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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Blog 94 Salmond could guarantee a win if...

... he convinced us he would deal effectively with the privatised utilities.

My first three months (and counting) in Scotland have been blighted by Scottish Power and their equally slimy inept robbing subcontractors Energy Networks and SGN. 

As an ex- npower / ex-BT customer I thought I’d experienced the worst of what a privatised utility company could throw at you. I was wrong. Scottish Power, Energy Networks and SGN make npower and BT look competent and altruistic.

It seems there is a new equation in the universe that might even fox Einstein -
Profiteering works in equal and opposite measure to the quality of customer service- to the power of a billion.

On a daily basis the stress of dealing with the privatised utilities cuts across the class divide in terms of a concern that causes common frustration and anger.

In the Public = good / Private = bad debate, we are missing the fact that, like the political landscape, it’s no longer an argument between two distinct elements.

Public good / private bad
Potayto / potaaahhto,
tomayto / tomaahto
Let’s sort the whole thing out…

Politicians like to do the ‘sneer’ thing when pointing out that the ‘public = good’ while ‘private = bad’ idea is sadly naive. It is, they seem to suggest, a view possibly only held by the hopelessly idealistic, baggy-trousered, bandanna-wearing, smelly, veggie, chakra obsessed, delusional leftie.

They may be right.

Public = good when it is done properly
Private = good when it is genuinely entrepreneurial

PRIVATISED  = good only for the government’s insatiably greedy, immoral, profiteering, bloodsucking, tax-avoiding, infrastructure destroying cronies who are going to fry in hell.

There – that’s better.

This week’s recommended blog from the archives is not a blog but a suggestion to scroll down through the back cartoons by clicking on the orange Amanda Baker in the right hand column.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Blog 93 Euthanasia Fantasia.

Does the Euthanasia Fantasia faze ya?

Out of step again – I can’t help sensing a disconnect from the raised pulse of the current assisted dying / euthanasia debate. A huge proportion of the global populous don’t get a choice about how they live let alone how they die. Far too many aren't getting to live at all.

The basic ‘problem’ in the West is that we've developed resources, technical ability and unquestioning momentum to keep people alive in extreme circumstances. Along the route we unhitched the moral debate from medical advances.

Recently I listened with some cynicism to a news report about the reduction in road deaths. My sat nav for stat shite went haywire. Are there really fewer accidents on our congested roads or are the statistics at least partially accounted for by the technical advances that keep severely injured people alive?

Our ability to spend gob-smacking amounts of time and energy on the minutiae of comfortable existence in this country while side-lining the pain of others is easily summed up by a news report I listened to a few minutes ago.
“...the majority of those killed in Gaza are civilians ... now the golf”

21 million people living in the world today – over 200 years since the abolition of slavery – are victims of slaving and people trafficking. In too many areas of Africa, countless infants struggle and don’t make it to their 5th birthdays. Slaughter in Iraq is a monthly ‘norm’. Death from preventable disease takes millions of lives prematurely. We know that in conflict zones it is more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier. And so on and so on, the depressing information circles like starving crows with broken feathers while we look the other way.

This is how we make ourselves irrelevant. Like the Church of England expending precious time and funds trying to combat its inherent misogyny while its flock disperse, decrease, die. Like the government taking important Parliamentary time on making sure they can track our e-mails (see last week’s blog) while youngsters leave school unable to read and even people in work sometimes can’t afford to live. Millions of dollars around the world are still being spent on trophy sporting events while children live on the streets, prey to life’s monsters. And actually – what these ego-fests show us – the Olympics, the World Cup etc is that, as humans, if we want something badly enough – however daft – we can do it. It’s just a shame that the people controlling the purse strings are more interested in prestige than people.

So – yes, the assisted dying debate – to give it its sanitised nom-de-plume. The fact is that financial imperatives will eventually force its legalisation. In the West, very soon, there simply won’t be enough healthy working people to support the chronically sick. Meanwhile, the comfortable, well-educated classes who have the where-with-all to not only fight for what they want but also to control the political agenda are a tiny minority. They are often the same minority who can get their kids into the best schools, buy their way to the front of NHS queues. When I lived in the N.E, I read about many cases where miners died of horrible lung diseases while their families tried to get the compensation they were due from the industry that ruined their health. Many died waiting. The families of the victims of Bhopal (a forgotten tragedy of quarter of a century ago) received no proper compensation from the American chemical company that devastated their community – a place where children are still born dreadfully malformed as a result of Union Carbide’s monumental gross criminal negligence.

In summary – the problem we seem to have is that in many parts of the world people are not being allowed to live either decently or at all. In the privileged West, people who are not only ready but only live because science has taken them beyond human endurance, are not being allowed to die.

This week’s recommended blog from the archives,

32 The NHS and the Condom of Common Sense.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Blog 92 Snoop bloggy blog

with DaveNick-Ed.

Paranoid state snooping is a sure sign of weak government, lack of direction and a general disintegration. It is symptomatic of every crumbling nation in history. But ‘emergency’ legislation to back up the state’s observation of our daily (unremarkable) lives is verging on psychotic.

Not to mention that there are one or two more pressing matters that require our urgent attention;
  • The national health crisis
  • Planetary disease emergency
  • Looming ecological cataclysm
  • Escalating world war III (GWI - Global War I?)
  • Unsustainable profiteering by privatised utilities and collapsing infrastructure
 Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera... (see cartoon by clicking on the orange name in the right hand column)

But Dave, Nick ‘n Ed (DaveNick-Ed) have joined forces on this one. No one in the Westminster crazy house seems to have any problem with this at all.

