Saturday, 31 December 2022

What is the point of humans?

We all know that in this country fraud is king. Not King Charles III, he is doing quite well as it happens, but I am referring to the billions lost from both government coffers and private citizens’ bank accounts. It seems all too easy, in the case of benefit fraud a report has shown a million an hour(!) is lost to benefit fraud and some errors. Simply completing an on-line form will set up a chain of events that might culminate in some payments. False claims are easy. Use the name of an existing person or someone who has just died or something like that and pending the checking procedures which are usually either lax or late or are never done, money will arrive in the bank account. Obviously the bank account is genuine but not really linked to anyone in particular. I am no expert in fraud I have to add but the facts are it is a growing problem. It does say something about the mindset of the British people. Too many now are what I would call, ‘work-shy’. Where I live I believe more than 50% are either ill or too lazy to work. Frankly the work that is available tends to be paid at the national rate. Something like £9.00 an hour. On top of that most employment is part-time, i.e 16 or so hours a week. It means that most people are also dependent on government handouts. Can you understand why so many want to brave the Channel in rickety dinghies to come and ‘enjoy’ the goodies this country has to offer? You may ask ‘What goodies are we talking about’? Yeah, indeed. As it usually means a slow descent into the criminal underworld. We are good in that as well. Having been born in the Netherlands I have always been aware of the Amsterdam drugs world. The ‘Walletjes’, the ‘Warmoesstraat’, but also the ‘artists’ quarter the ‘Leidsche Straat’ and ‘Govert Flinck Straat’ were sort of ‘linked’ to drugs. Going into one of the many cafe’s there, you would very quickly meet people who could supply anything you required. But it is not just there, it is all across the world. A bit sad to know that humans are working hard at their own demise! A good question to ask is ‘ Is the Universe built this way’?

Possibly, there is a ‘coming’ but also a ‘going’, everything has a ‘beginning’, everything also has an ‘end’. If you take humans as an entity and compare this to the genus Dinosaur, you will notice how fast humans have run through their development as a lifeform. In literally a few thousand years we have gone from grunting hairy apelike forms to a bald speaking biped with enough gizmos to allow them to lay back and enjoy the Spanish sunshine. I have to say though that we should ask ourselves this question – ‘What is the use of humans on this planet’? Indeed, what IS the point of humans’?

Monday, 26 December 2022

Some thoughts on 2022

Well, so Christmas is over for another year. It has been a time of some upheaval I’d have to say. Politically as well as socially. Despite what is reported in the papers I have not seen much deprivation, I know it is around but I think it is hidden. Traffic is worse than it has ever been, possibly also because of the bus, train, plane strikes and delays. For myself I have had some ten days of a severe chest infection. Still don’t know why and how I caught it, probably someone who I passed in the street and looked me in the eye thinking, he needs cheering up! Fortunately, the NHS does still work well unless you need to go to A&E or need an ambulance. The antibiotics I have took to me like a thermonuclear device. Almost the same day, the temperature dived down to its usual level. The itchy throat took longer but the wheeze went after a day or two. So, all is well with the world but don’t ask those who experience one of those very bad winter storms in Canada and the US. Blizzards are not the fun some people think they are. Blizzards are absolute killers. In the meantime we will have to start shifting some of the items that has been bought as presents. It has always amazed me how we seem to make them useful! In years gone by I just gave a lot away to family members. The kids find interesting ways to make them useful, if only for a few weeks! Then I would say 50% of all that has been purchased prior to Christmas will have disappeared. Don’t ask whereto, but I still find stuff in hidden cupboards we had in the 1980’s!

Well, thinking about this year of 2022, it has been a bit of a rollercoaster. Old Rishi, our newest and latest prime minister is making a bit of a name for himself as a ‘toughie’, it remains to be seen how well he will perform with the present strike upheavals. You will realize as I have over a number of years, politicians in the main are just theatre performers. Look at something on TV when a politician speaks, the words are invariably always the same, ‘Working hard’, ‘We know what we have to do’, ‘We have a plan’ etc etc etc. There must be some school somewhere, the School of Platitudes I think it would be called, that teaches this stuff. Oh and there is a dress code as well. I still stand by my original idea that British politics is stymied by class, a faith in a British Empire amongst others. The frank truth is that the UK is weak, debt ridden and the only empire it has, stands on the Blackpool beach front. It is weak not because of its great peoples, English, Scots and Welsh hardworking citizens but of weak rules and even weaker enforcement. But things could always be worse. If Rishi can finally get the acts together and he has just about two years to do so, get the Armed forces up to scratch, get the debt under control. But most of all get the nation’s health system fixed. I have said in the past, a free NHS is a dream and like all dreams could evaporate like smoke in the wind. It just does not work. Of course we should have a medical system that works for all but if you give something for free, it will be taken advantage of. But no doubt, we shall talk about that during 2023! Have a great time and keep taking your medicines!

Sunday, 11 December 2022

Too much talk, and not a lot of action

It is going to be a rough winter by the looks of it. Not just because of the war in Eastern Europe but there seems to be a jet-stream that drives the rainier weather southwards letting in the cold eastern winds. Even colder when I look at the shenanigans called the World Cup. The one thing England is good at is talking up a good game. Plenty of pundits around here who are just shouldering themselves onto the BBC Chat programs and if you listened to them we already have won the trophy. And then reality sets in, the truth is England is not really as good as they think. The game with France a case in point. I thought for a long time we were just trundling along. My 90 year old neighbour walks faster than that! Anyway, as I have always thought, in the end the real matter is fought out in the matches themselves, not on the TV channels. So, the dream will have to wait for another 4 years! As a matter of fact if we look at all the big teams who have left for home, we can see the downward spiral of the western nations, generally speaking. Big money does not make hungry players.

