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Monthly Archives: June 2012

That man Monbiot.

I’m pretty sure that the delaying of the increase in fuel duty has been popular with a great many people. A 3p increase in the price of a litre is bad news, not least because the economy is sluggish but also because the amount of duty levied on petrol, diesel and other fuels is ridiculous. It’s modern day highway robbery. If you want to drive you have to pay the Chancellor the duty and the VAT of course.

However, there are people who would be delighted to see the amount that a litre of fuel costs rise dramatically. They are of course the Greenies. One of their more strident members is of course Mr George Monbiot, a columnist with the Guardian. Mr Monbiot thinks it should be 30p that gets added. I’d imagine he’s pulled himself back from a much, much higher figure. Whilst not wishing to put words into his mouth, I’d imagine an increase of 300p would be heading in the right direction for George.

There’s one thing I’d like to say George. Next time you go into a petrol station to pay for fuel or the driver of the car you are sitting in goes to pay, pay the price for the fuel that you think it should be. A litre is around £1.28 currently so George you should pay £1.58 for it or £4.28, or any other wild and ridiculous amount you think is fitting.

At this point George would be saying that no purpose would be served by paying what he thinks is the correct price. The money would not be used for the development or subsidising of alternative fuels. But we have to do just that every single day, day after day, week after week, year after year. It’s levied on our energy bills as an additional cost, which is used to subsidise windmills and wave things, and solar panels etc. etc. We don’t have a choice. It just happens.

A few months ago George was rambling on about housing shortages. In Georges world old people and people with out children living at home were not downsizing so that people who needed homes with more rooms could not find properties of the right size. George feels that people should be “envourraged” to downsize or have to take in lodgers. Now it just happens that George lives in a larger property. I don’t have a problem with him living in a larger property, why should I? However, according to his own doctrine, he should either be downsizing or taking in lodgers. Of course he isn’t and he won’t.

George may well be a really nice guy who cherishes his beliefs and genuinely wants to see a better world going forward. It’s just that his ideas rely on more laws, regulations and dictats to make sure that the rest of us live the life he thinks is right whilst he may not absolutely live to the letter of them himself.

Not to worry. Global warming is happening all around us. People have been wading through it quite a lot recently. Climate change is alive and well as it has always been but man isn’t exacerbating it. George still thinks these are real threats to our existence though. A man made catastrophe. Pity that there is not a shred of real evidence, which confirms Georges beliefs.

But George is locked in along with the rest of his Guardian and BBC mates. They can’t suddenly stop going on about Global Warming or Climate Change because they’ve been doing it so shrilly for so long how would they explain their change of heart? Over time they will of course change. They’ll move on to “sustainable development” No one on the planet knows what that means or how it could ever be achieved. Unless of course we finally discover perpetual motion. We could use the example of the greenies who manage to perpetually get things wronger than a very wrong thing.

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Posted by on June 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The joys of living in Edinburgh

To live and work in a place, which you love, is a great privilege. It is also reassuring to know that the place is protected from the worst sorts of development and the degradation of its buildings whilst also having large spaces given over to parks and recreation.

The place I’m talking about is of course Edinburgh. I was born in Simpson Memorial Maternity Pavilion, that’s the original and not the fake one up in Little France. That’s as Scottish as you can get really, or at least it is to me. I’ve been lucky enough to have travelled a fair bit with work and I’ve had opportunities to work and live overseas but I never took those offers up unless they were short term. Edinburgh means that much to me.

Unfortunately Edinburgh is being deeply tarnished by a number of scandals. The scandals have been and continue to be perpetrated by Edinburgh Council. This is an organisation, which is there to make sure Edinburgh is a great place for people to live and work. They are failing to do this. Failing badly, embarrassingly and shockingly.

The trams fiasco was foisted upon the people of Edinburgh by the Labour Party who rushed it through and had it adopted just before the Council Elections took place. Of course they did this on purpose because they knew they would lose big time when the votes where in and of course they did. They got that bit right.

The shocking mismanagement, in every sense of the word, was incredible. The project has become a Billion pound embarrassment. All councillors over the years during which different coalitions have been in power have been guilty of failing to sort things out.

