Wednesday, January 30, 2008


United States of Advertising

What is about new laws in America in that they now need to be marketed by giving them friendly sounding names - the Patriot Act and the Protect America Act. WTF?

It's all marketing to try and trick people into thinking that these new laws are all about "being patriots" or "protecting America", which is of course complete rubbish. It's all about keeping the population under control and snooping into your private lives.


Cronyism is Rife in the Government

So Derek Conway has gone, and good ridance.

But one fact that it has brough up is that cronyism is rife. One "defence" giving by Derek's friends was that he only employed his sons and wife and "everyone does that".

In any other industry this would be cronyism, but for an MP it's seen as a normal option, even though the extent of the "work" carried out by the MP's family is completely unknown to anyone else, and it is all paid for by the taxpayer.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Holiday girls held in orphanage after mother fell ill

A mother whose two teenage daughters were placed in an orphanage when she fell ill during a post-Christmas shopping trip to New York has been told she is under investigation because her children were taken into care.

This is scary for anyone going to the US.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Private Prisons - Terrible Idea

Whoever decided that private prisons were in any way a good idea needs a brain scan. How can it be a good idea? Just like everything "private", a company's objective is to make as much money as possible. Hang the consequences. A long time ago, someone told me something that is very true: IBM doesn't make computers, Microsoft don't make software. They both make money.

The main problem is this conflict of interest. A private prison makes money, so obviously, the more prisoners they have, the more money they make. So where is their incentive to prevent re-offending? That would lose them money! And why should they spend any more than the bare minimum at keeping the prisoners alive? That would eat directly into their profits!

It's no surprise that private prisons come bottom of the league table. I just hope that if I, as an innocent person, get locked away for 28 days without trial, that it's not one of these hell-holes.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


The Terrorists Have Beaten Hull

An amateur photographer has told how police seized his film as he was out taking snaps in a Hull shopping centre.

This is the result of the Governments efforts at tackling terrorism - creating such distrust and fear that taking a photograph is now deemed serious enough that the public feel the need to report it to the police, and the police feel the need to confiscate the film.


To all those striking over pay

If you don't like your wages, get another job. And if you can't get another job, maybe you don't even deserve the wages you get with the one you've got. You knew what you were going to get paid when you took the job on. Why complain now, just cos you didn't get the increase you were hoping for? It's called greed.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


Canada Loses it's Bottle

The Canadian foreign minister has apologised for including the US and Israel on a list of states where prisoners are at risk of torture.

What, like the US and Israel don't torture?


UK's First Tazer Death?

So much for being "non-lethal". A man has died after he was shot with a police stun gun in Bedford.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


PFI Black Hole

Wonder where you taxpayers money is going to? The majority seems to be going to private companies via the PFI scheme for schools and hospitals:-

Notice board: £149.71
Installing plug socket: £302.30
Lock: £486.54
Desk: £1,000
Supplying and fitting a data point: £398.30

Once the company owns the facility, the school or hospital have no choice but to pay them. Did no-one see this coming?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Europe Now Biggest Threat to US Security

(From the BBC). Just a few days ago it was Iran. Make your mind up!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Owning what you pay for

It's a fading concept, and these days do you rarely "own" what you actually pay for. When you buy software, you'll find you're not buying the software, but rather buying a licence to use the software.

It seems that tickets (to, say, concerts) are going a similar way. MPs have said that "Artists and sports bodies should share profits from tickets resold". Why are these special?

If I buy a car, and then want to sell it on, Nissan don't get any of the money. The same goes for almost everything else I own. What's the difference with tickets? If I was to buy one, and wanted to sell it on, why shouldn't I be able to? I own it! The band who are putting on the show already have their money at the price they wanted, but it seems they want more. Why didn't they just sell the ticket for a higher price?


Iraq - Apathy Sets In

It seems that people are getting bored with being reminded that there is a war going on Iraq, and that's why it's not making the front-page news any more.

However, let's not forget that we did go to war (to find WMDs that didn't exist) and the latest count puts it that approx 151,000 Iraqis have died as a result between March 2003 and June 2006.

The problem is, when talking about figures like that, it's just a statistic to people. Without witnessing the deaths, it's just a number. It might as well be 15 million. Maybe putting it other ways would be better: it's approximately 50 September 11th's.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008


"Administrative Failings"

Cabinet minister Peter Hain has apologised for failing to register some of the donations given to his Labour deputy leadership campaign. Although he declared donations of £82,000, the Guardian newspaper claims the real figure may be over £100,000.

The Work and Pensions Secretary said he blamed "administrative failings".

So if I don't pay my car tax on time, can I use the excuse of "it was an administrative failing"?

Which is the more serious? Not paying car tax on time, or a politician accepting money and not revealing it? I don't see Peter Hain being fined. Is it just me, but when politicans suddenly "discover" that they've not registered a donation, all tyey do is then register it, and that's all. What about fining them? And what about all the undiscovered donations?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Arguing with the Halifax

I'll get straight to the point: I moved house recently, and increased the mortgage in the process to cover the extra cost. A few days after moving, I received a letter from the Halifax stating that I owed about £2,000 in early repayment fee, which was a surprise to me. I phoned them up, and it turned out that I didn't have to pay it, because I was staying with the same company for my mortgage.

However, I wanted to know why I had been sent it in the first place. It had been sent to me before we actually moved (i.e. before the new mortgage came into effect) but due to moving house and slow mail over Xmas, I only received it after we'd moved. Anyway, the man at the Halifax said it was because at the time it was sent, there was no link between the old mortgage and the new mortgage (because they never exist at the same time - one ends, the next one starts immediately), so there was no way for "the computer" to know that I was staying with the same company for my new mortgage.

However, the Halifax must have know that it was me with the old mortgage and me that's getting a new mortgage, otherwise how else would they know to give me the money? Surely the fact that the name is the same on both mortgages, as is most of the other details (apart from the address).

The trouble with these arguments is that they get tedious very quickly, and even if I did convince the man on the end of the phone that their computer system could be better, it's not like the Halifax is going to suddenly mobilise an army of programmers to make it better.

Mortgage comnpanies seem to expect you to have a degree in Mortgage-ology. When I moved, all I wanted to do was increase my mortgage. Simple as that. But their process is paying off the original mortgage, starting a new mortage for the same amount at the same interest rate, and starting another new mortgage for the difference between the previous two, but at the current going interest rate.

Moving house, and in particular, getting a mortgage, is one of the most deliberately over-complicated and expensive things (where they add various miscellaneous charges - £50 to post you the deeds for example), and the sooner I can pay mine of the better. In this world though, we have no choice.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?