I have mentioned this before – there is far too much talking and little action in this country. What I also find difficult to comprehend is the fact that politicians, local politicians as well, do not tell the whole truth when asked a particular question. Planning processes in particular are a big problem to understand. Sometimes the decisions that are made defy the local opposition. It makes you think that the process is circumventing for what it was set-up for. For me, I believed it was set-up to safeguard the interests and wishes of the local population. I now know I was completely and utterly wrong. The process is geared to the financial interests of both, developers and the governmental bodies. Politicians would defend themselves by saying “You have voted us in to look after YOUR interests”. The facts are that it is hogwash. As soon as people are elected their personal opinions no longer count, they follow the party line. The party line is mostly NOT looking after the interests of the electorate. They would say it is in the national interests. Well, that’s all well and good but what if it goes awry? As it does very often? Besides, what ARE the national interests? Like the NHS? Defence? Social inclusion? Already three items that seem to be problematic, in other words not looked after very well. To me it appeared that the Conservative government just never really put the hard facts on the table. Pussyfooting around in the hope no-one would notice the national debt rising to astronomical levels. Eventually that has to be brought down and there are only one or two ways to do that, more productivity and tax increases. Don’t ask how, I have always said “ Who do you think is going to pay”? Well guessed, US. You and me. Perhaps curtailing our profligate lifestyles as well. Have a look what ‘profligate’ means! In the meantime, have a great Christmas and if you managed to buy a fresh turkey, spare me a leg!

Friday, 9 December 2022

Stash the Champers and do some work!

For all those people who come to the UK, I hope it will work out well for them. Especially at this time. Cold and sometimes stormy. But if they came with the idea of free money, free housing, free this and that, I am afraid there will be a harsh awakening. Despite what they say on the Continent this country is not a free-for-all. In reality this is a country still with quite a bit of poverty, class ridden mentality and big diverse areas. Even worse, it is governed by incompetents. Too many believe to be an MP is an easy job, Just sit on plush green leather seats and shout ‘Hear, hear’ from time to time. And no worries at home because all you have to say to worried voters is ‘We are working hard, and doing everything to solve your problems’. Then go home and finish the bottle of champers. Can anyone tell me it is not so?

Ever since coming over to Blighty have I needed to look after myself and my family. I never had help nor needed it. Yes, I have been lucky, learned the languages of the land, English, Welsh and classify myself as a competent writer. There is no point in feeling sorry for yourself. It only took 6 months to find my first job and I haven’t stopped yet. So, all I can say is don’t give up, keep looking and don’t think about where you came from. It is no longer really relevant because you made your choice and now must abide by it. The biggest problem I think we have in the UK, we welcome new arrivals as much as possible but too many do not integrate. It is quite remarkable to see what I call, Ghetto building. Although I believe in freedom of expression, I also understand it comes with certain rules. In this country we have built up a wonderful (for the most) set of laws to govern our behaviour and social living. It is not perfect, but it has worked for most of the time, even at times of stress. To abide by these will mean an easier way of living for everyone, and rich or poor to get on. If that would fail we will be looking at open street warfare, as indeed it has shown in other countries. 

I admire the Chinese people who have mostly well integrated and run businesses across the nation. I also realise that these thoughts of mine look one-sided, from a single point of view. Nevertheless I think it is mostly true. It certainly needs improving, the whole system of immigration, dealing with migrants and their needs. It is no good to have a free-for-all, that has never worked and just creates an almighty mess. It is one of the failures of politicians to get a grip. Perhaps, as I said before, too many bottles of champagne. I know the arguments, mostly about what is known as ‘Human Rights’. Excuse me? What ARE human rights? Is there a right to live, to life? Is there a right to food? To shelter? I am afraid to say that there are NO such things. They do not exist in the natural world. It is only the human world that has ‘established’ such options and I hasten to add, badly at that. Ask a African citizen who lives on a dry patch, no water for miles unless a deep well has been dug or a pond soiled with animal waste, and living in a mud hut what human rights are. Ask a human living in Ukraine what human rights are. The short story is simple, we in this country need to shut up and start work on improving the situation in this country. So, stash the champers and do some work for a change. Good luck!

Ed: Blighty is a slang word for Britain.

Sunday, 4 December 2022

We need to re-learn the use of the word NO..

It is actually a great privilege to be able to understand another culture and language. I am not talking about Wales on this occasion but what us Welsh speakers call Yr Iseldiroedd. Translated to The Lowlands. In other words The Netherlands or as I tend to say Holland. Basically Holland is only the two coastal provinces, Noord and Zuid (North and South Holland). I am from the north. But to come to the point – Reading a report about planning problems and concerning development in the Netherlands which apparently has thrown up a big problem. They have or are close to having, run out of space! Meaning where can they build the new houses, the infrastructure accompanying, the factories to provide work? Even worse, where can they now have land to grow their produce? The demand for housing is taking precious agricultural and forested bits (as much as is left still) resulting in the government scratching their heads about how now to deal with the ever increasing migration all western countries experience. They also want to re-wild vast tracts to save the indigenous flora and fauna as well as accommodate the millions of overwintering visitors. This has to be the result of planning failures and yet again lax political governance. Being afraid to say NO.

This is precisely what we see in this country, the United Kingdom. But I think particularly so in the English bit, England. Wales has only 3.5 million citizens and is pretty strong in governing its national parks but even here there are pressures. England has 55millions to deal with and London as well as the Midlands (Birmingham et al) are ever increasing in size. Also thanks to unbridled migration. It must be said that the European open borders makes the problem worse than we are experiencing. What happens with the boat migration is that we tend to get single young males, not many families. This tends to fuel the criminality here when these people find it difficult to assimilate. There are a plethora of problems to overcome. Scotland has 5 millions and vast open spaces of a mountainous type. The problem is the same all over, how to equally share the incomers and also the needed money to develop the infrastructure. But as now very noticeable in the Netherlands there is an end somewhere. We need a coherent, and well-working development policy or policies and very much include in those the need for green spaces. It has been known that even the so-called Green Belts have been under pressure. It is really time to put our thinking caps on – WHAT do WE want? How do we want to live? Even how and where we build houses? The truth is we just cannot keep building houses – where I live the Council has made a big mistake, literally plonking houses (estates) in one place forgetting the necessary infrastructure. The result? Vastly increased traffic clogging up the small roads and valley towns where most people park in the road on both sides, making it worse at certain times of the day. The air quality has taken a big dive! The one doctor’s Surgery is now entirely dependent on Locums as the main owners have taken ill due to stress. The towns inhabitants cannot make dentist appointments as the books have closed. All this is a failure of proper planning and unwilling to use the word – NO.

