Friday, May 21, 2010

‘Intimidation’

To quote from the latest BBC report on the BA strike,

“Derek Simpson, joint leader of Unite, has accused BA's management of being in an "intimidating" way.

"There is an agreement on the table," he said.

"It is not particularly brilliant but it could be workable - although it needs selling and crew need persuading to accept it.

"We would try to do that, but it is very difficult when an atmosphere of intimidation and fear persists."”

Let’s see whether Mr Simpson puts his money where his mouth is this time, rather than doing the opposite and urging crews to reject the deal.  Given that one of my biggest complaints is Unite’s dishonesty, I’m not holding my breath.

“A tool for every job”

The title of this post comes from the slogan I saw recently on an HSS Tool Hire van.  But it suits Unite the Union quite well also.

Unsurprisingly, people are choosing not to fly BA at the moment, on the basis of the threat of industrial action.  Clearly Unite the Union are doing the best they can to stem BA’s losses and keep their jobs.

It’s worth watching Willie Walsh, and, before you accuse me of being a biased reporter, Tony Woodley

Linking to Mr Woodley’s side of the story, however, does not stop me from having the opinion that he is the biggest spanner in the toolbox.  How can he claim that he is “disappointed that the strikes will go ahead” and complain that “BA withdrew the deal” when it was he who urged crew to reject it?

You can bleat all you like about the importance of workers’ rights, and the right to strike, but Unite’s lies and blatant power-tripping does no-one any favours.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pro Abortion Advertising…

…is about to start happening in the UK, apparently.

I’ll keep it short and sweet because I still have revision to do, but what is wrong with people such that abortion has become little more than a “sexual health decision” and values “empowering” self-centred women above human life?

Recently I’ve seen suggestions that fundamental human rights include “going on strike” and Internet Access.  What about the right to life in the first place?

One of the things I liked about David Cameron’s first speech, was the mention of ‘responsibility’.  It’s about time that people got to grips with that concept.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

JP in ‘pro Guardian’ shock

I hope you’re sitting down for this.  Perhaps you’d even like to prepare yourself by taking a few deep breaths. 

I’d like to recommend that you read this article from The Guardian.  There.  I’ve said it.

Although my feelings about said newspaper are generally well documented, I have to say that George Monbiot has written a particularly good article about the environmental impact of rail travel.  As you may know, this will be my area of research once I’ve got some exams out of the way, and it looks like there could be a few surprises and some tough decisions to be made.

Flight of The Conchords

Last night I avoided the Inner City Pressure and went to Wembley Arena. It was awesome.

I didn’t meet a girl called Jenny, but I did pick up some tips for wooing a lady. All I need now is a dodgy haircut, some tights, and a massive horse.

You may breathe a sigh of relief that the need to work will cut my ramblings short at this point.  But if you still crave entertainment, point your browser to YouTube and search for Flight of The Conchords. You won’t be disappointed.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Social Experimentation

Since signing my first mobile phone contract, “back in the day”, I have been able to get my email on my telephone.  How I look back on those days of Dial-Up WAP fondly.

However, as noted by Baz Luhrmann, prices will rise, politicians will philander, and I too, will get old.

My phone contract is more expensive than it used to be, and although I swear by Google Maps, I also swear at the procrastination caused by obsessively and needlessly checking my email every 2 seconds.  At a time when exams are looming, this is Not Good (and neither, probably, is blogging, but I’ll cross that bridge in a minute).  When I couldn’t get personal email at work, and I spent a lot of time on the train, mobile internet proved to be very useful – but those days are gone, my friend.

So, this morning I rang Vodafone.  At midnight tonight, my ‘Data Bundle’ will expire.  Will it be for the greater good?  Or will I just turn in to a pumpkin?

Union Politics

It would seem that the members of the Unite Union are still unhappy with BA.  I wonder if they were bullied in to voting that way?

Anyway, in case you are still naive enough to think that this is genuinely about some unhappy workers, allow me to point out a couple of things.

1) Unite the Union have continued to bankroll the Labour Party, and their HQ near Heathrow was plastered in ‘Vote Labour’ signs prior to the election.

2) There were few announcements prior to the election, and no decisive action has yet been taken.  Is this a reflection of the fact that the election result itself could be viewed as “indecisive”?