Firstly there is no 'emergency', unless you configure that edgy condition in the same way Mr Orwell did; crisis as a media induced, government sponsored, ongoing state of low-grade debilitating fear, a stultifying neurosis.

 Effective leadership has forward momentum. On the other hand, inadequate rulers invested with power they can’t handle are constantly looking over their shoulders.

They haven’t even found an original ruse for their paranoid prying it’s just ‘ooooh, the bogey man is coming to get you so we need to know whether you rang aunty Marg last Friday’ and ‘we know things you don’t know so don’t question us’. It’s a stinking unconvincing fug. Its smoke that gets in your eyes, ears, nose and throat until you can’t think straight.

The irony of these claims justifying the erosion of our liberties is that the last time we were presented with ‘sensitive’ information to justify government action, (remember the dodgy dossiers?), we were led up the garden path – or was it the road to hell? The last time the secret services gave the government the nod to act on our behalf with seriously loopy information, we were taken into an illegal invasion for which we are still counting the cost in suffering, terror and financial devastation.

Instead of spending zillions and wasting resources snooping on their own citizens and neighbours – the government could try just looking around them, peer into the real world a while. They’d find there is plenty there that needs fixing.

This week’s recommended blog from the archives,
Blog 24 – I’m Spartacus.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Blog 91 Gove wants DavRos in charge of the Tardis!!!

Or is it more like putting Dracula in charge of the Blood Bank? (My aunty Vi used to work for the blood bank, I mean the real blood bank not the analogy we’re on at the moment. Sorry if I spoiled it for you because you didn’t realise that I am actually talking about Gove’s crazy, nasty, bonkers idea of putting David Ross in charge of OFSTED).

Yes – Gove wants David Ross the Carphone Warehouse tycoon who moreover is involved with a chain of academies, to be in charge of inspecting state schools. Ross is - surprise - surprise a big Tory donor – or not surprise if you occasionally take note of what is happening in Britain. The impressive Ross CV includes being a tax exile and strange dealings with a prostitute. Nice!

I need someone to explain to me why our rulers are getting away with SO many barmy ideas. We have at our fingertips endless facts, figures, statistics, examples as warnings. Never at any time in human history has more easy data been available. If you really don’t want to rely on common sense (and nobody seems to want to) we could just look up -
‘is it a good idea to employ rich (unpleasant) people on projects when they have vested contrary interests?’ or some such wording. Click ‘enter’ and see what comes up.

We’re not just not learning the important lessons (sorry for the double negative but it felt like the best way to say it). We seem to be actively pouring hot wax in our earholes, chanting la la la and striding ever onwards with hands over eyes, into cavernous vats of shit.

So if I climbed a mountain (not the iconic Blencathra obviously because that bit of the Lake District has been sold off) and screamed at the top of my lungs,
‘the point of OFSTED was supposed to be independence and neutrality,’
would anyone listen? Would anyone care? Or would the echo just ricochet back and knock me over on my bum.

It is holiday time up here in Scotland so this will be another brief blog but if you are cool with the idea of putting Dave Ross in charge of schools chew on this -

Davros did not start out as ruler of the Daleks. He began as chief scientist of the Kaleds (one of two races [the Thals being the other] locked in battle on planet Skaro). Following nuclear and biological contamination, the Kaleds mutated, becoming malformed and weak. Davros ‘strengthened’ them by removing any tendencies of compassion and placing their feeble manifestations inside metal structures. These became the Daleks. Davros arranged for the destruction of his own race and then got the Daleks to destroy the Thals.
Davros’ real eyes are closed – and he sees out of a robotic eye in his forehead unlike Gove whose mouth is always on the go but who still seems to talk out of his arse.

This week’s recommended blog from the archives;

Blog 18 Elitism for All

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Blog 90 Is the Brazil World Cup a microcosm of what’s wrong with Britain?

Obscene wealth and contrived jollity in the midst of desperate poverty and with even Costa Rica out-classing England! Is the nonsense in Brazil a twisted reflection of what is wrong with Britain?

Living on past glories, looking around to apportion blame while suffocating on lethargy, greed and corrosive consumerism…

Like someone in slow shock (is that even a thing?), I find words wont form sensibly this week.

It’s that zombie movie situation again where everyone has been taken over and you are screaming alone in the dark.

The obvious is blurred, ‘crazy’ is forcefully presented as normal, common sense is derided and outmoded.

In some ways we surely must admire those who blindly shamble on, convinced that somewhere something sensible is happening and there is an adult in charge. It is all actually ok.

Bur really there is no one there. Your mum and dad told you they were popping out to the supermarket but they actually emigrated to Australia with the contents of the house and the money your gran left you.

That’s what it feels like.

So this week in the face of worldwide disconnect overload;-
  • ·         Rampant consumerism (see blog 6 - Please get a bigger TV )
  • ·         Creeping misogyny (see last week’s blog)
  • ·         Double standards in public life (see blog 24 - Cut foreign aid what a spiffing idea)
  • ·         The eco time bomb (see blog 12 - Armageddon will not be televised)
  • ·         The international health black hole (see blog 54 - Glaxo Smith Klein is not the answer)
  • ·         The freaky weirdness of all those middle aged blokes pouring their hearts out because now they have teen daughters and get Feminism. (Did they not perchance have girlfriends, partners, wives, mothers?)
  • ·      The blandness of 21st century politics without Politics

I lie prone and dazed and not a little scared. So this week, instead of my cross-cartoon being a supplement to the blog, it IS the blog because for once WORDS FAIL ME.

Please go to the top of the right hand column, click on my name (the one in orange) and have a peak at this week’s cartoon – ‘we’re all right jack’.