Friday, 2 December 2022

Netflix, the way to live...ask the Royals

Woohoo, the Netflix series about our Royal family begins! Apparently according to some of the people I know, this is the end of the royal family. Is it? That’s news to me. Mind you, with the inclusion of the wonderful Meghan, it could well be. May I ask a question – Why do we bother to watch such cr*p in the first place? For a start the royal family is not so different from my own. Plenty of little arguments, such as I am the boss and you are a cleaner of tonight’s dishes. Disagreements about how everyone sees the world around. One of them is so pro-America that we all have urged him to move quickly and disappear. Yes, that is family life. And I am absolutely sure that the royal fam is no different. They have our full support, as it is leave them alone. I don’t believe we want to hear daily reports about what they had for breakfast or whether the inscrutable Meg let one off in the bath. I like that, there is nothing better. Makes you believe you have a spa whirlpool after all. Cheap! 

OK, so they are filthy rich, but are they really? So what, but fair enough they are not the only ones, this world is still governed by money and possessions. It is the human condition! That’s what all of us are like! Why do you think this world is on the brink? It is because of us, no other animal has done that, ever! In the past a species became so numerous it outgrew its space and available food. So it disappeared, that’s called extinction. But with us it is slightly different, we are not extinct yet, we’re still working on it but in the meantime we are already 8 billion strong and nearing the cut-off point. I might have that wrong and we have already reached it and are now in steep decline. Food supplies diminishing, space diminishing. There you go, a forecast in a nutshell. 

So, there are more pressing problems than reading or viewing the lives of one family. In any case Netflix’s ideas of what the royal family is and does are very much tinted by the way Americans think. To be sure, my views are tinted by watching Dr Pimple Popper. So, Americans are pretty much overweight (oops, sorry, can’t say that anymore so let’s now call that ‘inconveniently burdened by a love for calories’). I came up with that after having enjoyed my third bar of ‘Mars choccie’. So, there it is, life is basically pretty simple. We either work on it and do something or we do not and slowly sink in the muck. All life obeys basic rules. You forage and eat or you starve and die. You find a place of safety or you die. You keep on moving or you die. Can you see where this is going? If not, please buy a Biology book. 

Ed: Dr Pimple Popper is an American docu-series about a dermatologist who treats people with lipomas and other skin conditions like cysts. It is quite an eye-opener because until I watched the first one, because I had never heard of 'Lipoma'. The series is mostly shown on Freeview or Freesat in the UK. But I must say, I am a fan of Dr Sandra Lee!

Thursday, 1 December 2022

Another storm in a teacup? Seems it is...

Another wonderful example about Woke Britain in the news today. Lady Susan Hussey has had to resign from her position as a Lady-in-Waiting. Well, she’s not waiting any longer but is gone. Talking about Virtue-signalling – what is this all about? Well, apparently she asked a ‘black British charity boss’ (terminology by BBC News) where she came from? Ms Fulani, actually a British born citizen felt ‘Interrogated’. Probably because Lady Hussey who is 83 is hard of hearing and did not understand the replies she received. Right-O, what next? Ah, now the virtue-signalling gets into overdrive, even Prince William’s spokesperson (man, woman, IT, or non-binary spokesperson) had to state ‘Unacceptable and deeply regrettable’. Gosh, we are throwing some nice grammar around aren’t we? Ms Fulani obviously had to go onto Radio 4’s Today programme to explain about her being ‘abused’. OK, first of all may I ask why in all honesty did we listen to such rubbish again

As most of my readers, friends, neighbours know, I am from another country. Yes, on this planet. I have been asked many, many times, where do you come from? My stereotype answer was always, ‘I have come to teach you how to manage water’. Invariably, they said, ‘Oh, you’re from North Wales then’? Bright people here, you know. Apparently I have developed a North Walian twang. I used to explain ‘I’m from Holland’ but now I say ‘Bangor’! Then we all laugh because a lot of people will say, ‘Duw, Duw, North Wales, I go on holiday there’. And I reply ‘Oh, you’re the one owing money to that pub in 'Llanfair­pwllgwyngyll­gogery­chwyrn­drobwll­llan­tysilio­gogo­goch’? You hopefully see that I have no problem and neither do all my friends with the fact I was not born in this country. By the way, the town is commonly referred to as 'Llanfair PG'. It is the longest name on any rail station in Wales.

So OK, I’m not black but one of my friends is and I know quite a few more. One is from Nigeria and I started of by asking him if he was one of those princes who had received a million quid and needed to bank it with somebody like me? After that and a bit of backslapping we became friends. The problem is if you start virtue-signalling you will have no friends but enemies. 83 year old ladies were born in a time when the tint of skin around here only coloured during the summer. The social strata of Ladies-in-waiting is a bit circumspect anytime, it is usually not the run-of-the-mill stuff us ‘normal’ people deal with on a day to day basis. But to take this case as far as ‘explaining’ on radio how ‘offended’ one is shows me that Ms F has not quite the managerial expertise required to run an organisation like a Charitable company. However, it is the way this country goes now. Virtue-signalling is the new ‘Must-do’ activity to become known and (in)famous. It simply means cash! But I did not expect the Royal household to come out like that. I expect the BBC to do so and people like those who have a go at Mrs Rowling because they don’t know what a woman is. It begins to look that everyone with a preconceived idea about how to live life now has found the Internet and Facebook or Twitter and spouts the most idiotic ideas. Just button up the cakehole people and go back to sleep!

Ed 2/12/2022 - Well, the media has gone into overdrive about Lady Hussey's predicament. There is even a transcript of what was said. My God, please people get a life! An excellent example of WOKE BRITAIN. With all this going on, may I just be allowed to carry on worrying about my heating bills? At this moment I am no longer sure if this country has a backbone!

