Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Bother about Lords and borrowing

Like most people things bother us. In particular things like the House of Lords and the financial problems of this our once great country.
Let’s take the House of Lords – bloated, undemocratic and basically no more than a restroom for aged luvvies. That came from a number of newspaper reports today. It is funny but I have long believed that the House of Lords is outdated. It just has continued a system of patronage. Aristocrats used to sit in strength, most of which were no more than idiots who wanted to preserve their lives of luxury but today we do exactly the same at some £300 per day for old political has-beens, dodderers who don’t even know what the House is talking about. Pretending to listen with closed eyes, happily dreaming about when they went to war. Time to close the charade and have an elected Senate.

The other thing that should bother all of us are the daily news items about this country’s borrowing. It is hidden in double-speak of ‘reducing the deficit’ but in reality the debt hanging over us is steadily climbing. It stands at about £1.5 trillion pounds! Talk about the deficit is just political talk in the hope we think our debt is just a few billion. No sir, it is gynormous! In fact if you divide £1.5 trillion by 66million (the number of citizens of the UK) you will find that each and everyone of us owes the moneylenders some £22,730.00! Yes, that I call responsible government. Most of this we were saddled with under the previous Labour government. To service such a debt will take some or close to, £50billion of our taxes annually! Money wasted. In the past North Sea oil revenues paid off some of the debt but most of that the then Labour government simply wasted on bloating the ‘welfare state’. It is sad though that too many organisations and quangos just keep on in the same old way, holding out their hand for more and more money. Just carry on my friends until we owe enough to have to pay interest equal to our GDP in which case we can all go home and cry and welcome back the 1930’s!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Beginner's Guide

When I was still a youngster my parents gave me a Bible, illustrated (in Dutch of course). A largish volume, hard cased in brown leather and gold embossed. Apparently it belonged to my great-grandmother. That would have been published at around 1890 or close to it. Not that I cared at that age (I was about 9/10 years of age). But I do remember still today vividly the story of the Flood, pictures of a large wooden ship with flocks of crows flying above it. The sky engraving was brilliant, wild and stormy! Then the story of David swaying his sling and Goliath falling down. Another engraving was of Samson pushing against two great columns and collapsing the Philistine temple. Brilliant, you don’t see engravings like that again unless you will be lucky on one of the antique book markets.
But more importantly, you can think of a book like that as a beginners guide! The mind will dwell on the beauty of the engravings but also the meaning – why was this done in that way, what does it all mean? Is it possible to turn water into wine? How do you feed 5,000 people with a few loaves and 5 fish? Well, if miracles are possible then these are just a few. However, I tend to think about alternative possible explanations. Perhaps there weren’t 5,000 people at all. The problem with the Bible is there have been many writers, many additions and above all the writings were done at a much later time. There is a tendency with human beings to want to describe occasions of importance to fit the writers’ viewpoint and faith but not necessarily entirely accurate in detail.
I fell away for a long time as many youths do. But still even then the seed germinated. I tend to be pragmatic, that is to say practical and focused on reaching a goal, being matter-of-fact and not let emotions distract me (much). So, I look at issues with a second look, not just dismissing what I read, hear or see but questioning it. This does make me less of a team person. As a matter of fact I am not a team player at all. Even so, God calls everyone, all of the time. But as Jesus said, those that have ears, let them hear! I heard. It still does not mean I believe every thing I hear, see or experience. I have great misgivings about parts of the Bible. It doesn’t matter because God is still God and even if they found the bones of Jesus (not likely I think) it would not dent my faith one little bit. The Universe is gynormous, God is even bigger. We are part of the greatest happening in this universe, the act of creation! We might be alone or we might be part of a great throng of life and action! Our problem is as always, we are short-sighted. It does not help that we have not found ways of overcoming the tremendous distances. Even our small solar system (by comparison) takes a multiplicity of years to get to the outer reaches. To reach the stars would take multi lifetimes! But for now we think we are alone and this makes it all the more important to sort our problems. The Christian faith is about love, compassion and justice but this world does not seem to accept this readily. Greed and mistrust is rife, corruption a daily norm. Yet, there is hope, there are signs that more and more see a way forward. The political upheavals of the past year show without any doubt that people have had enough of the short-term thinking, the get-rich-quick attitudes. It is why I think the Christian Church should play a much wider role than it is today. Especially when the present political malaise has reduced the influence and effectiveness of Her Majesty’s Opposition! This is not to advocate the Church to become a political party but it should not be silenced on the important issues of the day.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Anti this-and-that

A very good friend asked me , I know you are a bit anti-this and that, anti-Labour but why? Good question, I had to think a bit. The problem is that as a socialist party standing up (their words, not mine) for the people has been an abject failure. I am not now saying Conservatives are better but at least they promote business ideals that in the end provide work. Rather than put their faith in issuing benefits. When I was a kid in Amsterdam my father was a stalwart of the socialist party. Collecting membership fees and on top a committee member of the union where he was employed. But when he had an accident and needed operations both union and party had disappeared in the foggy night. So, who were they standing up? I leave it for you to decide. Perhaps my antagonistic views of socialism were bred in those days. Sure, there are good Labour people around with good and sound views, local MP and AM are upstanding citizens but in my view they represent a faulty view of humanity and moreso bad ideas of how to right the wrongs. I am no admirer of the good Jeremy Corbyn but some of his ideals are based on a world view that encompasses equality, peace and justice. These are ideals that I as a practising Christian follow or rather try to follow, as well. However, the difference between his ideals and mine are about how to achieve them. In the meantime we shall have to see how the local elections will play out. The political spectrum is changing but will it be far enough this time? We'll see.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Scams galore, Nigeria still a hotbed!

