Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Don't tackle the real problem

Buried in the Review Section of The Observer of 30th October under the section 'Lab Notes: Dispatches from the World of Science' (hardly likely to hit you in the face is it?) is a report of a study from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.  According to the Observer "This study identified an elite core of 147 transnational corporations, (TNCs), mainly financial institutions, that together control 40% of the wealth in the entire network of 43060 TNCs worldwide despite representing less than 1% of the whole. This level of interconectedness raises serious concerns about financial stability"

It is probably worse than that. One might reasonably deduce that the 43060 TNCs control more wealth than virtually any national sovereign government. They are equally almost certainly totally not accountable to any electorate. Nevermind. All UKIP, the right wing of the Tory Party, and other organs like the Daily Express can do is bang on about the wicked (allegedly unelected) EU. Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned comes to mind.

Friday, 11 November 2011

A house is a home not an 'investment'

It is a shame that it is those who don't deserve to that are usually those that suffer. The housing market is a case in point. Those who got onto the housing ladder in 2006/7 when the housing market peaked are now in grief because prices are down some 20%. Others see their chance of owning a home receding. It is the word 'home' that matters. For decades ones 'home' was also seen as a safe route to ever increasing wealth. This delusion was fueled by oceans of credit. I sold a house in 1985 which was sold again in 2005 for eight times what I got for it. Meanwhile the average income had slightly more than doubled. That madness was bound to stop sometime and it has.Transactions are down some 50% from a peak of 1.25million and likewise the number of estate agents has halved. To get some sort of balance back prices need to fall further. Predictions are 3% this year, 5% next year & 5% in 2013. Cruel luck -except of course for those who can afford a property costing millions where the market is still buoyant.

So called 'balance' can promote bias

It is basic that if you belong to an extremist group of any kind your biggest enemies are those who belong to your tribe, religion, party or whatever but who do not subscribe, may even detest, your extremism. So what do you do? Well today you come up with a demonstration against remembrance, and get yourself banned. Our witless media gives you airtime during which you get the chance to say that the poppy is a figleaf to cover the crimes of the Government. With luck this will create a backlash which you can exploit by playing the victim of oppression and hoping that those of your tribe, religion, party or whatever become pushed away from their moderate position into giving you support. Sometimes so called 'balance' in the media is anything but.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

To print or not to print

This was sent to the Observer a few days after the date referred to. No surprise that they didn't publish it.

Dear Sir, Below is a letter that I would appreciate being considered for
publication. If unable to publish but are able to forward it to Mr Brian
Hughes [Letters 16th October] I would be most grateful.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - --
Dear Sir,

Brian Hughes [Letters 16th October] bemoans the "traditional role of party
conferences as a showcase for leaders" and pleads for political parties to
"transform [Conferences] into explorations and explanations of political

That is what Liberal Democrat conferences do, and have done, for decades.
They are the only major party that actually decides the direction, & sometimes
the detail, of policy at conference.

Yours faithfully,

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A message to my grandchildren

On the 11th November 1918, at 11 o'clock in the morning what was then known as 'The Great War' came to an end. It was only 'Great' in scale and death. To give the numbers of those killed some meaning of the twenty two members of schoolboy cricket teams that played each other before the war started sixteen were dead when it ended. In 1921 the Royal British Legion was started to help soldiers sailors and airmen who needed help and to make sure that people that came after them like you and me never forgot the horror of this war and the wars that were to come after it.

On Friday this week for the first time we will be remembering the end of this war at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year. It will not happen again for 100yrs. Main services to remember the dead of all war will be on the nearest Sunday - the 13th.

All war is bad but not all are wrong. Some, like the war between 1939 and 1945, when I was a boy, are necessary because of a great evil. We wear a poppy to show that we care about those who put their lives and their future at risk to go and fight and often die or are very badly hurt.

My family, and so your family were lucky. My grandfather fought in South Africa and the Sudan over 100 years ago. He died in 1913 of an illness. He was 34 yrs old. I had two uncles who survived the Great War. My father was just too old and unfit for 1939 - 1945 & he was a fireman during the bombing of London. He survived. I had another uncle who was left behind to repair aircraft. The ship he should have been on was sunk and 1400 men died.

I hope on Sunday at 11 o'clock you will just be quiet for a few moments and if you see people, especially older people, you will treat them with kindness and respect. I'm sure you will.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Complicated voting?

Taken from Highland UA Council website

"The seven-cornered by-election for Inverness South (Ward 20) on The Highland Council has resulted in a victory for Mrs Carolyn Caddick, Scottish Liberal Democrats. The turn out was 26.8% and the total number of valid votes cast was 2,607. The by-election was held following the resignation of John Holden (Labour).
The count was held at Inverness Town Hall.
David McGrath (Independent), was eliminated at the end of stage one, with 94votes.   
His votes were then redistributed and Donald Boyd (Scottish Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”) was eliminated at the end of stage 2 with 130 votes.
Gale Falconer (Scottish Green Party) was eliminated at stage 3 with 189 votes.
David Bonsor  (Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party)  was eliminated at the end of stage 4 with 339 votes.
Katherine Mackenzie (Scottish Labour Party) was eliminated at the end of stage 5 with 379 votes.
At the final stage, there was a re-count of votes. At the end, Mrs Caddick had 1,091 votes, and Ken Gowans (SNP) had 1,084 votes".

And the NO2AV campaign managed to sell the idea that AV was complicated ! ! What a fabulous con trick they managed to pull off.