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

The Internet an Incentive or an Extinction event?

Not being an avid reader of the Guardian Newspaper, nevertheless I do read its articles on the web from time to time. One took my immediate interest. It reported something about Technology written by Edward Helmore about Jaron Lanier. Jaron is an American computer scientist known for coining the term ‘Virtual Reality’. The article reporting about using Social Media and its effects. Jaron warns about the dangers of a world over-reliant on the Internet. Something I have alluded to many times as well. Being at the mercy of these top people who run them, although not naming them. We know their names anyway. But to be clear he must have meant the likes of Messrs Musk, Gates, and Zuckerberg. Perhaps we should include this failed politician Clegg amongs them. He is Global Affairs President (Meta). It might be a great name for what is basically a fall-guy position I think. Something he is well used to. Well, Jaron continued by saying ‘ We’re putting that fundamental quality of humaneness through a process with an inherent incentive for corruption and degradation’. Precisely right and I can attest to that. To the word degradation I must add ‘Vindictiveness’. For a few years I was Chair of Governors of a local school. During that time I met all of the staff and tried to foster a good and well working relationship between the governors and hard-working staff. One of these hard-working people was a lady who worked in the canteen preparing school meals. Very pleasant to talk to and seemingly well thought of by all, including the Headteacher.

She retired, had a great party and a few prezzies and plenty of liquid refreshments enjoyed by all. A week or so later I was alerted by another employee to look a a certain Facebook page. To my astonishment and the Headteacher, the vitriolic talk by the recently retired well-thought of employee about the school and her co-employees was something else, in particular the Head who came out as something who had grown horns on his head and changed his skin colour to red. Here we have exactly what Jaron was talking about. Whatever, but he also talks or rather, indicates that use of these media empires is a possible extinction event. I suppose that means – a failure of human relations. Indeed, as shown above, a breakdown. It also seems to have been a failure by such persons who let rip,to let others know of any grievances. I know it is a small example in one way but it also occurs on a national scale. Failures of not communicating, of assumptions - all is well when it obviously it is not, as later found out. When checking the phones of our two school kids I quickly note the absolute rubbish and vitriolic messages they receive. WhatsApp I monitor on their behalf and the software shows up those words deemed offensive. Let me assure you they receive loads. I am told , it is common place! So thanks Jared, an interesting article indeed.Let's hope the world's politicians know the score, somehow though I worry...

Monday, 28 November 2022

Aliens? What about it?

This year’s Halloween has been a rather quiet, low-case affair. No-one knocking the doors showing off hideous masks and sounding curdling screams that made your blood run cold! Now, I am not at all certain why we celebrate that as I don’t believe in such manifested portrayal of what is supposed to be evil. At least the kids like the rumpus. But it is funny that humanity has this what seems to be inborn, an inborn idea about evil. You will notice this as well in the films showing wonderful evilly aliens. Films like ‘Alien’ with Sigourney Weaver et al. Big money spinners, we sure like to be frightened. It raises a few questions in my mind, notwithstanding my religious background as a confirmed Christian following the Anglican brand of what they call Faith, I ask myself – Is there something about aliens, real or not that we equate with evil? And why would that be? First of all, I have always taken the point, as I explained in a much older post, that aliens might well exist but we will never see or meet them. The reason would be the distances in the Universe. It is 4plus light years to our NEAREST star system! That equates to approximately 9.7 trillion kilometers. Well, I might start walking now. It is written out fully – 9,700,000,000,000 kilometers. If you could go close to the light speed it would still take nearly 5 years. I am not beginning a discussion about it could be instantaneous pending physics and quantum theories but it is a mighty long way and bearing in mind human frailty possibly lasting more than one life time. In fact today’s thinking and knowledge says that since it would take at least 6,300 years to reach the closest star to our sun, enough men and women to produce many genetically healthy generations would need to make the trip. Probably half the population of the UK to ensure diversity and healthy genetics make-up. 

Let’s go back to the aliens. If they are somewhat similar to us that is to say, gas breathing, water dependent then those restrictions would play for them as well. I am aware they could be as we could be, frozen in suspended animation but for 6000 years plus? Hmmmm. Therefore I do not believe we will ever see aliens unless they are robotic and are AI orientated. Even that is debatable but perhaps not impossible. We are researching AI at an expanding rate. Let’s assume we will meet aliens. We would know they have come a long way, a very long way. 

One question would be What are they coming for? Food? Not likely, as our chemistry probably will make that impossible. Their chemistry will be used to other rules or makeup. Water? If it was plain H2O maybe but again in our water there are many minerals, again possibly not compatible. These things are also applicable to us if we ever will start travelling through space. We will have to bring our own environment with us. Whether that will be in tablet form I leave open for others to figure out. So, the likelyhood of sharp-toothed aliens hunting poor humanity is not very likely, if at all. The best we could hope for are metallic robots out on fact-finding tours. That’s another reason they will not visit, they can figure it all out monitoring our radio and TV signals from millions of miles away. As such, being the only living and thinking being in this quarter of the galaxy we'd better shape up and act as rational beings would. It would be just a great pity if we simply destroyed ourselves through greed, a power complex or lack of trust and that goes for everybody Russian, American, European or Asian. We are all HUMAN. How do you say that in Cyrillic? 

Sunday, 27 November 2022

Is Energy Cheap or Expensive - It's a guess but...

We have mentioned energy a lot in previous posts. I suppose we would as it permeates all our lives. Certainly does so in the western world. I suppose the war in Ukraine does not help but that is not the only thing about energy. In this country VAT (Value Added Tax) is levied on bills. The rate at which it is levied varies but homeowners should pay 5%. Even that, when your bill is approaching £2,000 annually, it represents something like nearly £100 in tax. That would look better on my bank balance. I must be honest I am aware we need to pay tax but I am also aware that it is not always spent wisely! Let’s look at wind turbines. You might know I am opposed to them on land simply for two reasons, environmental problems and misuse of crop growing land or grazing land or even recreational land. The problems they cause to birds are already well-known. Besides all that, these monstrosities produce thousands of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere through production of the metals and plastics as well as cement and hardcore for concrete on which they must be anchored. Lastly I must mention the greed of people, people like private equity investors and supply companies who buy up land or take a controlling interest and place these turbines. Then sell the electricity produced to the National Grid. An investment to obtain all possible grants and ‘harvest’ the wind.  