Ironically, it would seem that if you want to avoid a strike in the short term, you’d be best campaigning for Labour to remain in power.  Not that it would be good for the long term future of the airline, let alone the country.

In my mind, it is clear that the bosses at Unite are on nothing less than a politically motivated power trip.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Blue Lagoon

By looking through some of the stats for this blog, I have discovered that if you do a Google Search for “Cyprus Blue Lagoon” then the 5th result (out of 88,500) takes you to an old and dusty part of the blogosphere, where I informed readers that I saw some people having sex in said waters.

I’m not sure whether I should be proud of that or not.  Answers on a postcard, please.

Chasing cars

In an idle moment earlier, it occurred to me that if someone asked me what I look for in a girl, then the car she drives would be a relatively important factor.  They say that you can tell a lot about someone by looking at their wheels, and in my experience it tends to hold true.

So now you know.

Alfa Romeos, Policy & Pornography

Perhaps surprisingly, I am definitely not averse to a Liberal Conservative coalition – I think that there could be a lot of positives.  Of course, how it is done is crucial, and I am reminded of the Alfa Romeo Arna, a car which could have exhibited the strengths of Italian styling and Japanese build, but ended up being the opposite.

I’ve already noted that I do not agree with all of the Conservative policies, but equally I am still very wary of some of what the Lib Dems stand for.  This was brought to my attention earlier today, and all I’ll say is that I’m even more glad that the cross on my ballot paper did not go in their direction.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Election Time

image

So, polling day is finally upon us.  This will come as a relief to many, if only because people like me will have to find something else to blog about in a few days’ time.

I believe that it is my duty to vote, and will be doing so later.  I don’t think some people appreciate the freedom we have in this country, and would encourage you all to flex your democratic muscles.  After all, as it’s been put many times “if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain either.”

The picture comes from the noticeboard outside my church.  I quite like it, and think that the message is good.

Of course, it’s been pointed out that this may be a form of subliminal advertising – either for the Conservatives (from Dave Cameron’s “compassionate conservatism” days) or for Labour (show mercy by not giving them a kicking).

I shall now put on my best “Big Brother” Geordie accent:

Who wins? You decide.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Sending smoke signals

I don’t know how to send smoke signals, especially not from where I am sat at the moment, but if I could you would see blue wisps floating up in to the atmosphere.

To many of you, this may be news akin to announcing that the Pope is a Catholic, but deciding who to vote for this time around has not been easy.  Still, if I don’t have another bout of deliberation in the morning, and manage to read the ballot paper correctly, it is likely that Caroline Nokes can count on my vote.

I know that announcing one’s political allegiance can be something of a taboo, but we shall pretend that normal rules do not apply in the Blogosphere.  As promised in my earlier post, I’d like to offer some positive reasons for the choice I’ve made.  Looking good on TV is, surprisingly I know, not one of them.

So, three reasons why I’m inclined to vote Conservative:

1) Caroline Nokes has pledged support for the Westminster 2010 declaration (and is the only main candidate in my constituency to do so).  As a Christian, this is of real importance to me.  If you haven’t already taken a gander at the website, I suggest you do.  There’s even the opportunity to see which candidates will uphold it.

2) In terms of policies, I would align myself more with the Conservative party than anyone else.  This is a point proven by my results on the Telegraph's "How Should I Vote" page.  Admittedly, I do not agree with everything which they have to say – including their opposition to the Heathrow 3rd Runway and their crazy ‘set up your own school’ gimmick to name but two examples.  However, there is lots which I do like.  Cutting benefits for those who refuse jobs? Bring it on. Not taxing pensions or raising National Insurance (as other parties would)? Good move.

3) I don’t want a hung parliament, or another term with Gordon Brown as PM.  I’ve surprised myself in coming to this conclusion given that I’d like to see something different, and I’d be interested to see Labour putting their money where their mouth is rather than allowing the Conservatives to take the flak for their mess.

However, as I’ve outlined a lot recently, Nick Clegg’s “real change” spiel is more hot air than Iceland can produce in a month.  The evidence on the ground is not indicative of walking the walk, and if a hung parliament produces anything different it is unlikely to be positive.  Indeed, the growing risks of a hung parliament include some serious ramifications for the UK’s economic position, and no clear leadership at a time when we need it most.  Some even predict “even less transparency as parties seek to make decisions behind closed doors.”