The following very interesting email was received by a friend of mine. Yes, interesting but idiotic! It is rather tragic that some people around still fall foul of this type of scam. I just hope the reverend doctor will not be eaten by a crocodile or mauled by one of his cousins, the chimpanzees.


Dr William Mike
Firstly, I wish to introduce myself as a sympathizer of your situation. I
am the Comptroller of Fund Movement Terminal and Director of national
warehouse where abandoned fund/valuables consignments are dumped.
This is to inform you that fresh arrangement was made by me to conclude the shipment of your consignment of funds to your country. I choose to do it and make sure it has left the shores of Nigeria already before contacting you. I found out that this consignment has been lying here because of lack of contact and none payment of delivery cost This is why I decided to use my connections as the Delivery/Shipment officer in charge of the National Security warehouse. (This is where all the abandoned consignments in Nigeria are kept at the orders of the Government of Nigeria for seizure or destruction.
Therefore, this letter is highly confidential and top secret. For this reason,you must not inform anybody about this letter or my contact with
you. You must keep my relationship with you to be topped secret and highly confidential because as I have arranged your consignment to the Diplomatic
Security Company in Nigeria where the delivery will come from to your house, so no one must know so that the fund will not raise an eye brow.
1. You must keep my relationship with you highly secret/confidential.
2. You must not expose all the above information to anybody.
3. You must be willing to act fast on any information, directives and
advice from me and the Diplomatic Security Company in Nigeria.
Note: I know the content of the Box because I could see the amount you are being owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria as an inheritance. This is why I decided to get involved. You must also know that this arrangement do not concern all the people that you have had contact with in Nigeria before today as this consignment/Payment has been surrendered to the Government, Hence my involvement.
As soon as I receive your response, I will give you more details on the way of such arrangements and I will also give you the full contact information of the Diplomatic Security Company in Nigeria as soon as you have contacted me.
Therefore, further details will be furnished to you as soon as I receive your reply.
Yours Sincerely
Dr William Mike
Director Of National Warehouse

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Computering, nice work only if your'e drunk

I have been messing about with mysql database design for a while. Meaning, installing and deleting many times! Presently it is working fine but to have got that far many changes had to be made to a number of system files. I use Linux only, Windows is a long forgotten operating system. I just wonder why not many more people change over. Changes therefore are a lot easier and safer too! MYSQL though is a ‘eck of a lot more difficult than Access as it is worked with a program called phpmyadmin. That in itself is pretty non-userfriendly. But I now have a basic login system ready for further development into a blog! Cheers.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Bad planning?

In these enlightened times of building houses everywhere in an already congested country and that includes Wales, one may well ask who educated the town-planning or indeed any planning, officials? Take my own backyard of the small town of Tonyrefail. Situated in a small river valley once the hive of coal-mining. The mines are all gone now, not even a waste heap is visible. So far, so good but there are questions about proper government that need asking. If mines that used to employ thousands are closing and closing pretty quickly what about the plans for industrial renewal? This is one question that nags me – there were no plans at all. As a result thousands were unemployed, generating sickness and lawlessness. The South Wales valleys are still suffering from that disastrous policy today. Despite wonderful promises about ‘Standing Up..for’ the Labour government of Wales has singularly missed the boat. They might point out that in valley towns such as Tonyrefail there has been and is, development. It is true that hundreds of houses are built and more in the pipeline but yet again, no provision for services to accompany such development. Services like nearby shops, doctor’s surgeries, dentists to name the most important, transport like good bus routes. Again they might point out that not enough students are coming forward to become nurses, dentists and doctors. That is probably true but this situation has been developing for quite a number of years. Demographics has shown without any doubt the aging population with the need for services like hospitals and sheltered accommodation. Nothing much was done except to promise more money which resulted in hefty salary increases for top managers and an increase in administration staff. Due to bad planning a virtually brand new local hospital (Royal Glamorgan) has been denuded of consultants resulting in patients having to travel 20 or so miles to the next hospitals, Cardiff or Merthyr Tydfil. It is about time that politicians have a hard look at all of this, stop the flowery language, stop the sound bites and wield the scythe with abandon. Weeding out the bad and for once, install the good! After all, is this not what I pay my taxes for?

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Brexit? Not Brexit! Yes, no, maybe.

It is a strange thing to see and hear Ms Sturgeon bleating on about Brexit. How she will take Scotland out of the UK. I suppose politics is a bit like that, ask for the impossible and get the right to join the feeding through. Except, she is making a fool of herself, trying to look strong and ‘with-it’. It turns out then it is no more than grandstanding. She says ‘I’m not bluffing’, a sure sign she is! Let’s tell her to go back to her croft on the Outer Hebrides and just shut it.
The whole Brexit thing is most likely hanging out of everyone’s throat by now. In Wales we have MPs who blatantly ignore the electorate, Owen Smith for one. There will be council elections in May. It will be rather interesting to see what will happen. Labour could well get a drumming!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Knighthood, anyone?

The world is probably coming to an end. David Beckham, nice guy though he is, thinks he deserves a knighthood. Yes, so do I! And 66 other million Brits just for living in this madhouse. Then we have a self-important Speaker of the Commons who thinks he can lay down the law to a president of the United States. He might be the only Brit NOT getting a knighthood!