The councillors also voted down the outsourcing of various services, which would have saved tens of millions of pounds for the council at a time of fiscal constraint.

Then we have the enforced repairs to protected buildings. Repairs were carried our well beyond requirement and tenants faced with bills, which were far higher than estimated. Some council staff have been suspended and some have lost their jobs. I’d imagine that legal proceedings will also be taking place soon.

Now this week we have another department, who look after Council owned propetries, having staff charged with fraud etc. That’ll be more taxpayers money that the fraud will have appropriated.

Surely enough is enough? Whilst I hate suggesting that a government should do anything on this ocassion I suggest that the SNP Government gets seriously tough here. All council activities need to be examined in detail and any resulting evidence of misappropriation of funds, resources or assets immediately investigated by the Police.

The governance of Edinburgh Council should also be audited thoroughly and significantly improved controls introduced to ensure probity in operations and efficiency of delivery.

The councillors themselves? It’s for the political parties, which the councillors belong, to take a view on what can be done to ensure the councillors perform in a scrupulous manner and play their part in ensuring there are no further scandals based on poor management or corruption

Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland and, should Scottish Independence happen it would become more important to the nation as a city where world leaders will visit much more often. We need Edinburgh to stay in the top three best places in the UK, if not the world, to live.

Could someone please step forward and take on the job of cleaning up the council?

 

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Jimmy Carr is a very bad man.

So Jimmy Carr gets it in the neck from a certain Mr David Cameron. As you are already aware Jimmy has been a very bad man, he hasn’t broken any laws, he’s just followed a precedent provided by hundreds and probably thousands of people who have lots of money. Not just those with lots of money either, lots and lots of people do it.

“THEY MINIMISE THEIR TAX PAYMENTS TO THE GOVERNMENT!”

Mr David Cameron thinks this is morally wrong and no doubt we should roll our sleeves up and make sure that no one does this kind of thing ever, ever again. Let’s face it, Mr David Cameron has without doubt been “aware” of members of his wider family doing exactly this. Not to mention his hip friend from Take That who is a multi-millionaire having similar tax arrangements to Jimmy Carr. (Slight side issue, a multi-millionaire (GaryB) produced a tribute  song for a billionaire (Liz Windsor) which was performed by musicians, some of whom are significantly poor, was this moral)?

All people who have enough money to engage a tax specialist do it, have done it and will continue to do it within the bounds of the law. Jimmy has now stopped doing it because he recognised the error of his ways.  He is now a changed man although I doubt he’ll revert to paying tax at the whim of HMRC.

The other word used in connection with Jimmy was of course “hypocrite”. No, not because Mr David Cameron talked morals about tax avoidance but because Jimmy Carr was in a sketch about Barclays bank avoiding tax. Perhaps Mr David Cameron is somewhat irked that Jimmy Carr has made his own fortune by going on stage and making people laugh although that’s maybe a trait that they both share although one of them is more of a joke than the other.

As long as government waste billions, do not come clean on how and why taxpayers money is spent/wasted and politicians continue to take advantage of the public purse they can’t really mention the M word or words – money and morality.

 
 

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Who will “Bag” Alex

Here we go again. The SNP government sit down and talk about stuff and then decide they need to act. They then stick a target to one of their feet and then they shoot at it which is then followed by howls of indignation because it hurts and it shouldn’t.

This time the target is of course plastic bags. Apparently they litter our streets, they take a million years to rot away, they use up valuable resources in their manufacture and they cause climate change. Complete and utter nonsense from beginning to end.

In your experience do you see more litter in the shape of plastic bags or more sweet wrappers, cans, etc. etc.? Plastic bags do not constitute a large litter problem and neither do they form any sort of threat to the environment. If plastic bags last such a long time we would be making our houses out of them. I’ve read claims, which say a plastic bag takes a thousand years to rot, what a lot of rot. Get real

Lots of people have adopted the use of bags designed to be used a number of times, our household certainly has. We have quite an eclectic range of bags which includes, Sainsburys, Tesco, Aldi, Waitrose, Costco, some charities, an Orla Kiely and of course one from Fortnum and Mason just for the hell of it. It’s fun to pack cheap but good quality food purchases from Aldi. Lidl or B&M into the F&M bag, or I should get out more?

