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Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The treatment of Ashya King and his family is appalling.

Ashya King’s parents remanded in custody

The parents of brain cancer patient Ashya King

This case is an unnecessary trauma to an already upset family is a complete farce and a waste of our money. To persecute the parents and create stress for the remainder of the family, simply because some Doctor in Southampton Hospital had a "hissy fit" when his "authority" was challenged, is an outrage and abuse of the legal systems in both this country and in Spain where some judge requires 72 hours to make up his mind about extradition and bail and at the same time detains both parent in separate jails! Incredible !
Ashya King


The judge should have thrown out the request without even thinking about it.
In the meantime of course, Ashya, the 5 year old cancer patient, is in a children's hospital in Malaga where he knows nobody and does not speak Spanish.

Southampton Hospital

Basing decisions on financial cost rather than medical necessity, has always been anathema to me and from my experience of Southampton Hospital, there are some (not all, only some) Doctors in that establishment who need to have their ego's pricked very hard.
Stop faffing about and send the family off to  Prague for Ashya to obtain the treatment necessary as it is "not available in the UK"

The "Playground Bully" rounding up his "gang"

Nato to create high-readiness force to counter Russian threat




US President Obama and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Complete lunacy from Anders Fogh Rasmussen, trotting out  words scripted in Washington under the guise of, "NATO says".
The playground bully of Washington wearing its NATO cape,  wanders around dragooning other people into their "gang", to intimidate Russia to bow to Uncle Sam and succumb to the Great American plan for the world.
As many (but not all unfortunately) learned from their school days in the "quad", the way to deal with the bully is to look him firmly in the eye, deliver a swift size 10 or whatever between his thighs and cause his nose to bleed profusely with either fist or forehead.
Should  Rasmussen, Obama or any other incumbent of the Whitehouse expect me to have any part, no matter how small, in any military scrap in pursuit of a dispute manufactured purely to advance their business and other interests, they will be bitterly disappointed.
From the available evidence of comments made in other outlets and media, it seems that the NATO disappointment in the fact that not many people seem prepared to play their game, will be quite extensive.  

Sunday, 31 August 2014

A new recycling and rubbish collection service. 



A new recycling and rubbish collection service provided by Dorset Waste Partnership.

 There was quite a bit of vehicle congestion, at various times, around the lanes and in the villages of the Bride Valley yesterday (28th August). From mid morning onwards into late afternoon, Swyre, Puncknowle, Litton Cheney and  a number of other villages, became clogged with local and holiday maker traffic waiting patiently for the lanes to clear.The cause of all this congestion was three ( or maybe even four) large trucks completely blocking the lane, with only room for pedestrians to walk on either side. The trucks were all from the same contractor who it seems was on contract to the West Dorset District Council, or the Dorset Waste Partnership, (I can never tell the difference), and were delivering "wheelie bins" to every household in the Bride Valley and presumably at some time all the other households in Dorset. Not that these were the ordinary common or garden "wheelie bin", nor for that matter were there only one per house. There were in fact 4 bins per house. One large black one (Grey according to the accompanying booklet), one large Green one, one slightly smaller brown one and a smaller still brown one called a "kitchen caddy" to be kept in your kitchen and not put out for collection.

The "new bins"

There was also an optional wheelie bin with a brown lid for "garden waste" if you choose to spend an annual charge of £40.00 for someone to collect you grass cuttings once every two weeks. These "new" bins are of course in addition to the historic "green box", which has been clogging up the corner of the garage for many years to be filled with glass and bottles and collected every two weeks or so provided you have some to put out.

The reason for this congestion, and a large volume of bins being delivered, was in fact the introduction starting in October, of the new improved Dorset Waste Partnership, or District Council, household waste collection and recycling service. This new "improved" service replaces, with four or perhaps five bins what was until now, done by one bin and one box. The new boxes come with a comprehensive list of instructions or guidance, to ensure that we are all aware of what to do with the new bins. In addition there are two large sticky labels, to fix to the front of 2 of your new bins to ensure that everybody knows what should be in there. The Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP), are introducing this new improved service  to "increase recycling, reduce the rubbish we sent to landfill and drive down costs".
Drive down costs, a phrase much used by privatised industries as a reason for their existence and as an incentive for everyone to agree with privatisation. Unfortunately the truth is usually different.