These grants are paid from the tax levied of us, the users of electric power. On top of that there is also a levy or levies by the government on the generating company (like EDF or whoever generates electricity) then there is a levy on the supplying companies (like OVO, or Octopus in the UK). Is your head spinning yet? Well, look at the rates – the Climate Change Levy – from April 2022 through to 2023 it is £ 0.00775 per kWh. Doesn’t sound a lot? For gas another £0.00672 per kWh. There is more but you can see that the amounts are huge in real terms. Especially a website named WorldData.Info tells you that 309.2 billion kWh are used in the UK alone. That was generated first. Obviously this is only the ‘used power’ figure the actual generated amount is higher and some of it not used as you cannot store electricity in such quantity. Unless you would be living next to gigantic batteries, the size of which would dwarf a city like Paris. 

Impossible. So, the taxation would bring in over the billions if not trillions. But is it going to combat global warming? Hahaha, what do you think? See my previous post about how much it costs to provide government. In particular a government which has lost its grip.The national bill for social services dwarves even my pocket money. We pay billions on Interest charges, for what is called Universal Credit that every Tom, D*ck and Harry seems to be claiming in this country. The list is endless. As such I hasten to add I cannot see any meaningful reductions in taxation happening this side of the next century. The only thing I am pretty certain of is the costs of social services will continue to rise as will the salaries of those administering it. My advice to you? Become employed by the State! Or stand for Office (MPs, AMs, local government etc etc). Or emigrate to Outer Mongolia and live in a Yurt. Lovely.

Saturday, 26 November 2022

Government costs - Are they too low? Humph...think again.

Does anyone, perhaps all across the world, ever think what it costs to have a government? Take the government in the UK. There are 650 MPs in the UK Parliament. Each receives a stipend (salary) of £84,144 per annum. That’s a cost to the taxpayer of £54,693,600. Yes £50+ million pounds. But that’s not all, they also receive payments for certain items like stationery, subsidised drinks amongst others. Other costs like the Standard Office Budget is some £27,470 per MP (some get more because of their extra workload, like ministers etc or are living and based in London). That is a whopping £17,855,500. And yet again that’s not all. There is the upkeep of the Westminster Palace which has cost so far billions. 

To cut a long drawn out calculation and trawling the Internet I can just go with the Institute of Government which stated that during 2018/19 the cost of running both Houses of Parliament in 2018/19 was £560.4 million which was nearly 8% higher than the previous year. If that would continue in the same way the costs today would be £700+ million per annum. This figure is not just taken out of context, check this for yourselves. Three quarters of a billion pounds to come up with beautiful laws like Stopping Immigration or at least properly controlling it amongst others. These figures are just for providing government, it is not the total cost of governing the nation. 

We also have three other governments, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. And let’s not forget the local governments. The budget of my local one - Rhondda - is approaching £600 million annually. Increasing every year as most councils like RCTCBC (RhonddaCynonTaf County Borough Council) cannot ever balance their budgets. A sizeable chunk of money is received for the Central Government therefore lowering their total cost to the locals. It is getting hairy is it not? But according to the website of RCTCBC £120million+ has to come from taxpayers (yes that’s me!). If you would equate that with the number of actual taxpayers in the borough, and not those who do no work for whatever reason, you’ll begin to understand why the so-called Council Tax for quite mediocre houses stands at £1,500+ per annum! Readers in other countries might think, 'Hey that’s OK' but don’t forget PAYE (Pay as You Earn) which takes 20% of your salary plus 12% National Insurance. So, actually and taking into consideration other costs 40% of your salary disappears into the hands of government(s), possibly even more than 40%. This is why I am so critical of those who govern us. MPs, ministers, basically all those who serve in HM’s Government, and that includes the Civil Service. I begin to shiver looking at these figures that I know are not complete because I do not know the cost of the Civil Service. But we need to put all those charges against the record of attainment. Now you begin to see that the value we, as taxpayers are getting for our pound, is pretty low. Let me finish this by closing my computer and start thinking why am I still alive? According to all those amounts I cannot afford anything, least of all to stand up!

Thursday, 24 November 2022

Virtue-signalling, the new artform?

Is virtue-signalling the new art-form in the UK? You might know this if I put it like this - Virtue signalling is the expression of a moral viewpoint with the intent of communicating good character. But is that right? I don’t think so, at least not completely. Like everything else, it has a good side and an equally bad side. It depends entirely what you think about the words – moral viewpoint. For instance, I am certain that those youngsters who glue themselves onto the road surface or throw tomato soup onto a valuable painting in a museum, think of their moral viewpoint as the only one that counts. But then I would say, what about my viewpoint? I can tell you right now, it is NOT the same as theirs! Then we have the debating societies in Universities across the land. I recently heard a new word I had not heard before – ‘perma-offended youth’. What does that mean? It was mentioned in an article from the Telegraph and referred to a debate that took place at the Cambridge Union. You can still hopefully read it and there is a link within the article so you can even watch the debate online. It shows how young people view free speech and it is a bit worrying that apparently free speech is not particularly well thought of. 

Personally I am a total supporter of free speech, even though we are bound to hear something we don’t want to know or hear. But that is the point of free speech? If we as a nation want free speech then those who have ideas such as you can hear now quite often, must understand opposing views. In the end it will turn on what I would call, the majority view. It also means that those who have the majority view, must express them. In the case of the views expressed by the ‘Ecology’ quarter we most certainly need a well balanced view which would probably mean debunking quite a lot of young people’s views. It is therefore no good, to read this stuff in the newspapers and tut-tutting, shaking your head. Stand up and write something or open your front  door and bellow out why you dislike 18-20 year olds. But watch out for them because they might glue themselves onto your uPVC front door! Just so you know, I like 18-20 year olds, especially if they wear those ultra short dresses. Yes, I know I am sexist and an idiot to boot but who cares, I live in a backwater and only dinosaurs are surrounding my house. Not sure if they are Velociraptors, or Hadrosaureans. If you don’t hear from me for a while, they must have been Raptors. Seriously, basically it all swirls around our ability to think, to be able to discuss the way we all need to live together peaceably, the ability to see the opposite viewpoint and understand the why that is so. So, yes, virtue-signalling is the new art-form but does it help? Open the debate!

