Saturday, June 30, 2007

Oh, the petrol...

First we start off with the story of petrol rationing to motorists in Iran. This is no big deal as an allowance of 100 litres a month is fine. I do not use more than 100 litres of petrol a month and if we had this restriction here in the UK it would not bother me or change my lifestyle. For normal car useage 100 litres a month is OK although this has caused some disquiet in Iran. Market forces can be quite noisey even in Islamic states.

Second we have the attempted car bombs in London that did not detonate. These both had large quantities of petrol on board.

Third we had this afternoon a drive in attack at Glasgow Airport involving a petrol laden burning Jeep Cherokee car.

But is this also a surprise? Market forces will rise and if you ration petrol to the man in the street then protests will arise. If you invade countries who are no threat to you whatsoever, Afghanistan and Iraq, then protests will also arise. Some of these protests are quite polite, questions in our houses of Parliament but others like the 7/7 bombings in London will be rather vulgar. We all quietly knew that a terrorist attack would occour in the UK because of our government's foreign policy but we could not name the date. Obviously when our war mongering Prime Minister Tony Blair eventually stood down there would be an increased risk of terrorist activity. This has been heightened by the calendar pointing to 7/7 and the memories that prevokes.

However, it is not just our fears that have been whispering in the dark. Chatter had been growing on the internet about the London bombings and the Glasgow Airport attacks. This should come as no surprise to street wise people. However, everyone must do a risk assessment to their daily lives. Life here in the UK is nothing like daily life in Baghdad. We can go about our daily business without the fear of kidnapping, sectarian violence or exploding cars in market places. In my day job as a driver on the National Express network I realise that the threat from being caught in a roadside bomb is extremely remote. I am a moving target and most roadside bombs are stationary. All our coach stations are car free and even if a drive in attack takes place, like at Glasgow Airport, the chances of me being there at the same time are extremely remote.

There is however, the prospect of the walk-on suicide bomber passenger which is a risk we have to take everyday. Bus and coach drivers in Israel have to live with this risk every day of their working lives and I fear that the same has now come to the UK.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The costly price of litter.

The people who drop litter do not think of the cost that has to be paid by everyone. It is not just the cost of the council employing people to pick up discarded crisp packets and plastic drink bottles. There is the cost of discarded nails and screws. People who do a do-it-yourself job or cowboy tradesmen who do not guard their materials and scatter loose nails or screws that then end up on the road.

My new car has done only 3,264 miles and what has happened? I have been robbed of £32.96 because some careless person has discarded a screw that was picked up by my nearside rear tyre. The only way to deal with a puncture of this type is to replace the tyre with a new one. So that is an avoidable expense of £32.96 plus the time taken to change the wheel and obtain a new tyre.

All because somebody cannot be bothered to guard their materials.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Promote from within, do not bring in outsiders for the top jobs.

If today was the 1st April then I would have thought that this was surely an April Fools Joke. I was not a joke and Gordon was dreadfully serious. Gordon Brown our Prime Minister in waiting and leader of the Labour Party had offered the former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown a job in his new Cabinet. This stinks, offering a top job to a member of another political party. It really annoys me and many other people when businesses bring in new people from outside their organisations to fill top jobs. It shows that management do not value their staff and view them as second rate. I feel sorry for the other Labour MP's who have been ignored for somebody who is not even a member of their party. It also shows that Gordon must not have that many friends within the Labour Party which would make him an unpopular leader.

This proposed mix and match of Cabinet ministers from different political parties would further reduce the voters' faith in our democracy. Most voters have voted for a party to govern our country not just a local representative. To turn their vote for one political party and then have a mix and match Cabinet is in my view dishonest.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

The price of a life.

Reading my newspaper this week I just wonder how much a life is worth? The collection of stories I have read on different days brings me to the conclusion that life can be cheap, very cheap. This is a dreadful way for our society to develop with our morals dropping lower and lower by the week. These murderous people have shown just how cheap a life can be and discarded like an empty crisp packet.

Thirty-five people were killed and 52 injured in a devastating suicide bomb attack on a bus in Kabul. Eye-witnesses claimed that the bomber waited until the bus was full before stepping on board. The force of the explosion left the bus gutted, its roof peeled open for most of its length. Passing vehicles and a wall 20 feet away were spattered with shrapnel, blood and body parts. Identical cylindrical shrapnel holes around the site suggested that the device was packed with ball-bearings to maximise casualties.

The Taliban quickly claimed responsibility. Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a known spokesman, named the bomber as Mullah Asim Abdul Rahman, a 23-year-old from Kabul province.

This story left me cold as I read it during my rest break as a National Express coach driver here in the UK. There will always a terrorist risk to public transport and it is a real fear that one day there will be a suicide bombing like this in Britain. Mullah Asim Abdul Rahman decided that he was judge and executioner, that these passengers lives were worthless. That these passengers lives were as valueless as popping a rubber balloon.

John Wooligan drowned seven 10-day-old Staffordshire Bull terriers because their yapping "got on his nerves". He was not prosecuted because experts were unable to prove that they suffered more than if they had been put down by a vet. This has become a licence to murder another creature if you choose to do so, for whatever reason.

Alan Johnston the kidnapped BBC reporter has now been held in captivity for 100 days. Nobody knows for certain if he will ever be released alive and is being kept like a chicken on a farm, not knowing if his final day will come. He has less rights than a farm animal and that is little cash value for a human life.

Some Muslims in Pakistan want to kill Sir Salman Rushdie because he has been knighted. Big deal, he wrote a book in 1989 called The Satanic Verses that some people took offence with. Nobody has to buy or read this book but we must uphold the right to free speech and expression in our country and not be bullied by these religious fanatics. To kill someone for simply writing a novel, a work of fiction is a demonstration of evil and ignorance. To throw an authors' life away is to make their life worthless.

Sian Simpson a teenager, was ambushed and stabbed to death in Croydon. This murder was committed by a gang of up to 15 teenage girls tossing her life away like a soap opera on television.

David Morales was beaten to death by a mob in Texas. He was a passenger in a car that was involved in a minor traffic accident. He was assisting at the scene when a mob gathered and beat him to death. This was mob rule and a kangaroo court of the worse type possible.

What an awful week to finish on and where will it end?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The value of holidays.

I have now returned back from my holiday in Morocco and have been back to work for 2 days. I can now reflect on my holiday experience and assess the value of holidays.

I feel fully refreshed after my 14 day holiday, a period of change from my usual activities. To make a complete change I deliberately kept away from the internet and newspapers. A change of routine with no work, home or dog to consider. I went to a foreign land where I could experience different foods, weather, sights and sounds. This change refreshes the mind and resets your life to new. You appreciate the company of complete strangers who are temporary residents in another world, the unreal world of the holidaymaker. These strangers are very different yet they all share common values. These people make me glad to have what I have got in my life. This experience makes me realize just how small and insignificant I am in this vast world that appears to shrink with the internet. I am now at home and back to normal, fully aware that whatever I do is only a snapshot in a very big and diverse world.

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