Thursday, 26 February 2009

So That's Why Privatised Post Services Make Money

Private sector management efficiencies, cost cutting, investment in new technology.

Er, up to a point, Lord Mandelson.

Cost of a 25g first class inland letter

UK Royal Mail 36p or 40c

Netherlands TNT 88c or 78p

Germany Deutsche Post 99c or 89p

France La Poste 88c or 78p

Guess which two countries' post services are privatised. So, if you are a customer, which country would you prefer to send letters in? Why should a privatised industry with competition result in higher prices? When I read economics in the early eighties it was accepted that certain functions were most efficiently undertaken by government monopolies. The Fire Service, for example, arose as a reaction to the chaos of separate insurance companies' fire engines refusing to extinguish fires on competitors' properties. Joe Chamberlain introduced municipal socialism to improve the water and gas supply in Birmingham. What I want is the best service efficiently provided to the consumer of a product or service. Whether this is achieved by the private sector or able civil service administrators bothers me not a jot.
I just smell the stench of commercial opportunism (snouts in the trough) dressed up in the clothes of the free market. I expect that directors and senior managers of a privatised Post Office will pay themselves high salaries and perks to attract the best, while the employees will be downsized, moved and pension provisions will be cut in an effort to maintain competitiveness.
It is a topsy-turvy world when governments can write blank cheques to remedy banks' errors yet cannot invest in proper public services.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Genetics Beats Religion

When I was old enough to think for myself (the antidote to organised religion) I realised that the cliche that everyone was made in god's image was wrong. I was not like my classmates and never would be. I could not run or jump nearly as fast as them; indeed the left side of my body was significantly smaller and weaker than the right. Yep, that's the work of a loving god who was aware of everything and allowed innocent boy babies to be slaughtered by Herod - a lack of foresight there or a Stalinesque acceptance of casualties to achieve an aim.
And so the recent death of Ivan Cameron and the adverse comments made against CBBC presenter Cerrie Burnell serves to reinforce my belief that genetics trumps religion which is at best a way to be kind and caring to less fortunate people. If the iron age sky pilot bits could be stripped away and replaced with scientific fact I would be more favourable to religion. I remember a religious nut saying that the fact I was born disabled was a gift from god because I could appreciate his (ugh!) love through suffering. Another nut at uni offered to pray for forgiveness for me and for the imagined sins of my parents. A very pretty girl I fancied like crazy told me god loved me. Guess her reaction when I asked if she did also. So if any religious nuts out there wish to comment please be advised that I won't publish your trite tripe.

Jstc, Or Y I Bndnd Lw

Two recent sentences:

This one (with thanks to Laban Tall)

and this one. At least the noble lord can't claim he was discriminated against. Will Geert Wilders be visiting him in chokey? I liked the way the BBC TV news report mentioned that the driver who was killed was found to have traces of alcohol in his body. Always good policy to slander the dead to spin in favour of the Labour lord - will they mention that rape victims were provocatively dressed?

Just a cynical thought: did Gordon suspend PMQs to avoid Harriet Harman having to answer any Lord Ahmed-related questions? Whilst I have the utmost sympathy for David Cameron and his family for their bereavement, the Westminster village ought to realise that the children of their constituents are being murdered in Afghanistan nearly every week and every one of those deaths is as painful to those affected. Life and work has to go on around those coping with loss and it is just as respectful to do so after offering the appropriate condolences.

A Couple of Random Thoughts

Will the BBC's orgasmic coverage of the film Slumdog* Millionaire and their perceived line that everything Indian/Mollywood is brilliant mean that the classic It Ain't Half Hot Mum will be shown again on the BBC? The first seven series are already out on DVD and the eighth should be released this year.

* call me naive, but isn't the term "Slumdog" at least as offensive as "Golliwog", especially as it relates to children who have no real hope of escaping from caste-enforced institutional poverty?