The SNP want to be seen as being Green but when they try to, they just come out looking green behind the ears. It’s always a dangerous place to start from when greenies have provided the information. Just so you can make up your own mind here’s a wee link to some factual information.

No plastic bags? Well whilst we use our “life” bags we also get shop provided plastic ones every now and again. Why? Because we use them as bin liners. Interestingly, when the Irish banned plastic bags provided by shops, sales of bin bags went up over 400%. You see people reuse them. Okay the odd one or two might escape and go on to terrorise the surrounding countryside but it’s not an epidemic. Apart from the germs issue anyway.

What will happen when you go for a carry out curry? Take a reusable bag! Of course! Then the curry spills as it almost certainly always does in the bag. The bag is spoiled and has to be thrown away and a replacement bought. What happens when Steven comes to visit with his Waitrose van and carries your shopping into your kitchen? No plastic bags. Does he just spill everything out of the big green plastic boxes onto your floor? Does he use bags and you get charged? Do you have to provide bags to Waitrose? Do you have to buy bags for life from Waitrose so they can use those.

What about people who still have to use plastic bags for putting out their rubbish? It happens in town here. It means there aren’t any of those unsightly huge bins in the conservation areas.

Can’t we just, I say just but it’s a whopping big just, encourage people to take responsibility for their plastic bag use? Maybe set up clinics for them or support groups or monitor their use and try to provide them with bags from the state which do the same job but aren’t as nasty? Okay I jest but really come on.

Then we could do something really, really sensible (that’s never going to work). We could reduce the amount of packaging used for our food and such like. Less packaging at source! That would surely be cheaper for food manufacturers and distributors? It wouldn’t take up as much room on the shelves of stores would it? Also we could go through the checkout and then remove all the packaging we would normally do when we get home and leave it at the supermarket for them to get rid off! That would be fun. We’d need less bags.

I think we should all stop using reusable bags until the ban comes into effect. In fact I think we should all take as many bags as we can get away every time we go to any shop between now and the moment that the bag ban is law. That would build up a stock for us all and we could take them back and forward to the shops and use them again and again and then use them for bin liners etc. when they are deemed no longer fit for purpose.

To the SNP then. STOP trying to be green. It’s all so last Tuesday. It’s rarely based on any real and believable science. It’s normally driven by people who have something to gain. Adopting a green dictate usually results in consequences which cause greater problems for the environment else where.

Just STOP! Also explain why you think Scotland should join NATO when they have nuclear weapons, which you don’t like.

Just STOP doing the same things that Westminster does. Let the people in Scotland be independent of silly government nonsense. Encourage people to be responsible.

Just NO MORE green nonsense.

Starting NOW!

 

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Better together says whom?

The “Better Together” camp have broken ground and they’re off! Led by, born in London, ex-Loretto School pupil Alistair Darling the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer who over saw the Credit Crunch response in the UK and took the RBS into nationalisation. During the “MPs expenses fiasco years, Darling Alistair partook of a feast of “flipping” his designated residence four times in four years and enjoying the full benefits this allowed.

A safe pair of hands then for the Westminster establishment to have lead their cause of keeping Scotland in the union. Now isn’t that a strange aim? Keeping Scotland in the union? How odd!

My first question to the “Better Together” team then is – Why is it so important for Scotland to remain in the union?

I ask this against a background based on a continuing mantra by Westminster that the UK subsidises Scotland to a significant degree resulting a higher spend by head of population than the rest of the UK. Which leads me to my second question – Why would the rest of the UK wish to continue subsiding Scotland?

I think it is completely ludicrous that Westminster has maintained this fallacy of subsidy when in fact it has been Scotland subsidising Westminster who have squandered the riches from North Sea Oil on all manner of fiscal experimentation, subsidy, wars, political dogma and fiscal incompetence.

The retort would probably be along the lines of North Sea Oil output dropping substantially and it no longer contributes significantly to the UK economy as a whole. My third question would then be – How much money was received by the Westminster Treasury, from oil and gas operations carried out in Scottish Territorial waters, from the beginning of activities in the 1970’s to date?

