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Thursday, June 30, 2011


today the strikes are going on over the country.
no matter what happens the tories will claim that they show that the ordinary working people do not agree with public sector workers. no matter how many people come out on strike they will claim there was not enough support for it and they will start making noises about changing the rules that unions have to live by in order to call strikes (though they won't be quite so keen to apply the same logic to their roles).

but this isn't a blog about politics.
this is a blog to send a message out to a special person. a radical person. a caring person.

ems: get back to work!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


michael gove has called on a mum's army to keep the schools working when teachers go on strike. mr. gove also goes on about how teachers will lose public support if they go on strike.
i have no idea if the teachers are right to strike or not, but the fact that mr. gove is against it is good enough for me.
go teachers! go teachers!

(meanwhile vince cable is playing down the idea that there might be tougher anti-union laws coming from the coalition. there was a small piece in the news of the world (it was there i read it; i didn't buy it) going on about how there might be an attack on trade union benefits.
amazing how if you go on strike to protect your standard of living you are are cast as enemies of the state and need to be crushed.
if you happen to be a financial institution who fucked the world's economic system sideways you just get a pass and told to continue.
no wonder we don't trust the coalition (nothing to do with the fact the tories are part of it, not at all...)


look just shut up about the olympic tickets.
more people wanted tickets than there were tickets available - it really is that simple.
more people wanted to sit in the olympic stadium and watch the 100 metres final than there were seats available. get over it.
bradley wiggins and some swimmer have moaned that their family couldn't get tickets. boo fucking hoo. olympians get two tickets for each event they are in. some have mentioned that footballers and tennis players get more tickets when they are in cup finals or at wimbledon. perhaps i should point out that there are fewer players at both so the amounts of tickets to be given away is far far fewer. secondly, and perhaps more crucially, wimbledon and the fa cup (say) are both commercial events and the stadiums they take place in built with private money. in case you have forgotten the olympic stadium and park mostly built by state money (our money my friends, our money).
so bradley man up.
it is made even worse by the fact that most of the olympians will have benefitted from state funding in order for them to pursue their dreams (no matter what people say a well trained teacher or nurse will do more good for society than a host of linford christies). so it is doubly irksome when they seemingly have the attitude that the olympics is something for them and the rest of us are just lucky to be able to see it.
get real.

as bad as the atheletes are the moaners who didn't get tickets are even worse.
a popular event selling out - who would have thought it? i must be missing all the media coverage of glastonbury of people constantly complaining that they didn't get their ticket and that they will never listen to music ever again just because they aren't going.
sometimes life isn't fair.
get over it.

then the cynical part of me kicks in and i think that the london organising committee love this sort of thing as it is generating lots of interest in the games, making sure that the duff tickets are getting sold and there will be very few empty seats in any of the olympic venues.
clever stuff.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


david cameron has been over to europe for one of those there summits that that have. mr. cameron is always going on about how wasteful and extravagant the european council is - though he always seems happy to go on a jolly to brussels.
he is a bit miffed that there are plans to construct a new building to house the european council for mr. cameron this is just an outrageous waste of money. ignoring the keynesian aspect of it (public money creating wealth because of the spending power of the people employed on the project - oh hold on only the private sector can generate wealth: silly me), ignoring the ecological aspects: being purpose built it will be a sustainable bringing down the cost to the environment. you could even argue that a project that size in brussels might even mean a decrease in the number of johnny-east-europeans that the tories hate so much as they sit and fan their hate with a copy of the daily mail.

nope david cameron says of the building: "tt seems to me to do a perfectly good job of housing the european council. the microphones work, there is plenty of room and the food isn't bad either. what is the problem?"

he also says: ""you do wonder if these institutions actually get what every country and what every member of the public is having to go through, as we cut budgets and try and make our finances add up." a slightly longer version of the 'we are all in it together' formula that they like to spout - it is the sort of thing that had them walking to parliament on their first day (and i am sure they went cheap day eurostar for this trip).

but would this be the david cameron who, with his wife, had a second, brand spanking new kitchen installed in 10 downing street? they had said that they would pay the extra costs themselves, but that was for renovating the old one. mr. cameron also said his government would be more transparent with information about the costs of running the country, but it seems not so much when it comes to building a new kitchen.
i suppose if asked to comment i might say something like: "tt seems to me to do a perfectly good job as a kitchen. the hob works, there is a toaster and the food isn't bad either. what is the problem? you do wonder if these rich tory toffs actually get what every member of the public is having to go throug?"

don't you worry dave. i know you are thinking of me when you dip your toast into boiled egg, becuase like you i know we are all in it together - the only problem is you are standing on our sholders watching us suffer.


someone told me that it was going to be blistering tomorrow.
i am already suffering now. lawks knows what i am going to be like tomorrow then.
sweat monster most probably.