Secondly, would the liberati have been so keen to big up St Binyam Mohammed*'s British Resident status if charges of treason had been levelled against him? Of course not, he's a good Ethiopian lad who just fell in with the wrong crowd. I take the Airey Neave view on torture: it is wrong in all circumstances. However, it is ironic that the Muslim convert who went to Afghanistan to see an islamic state in action was, as he claims, tortured in moslem countries. If he wants to experience an islamic state he should just vote Labour ( or hand over his postal vote).

* I have no sympathy for a foreigner who visits the Taliban and then attempts to travel on a forged British passport. I remember when the BBC celebrated the release from years of kidnapping by Islamic terrorists of British citizens like Terry Waite and John MacCarthy. They were innocent and their cases were entirely different to that of the Ethiopian.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Red Hand Day 2009

I intend to establish an award for those wonderful people in public life who make the rest of us think "Greedy Corrupt Bastards" or "Bloody Incompetent Traitors" and who get no other recognition except for vast salaries, undeserved perks and expenses and official honours for the sheer bloody damage they are doing to my country.
The first Red Hand Day is pencilled in for 2 April as many contenders will be otherwise engaged on April Fools' Day so start voting now in the comments section (name only please) as often as you like (same "rules" as for postal vote fraud and separate council election votes at both your family and main residences) for whomsoever you wish so long as I've heard of them.
In addition, I'm hoping to set up a fund to pay for the erection of a gallows in Parliament Square for convicted MPs and a block on Tower Hill for the noble lords and ladies of the trough in the event that true democracy is restored to the ordinary man and woman in this country. If that happened, proper courts dispensing Common Law justice would be established to rid England of her infestation of political correctness and sleaze. Similar devices and hard labour camps dubbed Augean Stables for those considered redeemable would be erected throughout the country. I propose to name this fundraising campaign for apparatus "Hand Relief" as that succinctly describes its beneficiaries.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Home (Oh The Irony) Secretary's Football Allegiances

When I lived in Manchester, it was an open secret that the majority of United's fans lived outside the city, often hundreds of miles away. According to this report from the Birmingham Post, it appears that plucky Redditch United have an occasional celebrity supporter who lives opposite the ground, yet whose main residence is some ninety-five miles away. Obviously, MPs have to support (and I do not doubt the sincerity of her support) the football team in their constituency to appear more human to their electors.

As Lewis Carroll wrote in Alice Through The Looking Glass:

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone,' it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.'

If only all MPs regarded public service as an honour and a privilege instead of an opportunity for self-enrichment from the public purse they would be entitled to the same respect I have for Philip Hollobone, MP.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Friday, 6 February 2009

Panel Of Economists Make Last Ditch Suggestion To Save Economy

But will Gordon Brown really do everything he can for hard wanking bankers?

With thanks to the makers of The Wicker Man. Buy or rent yourself a copy of the DVD.

Sorry, that was meant to be hard-working families (are children allowed to work now?). Still, crude language like that is ok for the Beeb.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

A Possible Solution To The Tremendous Amount of Snow

with thanks to Fermilab which has some excellent tips on snow clearing

Local Councils are running short of salt and grit to spread on the roads for which they are the highway authority. I doubt they have a similar shortage of leaflets printed in the obligatory 57 languages excluding English (a minority elite dialect form of Innit). The shortage is due in part to the several successive days of non-global warming (note: this is not climate change this is weather, ie it doesn't fit into the skewed trend line on the (ice) hockey-stick graph of western capitalist inspired doom) but probably mainly due to councils following the advice of their five-a-day/ salt reduction outreach co-ordinators (£71,999 -£83,674 depending on ethnic quota requirements).

My suggestion for clearing the roads and footways of snow is simple and sustainable as no salt, grit, urea or molasses is required. How many criminals* are clogging up our once beautiful prisons or failing to pay £5 a week fines? Give them each a hi-vis pink jacket, a snow shovel and chain them five or six together and provide a hot meal and cup of tea every 5 miles or so. Problem solved. But Common Sense is not permitted in England any more.

