Theresa May supporting the 70 year old son of immigrant parents, who suffers from Bathmophobia, a fear of slopes or stairs. (I had to Google the word too.) With Trump in the lead, and Theresa May "standing shoulder to shoulder", (or more accurately peeping out from Trump's pocket), will anyone hold our hands as we are dragged down the slippery slope of international tension?

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In an historic judgement on the 24th January 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that government executive prerogative powers do not take precedence over Parliament, and that Parliament shall debate Brexit, prior to the triggering of Article 50. A judgement with which I completely agree, even though there are those misguided people who will still argue that the judiciary are interfering on the question of United Kingdom membership of the EU and there are elements of the media who continue to contend that judges are attempting to overturn the decision of the British people as expressed in the Referendum result of 23rd June 2016.
(Read the whole story at copy and paste link.)

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This week also saw the passing of another two great talents from the entertainment industry.
I was always a great fan of "Allo, Allo" and after watching all the episodes on television, I now have the entire series on boxed DVD.The exchanges between Rene and the other characters, together with his "introductions" were well written and often hilarious.
Gordon Fitzgerald Kaye (7 April 1941 – 23 January 2017), known professionally as Gorden Kaye,probably best known for playing Rene Artois in the British TV comedy series 'Allo 'Allo!

A great series and a great actor. R I P.
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Another of the great British actors who is no longer with us.
Sir John Vincent Hurt, CBE January 1940 – 27 January 2017 was an English actor and voice actor whose career spanned six decades.
He had roles in over 129 films with dozens of television roles.

John Hurt R I P

Meanwhile, back in Jersey, there is a well known developer and builder who has secured yet another development contract.

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Developer Dandara was given approval to construct 12 homes on the land in St Peter, which is the site of the former "Living Legend-Jersey Experience" tourist attraction. The development will see nine four-bedroom homes and three six-bedroom homes being built on the site of the former tourist attraction, which announced that it was closing last year after 24 years of business. Dandara given approval to construct 12 homes on the land in St Peter. What a surprise. 

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A former bank in St Aubin is to be transformed into an Indian restaurant. Approval has be granted on an application to change the use of the old NatWest building opposite St Brelade’s Parish Hall . Great news. We used to eat regularly at the Shapla before Mia closed the restaurant. The "Spice House" which replaced it, we visited once which was more than enough. (Once too often in fact).It will be good to have a proper Indian restaurant in the village again and to renew our acquaintance with Mia and the family.

The Express seems to have gone very quiet with its weather forecasting role. Perhaps they are waiting for their new seaweed to arrive at 10 Lower Thames Street, but in the meantime it is still raining, or frosty, or windy (or both) or mild and bright, or snowing all dependant of course upon what time of day you happen to look out of the window.
Ce'st la vie.

Have a nice week. February 1st on Wednesday!! Another year flashing by.


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Supreme Court confirms Parliamentary precedence over government "Executive prerogative".

Parliament alone is sovereign.

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Brexit Supreme Court ruling on Article 50 vote
In an historic judgement yesterday (24th January 2017), the Supreme Court ruled that government executive prerogative powers do not take precedence over Parliament, and that Parliament shall debate Brexit, prior to the triggering of Article 50. There are those who will still argue that the judiciary are interfering on the question of United Kingdom membership of the EU and there are elements of the media who continue to contend that judges are attempting to overturn the decision of the British people as expressed in the Referendum result of 23rd June 2016. Their argument either by accident, or more probably design, fails to address the fundamental issue involved in this controversy, which has been raging since the Prime Minister announced that Executive powers would be used to trigger Article 50 and commence negotiations with the EU on the terms of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union, and that it was not necessary for Parliament to be involved.
For too long now, successive governments, particularly during and since the Tony Blair governments, have used executive powers to by pass Parliament, to introduce policies and measures which they considered may be contentious or too difficult to be subject to the normal parliamentary process. In effect, executive powers, enabled the government of the day or more accurately, a small cabal of Prime Minister and a few cabinet colleagues, to undermine and bypass Parliament. With yesterday's ruling, the Supreme Court has finally buried that practice and has reasserted the role of Parliament as the sovereign body in the United Kingdom.
That now puts the members of the House of Commons in the invidious position of having to choose between implementing the decision of the people as expressed in the referendum result and supporting the triggering of Article 50, or complying to their own Constituency result, where many constituencies voted to remain, by voting against pressing on with Article 50. In any event, there will be "rebels" on government and opposition benches which make the result of any vote difficult to predict. The only clear cut position is that of the SNP who have already stated that they will vote against implementing Article 50 as they have a clear mandate that the whole of Scotland and every Scottish constituency voted to remain in the European Union.
The Labour party members in the House of Commons are certain to divide with some supporting the Government and the implementation of Article 50 while others will vote against whatever bill eventually emerges and vote in accordance with their individual constituencies. In "the other place"Peter Hain, the former MP for Neath and now Baron Hain of Neath, has stated that he and some colleagues, will vote against triggering article 50 in the House of Lords, at least according to Anushka Asthana and Rowena Mason, writing in the Guardian. The main reason it seems is because Hain believes that Theresa May’s Brexit will be damaging for the poorest communities.
There is of course, the question of an individual MP's conscience where personal belief may influence the way in which the MP may vote. All in all, it is a complex and volatile mixture where nothing in either house is yet finalised in the minds of either Commons or Lords. Over the coming weeks and perhaps even months, there will be much argument and speculation. Whatever the outcome of triggering Article 50 may be, it is Parliament who will make the decision and not a cabal of Prime Minister and a few others. It is also very clear, that there is much water to go under the bridge before the final position of the United Kingdom and it relationship with the European Union is finally resolved.

