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Saturday, 19 April 2014

The writing has been on the wall for almost 3 years, but nobody chose to read it.

Weymouth stunned by Condor Ferries' plan to leave port

Dorset Echo: SAILING AWAY: The Condor Vitesse departs from Weymouth
Condor Vitesse departs from Weymouth

Why should the latest chapter in the Condor Ferries/Weymouth story cause so much surprise and agitation?
I have been predicting a scenario such as this since before the Condor Ferry operation was forced to relocate to Poole, prior to the 2012 Olympics, and the repairs to ferry terminal three at Weymouth during the same year. Since 2012, numerous blog entries have commented on the fact that Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s handling of the relationship with Condor Ferries, the Weymouth Harbour repairs and ferry arrangements during the work programme have been a catalogue of ineptitude and incompetence, not to mention the disastrous handling of the Olympics themselves. No matter how far this incompetent council drive their head into the sand, the evidence is compelling.
Now this latest “bombshell” leaps from behind the tree and causes panic.
As recently as October of last year, I wrote in this blog under “New Condor ships may be too big for Weymouth Pier three”, that “However, the rebuilt Ferry berth 3 at the Weymouth Ferry terminal, is apparently not big enough to take larger ships. It seems that the planners did not see that problem coming. It this is in fact the case, then Poole may be the only port (other than Portsmouth for the traditional ferry) for arrival or departure from the Channel Islands.”
It is very easy to resort to the “I told you so” cliché, but mine was not the only siren voice raised to warn the Council that they were on the wrong track and heading for disaster.
The prospects of finding a solution to this problem seem, at this time to be remote but hopefully for the town and the people employed by Condor a solution will be forthcoming.

Further reading may be found at:

Friday, 18 April 2014

It is not only female MP's that are "put off".

Prime Minister's Questions Noise 'Puts Female MPs Off From Contributing', Speaker Says

Commons Speaker John Bercow struggles to keep order

Questions to the Prime Minister. The weekly excursion into the world of “Yaboo” politics where each side of the House of Commons can indulge themselves in mindless baying and snide remarks from one side, no doubt shouted in order to provoke reaction from the other side to draw the “referee” Mr. Speaker to intervene with “Order, Order” or a phrase that Mr Bercow has taken to using over recent years of “The honourable member should calm down”.
Questions to the Prime Minister now demonstrates for around 30 minutes each Wednesday, everything that is wrong with British politics and why, generally, there is such disillusionment amongst many people in this country with the political structure. Scoring cheap political points or “landing blows” on your political opponents is not the way that we should expect our elected representatives to behave. In fact I would propose a plague on all your houses.
Prime Minister's Question's could, and should, be a very useful tool in the democratic process of this country and could provide the opportunity for backbenchers to interrogate the Prime Minister on his, or her, actions. All too often it becomes a forum for “planted questions” to be asked, giving the Prime Minister of the day, the opportunity to either goad the leader of the opposition or to “free publicity” to some new government proposals.
Mr Speaker, it is not only female MP's that are "put off" by the pathetic behaviour by so called "responsible adults" in the weekly pantomime of PMQ's.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Earnings Outpace Inflation? Government statistics through the looking glass

Official: Average Earnings Outpace Inflation

Wages higher than inflation

"Jobless numbers continue to fall as total pay exceeds inflation"
There are probably some people who actually believe this nonsense.
Unemployment is "down" thanks to zero hours contracts, temporary "placements" where the government pay the employer to take on an unemployed person for a fixed period of time and the use of "work for benefits" type labour.
Earnings are "outpacing" inflation due solely to a fall in energy prices on the RPI (food prices continue to roar ahead) and the inclusion of "bonus payments" in the wages and salaries figure. How many ordinary people actually receive bonus payments?
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The return of the Neocon madness.

Ukraine on the brink as troops take on rebels

Ukrainian army troops receive ammunition in a field on the outskirts of Izyum in eastern Ukraine
Hague warns of ‘serious consequences’ for Russia

The American and British fingers in the pot stirring up unrest in Ukraine.
Why was John Owen Brennan in Kiev over the weekend? (John Owen Brennan is head of the CIA).
Events of the last few hours prove the point. John Owen Brennan was clearly passing on "Go" instructions for an attack on the separatists. American hypocrisy has no limits or subtlety.

This has all the indications for another "success" story for American/British foreign policy.
Not content with getting it spectacularly wrong in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya (to name but three), being frustrated in their ambitions in Syria and Iran, they now turn their sights on the Ukraine,
Will no one rid the world of the meddlesome, trouble making interference of Obama, Kerry, Hague, Ashton and the others seeking to extend their influence to all corners of the globe ?
The "Neocons" are back and they seen to be winning.