So, the positive reasoning for my third point is that even if I disagree to some extent with the chosen direction, I feel that this country needs clear guidance and the ability for government to take hard and potentially unpopular decisions.  Some may resent two party politics, but now is not the time for electoral reform.  Hence my reason for backing the Conservative party this time around.

 

Bring on tomorrow…

If you can’t beat them, join them

I have positive reasons for placing my ballot cross where I intend to place it – and if you’re intrigued then a return visit later to this corner of the Blogosphere may well pay off.

In the meantime, I also have some very negative reasons for not placing my ballot cross next to the Lib Dem candidate.  I know that this may come across as hypocritical (especially since I’ve generally been a critic of negative campaigning).  However I am fed up with the Lib Dem promotions – which include adverts on Facebook encouraging people to “vote tactically to keep the Conservatives out” – that I feel the need to let off steam here and highlight the other side to the story.

I have already written here about the fact that the Lib Dem campaign in my constituency shows no evidence of the “real change” Nick Clegg has been spinning out to the TV cameras.  I had suspected that this constituency was no different to some of the others (after all, the Lib Dems were always fairly negative where I grew up) and my suspicions were confirmed in an email I received yesterday from someone in a Somerset constituency.

He wishes to point out, as I have done, that the Lib Dems are not all as they seem, and I quote:

“In our constituency, there are a number of Lib Dem activists stealing or vandalising Conservative placards which are in people’s gardens.  This is illegal, but is happening in Tory-Lib Dem marginal seats across the country, and in a number of areas, activists have been arrested.”

“In our constituency, the Conservatives agreed with the Liberal Democrats a number of dates for hustings (events where all the candidates answer questions from the public) in advance of the election campaign…However, the Liberal Democrats decided during the election campaign itself that they would give 2 – 3 days notice before holding another hustings event (specifically to discuss climate change), which the Conservatives could not attend because they had prior arrangements already lined up.  Now the Liberal Democrats are telling voters in our area that the Conservatives do not care about the environment.  This is a circulation of a dishonest fabrication.”

“Please do not believe Nick Clegg when he says he is just like you and me.  He says he never abused his parliamentary expenses, but he made a £300,000 profit on the taxpayer-funded house he owned as a Member of the European Parliament.  He accepted £3.5m from non-domiciled individuals for the Lib Dem treasury, despite criticising the Conservative donor Lord Ashcroft.  (I am obviously not condoning this behaviour, I am just trying to point out that Nick Clegg is not as squeaky clean as he would like us to think he was.)  He also comes from a wealthier background than David Cameron.  He is a career politician.”

Simon Cowell put it quite nicely when he announced his support for The Conservatives:

''We are not talent show judges picking pretty-sounding contestants now. The future government of our country is so much more important than that.''

Wise words indeed.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Tolerance?

Fairness and tolerance go together, so I thought I’d follow up my last point with a comment about tolerance.

Dictionary.com defines tolerance as follows:

a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.

Crucially, you will note the phrase “whose opinions…differ from one’s own.

Sadly, my experience of ‘tolerant’ people is all too often that of someone who allows other opinions “so long as they are the same as one’s own.”

Make sure you know what sort of tolerance you are really voting for on Thursday.

All’s fair in love and war…

Fairness.  It’s a lovely word, isn’t it?  Those of you who have been following the election campaigns have probably heard it a few times recently.  Maybe you’re even getting quite excited about it.

But I wonder what sort of “fairness” is really on offer.  Allow me to pose a few provocative questions:

- Is it fair to complain about “obscene” bank bonuses whilst turning a blind eye to the equally obscene salaries paid to footballers and playboy racing drivers?

- Is it fair to prevent someone speaking openly about their Christian beliefs?

- Is it fair to tax the retirement savings of those who’ve been working hard and striving to save?

- Is it fair that the Scots and the French pay no tuition fees in Scotland, but the English do?

I could go on (and at some point, I probably will).  But for now, I hope I’ve provided a bit of food for thought / stimulus for discussion – especially if you’ve been glued to the TV and generally going all gooey when “fairness” is mentioned.

They say a picture paints a thousand words…

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…and this photograph certainly says a lot about the last couple of years of my life.