Monday, 23 January 2017

New Agenda on Sunday. is out! Edition of 22 January 2017

Good morning everyone

In case you may have missed the story, Donald Trump is the new President of the United States and hundreds of thousands of people (predominately women according to reports) have marched in protest, in towns and cities around the world. The inauguration ceremony was watched by either 250,000 people who braved the intermittent rain in Washington or "by the largest audience ever to watch an inauguration, PERIOD". 

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The Whitehouse Press Secretary Sean Spicer seems to be an excitable little chap who promises more "gems" over the rest of his time in front of the assembled media. Meanwhile, the rest of us look forward to the next four years with mild anticipation, or do I mean trepidation?

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Our NHS is in crisis with chronic overcrowding in many hospitals and reports of A&E facilities in many areas of the verge of collapse. It may therefore come as something of a surprise to learn that yet another CCG is recommending more hospital closures in their areas. This time the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group is proposing that Ashburton, Bovey Tracey, Dartmouth and Paignton hospital be shut and the sites sold off "for development". As in all the other cases, the South Devon and Torbay CCG justification for the closure's is encased in the usual clich├ęs of "improving services" and controlling costs. The CCG states,
"In making these recommendations, the Governing Body is being advised that the proposals will deliver the changes needed to improve services and to support more people effectively in a way that is both sustainable and affordable."
Remember that "closing hospitals improves services and reduces costs", the next time that you or someone you know has an 80 mile (or more) round trip to see a consultant or visit a patient, or even worse, has urgent need of A & E facilities.
While on the subject of the NHS, Dorset Healthcare (DHUFT) last year spent £12 million on private agency personnel because there were not enough full time NHS nurses and other staff to cover hospital requirements. If only a fraction of the CGC's around the country spent the same amount on temporary staff, a staggering £2,508 million would be paid to private agency companies.
Perhaps it would "improve services and reduced costs" if we recruited full time and paid our NHS nurses and other staff a proper salary in the first place.

A convicted murderer has gone on the run for a third time after breaking his licence conditions. The police have warned people " not to approach him, as he could present a risk to the public, but immediately contact Dorset Police on 999." The question of course is that if this man is a risk to the public, why is he wandering about the streets out on licence? The judiciary and the powers that be have a very strange view on custodial sentencing.

Meanwhile, back in Jersey, further investigation is to be undertaken at the Grouville field where the world’s biggest Celtic coin hoard was discovered in 2012. 70,000 coins, a range of gold necklaces and ancient pouches have been recovered from the find and more treasures are anticipated from further work at the site.

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JERSEY’S business leaders are due to meet the Chief Minister next week as concerns grow that firms could be hit with import and export tariffs post-Brexit. In a statement, the Chamber said: ‘The Jersey Chamber of Commerce is closely monitoring Brexit developments following on from Theresa May’s speech on Wednesday regarding the UK government’s plans to negotiate new trade deals and tariffs, proposals which could have a considerable impact on Island businesses."
Jersey business leaders are worried about Brexit! Aren't we all.

The weather remains predictably unpredictable. This week we have had fog, frost, rain sunshine, the coldest day (and night) of the winter so far and on other days, temperatures in double figures. The Express however continues to predict heavy snow coming!
The most accurate way to obtain a weather situation report is to look out of your window.

Have a nice week.