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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The effect of inflation on spending a penny.

 Traveling by coach in the United Kingdom

Coach travel UK

 If, for any reason, you need to travel by coach in the United Kingdom, and the route happens to take
in Bristol as a stop over or change, there are some important points that you will need to be aware of.
In my case, it was travelling last Sunday,(12th October) as a passenger with National Express from Dorchester to Swansea in Wales, with changes at Bristol and Cardiff. The journey had a duration of some 6 hours, including changes and some minor diversions to obscure pick up points along the way.
A lengthy time traveling, which would in any circumstances require "comfort breaks" even with the provision of toilet facilities on the coach. As it so happens, the "facilities" on the first coach were in fact blocked and therefore unusable. This must have been even more inconvenient, (no pun intended) for those traveling with this coach to its ultimate destination, which was in fact Blackpool, some distance away up the M6.
On reaching Bristol, there was the usual scramble for the station facilities, particularly as a number of coaches had arrived at the same time, spilling their cargo's of human travellers into an already crowded concorse, (and I thought that this was Sunday!) Eventually, we reached a turnstile, rather similar to those which used to be found at the gates of football grounds (perhaps the builders of the Bristol bus station has managed to secure a job lot of turnstiles at a knock down price during the construction work) to be confronted by a sign which demanded a 20p entry fee and moreover, would only accept 20p coins as a means of entry. After obtaining the necessary coinage, by the purchase of a Bounty Bar and a Crunchie, I gained entry to the convenience.
If the management of these bus stations are compelled to charge extortionate prices for the use of their amenities within the station, they might at least ensure that the facilities are clean and usable. The Bristol facilities are dirty, uncleaned and when seraching for toilet paper to wipe hands after discovering that the hand driers did not work, found that all of the WC's in the cubilcle were blocked. All of them. Not just blocked but overfolwing with paper and other matter. 
Not un naturally, I obtained a complaint form from the station office and indicated that I was not very happy with the situation. Bizzarely, he said that they have received lots of complaints about the state of the loo's from many users. Weird that nothing has been done to resolve the problem.

If by chance you travel on to Swansea, the charge is 30p!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Trying to hang on, at any cost.

Nick Clegg makes case for power sharing role in future coalitions

Nick Clegg

 Clegg and the LibDems making their grubby little bid for another coalition.
It seems that these political opportunists will go to any lengths and make any promise necessary to hang on to their seats around the cabinet table, their ministerial cars (and other perks of the job) and of course their over inflated ministerial salaries.When it comes to hypocrisy and self interest, the LibDems have few equals.

Herbert Asquith

My grandfather, a life long Liberal since before World War 1, must be spinning in his grave. Thankfully he did not witness the duplicitous behaviour of the LibDems over the past five years and even before, since the "marriage" of Liberals and SDP.  

Sunday, 28 September 2014

In the wake of President Mahmoud Abbas address to UN, a voice of reality from amongst the vitriolic responses.

 Israel’s criticism of Abbas’ speech is the rhetoric of despair

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addresses UN General Assembly

One Israeli newspaper at least is prepared to think the unthinkable and speak the unspeakable truth, that  Israel and the Israeli leadership are wrong.

"The government is now grasping at Abbas’ statements as if it were grasping at a life raft. But leaning on Abbas’ speech reflects nothing but fear and weak leadership. Israel has neither an answer nor a strategy for the diplomatic elements in Abbas’ address."
Haaretz: Sunday, September 28, 2014 Tishrei 4, 5775

The longer that Israel resists the inevitable establishment of a Palestinian State, based on the 1967 borders, then the more they will become isolated and marginalised around the world.

Creating a monster and making a bad situation even worse.

It's started, but do we know what we're doing?

David Cameron, far left, and Barack Obama, far right, vote in a United Nations Security Council meeting
Cameron and Obama at United Nations


A contrived "threat", manufactured, exaggerated and hysterically hyped up to suit the hidden agenda of Washington and London to attack Syria via Iraq and ultimately overthrow Bashar al-Assad.
"It's started, but do we know what we're doing?" The answer is "No. We have no idea what we are doing. We only know that al-Assad must go and this might be one avenue to help us get rid of him,"
IS or ISIL or what ever other label you may choose to put on them, is an organisation now controlling in excess of 5 million people, thousands of square miles of territory, significant infrastructure and an industrial and commercial capability which would be envied by many countries around the world. It is also an organisation which until quite recently, was armed, financed and trained by the "west" as part of their burning desire to become involved in the Syrian civil war on the side firstly of the Free Syrian Army, and then as the FSA fragmented with which ever splinter group or groups, offered the best possibilities of overthrowing the government in Damascus.However, the governments in London and Washington, were thwarted in their reprehensible ambitions, by the combination of hostile politicians and the strength of public opinion against and involvement in Syria, in their own countries. Clearly, the Americans. followed by the French and British, had to find an alternative means of achieving their ends.
Now, some three years on, the "west" has found the perfect means of gaining entry to Syria via the "back door" using Islamic State as the bogey man to justify intervention. Having created the myth of the "threat to the world" the excesses of IS (as reported and magnified by media and television) and the video's of executions, have apparently, shifted opinion, albeit reluctantly, towards some form of military option ostensibly against Islamic State. The "leaders" of the west however, have something very different in mind.

No matter what the politicians say, military experts are among the doubters.

Western involvement in the Middle East has been a catalouge of errors, missed opportunities and  disastrous interference for almost 90 years, with each intervention particularly over the past 20 years, being more and more catastrophic for the area and specifically for the civilian populations.
The west has created a Frankenstein monster and is now using it to their own short term advantage.
In reality of course, this latest involvement is only making a bad situation, infinitely worse.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Is Gordon Brown seeking to become leader of the Labour Party, again?