New collection system ‘boosts recycling’ in Dorset

As is often the case, the "new improved service" entails more complications, more inconvenience, more "work", and certainly more financial cost to those who "benefit" from the improvements.
For example, all containers, tins, plastic punnets, ice cream or margarine tubs and any other such items must be washed prior to being placed into the green wheelie bin. Any of these items which are not suitable for the green bin, are to be placed in the grey (or black) wheelie bin. (For guidance, there is a list of items provided in the booklet.)
This may seem to be not unreasonable, but when it is considered that the list of things to be washed out has been expanded to include such items as margarine or ice cream tubs, ready meal containers for lasagne or chicken korma, raw fish fillet in some sauce or other or one hundred and one other items which were until now, consigned directly to the dustbin black bag, it is easy to see how the pile of "washing up" after practically every meal will increase significantly, as will water consumption and the already extortionate water bill.

Storage of these new bins will itself be inconvenient to say the least. Without the luxury of a garage or outside space in the garden, the households are forced into littering the lanes with these bins as the new service is a KERBSIDE collection, not a backdoor collection, as the "instruction notes" emphasise. This will of course be problematic for those who live in terraces of houses or cottages, not uncommon in rural areas, rather than in semi's or detached dwellings.A tour through what have until now been picturesque English Villages may turn into a drive past unsightly rows of bins, which will undoubtedly in some cases, be a bit smelly.

It remains to be seen if the new service will be successful and not, but from the available evidence it would seem that this is another example of the a council scheme this time under the guise of Dorset Waste Partnership, not being thought through to ensure that the advantages of the new scheme significantly outweigh any disadvantages.

There is undoubtedly a case to be made for more efficient and wider use of recycling of domestic waste, but any such scheme has to provide both incentive and good reason for making a change. Having to work out which combination of bins should be put out on the nominated collection day, can in itself be confusing. This would particularly be the case for the older or even the disabled residents living within the villages. Every week the kitchen caddy contents should be transferred to the brown lockable food bin which will be collected on your normal collection day each week. On alternative weeks the green recycling bin will be collected every fortnight. This is not be confused with the  wheelie bin with the brown lid, which will be collected every fortnight on the alternative week to the recycling bin, should you have elected to pay the £40 a year for the garden waste bin that will be collected fortnightly. There is no indication as to which day these bins will be collected,  whether it will be with the recycling bin or with the rubbish bin. Confusing isn't it.

The one good point about the new service, is the provision of a red plastic bag marked with the words "Battery recycling bag" and instructions to "simply place any unwanted household batteries in this bag, seal the bag and place it on top of the contents of your recycling box on recycling collection days".

Clearly this will be a case of "suck it and see". Any new scheme is bound to have teething problems, which will cause some confusion and result in frequent telephone calls at least in the short term, to Dorset waste partnership from people seeking clarification guidance or other instructions.We can only await developments.


Poverty and poverty related illness shames us all.

Rickets returns as poor families find healthy diets unaffordable.


A queue of youngsters receiving their daily doses of cod-liver oil, from their teacher at Nursery School. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Helping to prevent Rickets at a primary school in the 1950's


 With their heads buried firmly in the sand (or some other location), the ConDem coalition government continue their drive for even greater austerity, and resolutely refuse to accept that their policies are forcing more and more families in this country to the point of poverty or even below the accepted definitions of poverty. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, the ever increasing reliance on food banks, now totaling in excess of 1 million people, the rise in poverty related illnesses, the increasing numbers of homeless creating different but never the less significant problems for our society, and all the published evidence from recognised charities and institutions, yet  the government repeat that we are on the right course and that we must press on with "reducing the debt".