Football is the new politics?

It is interesting to see how the world, how people, think and act. Here we have Qatar. Another country on the Arabian peninsula. Mostly sand, a few palms and for some reason bozos of the World Football system called FIFA thought it would be a nice place to stage the World Cup. Obviously knowing these boys are totally straight as far as money is concerned, the voting was all above board and Qatar came out on top. Well, it is a sunny place in summer though! At least the bath water gets to 60 degrees Centigrade if you put the bath out on the balcony. What us in the nice above board western world never realised, is the fact Qatar is not in the western world. We in the western world think the whole planet is the western world. You notice this on the discussions on TV. Here in the UK we get very worked up about the treatment of LBGT+ people, bless their little hearts. We spend hours and hours talking about the why’s and how’s. Like that is going to change things for the better. Let’s be fair, we talk about another country, another way of viewing things, specific laws about behaviour and more. Surely, the people of Qatar can decide for themselves? I know, I know, these type of countries tend to have repressive regimes. More or less like we used to have. You know the score? A powerful family, or army colonels get the reins and keep them through force and corruption. It is basically as simple as that. Freedom is illusory. Even here in the UK. Now, having said that just look around. Did you think our government governs? Actually so-called government, MPs, Cabinet are just convenient names. In fact they mostly reside in a holiday complex called Parliament. You know that when you hear things like the new rule about free party food for Christmas parties in the ‘office’. That is where our tax goes, no wonder they need more. But as said, they don’t govern. So, who does? Ah, good question, it is hundreds of minority groupings. All they do is glue themselves to roads, have demonstrations in Trafalgar Square, London; then LBGT+ start wearing lovely hats and whole laws get instituted. Yes, it IS a lovely straight-forward world where everything goes according to plan.

We could ask, why do we not accept that there are such things as differences in behaviour, in life? People who have to live in straw huts have different expectations, different problems. However, today they might have TV in the communal hut and see how we, in the western world, live! Do we now understand why there is this thing called migration? It is a rather interesting life, is it not?

Wednesday, 23 November 2022

Windows or Linux? Make your mind up, I have!

Now I am a long-standing user of Linux having ditched Windows when it was XP. I must confess using Linux has got a damn lot easier now than it was in the Seventies and Eighties. In fact it now surpasses Windows in ease of operation and security. It is no wonder that most mainframes (very large computers with petabytes of memory) are mostly running with Linux or a variety of Unix systems. If you do not know what Unix is, it is a family of multitasking, multi-user computer operating systems that derive from the original AT&T Unix from the Sixties. Do not confuse this with Unox, a Unilever company that makes a type of Dutch sausage. Although sometimes I think it is exactly that! Anyway, I have run Linux Mint (one of the varieties of Linux distributions available) because it is very much like Windows in most of its operation. Recently I read the website from ‘’, titled “Ten Reasons why Windows is Still Better than Linux”. I thought that was rather interesting but completely wrong! The author Dan Price must have a large orifice down below from which he speaks and the sounds come out but when he states ‘Lack of Software’ he probably wrote that confined in his cell, and on just bread and water. I can assure you, dear reader, that there is NO shortage of software of programs Windows users are used to. Even going as far as multiple versions being available. He warbles on about Adobe Photoshop, he obviously has not ever heard of GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) or KRITA. Windows Outlook is quite easily surpassed by Thunderbird (also I think available in Windows) and Microsoft Office is now LibreOffice. More so I just love to say here, all useful Linux software is FREE to use! I use Blender a program that if you want to make videos, edit or do any other work like animation, Linux is the way! But let me talk about security. I found that Linux surpasses Windows even in that. Yes, you must be careful, it goes for whatever you do with electronics. But I do not use Virus software, no need. I use a VPN, a paid for one because I do not want a company to sell my data. Yes, I have to admit, Linux is a bit more hands-on than Windows. But I am no robot, I like the way that updates can only be installed after the user agrees. In Windows it is still automatic and frankly it is also its weakest point. Any Linux installation has to be agreed by the user. There is no possibility unless you set it up that way, that foreign bad software can be installed. Again, if you start clicking on every email attachment, or messages that implore you to click on this or that link then you can still be in trouble simply because you have allowed it! Finally, poor old Dan (he must be 80 or so years old) said that Linux installing is hard? Eh? That is news, I only took 15 minutes to install Linux on my new mini! It came with Windows 11 installed, I just could not wait to get rid of it. I downloaded the Linux ISO software (10 minutes) transferred it to a USB 3. Stuck it in the mini and re-started it. Bang, here we go, type the required data like in which timezone you reside, a password to start the computer (the MAIN password). Make it easily memorised because for security reasons you will need to input this a lot. Yes, you can switch that off but I would implore every user not to do that! It is one of the best ways of ensuring your security and the health of your system.

If you need some ideas of how to set it all up, look at ‘Linux Mint – Linux Ubuntu’ as the main flavours and most widely used.

Saturday, 19 November 2022

Is it about time we are waking up?

Is it about time we are waking up to the fact that we, in the western world, are living way beyond our means? For a start, we cannot deny, certainly not in Britain, that we are guilty of fouling the planet with our over-consumption which produces and does increasingly so, enormous quantities of greenhouse gases. It has been known for some time that due to rising sea levels the low lying atolls and island nations of the Pacific are in danger of disappearing altogether! The rise in sea levels is entirely due to melting icecaps of the Poles and mountain glaciers. It is expected that the levels will rise by another 3-5 meters by 2100. I shall have to tell my grandchildren in due course to wear swim vests before going to bed.