* I exclude from this category those especially wicked people who, for example, fail to sort their rubbish properly. Public service is a privilege after all.

It's Been This Sort Of A Day

with thanks to Theo Spark

What Talent Did The Secret Police Spot In Adrian Chiles?

In this article from The Sun, uberBaggies fan* and Sneak Adrian Chiles revealed that MFI were interested in him as a potential agent despite him offering only fatness, a recently broken leg and a mediocre degree. What did George Smiley think Our Kid could bring to MI5? Was it his professed allegience to the Croatian soccer team? Personally, I think Adrian Chiles was very good as host of Working Lunch before the NuLabeebs dumbed it down in a vain attempt to disguise the seriousness of the downturn/recession/depression. That One Show looks dreadful so I reckon Carol Thatcher is best out of it. If only she had accused The Duke of Edinburgh of engaging in coprophilia and kiddy fiddling she would now be feted as edgy and the latest talent.
As her mother said "It's a funny old world," especially so as she is only "racist" enough to be banned from one particular BBC programme. And isn't it funny how Our Dear Leader can be so easily excused from saying the economy was in a depression by a spokesman incanting the magic formula " 'Twas A Slip Of The Tongue."
Update: I have just had the most bizarre thought about Adrian Chiles so I am unable to take any future part as a viewer of The One Show. Fortunately, I was able to contain the accidental synaptic gaffe in my head so there was no threat to the environment. But thoughtcrime is thoughtcrime.

* Baggies: a nickname coined by West Bromwich Albion FC supporters on account of the baggy trousers worn by supporter, short worn by players etc, yawn... To be honest I reckon the nickname is recognition of that essential prelude to lovemaking in West Bromwich, the placing of a bag over the woman's head - believe me, West Brom leads the world in mingers.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Doh! Civil Engineers: don't you just love them!

The Sichuan Earthquake last year which caused 80,000 deaths and left 5 million homeless may have been caused by a dam built near to a fault line according to this report in the Daily Telegraph. Amazingly, several previous earthquakes have been reported as being caused by similar dam construction.
Thank goodness that British civil engineers have only managed bolloxes on the scale of the Heathrow express rail link Austrian Tunnel Method collapse and the Millenium Bridge in recent years.

Monday, 2 February 2009

More British Jobs Taken By Foreign Workers

The 646 MPs of the House of Commons and 738 members of the House of Lords have recently been taking industrial action (incorrectly reported as longer than usual Parliamentary recesses) in protest against their jobs being taken by MEPs on higher salaries and expenses.
One MP who didn't wish to be identified said "Laws and regulations which skilled British parliament workers used to construct from the blank page upwards to suit British conditions are now being made in kit form by the European Commission and Parliament and most of our job now consists of putting together this flatpack legislation and adding a Made in Britain badge. The rest is forwarding complaints about faulty laws from constituents to Ministers. As the European Union operates a no refund, exchange or amendment (except for large companies) policy regarding its laws, they just have to smile and keep paying their taxes."
To avoid distressing unnecessarily the British electorate or taxpayers by implementing a downsizing of employee headcount commensurate with workload (making redundancies), Westminster workers have negotiated with themselves a skilled worker retention scheme which guarantees to pay them all 100% of their salaries and expenses but with four-day working weeks and additional periods of shutdown.
A spokesman said "It is important to keep our lobby fodder occupied otherwise they might transfer their world-class skills at creating expenses for themselves and their families to currently profitable sectors of the economy and that would really f*** things up. Who would pay for them then?"

One question: Why don't we halve the number of MPs and cut the size of the House of Lords to 100 sitting members? And why not limit membership of the House of Lords to ten years (unless renewed)? The title of baron or baroness is merely another handle to climb higher up the social tree (very useful for restaurant reservations) and recognition of outstanding contributions to national life ought to be deflated to the less pompous rank of knight or damehood.