Boxes of food being packed for distribution at a food bank in the 21st century

Successive governments, Labour, Conservative and now Coalition have contributed to the current crisis by ignoring all the evidence and allowing "extreme poverty" to become a problem which threatens the social fabric of this country and now carries the additional threat of sickness and disease becoming an additional difficulty with the associated increase in costs to society and the NHS.
History will condem politicians of all political persuasions, who have allowed poverty and poverty related illnesses to become so widespread over the last fifty years and into the 21st Century.   

The European Union, NATO and the unfolding conflict in Ukraine.

EU summit seeks to show it backs Kiev


Pro Russia militia in Ukraine

Why is NATO with its mouthpiece Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the European Union, with as many mouth pieces as there are member states and not quite behind the scenes, the ringmaster United States, engineering a confrontation with Russia?
Rasmussen bleats that it is unacceptable for "foreign" troops to be in another country's territory and yet fails (presumably) to see the irony with the comparison to Iraq or Afghanistan or Syria. E U Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, mumbles that, "it isn't too late for a political solution", presumably with the implied threat that E U troops would go trundling over the border grab Ukraine (Unlikely, just looked what happened the last time a European "leader" had the same idea). All the while in the background some 3000 miles away, the neoconservative planners in the Whitehouse and in the Pentagon, move steadily towards their ultimate objective of absorbing Ukraine into their tangle of nations collectively known as NATO.

NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen

The television and media coverage for this American written script, ensures that the image of the Russian "Bear" Putin, is given prominence in this almost constant ratcheting up of tensions, fear and mistrust in the minds and opinions of the public, particularly in Europe who see this manufactured threat to their homes and safety as a stark reality. In fact, the threat is almost as real as the threat of Islamic State tanks and jihadist fighters sweeping across Europe and invading the UK.
The reasons for this constant scaremongering from the western governments is to (a) ultimately absorb Ukraine into NATO and to  (b) create an atmosphere of concern and fear in the people of Europe thereby generating yet another justification for the introduction of even more oppressive control legislation in their respective countries.The problem that the governments of the west now face is being able to find a balance between what the people will actually believe and tolerate, as against the "Boy who cries Wolf" syndrome, but in trying to find that balance, the western governments are losing. 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Are we really back to where we started?


Life returns to Gaza as truce holds but Netanyahu faces criticism in Israel over the offensive.


Palestinians celebrate the beginning of the truce in Gaza City.
Palestinians celebrate the beginning of the truce in Gaza City

After 50 days of intense bombardment by Israeli military forces and fierce resistance from the Palestinian factions within Gaza, the ceasefire brokered by the Egyptians came into effect at 17:00 yesterday (26th August). Not withstanding what Mark Regev, the Israeli mouthpiece for Benjamin Netanyahu, may say to try to convince you otherwise, the ceasefire terms agreed to in Cairo are not the same as those that were "on the table", 3 weeks ago. By now of course, we are only too well aware of how Mark Regev, Peter Lerner,  Ron Prosor and other Israeli spokespersons are, without even batting an eyelid, able to turn fantasy and wishful thinking into their presentation of "fact and truth". Regev's phrase "and that is fact" after practically every sentence always had a hollow ring to it.
Mark Regev

A browse through this mornings Israeli newspapers particularly the Jerusalem Post and Haaretz, demonstrate all too clearly the divisions within Israeli society following the announcement of the ceasefire. There are those perhaps in the majority, who believe that Israel should have done far more in destroying the so-called terror tunnels and rocket launching sites in Gaza. They believe that Netanyahu has cut and run in his eagerness to come to some sort of ceasefire arrangement with the Palestinians. In the Israeli cabinet there are divisions between those who agree with Netanyahu's position and those who believe that operation Protective Edge should have continued. On the other hand there are those within Israeli society and within government who believe that the past 50 days of intense fighting and more than 60 Israeli soldiers killed as not advanced the prospect of security or calm in Israel. Consequently, they are of the view that the offensive operation against Gaza should never have taken place and blame Netanyahu for bulldozing the military action through the Israeli government in July.No matter which way you look at it, Netanyahu's position within Israel seems to have become marginalised by both sides of the argument. His prospects at the next Israeli election must be very bleak.

Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, after explaining in a statement why Israel had agreed to the ceasefire.
Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

There was no dancing in the streets last night in Tel Aviv, Haifa, West Jerusalem or any of the other towns in Israel, where a mood of sombre reflection dominated the atmosphere. Knesset member Danny Danon said , “Despite the heavy price Hamas paid, we did not defeat them. Fifty days of fighting, 64 soldiers killed, five civilians killed, 82,000 reservists called up, and in the end we’re back to the agreement from Operation Pillar of Defence.” These words, or something very similar, were repeated in towns across Israel. The Israelis do not feel that they have obtained a victory with the operation in Gaza, but despite all their military might together with all the damage inflicted upon the infrastructure and of Gaza, together with more than 2100 civilians killed, most of the people of Israel, feel that they have somehow been defeated, as they were with their disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 2006.The Israelis know that they have been forced to concede a partial lifting of the blockade with all border crossings between Israel and Gaza now being opened and the fishing limit off the Gaza coast being extended from 3 to 6 miles. These two concessions alone have completely undermined Israeli confidence and the credibility of the Israeli government in being able to achieve its objectives as stated at the start of the operation.

The celebrations in Gaza were completely the opposite of the atmosphere in Israel. Although undoubtedly tempered by the reality, that at least for now, the fear of Israeli air strikes and artillery bombardment had been lifted, the Palestinians were very much aware that big concessions had been extracted from the aggressor. The cost in human lives had been significant, and the destruction caused to homes hospitals, mosques, schools and infrastructure will require a great amount of cash and building materials which have so far been prohibited from entering into Gaza by the provisions of the blockade. The Palestinians in Gaza had taken on the might of the Israeli army and had continued to offer resistance for more than 50 days and now face the prospect of obtaining, more concessions during the negotiations commencing next month in Cairo, in respect of building an airport and a new deep sea port.

Gaza declares 'victory' as ceasefire holds

The international community have seen over the past two months, how the myth of invincibility surrounding Israel has been challenged, and Israel though perhaps not defeated militarily has suffered a significant setback in terms of his domination of the area.

Clearly it would be wrong to suggest that we are now only where we were two months ago. The concessions gained by the Palestinian resistance has given new impetus to the not unreasonable aspirations of the Palestinian people, in respect of their demands for a free port and airport allowing them to trade with the rest of the world. The negotiations in Cairo next month, must ensure real progress towards the expectation that a just settlement may be reached. In this objective the West, particularly the United States, must ensure that Israel will cooperate fully and negotiate in good faith with the Palestinians to make positive moves towards a resolution to this long-standing addition to the questions of lifting the blockade and ending the occupation of Palestine, there must also be positive moves towards theestablishment and recognition of a free Palestinian state,with full United Nations representation.

Notwithstanding the concessions already gained from the Israelis, unless the remaining issues are resolved within a reasonable period, a matter of months rather than years, we may yet see the continuation of hostilities between Israel and its neighbour with all the resultant killing,destruction and misery such a resumption would undoubtedly create.

Manufacture a "confrontation" to achieve the real objective.

NATO plans east European bases to counter "Russian threat"

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen

It has always been about creating NATO bases in Ukraine.
The entire Kiev, Moscow confrontation has been engineered by "the west" (aka the United States and US dominated NATO), using the European Union links and ultimate membership dispute in justification.


The ousting an elected President (whether we like ,Viktor Yanukovych or not,), to install the pro western, pro European government of Petro Poroshenkoof is not an unusual occurrence or tactic in American politics. It is a foreign policy, still very much in use today, which has numerous files under the collective title of "Replacing a few enemies with a few friends". In the Ukraine, it is a not very subtle excuse being used as a front for basing American missiles and personnel along practically the entire Russian border from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea.