Friday, January 30, 2004

The Hutton Inquiry has hit the fan.

Much has been said about the publication of the Hutton report. The nice thing is everything is available on-line, so there is no need to pay £70 to obtain a printed copy of this report.

I like the website - it allows the public to see all the evidence and makes our government and security services transparent. Brian Hutton painstakingly ploughed through all the evidence and produced a very readable and clear report. It is clearly thought out and argued point by point. He takes you through it from day one and gives logical conclusions. I feel he has judged this inquiry right - it has not been a whitewash.

I agree with his conclusions. At the end of the day the Police investigated Kelly's death and found it to be suicide. The Joint Intelligence Committee did it's job as a civil service committee and the government did it's job in encouraging progress on the dossier. Everything seems to be in order and David Kelly simply could not handle the heat of the fuss he created.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

412-pound trucker contests firing.

Big boy gets given a smaller truck and cannot get his stomach behind the wheel, so he gets sacked. Checking on the company website he has now been reinstated and given a bigger truck so that he can get his gut behind the wheel. What a nice happy ending. I feel the company had acted unfairly in sacking him first and even in this country there are some tractor units with very compact cabs.
Name and shame.

It is hard not to laugh but I feel that the Town of Sharon is doing it right by naming and shaming people who bounce cheques.

Looking on their website I notice that Sabina Maziarz has still not paid her $400. Shame on you woman.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Name and shame the little buggers.

Now the Crown Prosecution Service is to examine evidence heard by an inquest into the death of a 12-year-old boy on a bus, it was confirmed today.

Cowbridge Comprehensive School pupil Stuart Cunningham-Jones died in December 2002.

The bus he was travelling on left the road and crashed into a tree just outside his home village of Ystradowen, South Wales.

Earlier this week a jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

At an inquest lasting five days, Cardiff Coroner's Court heard that children on the bus had been misbehaving before the crash.

Chief Crown Prosecutor for South Wales Huw Heycock today confirmed that the CPS was asking for a transcript of the coroner's proceedings.

Mr Heycock said that a request for the transcript of the coroner's proceedings was usual in cases such as this and that it was to see if any new material had come to light in the proceedings.

"We would review the transcript to see if there is anything to re-review in the case."

In June last year, it was announced that the CPS had recommended to the police that there should be no criminal proceedings brought over the incident.

Previous press reports state that the misbehaving pupils cannot be named for legal reasons and that their stories do not add up. Sod that, name and shame the little buggers - then bring them to justice. Take the kid gloves off, they have to live in the real world. If they are so bashful about safety issues coming home from school then no employer should touch them with a barge pole. Poor bus driver did his level best by stopping and resolving the situation - only for the trip to later end in tragedy. When it gets like that, it is better to call a halt and throw the buggers off once and for all.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

The Great British Driving Test.

I watched on television last night The Great British Driving Test and took part in the quiz.

What shocked me was that only 42% of the male members and 40% of the female members of the British public who phoned in got 30 or more questions on the highway code right out of the 35 asked. This test used the official driving theory test questions and the pass rate is 30 or more out of 35. This is an appalling level of ignorance. I used to think that there was an awful lot of aggressive driving by the "me first" brigade on our roads but I now have to figure in the 59% of ignorant motorists. What incompetence the British public is blindly showing. Now I understand how so many daft accidents are caused - simple ignorance. We know the ones - road signs flattened on roundabouts, lamp posts bent on exits from roundabouts.

This also shows why so many cars are illegally parked. I used to think that these illegal and inconsiderate parked cars were owned by the arrogant, "I have loads of money, I will park wherever I like" type of motorist but maybe they are just illiterate people living in blissful ignorance. This programme showed just how thick 59% of all motorists are - what amateurs they are. These ignoramus's have been shown up by their mental laziness. This coupled with their physical laziness in going everywhere by car can account for our growing rates of obesity in this country. We are becoming a nation of fat, lazy, ignorant, stupid people. Thank you ITV - entertainment for the masses!

Saturday, January 17, 2004

More penny pinching.

I spotted an advert in the Tesco supermarket at Weston super Mare this afternoon. It offered work as a cook five nights a week from 22.00 to 02.00 - and the paid hours were 18hrs 45mins. How stingey can you get? They offer somebody half a job with unsocial hours and then knock them for a 15 minute break each day. That is real penny pinching! This fills me with disgust - every little helps, my arse.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Beating the pension crisis from beyond the grave.

There is speculation that Harold Shipman, Britain’s most prolific serial killer, apparently took his own life to make sure that his wife would receive a generous pension, it emerged yesterday.

By hanging himself before his 60th birthday, Shipman could have been exploiting a loophole which will result in his widow Primrose receiving a tax-free lump sum of more than £100,000 and an annual pension of around £10,000.

Had he lived beyond 60, his wife would only have received a half-pension of £5,000 a year and no lump sum on his eventual death. However, no attempt was made to ensure that Shipman’s wife did not receive a full survivor’s pension in the event of his death before that age.

I think that Harold did the best thing for his wife. She has done no wrong and should not be dumped on by the government. That is true love for you, he took his own life so that she could receive the pension that I feel is due to her. I do not condone suicide but this was the only option Harold had to provide for his loyal and loving wife.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Consumer power.

I think that Jonathan Freedland had it right today when he wrote...

In case after case, the evidence points to consumers all but impotent in the face of companies and, sometimes, governments. Yesterday saw an extreme example, with the revelation that there are six airlines whose safety records are so bad they have been banned in some countries - but passengers are powerless to find out who they are. (No one knew that the Swiss had banned Flash Airlines from their airspace before last Saturday's Red Sea crash, and nobody will now name the five others on the danger list.)

The reality is that in much, perhaps most, of our economic lives, consumer power is an illusion. Companies like to tell us they listen and they care - but peel away the PR slogans and there is nothing there. Theoretically we can complain, the way that theoretically everyone can stay at the Ritz. But you have to have infinite amounts of time, clear writing skills, and be at home during the day - and you are still likelier than not to fail. Organisations know this and exploit it. They are quite happy that there is a hassle bar standing between them and their customers.

I agree with him - consumer power is an illusion crafted by the PR departments of heartless businessmen. They do not really value their customers, just view them as fair game in their quest for increased profit.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Scum at the airport.

I read with shock the tragic death of Michael Howard who has died after youths drove over him in his own car at Liverpool airport.

Michael Howard was taking a suitcase out of the boot of the vehicle, at about 0530 GMT on Tuesday, when one of the two youths jumped in and drove into him.

Mr Howard, 57, of Preston, Lancashire, became trapped under the wheels of the car at Liverpool John Lennon Airport and was dead by the time paramedics arrived.

This is dreadful - I hope this scum is brought to justice. We all have to be "street aware" but half past five in the morning, you just don't consider it.

Monday, January 05, 2004

New powers for traffic wardens.

Nice story in today's paper about the proposals to give traffic wardens extra powers to issue tickets for more motoring offences. I support this as there is an increasing problem of aggressive, arrogant urban motorists who have no regard for the law. These "me first" motorists charge around town and cause extra congestion with their deliberate blocking tactics. Issue those tickets, you have my support.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

British Airways Flight 223.

Third day lucky, the British Airways Flight 223 takes off for Washington from London Heathrow.

I think it was right to ground the flights following specific threats to those particular flights advised by our intelligence services. If it had all gone wrong, following our Hutton Inquiry, many security staff would have spoke out saying that their views were ignored again. This was a serious threat, one flight into Washington was escorted by fighter jets. Intelligence does vary in it's quality and accuracy - remember the claim that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction that it could launch in 45 minutes.

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