Moving on to other matters. The “Better Together” camp want to put forward their reasons for why Scotland should remain within the union. I am very keen to hear the positive reasons why this would be beneficial for everyone in the UK. I don’t want to hear all the negative stuff about how vulnerable Scotland and its people would be, how it would be such a huge risk for our children or how small and insignificant Scotland would be on the world stage. So rushing on to my next question – Can the “Better Together” team state five significant and clearly beneficial and positive reasons for Scotland to remain in the Union?

My last question is fairly simple – What will the benefit to the UK as a whole be if Scotland remains within the UK and what effect would Scotland leaving the union be on the remaining members

The last question would provide details of where in the G20 the UK would be, what reduction in influence, such as it has, in the EU and in all other measurable areas and activities. I think that it is only fair for “Better Together” to get these facts out to the people of the UK as a whole.

The BBC and the MSM have a part to play in this debate. It will almost certainly be a negative part as far as Scottish Independence is concerned. At some point, if the pro independence support shows a majority there may need to be a careful rethink for the MSM in general. The numbers of Newspapers sold is falling dramatically and the number of people who recognise the bias of the BBC and their fawning competitors is growing. They may need to consider their stand point if independence is very likely to be achieved.

The fight for independence will be a significant uphill struggle. It will take a huge effort to garner the support necessary to win Scottish Independence. It’s also looking more likely that the SNP will need to look very hard at their aims over the next few months in particular and start acting and talking like a party who want to lead Scotland to independence, real independence not casual independence which they seem to be pursuing at the moment.

There is still time. We can do this. In truth we have to do this if we really want to improve Scotland the potential for all the people who live within its borders.

Please also bear in mind that a yes vote for an independent vote isn’t a vote for the SNP it is a vote to secure a better future for all of who live in Scotland.

 

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Just to make sure we are all agreed on what Independence means (Part 1)

Just to make sure we are all agreed on what Independence means (Part 1)

I checked with an online dictionary so that I had a working definition of the actual meaning of the word Independence. These were the results –

1. Not governed by a foreign power; self-governing.

2. Free from the influence, guidance, or control of another or others; self-reliant.

3. Not determined or influenced by someone or something else.

4. Not dependent on or affiliated with a larger or controlling entity.

5. Not relying on others for support, care, or funds; self-supporting.

The context of Independence in this case is independence for Scotland. I am writing this particular post to clarify, for myself and for anyone else who may also be wondering, if the SNP understand what Independence actually means rather than their growing meaning of it, which doesn’t seem to reflect what most people, I would imagine, believe it is.

I say again, that I am an SNP supporter, although I should clarify that this support is based on the goal of gaining Independence after which I hope the people living in Scotland, and any of those Scots from overseas who wish to come back, will have a significant say in everything else which will need to be decided and changed. The SNP have done a wonderful job in getting to this stage and to go on to achieve Independence will be of huge historical importance.

Independence has to be just that, leaving Scotland free as per the definition above. At the moment I get the feeling that the SNP have woken upon to the enormity of the task and taken stage fright. I am aware that Rupert Murdoch suggested that Alex Salmond is one of the most able politicians in the UK. So is Alex playing a canny game or is he a bit lost?

The SNP are saying that Scotland would retain the English pound. That means we’d be subject to a monetary policy, which would be defined for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. That wouldn’t be independent. Shouldn’t we just keep on using Scottish money and let the markets decide value? The Scottish pound in our pocket?

Shouldn’t we have our own Central Bank, which devises monetary policy and also regulates the Scottish Financial markets? Since Scotland would have oil revenues I wouldn’t have thought that establishing our own currency would be difficult. We wouldn’t have the English FSA regulating our financial sector as the SNP were suggesting last week.

Independence, but still a member of the EU won’t work. It’s a contradiction in terms. We can’t be in the EU. We can do a deal with the EU as Norway has. As long as we can choose what bits we want which will be beneficial to Scotland we should be okay. We can get rid of mountains of ridiculous regulation, which adds thousands of pounds of costs to each and every household in Scotland every year. Our fishing rights would be restored based on our territorial waters; we could carefully grow our own fishing fleet again.