Vote secures glorious future for GB (Gordon Brown, that is)

Gordon Brown vows 'powers will be delivered'

Brown seems to be jockeying for some sort of position within the Labour Party, perhaps even usurping Miliband and installing himself as leader!
It does sound rather conceited of the man to assume that he, as a backbench MP, is in a position to
"make sure that these promises that have been made will be upheld." and that the " the timetable we set out will be delivered."
Ed Miliband addresses supporters in Manchester

He may have resigned as Leader of the Labour Party, and lost an election as Prime Minister, but he has certainly managed to hang on to the delusions of grandeur which drove him, Blair, Mandelson and Campbell in their mission to destroy the Labour Party.

Is it conceivable that Brown will be granted a second bite at the cherry?

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The triumph of bribery and fear over the reality of experience.

The Conservative, Labour, Liberal consensus of "The Vow" which finally defeated calls for Scottish independence, has been shattered



Cameron: Further powers for Scotland will be linked to change in England.

Within hours of the results of the Scottish referendum being announced, David Cameron and Ed Miliband threw the question of further devolution of powers to Scotland, and the timetable for implementation of such changes, into chaos. The much publicised "Vow" to the Scottish people bearing the signatures of Cameron, Miliband and Clegg, was heralded days before the vote as, a solemn undertaking to begin the process of greater devolution of Scottish affairs "the day after" the Referendum vote takes place. At the time, many writers considered that "The Vow" was nothing more than a not very subtle bribe, designed to offer more devolved powers to the Scottish people in exchange for a "No" result. This inducement followed weeks of threat, intimidation and fear mongering by the vote No campaign who enlisted the support of businesses, banks, media and others to seek the retention of the union. Even foreign "leaders" were quite vocal in their support for the status quo, even though it is difficult to grasp what the matter had to do with Obama, Juncker, Merkel or the others.

Today, less than 36 hours after the vote, it is patently obvious that the prediction of prevarication, disputes and inter party squabbling, has already begun. The promised reforms, commencing the day after the referendum, have gone the way of previous promises on copious numbers of subjects (many to do with Scottish matters) made not only by previous Labour governments, but also by the ConDem coalition government during their almost five years in power. If this one element, "The Vow" has been the final consideration in anyone's decision to place their cross in the "No" box, then they have been deceived by the politicians "talent" of giving duplicity and falsehood a facade of credibility. 

prevarication, disputes and inter party squabbling

Within the coming months, right up to the general election in May of next year and even beyond, there will be the usual recriminations between the parties with proposals, counter proposals and even more promises in exchange for public support, rattling back and forth between the political groupings. In the meantime of course, the people of Scotland will wait for the Westminster government to finally, if ever, produce a set of proposals for "greater autonomy" for Scotland, which will bear little if any resemblance to the expectations that many people may have had on the 18th September 2014.
Cameron and some conservatives, plan to bring in "English votes for English laws" as part of wide ranging  "constitutional" changes. Miliband has proposed a "constitutional convention" that will not even present a preliminary report until sometime in Autumn of 2015. 

Between now and the next general election there will be much jockeying for position and popularity between the Westminster parties, with each bearing in mind the growing threat of UKIP and even other parties upsetting the comfortable "status quo" which they have enjoyed until now. It seems that with the bribery of "The Vow" with its vague promises now firmly established, the parties have painted themselves into a corner which they will find it difficult to extract themselves from.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Cameron, Clegg Miliband "Vow", is nothing more than a not very subtle bribe

Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing the result either way

Cameron, Clegg and Miliband reveal the "Vow" and promise to protect "Barnett formula" 

For anyone in Scotland thinking about voting “No” in today’s referendum, there is a very good reason for voting with the “Yes” campaign. For anyone who thinks that the promise made by Cameron, Miliband and Clegg in respect of greater autonomy to the Scottish Parliament including powers over taxation, spending an even greater devolution, in exchange for a “No” vote, should consider what has emerged since the three “leaders” went to Scotland to unveil their “Vow” and plaster the front pages of practically every newspaper in the United Kingdom with the text.
It has become apparent that not all MP's at Westminster in the three main parties, and particularly those in the Conservative party, do not support their “leaders” in the, not very subtle bribe, that has been dangled before the eyes of the Scottish people. It seems that there is significant resistance to the prospect of Scotland gaining more per capita expenditure north of the border than people in the rest of the United Kingdom. The so called Barnett formula” has received even more criticism and is now even more likely to be scrapped.

In response to this criticism from MP's and others, the government is proposing that in the event that Scotland does vote “No” today, a set of proposals for the detail of the “Vow” will be drawn up and agreed between the party leaders, provided that they are able to gain the consent and support of their own MP's and their respective parties. A “White Paper” will be produced, probably in January of next year, for consultation and discussion. Following this period of time, legislation will be introduced in Parliament. Any decisions or votes on the necessary changes however, will not take place or be effected, until after the next General election in May of 2015, when in any case, there is likely to be a new government which may itself have a very different make up and viewpoint on the whole matter of greater devolution for Scotland. 
The “Vow” from the Westminster triumvirate of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband was always nothing more than a desperate, unconsidered knee jerk reaction to falling support in the polls. If it were a serious proposition, it would have been included on the ballot paper for the referendum, as originally proposed but rejected out of hand by Westminster. Moreover, even after almost 5 years of this ConDem coalition, and many years of the previous Labour government, it is only now that more devolution and greater taxation and spending powers for Scotland are hinted at.
This may be coincidence, but I think not.