Thursday, July 30, 2009

Slackness in the Highest Degree! - Smaller Chocolate Bars

Can you imagine, there is a call to reduce the size of chocolate bars. See this link

I must protest in the strongest terms and HRH agrees with me. What kind of slackness is this eeeh? Look man, if people are undisciplined and nyam too much sweetie and get fat and unfit that is their issue there is no call to punish decent hardworking chocolate loving citizens by reducing (sob - let me compose myself) the size of the goodly chocolate bar.

I am ready to march on Westminster about this. Anyone willing to join me?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Excitement in the House

You’ve got to hand it to the South Koreans. It’s highly unlikely that broadcasts of of parliamentary proceedings aren’t eagerly watched by the populace – unlike poor old BBC Parliament over here.

Check out any of the news sites you like and you can see some footage of the fist fights that took place recently during the attempt to pass a media bill. I believe the Taiwanese parliament likes to settle their differences the old fashioned way too. Amazing!

Check out this link from the Guardian to some famous legislative brawls

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Aspiration is up to us not the government

There’s a lot of talk today about the gap between the privileged and the less privileged in relation to education and how that can lead to well paying professions. A study has concluded that certain professions exclude people from disadvantaged backgrounds. The news has been full of this and person after person has come on saying the government needs to do something about it.

This is ridiculous. Aspirations do not need to have anything to do with money and it’s certainly not up to the government to create aspiration in people.

There are thousands of people throughout the world, often in what’s called the developing world by ignorant people (but that’s another argument) who come from extremely deprived backgrounds who have no problem with having very high aspirations. These poor people know that education is the way to attain their goals and they pursue education wholeheartedly. Their lack of money and lack of an entré into elevated society does not hold them back. Why then do people here in Blighty have this ridiculous notion that deprived people’s lack of aspiration is somehow the fault of those who are wealthy?

At no point have I heard any of the pundits talk about personal responsibility.

I am not naïve. I know some people are born into advantageous circumstances and some are not. I know it is easier to get ahead if your parents support you and you don’t have to worry about paying the bills. But I also know that in a country like the UK where education is FREE there is no reason why someone cannot work hard to get ahead. In many of the countries in the developing world education is most definitely not free.

There was talk about university and the cost and loans not being available etc. The student loan scheme doesn’t discriminate according to the wealth of someone’s parents and the information is freely available for those interested in looking for it.

The fact of the matter is that too many people from ‘deprived’ backgrounds are deprived in their attitude and not when it comes to money.

The study mentioned that many people in high level professions were privately educated and talk about this as a sign of inequality. Now how can the country collude in the dumbing down in our education system and then say that there is inequality because some parents who want their kids to be properly educated are forced to send them to public school?

Over the years, foreign languages have become optional, some jackass thought it would be a good idea to stop teaching grammar so millions of us are unable to speak our own language much less write competently in it, the concept of failure has become anathema, kids aren’t taught to reason and memorising times tables also seems to have become unpopular over the years. Teachers have been stripped of the power to enforce anything so homework is optional and forget about doing any extra work. And then people want to complain about the social divide and equality?

Look, we all know what it takes for kids to do well. Once our society grows up and agrees that we get back to basics then there will be more than enough opportunity for most. There are indeed inequalities and there is an old boys’ club old school tie thing going on but so what? That’s how the world works – if you went to school with someone and they are in a position of power of course you will use your connections to get ahead but not ALL positions can be filled in this way and companies wouldn’t want to. In the final analysis, most successful companies do want the best qualified and the most able candidate. Anyone can achieve this – it might be harder for some but it can be done.

I read something the other day that President Obama said. He was talking about the need for black people to have a new attitude and not blame racism on not achieving. I get what he meant. There is still massive racism but what he said was that if you are black and you break into a shop and rob it you can’t blame racism for that. He said that it is up to black people to do their best in whatever endeavour they undertake and at the same time tackle racism when it comes up.

The same goes for the ‘disadvantaged.’ There are some barriers, but those barriers don’t stop you from joining the local library and using the books. They don’t stop you from paying attention to your teachers; they don’t stop you from working hard. That’s down to you. So get on with it- keep and cultivate an enquiring mind and then when you encounter obstacles, formulate a plan to overcome them. Don’t do sod all and then complain that you are at a disadvantage.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Slackness of the Parent/Teacher/School dinner lady tax

The government should make it illegal for travel firms to double and sometimes triple their prices during school holidays. It is tantamount to an added tax on families , teachers and the poor people who work as support staff in schools.

A plane flying from here to the Caribbean uses the same amount of fuel in the end of February that it uses in the middle of August – it’s the same damn distance. The only reason these thieves charge more in the holidays is because they know that parents etc. have no choice but to holiday then. It is wicked and a disgrace.

I really think this issue should be taken up by parents and seriously lobbied for.

Also, an enterprising travel agent or holiday company willing to charge reasonable rates during the holidays could seriously command a massive chunk of the market and then force the other companies to behave decently. Any enterprising business people out there willing to take up the challenge?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

I have been remiss

I don’t take back my sentiments from yesterday’s post – but after watching the memorial service yesterday for MJ I was struck by one thing I had shamefully forgotten – On June 25th somebody’s daddy died and that is incredibly sad.

When MJ’s daughter said her piece it was a reminder that in the middle of all this there is a human tragedy and great loss.

As I said yesterday, the media and the public should not deify the man or gloss over things that were wrong but the family should also be comforted. Perhaps it is time for those who aren’t family to leave this all alone. And in that fashion . . .

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

MJ is dead but many are mourning the wrong departure

I don’t usually agree with much in the Daily Mail but take a look at this article. Basically this guy is saying that MJ was very likely a paedophile and people should not be lauding him to this degree while forgetting the real achievements and contributions of people like teachers and firemen.

Some may say why bring this up now he’s dead – it’s uncharitable and may hurt his loved ones. I say it needs to be brought up because people seem to have forgotten and seem to be saying, ‘yeah well, he may have molested a few kids but it’s alright because he was a great artist.’ This is dangerous thinking. Wrong is wrong – it doesn’t change just because someone dies.

Use his death to reflect on the problem of molested kids and the equally large problem of people ignoring this issue.

The departure of decency and god sense that the collective amnesia about child molestation is what should be mourned and it should lead us to act to prevent these crimes from being committed.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The argument for a republic

I am in favour of a republic for the UK.

People say we ‘only’ pay about 69p per person for the royal family. My point is why should we be paying anything at all? Here are the facts. All taxpayers – many of whom can barely make ends meet, contribute money towards a family who by the accident of birth are deemed royal. This family doesn’t work and they are given palaces and mansions to live in and lucrative estates which earn massive incomes. They are lauded as the cream of society and don’t ever have to worry about feeding themselves or having a roof over their heads.

This is not right in any circumstances but even more so in a recession.

Some argue that they are of tourist value. So they are – but are you telling me that if the UK became a republic then the royal family wouldn’t still be a tourist attraction?

I say get rid of their official status – make the lot of them earn a living by contributing to the economy. Lord knows it would probably allow them to have healthier family lives. And let us all eat by the sweat of our brows and be citizens of the country we contribute to instead of subjects to a family that contributes nothing.

Oh – and let us have a proper national anthem as well – something rousing about what our country means to us and how we will contribute to it. Not an entreaty for God to save the Queen who as head of the COE should already be saved in the Christian sense and certainly doesn’t need saving in any other