Monday, 14 April 2014

MP's are "Paragons of virtue"? Colonel Bob Stewart has completely lost the plot.

 'British MPs Are Paragons Of Virtues,' Says Tory MP Colonel Bob Stewart

Colonel Bob Stewart

A worthless comparison by Colonel Bob Stewart. It is always easy to compare our situation with other countries and it is as hollow then as it is now coming from Stewart. Salaries and wages, working conditions, holidays, housing etc have at some time or another, been compared to those abroad, either favorably or unfavorably, depending on the point that the person or organisation drawing the comparison was seeking to make.
The fact remains that British MP's are not,  "paragons of virtue". The House of Commons is, with a few notable exceptions, populated with people more concerned with their own ego's and personal ambitions, shameless and self serving men (and women) more interested in their positions, salaries and expense accounts and other perks associated with being part of the most exclusive club in Great Britain.

"Paragons of virtue"? I think not.

The fact that some "lawmakers" in other lands may fiddle more from their expenses pot, or may be more corrupt in their dealings with industry or media moguls, is neither here nor there. We live in the United Kingdom, and we deserve better from our elected representatives. In the case of our Parliament, the phrase "Honorable members" has a very hollow ring to it.      

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A new investigation into MP's expenses abuse?

Inquiry into Tory conference ‘gay-sex party paid on expenses’ 


Trust is damaged


Almost on a weekly basis, some allegation or other comes to light of expenses abuse by MP's
This week, the allegation, now being investigated is that the taxpayer indirectly funded a hotel suite that was used for a gay-sex party. It seems that an organisation called the Policy Research Unit (PRU), which is overseen by senior Conservative figures, booked a suite of rooms costing up to £2,500 per night at Manchester’s Light ApartHotel, during a Conservative Party conference.It would appear that Conservative MP's pay nearly £4,000 a year to the PRU which they claim back through the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa).
This latest "revelation" come in the same week as Culture Secretary Maria Miller, was forced to resign from the government after being found guilty (albeit that the investigation was under the "old rules") of expenses "irregularities" and her pathetic "apology" to the House of Commons can at best be described as, succinct. Miller now joins an ever growing list of MP's who for one reason or another, consider themselves to be beyond reproach for their disgraceful behaviour, especially on the matter of expenses claims, and (except in a very few cases), above the law for any form of censure for their actions. It seems that saying sorry and paying back some paltry sum of money, is more than sufficient punishment for their abuses of the system.
As in other organisations, there is a fundamental flaw in the concept of self regulation. Where regulatory bodies are established and then predominately filled with people who gain their living from being members of, or part of, the business being regulated, then the conflict of interests becomes all too apparent. Numerous examples exist where what the public, or the consumer may reasonably expect to happen is circumvented by the regulatory body to ensure that whilst on the surface seeming to be tough with lots of noise and rhetoric, in reality nothing really happens and the organisation returns to business as usual within a few days. Thus it is the same with Members of Parliament.
What this country desperately needs, is a completely independent body without MP's membership, consisting entirely of lay people, and without nomination from any political party or other interest. The ordinary person, to represent taxpayers and the public generally to monitor MP's standards of behavior. The ordinary person in fact, who  Lord Justice Greer once described as "the man on the Clapham omnibus" 
The relationship of trust and understanding between public and Parliament is severely damaged and is in urgent need repair. Only radical reform will restore public confidence in a system where the perception is that hypocrisy, self interest, and exploiting the public purse is the normal and accepted way of life in the House of Commons. The phrase "Honorable members" has a very hollow ring to it.


Thursday, 10 April 2014

Michael Fabricant: A victim of a fit of pique.

Tory vice-chair Fabricant sacked in 'knee-jerk decision'

Michael Fabricant: M P for Lichfield


Michael Fabricant may be a bit of a buffoon, pompous and a bit "off the wall", but he was already that when he was first appointed to the post of Conservative vice-chairman. The difference today is that Cameron and much of his party management. are smarting from having to remove the odious Miller from her post as Culture secretary, (never mind what Miller, Cameron and the others may put out for public consumption, the woman was sacked), and are lashing out in a fit of pique. It just so happens that Fabricant "got in the way" and refused to resign after his tweet "About time too".
Actually, she should have "resigned" days before and certainly on the same day as she made the "apology" to the House of Commons.
Cameron, Osborne and others defending of her position over the past days, is exposed as bad judgement culminating in a not very well concealed removal. It is interesting to note that, according to today's Times, it was Osborne who actually led the "palace coup" to remove her.
Which ever way you look at it, Fabricant is a victim of  a temper tantrum and has become some Tory party self inflicted collateral damage.
You could almost have some sympathy for him.