Friday, June 24, 2011


i am plum tuckered out. not been this tired for a looooong time.
almost fallen alseep at the computer. time for me to go and sleep before i collapse.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


there is a lot going on in the world at the moment.
just think of british members of parliament who have a lot on their plate - there is the deficit; there is afghanistan and libya; there is the reforms of the nhs and education to name just a few. for most people that would be enough.
amazingly they are debating whether or not 'wild' animals should be used in the circus.
adding irony to the mix the mp  who has brought this before the house is a tory: the party who wants to overturn the ban on fox hunting. slaughtering foxes is ok, but getting an elephant to stand on its back-legs is a terrible effront to the the animal's dignity.
so remember:
foxes dead - ok.
zebras prancing  - bad.
i can almost follow the logic and that worries me.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


friend laid to rest.
words spoken.
tears shed.
reminders of the past.
time to move on, time to get back to life, time to remember all the good thngs we have.


suit - newly bought (ill fitting).
shirt - newly bought (still in wrapper).
black tie - used a few times (plain).
boots - black (not shined).
train ticket - waiting (still have to pay for it).
time of departure - set (will i get there in time).
book - ready (something short and light).

all ready.
i am off on a summer funeral. fun for all the family.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


we hated margaret thatcher when she told us that the ‘lady is not for turning’. for some her conviction politics was a sign of strength to the rest of us it was a sign of dogmatic certainty in the face of the suffering she was causing.
there are times when you expect politicians to stick to their guns, even if you don’t agree with them. blair and the iraq war springs to mind; even the coalition and their deficit reduction schemes. it might be something we don’t like but we can see what it is they are doing and we can even understand why they are doing.

we elected politicians to make laws and make the big decisions – no one ever agrees 100& of the time with everything the party they voted for says (often the members of parliament do not fully agree with their parties). that is part and parcel of politics.

we also expect politicians, and the government, to listen to us. we moan when they don’t heed what we say (think of the anti war marches). yet when they do listen and change their stance they are quickly accused of u-turns and weakness. david cameron is suffering that today with the announcement that the prison term discount plan had been dropped because it was ‘too lenient’. to most people the plan had some advantages but it quickly became obvious that in order to make sure that ‘bad’ criminals didn’t get the discount that it would have too many caveats as to be workable; that plus public (well media) opinion meant it was dead in the water.

the coalition withdrew the plan. they responded to the public. they did their job. yay them. or so you would think.

nope the labour party is quick to call it a u-turn when really it is part of government: they come up with ideas; we let them know how we feel.

i don’t see them changing their minds as one of weakness but of good government.

i do see the labour parties approach to calling it a u-turn as short sighted, they should be pointing out how they helped persuade the government to review and change their plans: except that isn’t an interesting sound bite. so you have ed miliband saying: "the prime minister has to ask how did he get himself into the position of making a proposal which wasn't thought through. it is yet another example of this government not being in touch with people and making proposals which they then have to abandon."

cameron and co. would argue that the fact they had changed their view demonstrates that they are indeed in touch with the people. where miliband is right is that this is another example of a half-thought through idea launched into the public domain without much consideration to the outcry it would cause. miliband’s attack shouldn’t have been on the fact that the government has changed its stance but that it had changed its stance once again, that this is a government that doesn’t know what it is trying to do, that it doesn’t think things through and just shoots from the political strategy hip.

ed, just for you, i give you this suggestion: don’t bother telling us about the u-turns as such, we don’t really care as often we have to do such things each day. instead keep reminding us that it is yet another half-baked idea and that the changes have come because you, the labour party, have convinced the government of the error of their ways. otherwise the constant sniping from the sidelines just comes across as ‘told you so’ but without you having offered something in return. because if all you have to offer is letting us know where cameron has slipped up you are not getting back into power.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


the tories gave us "get on your bike".
won't be long before they start chanting "cripples work for free".
just got to love them.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


had a situation at work that had me breaking out in a cold sweat and coming close to shitting myself.
i am pretty sure i have a few more white hairs now.
left me pooped with worry. so tired now i can just about stay awake to write this - which is upsetting as i have just seen something where my pals at the cbi have wittered on about the government being afraid of union attacks and public backlashes.
this has meant that the coalition has 'lost its way' on public sector reforms.
it might also be that with each of the promised 'reforms' it looks as if the coalition (well the tories) have rushed headlong into without actually thinking it through only to discover that oooops the only people who really agree with the 'reforms' are those who are going to make money out of them.
here's hoping the leaders of the cbi are choking on their nightcaps.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