Well, these things are already known but as per the usual there is a lot of chat, many high-level meetings but no action. At the most very little action. The talk in the western world is still the same, we are worried about economic growth and want more! We do not retreat one inch from our demands. We must have Christmas, which actually is a festival about the birth of someone who was basically one of the poorest persons in the world, with a very small footprint, no mortgage, no house and barely enough clothes to cover himself. But we, insist on enormous quantities of food on the table to celebrate that person. Whilst giving presents that mostly will end up in the bin or oceans within a few days. We must have our holidays in Spain or Italy. When you see young people on the many TV Game shows and they win and are asked how they will spend the money the usual answers are, Travel the world. I suppose I don’t blame them but it seems to escape their collective brains that the very act of travel has put untold tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

The facts are simple really, we are, all 8billion of us now, putting too high a demand on the available resources. And most worrying of all is that there will be a price to pay. This is something that is not understood by those whom we elect to lead us. You see this yet again in the UK. A new government, a new PM, a new Chancellor and what do they do? Increase taxes, cut some expenditure to satisfy investors so that the value of the pound is stable, or rather more stable than it was! All with the exclamation – A budget for growth! Which really means more demands on an already tottering environment. Demands on scarce resources and higher sea levels. I would like to say to those meeting in Sharm-el-Sheikh, especially those from the aforementioned Pacific nations, just go home and build your houses on stilts. It is already far too late, all that can be done now is just minimise CO2 and Methane levels. Don’t listen to the sugar coated words of the western nations, they may well push you aside with promises of some small sums of money. That money if you are not careful, will end up in the pockets of unscrupulous politicians as in many African nations. It is a sorry state of affairs and really shows up the so-called most intelligent animal on the planet. They simply cannot control themselves. And as for me, I belong to that genus of animal and live in the western world.

Please accept my apologies.

Monday, 14 November 2022

Some reality, no, not the BBC Entertainment.

There are three things that concern people in the UK today. I list them in order of importance. First, a TV program called ‘Strictly Come Dancing’, secondly another TV program called ‘I am a Celebrity...Get me Out of Here’ and thirdly, its lame government. Rather funny that TV programmes outrank government but if you have looked carefully you can easily see why. The first program ‘Strictly’ is a dancing exhibition supposedly carried out by No-No’s. That is to say, by people who have never danced. But as it turns out, it seems that most of the partakers are professed dancers or at least have had pretty good tuition as kids! In my opinion the show has had its day, it has become pretty predictable. The other TV show has become even more boring because of the inclusion of a disliked politician (Mr Matt Hancock). It is not that he is just a politician, he was the Health Secretary during the Covid pandemic responsible for the guidance about staying at home and no social activities and then seeing him snogging his assistant. His wife presumably staying at home and looking after the dog and kitchen utensils. Well, to be frank he was not the only one, a heck of a lot of people did not follow the guidance. Yes, people died and you can read many stories about the problems of people, old and young(er) had going into hospital with Covid. It was a difficult time. But to put all that on just one man is basically stupid. There were and still are many reasons as to why and how the system did not work. You only have to dive into the media reports of which there are millions by now to see how it all worked or rather did not work. Yet, the program shows up our social attitudes. We have the Matt’s of this world and a singer called Boy although he is over 60! Listening to him I suspect we have lost another possible politician spouting the most inane rubbish. Why he is there only God and the BBC’s director know. All together two shows who are past their sell-by date. But unfortunately, most people in the UK, young people who like to glue themselves to road surfaces, people who like to be called ‘They’, or ‘It’ or even classify themselves as ‘Non-binary’ (No, I don’t get the point either), students who follow valued high-level intelligent courses like ‘Home Cooking’, and people who have taken an extended holiday from work called ‘Homeworking’, most of these people like such type of TV productions. I did once but find them somewhat predictable and boring. Matt because of his background as a failed politician is in for a rough time. Selected continually for the most vile foods and tests. I would like to see Boy George being subjected to snakes and alligators coupled with those critters who like to search out dark places. Yeah, this is the sort of entertainment we are being subjected to, fifth grade comedians, failed singers, weirdos and more. There you go, that’s the BBC in 2022!

Saturday, 12 November 2022

Bullying? Are we all guilty? Hmmmm...

Some thing that has bothered me for a long time. I have been a school governor for quite a number of years and I have always wondered about something called bullying. From my own time in Amsterdam I did experience bullying because for some reason I did not belong to a small group in the same class. As a ten year old you do not really know why that is but it seems it is about family life and how you are brought up. Meaning how you view aggression. How your parents communicate, rows in the home, have loving occasions. Such as get-togethers with the family. St Nicholas in early December was always a highlight when the whole family sat around sharing presents, drinking chocolate milk and hearing stories about how ‘Zwarte Piet’ (Black Peter) would come if you were naughty! Today, the whole shebang, and here in the UK it is not ‘Zwarte Piet’ but Santa who might not be happy if you are a naughty child, is different. But how many families are still keeping to those old traditions? It seems more like getting as many presents as possible and bigger and better than anyone else. You just have to have the latest Nintendo rubbish. 

The question is – has this any bearing on how children behave with others? I think it does. Even in the ‘nice’ school where I am a governor there is still bullying. It might not be as bad as some schools experience but nevertheless the school has ALN (Additional Learning Needs) and operates something called ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistance or Assistants). The idea that all pupils who are either bullied or affected in any way by bullying and have learning difficulties, are being picked up and hopefully helped. But what about the bullies? How are they dealt with? I believe they are not really. 

When I was Chair of Governors in another school in a much less affluent area my actions in liaising with the Head of School were to exclude bullies or any who would not conform to the rules. We very quickly ran into opposition from the local council. It seems that local councils are in denial. Except for the most pupils who are delinquents, stealing, using knives etc, run of the mill bullying does not happen according to the Councils. It is the school who is at fault. So, you can see here the dichotomy? In my view bullying by pupils stems from the family they belong to. I am sorry to have to say that. I suppose you could argue there will be exceptions, well yes, there are always exceptions but generally speaking... Even in the most affluent families where you would think there are no problems, there are problems unseen and unspoken. There can be loss of involvement by parents because of our wonderful 24/7 lifestyle, there can be the things seen on TV or mobile phones (TikTok!) all have some bearing on how we see the world, how we experience the world. Not an easy answer I suppose, only for parents to understand their children are copies of them. Although added with modern influences the parents themselves never experienced.