NATO? What sort of Defense Force does Scotland need? Fishery and oil facility protection maybe a couple of bigger boats with bigger guns and missiles with helicopters just in case someone got a bit cheeky. Jets to transport stuff, jet fighters and AWACs to help police our skies, land and waters? Maybe an entire defense force of 30,000? Most significantly, a force, which is ONLY to be used for defense. No sending forces to distant wars or to help police warring factions etc.

The Queen. Head of State? Why? A billionaire figurehead. No relevancy to a modern Scotland. The Queen portrays privilege and those who feel they deserve privilege support the Queen. The Queen will always be the Queen of England first and foremost. Do we really want King Charles and then King William in the future? I think not.

Keeping the Saltire in the Union Flag? Behave. How ludicrous is that? Can’t we have the Saltire and also elevate the Rampant Lion and use it too for more ceremonial occasions?

These are my thoughts so far and I don’t expect people to agree with them all or even one of them. Where we must agree however is to ensure that Independence is won. A vote for Independence is not a vote for the SNP.

I’ll revisit this topic next Thursday.

 

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Perpetual motion and the BBCs like of veal calves.

I kind of like these ideas people have for perpetual motion devices. Kind of like cold fusion, you get more out of it than you put in, like bank savings accounts that you used to get more out of than you put in and those duff energy saving bulbs which more power goes into than the amount of light that comes out and no heat either.

Now environmentalists are really good at getting more out of things than they put in. We have various recycling things going on in Edinburgh one of which is garden rubbish. Basically we fill our brown bin with grass and plant cuttings and the Council empties the bin once a fortnight, probably it’s the same in your area. At this point I should say that you mustn’t overfill your brown bin or you get a wee yellow slip stuck on your bin, which lectures you about the error of your ways.

The garden stuff is then taken to a depot and they mush it up and leave it to become compost. Then after a while it’s gone all mushy and they bag and sell it back to people in Edinburgh. Perpetual motion! The council puts virtually no effort in, takes the raw materials from council taxpayers free of charge and then sells it back to them for a price. Just like that. They don’t weigh your bin and then stuff a few quid through your letterbox as payment for the garden stuff. The same could be said for all the other stuff, which is recycled. The council takes it for free, sells it and keeps the money.

Now that sounds like a bit underhand. The council is supposed to be there to serve us rather than help themselves to the contents of our wallets. I think councils could show the Godfather a thing or two although it’s only business.

Another fabulous and much copied example of perpetual motion came to light recently and was covered by the BBC, well, by the new chap who has taken over, from John Craven, the mantle of mouthpiece for the continuing threat that climate change and global warming have on the virtual reality version of the world that the BBC inhabits.

The scandal that the BBC had unearthed was that lots of male calves were being shot at birth because there was no market for them. Their mothers were bred for milk and the breed wasn’t suitable as good beef cattle. When I heard this I was surprised to a degree because farmers are experts in getting as much out of anything which is possible and then some.

Further investigation found that these calves were previously used for veal production. And here we have our green perpetual motion in full swing. Basically a few years ago veal was looked on as being very bad because poor male calves were stuck in very small wooden crates and fed on a diet of milk. The greenies didn’t like this at all so they campaigned to get it stopped and lo it was. Then of course the calves had lost their only remaining purpose so they were shot at birth instead.

Then along came the BBC who unearthed the scandal of the shooting of thousands of calves every year. Game set and match, perpetual motion in place and working perfectly. Rear them as veal calves but do it in a nice way.

I’ve also previously mentioned an issue, which arose when one of my friends was planning to have a new office built.  There was an area of “wetland” within the plot of land. The council would only provide planning permission if the wetland was moved because there were species living in/on it.

A bit of checking by a surveyor found that the wetland was manmade. A large mains water pipe ran underneath it, which was leaking, which the water board knew about but hadn’t fixed. The council said that didn’t make any difference. Perpetual motion established. The wetland was accidental but it’s existence kept council people busy.

The cost to move the wetland? £100-200K. No office was built and the jobs that would have been created in the council area went to one next door. What would have happened if the water pipe had been decommissioned? The water would have evaporated, no wetland anymore.

Now I’m not sure if this is a greenie post or a council post. It’s a perpetual motion post! Want another? Look at how NGO’s lobby the government who give them money to lobby the government more.

It’s an epidemic of very expensive perpetual motion.

 

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