Friday, 30 April 2010

They still don't get it, do they?

The debates are over. There is less than a week to go. And they still don't get it.

This item from last night's Question Time says it all. The young lady could not have put it better and it is no wonder that she got a huge round of applause. Our politicians treat us like children. My plea to everyone is that we rise up and poke them violently in the eye on Thursday next. And it was especially nice to see that weasel Ed Balls being the one who was on the end of the young lady's tirade. Bless her.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Working with Robin

Not our daughter, but with the Robin who owns our front garden (amongst others, I suspect). The borders in the front have become clogged with weeds, so today I took some tools and hand weeded the most visible stretches. Within 5 minutes, I had been joined by a small robin who explained, by a tilt of his head that I should pause in my grubbing around in the soil every so often so that he could have a turn. He was clearly not frightened of me and so long as I sat on my stool and kept my tools out of his way, he was prepared to sit and wait, while I cleared some weeds, then he hopped onto the soil and fished out all the tasty grubs he could find, before indicating that it was my turn again.

For most of an hour he was within two feet of me and quite often, I could have stretched out a hand and touched the little fellow if he had let me. As it was I kept still while he ate the grubs I'd uncovered, so we got on very well. As I slowly moved along the bed moving my stool along the tarmac, he would occasionally fly off but would return in a few seconds to check on my progress and indicate that he should have a turn.

The noise of passing traffic and people simply ceased to exist as I got lost in wonder at his presence, and thanks to his company, I stuck at the task for longer than I would have done otherwise.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Risk Management - Where Was It?

The reaction of the authorities to the ash cloud from the Icelandic volcano has been interesting. The initial reaction to ban all flights was probably the correct thing to do. It gave everyone time to assess the scale of the problems caused by the ash and see where the winds would take the cloud. However, it has taken chaos and a Dunkirk spirit to apparently cause people to think and do a proper assessment of the risks and hazards of flying. The airlines, who need to stop losing money at the current rate, finally got round to sending up some planes and pilots to see what flying with ash in the air was really like. Result - modern planes, well flown to avoid the worst of the ash, cope very well.

Now all we have to do is work out how to get all the poor souls who have been stranded back to where they want to go.

Seriously, after day 1 and, perhaps, 2, this has not been one of the finest hours for the aviation authorities of Europe. I can't help thinking that our American cousins would have managed it differently.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Use it or Lose it.

Life seems to be hectic at the moment. There are a number of projects on the go, and while nothing has gone wrong, I'm finding managing them is causing brain-ache. While I was working, I'd have walked it, but the old grey cells have not been used for this kind of activity for a while, and hence I am out of practice. I'm not used to working this hard.

Monday, 12 April 2010


Some months ago, I signed up to the Power 2010 campaign. I contributed to the choice of the the five changes that would be thought to bring about the most profound and needed change to the political system in the UK.

The 5 things are:
  1. Introduce a proportional voting system
  2. Scrap ID cards and roll back the database state
  3. Replace the House of Lords with an elected Chamber
  4. Allow only English MPs to vote on English Laws
  5. Draw up a written constitution
Together these form the Power 2010 Pledge. As part of the campaign, we were asked to email the prospective candidates in our constituency and ask which of these they support. The outcome here in Solihull has been quite instructive.
The Tory Candidate does not support any of them, even no 4 (!) - somehow, this response comes as no surprise.
The Lib-Dem candidate supports them all as they are Lib-Dem policy
The Labour candidate has not replied (somehow this doesn't surprise me either).

My reaction is that the response of the two major parties is PATHETIC. It is enough to make me weep. Rise up, fellow voters and give the two major parties the most tremendous kick in the goolies!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Public Sector Waste? Of Course There Is!

The first two years of my working life were spent in the Civil Service. From 1974 onwards, I earned my crust in the commercial world. I was always convinced that the public sector wasted resources in a way that a commercial enterprise could not have countenanced. As the debate hots up in the election campaign about the Tory claim to be able to save vast sums of money by making the public sector more efficient, I admit to being convinced. This article in today's Times helped to convince me.

I don't think that Gordon Brown's assertion that business leaders have been mislead hold water either. These people didn't get where they are by being easily fooled - unlike some of our politicians.

Respect for the Police

Recently, I bought a second-hand copy of the book "Editor" by Max Hastings for our youngest son. I took the liberty of reading it, and enjoyed it hugely. In the book. Max contrasts the level of intellect displayed by senior Police Officers with that of senior Military Officers, the military being, in his view, far more impressive.

A number of incidents starting with the killing of Jean-Charles De Menezes at Stockwell Tube Station have increased my concern that our police service is an example of "Lions led by Donkeys". This story is another example. Surely, any well led organisation should have processes in place to ensure that behaviour such as these officers does not happen. I accept that every organisation will have a few rotten apples, but this is another story that will erode respect for the police.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

None of the Above

Well, the great race for Government has started.

Half of me wants to trash the TV, cancel the papers and fix the radio tuner to Radio 7 - the other half is fascinated by the choice we are faced with. I have nearly finished reading Andrew Rawnsley's book "The End of the Party". It was recommended by a good friend. It should be required reading for all of us who intend to vote.

Sadly, I suspect that David Cameron's style would be very like that of Tony Blair, so it looks like Nick Clegg and Vince Cable for me.