How to deal with all of that, is the question, as Shakespeare humbly stated.

I don't want to be called a racist about mentioning 'Zwarte Piet'. It is a historical name and idea in the Netherlands. You may be of the opinion that it is related to slavery. Perhaps, but I do not care for such talk because it is rooted in history. I can't change history. I know one thing, Zwarte Piet was not a slave but a highly regarded assistant to do good works by keeping children happy as much as possible.  

Friday, 11 November 2022

The Eco-Warriors are right! It is us that are wrong!

A confession from me – I am very sorry because I might be going to upset quite a number of people. It is about this – I am supporting the eco-warriors. Not physically as I am quite a bit older than most of those who glue themselves to the road. But I have been thinking about what is really at stake. At first I thought they are a bit, you know, not right in the head, absolute loons. However, they are right, the climate is in serious trouble. It is unheard of that in mid-November some places experience 15 degrees Centigrade plus! Despite wonderful emanations of verbal garbage by loads of politicians about how they are ‘working hard to ensure we all won’t die from heat exhaustion’, the facts are that nothing is done. Except to build more and more electrical cars but without the infrastructure to charge them. Oh, and build loads of wind turbines on land splashing the cash and ensure through having to anchor these monstrosities in concrete, we also send tonnes of CO2 into the air. The facts are for all to see, our government is no longer in charge, in fact it hasn’t got a clue what to do. Except to allow a MP to eat kangaroo testicles. Why the worthy Matt Hancock still had a passport beats me! The truth is that we, in the western world, are guilty of having poisoned this planet and continue to do so unabated! What’s more, we are happy to do so. We fly happily all over the place in search of the sun but if we wait a bit by Christmas you might be able to put the sun-loungers out in the garden. This November it was 21C in North Wales!

It is easy from my comfy chair to be critical, the big question is, as the youngsters are asking, what are we going to do about it? Or more to the point, what CAN we do about it? It is no longer a problem that seems some time and space away, certainly not. It is pressing on everything today! I have said previously that most of Africa is going to be uninhabitable, due to being too hot and crop failures plus water shortages. The aquifers are not going to last with the demands put onto them today! It is also easy to state cut out all flying. We have become dependent on moving perishable goods like foodstuffs, all over the globe. Plus that populations have become so large in some areas of the world that more and more are looking to move, lock stock and barrel (Another saying, meaning taking everything you can with you). Presently we are experiencing economic migration because of increased temperatures and the economic uncertainties. This will only increase in the coming years and again, it has been a dismal failure trying to deal with it.

So, yes, we will need to pull our socks up, and get on with developing policies and actions to deal with the present situation but more so in developing methods, policies and blueprints for proper action in the very near future to safeguard our infrastructure and way of life. We will have to curtail our demands on our immediate environment by minimising demands. It will mean, ‘Staycations’ (Holidays at home), it will mean using less resources, it will mean changing our lives. Hard? Sure, it will be but if we want our children and grandchildren to have a life there will be no choice. In fact our generation, this generation alive today, will be responsible for the future of mankind. It is as simple as that.

Thursday, 10 November 2022

Is it Qatar or Catarrh? Not sure...

Oh dear, problems brewing up in Qatar? It is a bit like a cold isn't it? Well, what did the powers that be, expect? Did anyone look into their rationale for living? What I mean is that their attitude towards LBGT+ should have rung alarm bells since the lovely western world is or has now more or less moved to a more accepted view. Worse, the LBGT+ community that have tickets are considering various protests. That will go down like bomb over there. Expect jail sentences of 5 years upwards. By the way, the jails over there probably do not have running water and the evening meal of dry bread and goat blood gravy, is prepared over a camel dung fire!

I am somewhat fed up with our propensity to protest. If it is not oil or gas and the climate hotting up or the plastic fouling about every sea and ocean of the planet, all these protests have very little effect except to annoy commuters or just me. Look, if you are one of the LBGT+ brigade which is fine by me, just live life like everyone else and go to work to earn a living. I have friends that are homosexual, I have even a few acquaintances who are on methadone but it is their choice. At least they are trying to kick the habit. They are not pressing their view of life as the only way and nor do I promote being hetero-sexual and married. There is just too much kicking, screaming, promoting ways that life should be lived by what are actually tiny minorities. There are more pressing problems to deal with.

But not to dwell too long on this – we have to respect another country’s laws and views. If we cannot then burn your ticket and forget the whole thing. Or exchange the ticket for a one-way to Kiev, Ukraine and join the clean-up process that must start soon after the Russians have been kicked out.

It is rather funny but this protesting lark is catching on, I am thinking now about protesting about independence for my country, Wales or rather by its proper name, Cymru. Perhaps not such a bad thing viewing the shambles in London. I had always thought Cymru could not be really independent as there are few resources and hardly any heavy industry. But things have been improving and today I think we could manage it. We today, have quite a bit of generating power. WE have a pretty good supply of water which we can and should sell to the Saes (English). And we still have space. Although Cymru together with Northern Ireland and Scotland should form an federation where common action such as defence must be shared. At this moment I don’t know what to expect of Northern Ireland because the signs are it will join the Republic eventually. So plenty for those who want to protest, so protest! Considering the history, anyone can see how the English have treated Wales. Mainly like a land ripe for the picking. And picking they did and still do. The Welsh have mostly been subservient labourers, aka miners. It is rather interesting that despite all of that, the system still works reasonably well. But the stresses are building up. Too many English pensioners or people who want a piece of beach property as a second home are and have moved in. The stress of that is even felt in my area where the estates being built are mainly taken up by people from Bristol and the west of England. Today you cannot get a doctor’s appointment. Now that is a proper protest. I have a friend known to say – Y Saes, mas nawr! It has a ring to it, don’t you think?