do you remember when the conservatives were banging on about no more top-down initiatives, no more targets driven from the centre. localism and let those who do make the choices.
this move away from central diktat framed in the talk of the market, of the free-spirit. unchain the slumbering beast of initiative and see how it can do the job so much better than central government. a lovely thought - one that ignores the fact that most very large companies are centrally run - sure the local branches may have a say in some small minor detail or two but they are no calling the shots, they are operating by central command. back in my past life i couldn't get  changes made unless i managed to persuade a vice-president an ocean away.
for all that we hate bureaucracy and red tape we also know that it is necessary. frankly i don't want the police to be free to pull over someone they suspect without having to fill out the paperwork. nor do i want to see hospitals run on the memory and whim of a few of the people working in the admin section. i want to know that they all know what they are supposed to be doing and who is supposed to be doing it.
at the same time i quite like the idea that everyone is, in theory, able to get access to the same service in schools, hospitals, social service etc. that policy is set by those we elect to run the country - after all it is why we voted them in.

so it will come as no surprise that i support michael (evil ventriloquist doll) gove's move to proscribe an ambitious target of gcse passes in secondary schools.
admittedly i am sure that there is an agenda attached to the move (the cynic in me reckons he is hoping local education services schools fail to meet this target and they all get taken over by chris woodhead and other private providers of education), but national recognisable targets are, in and of themselves, not something to be feared.

though if you remember all the blather and jibber jabber of david cameron et al such things are to be feared.
perhaps the tories are discovering that you do need targets and performance indicators when you are running a country and that when you run a country you have to set national standards from the centre.
i would like to think that they are all breaking out in hives having to do it, but we all know they are loving being in charge.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


isn't the situation with southern cross care homes a perfect example of just why the profit motive can't work when it comes to basic care of people?

meanwhile the 'evening standard' reveals that some commuters into london face fares approaching £10,000 a year. philip hammond, transport secretary (and someone who gets free transport and claimed almost the maximum amount possible for his second home, even though he lived in the commuter belt - hey it is a good way to help pay for those rail fares. he has said he would pay any profits he made on his second home into the public purse. oh in case you are wondering mr. hammond is minted) defends what could be double digit rises for some fares because they are needed to fund key improvements to the rail network.

so where are the benefits of privatisation? for years there has been subsidies to most of the rail companies, but prices have risen, services have declined (or been restructured so that they appear to be on target). now that there are to be 'key improvements' (with less government money) the rail companies use that entreprenurial know-how, that can-do approach, that efficiency driven method that we need in public services and ... oh they just put the prices up.
fuck me ragged with a railway siding, but if that is all that is needed to be seen as some gung-ho cheif executive where do i sign up.
after all how hard can it be to solve your problems with a simple 'raise the fares'. see i did it just there.
look i will do it again 'raise the fares'. simple.

in a way we should be happy that cameron has had a serious rethink on he national health service (showing for once that he is a serious politician - not that i think the nhs is safe in his hands if he gets a mandate for a second term), at least we won't be subjected to having to see prices escalate in hospitals just because the only way to make them profitable will be to squeeze the patien... sorry the customer dry.

Monday, June 13, 2011


like most people i have a lot of pals, mates, muckers and chums.

i do not have many friends, i have been blessed with a group of friends i don’t really deserve, but sometimes you get lucky.

the last fortnight has been a very mixed one. i got to spend time with one of my oldest friends, adam, someone i haven’t seen for a very long time. he was visiting the country for the first time in 17 years. we chewed the breeze, we shot the shit, and we put the world to rights. part of the reason for him being here was a school reunion. it won’t surprise people to know i am not big on school reunions. why? because i am a miserable bastard.

surprise surprise, i had a good time. i only talked to a few people, but it was enough. anjuna looked as lovely as she did all those years ago. aside from much less hair andy could have been the same teenager who built his own synthesiser. janet looked even more gorgeous than when she was in the 6th form and i felt the pangs of unrequited love i had for her back then (ah the joy of angst ridden 6th form poetry from a broken heart – don’t worry i won’t repeat any of it). as we talked the years slipped away and i could remember being back in the sixth form telling jokes, making up wild stories, planning a band (well several in fact – even though i had no musical talent).

the evening ended. i was sad to see them go, best of all there were no false promises to keep in touch. the evening was what it was: a small reminder of what it was like to be a teenager with no cares in the world.

a few days later adam has to return to the states.

all is back to normal.

a few days later i am trying to contact another friend, emma woods, in order to get her to contact an old colleague as he needs some information from her. the number he has for her doesn’t work. the number i have for her just gets a ‘please try again message’. in the end i contact someone else to see if he has another number for her. a day or so later i get a message from him to phone him.

i do.

i get the news that emma is dead. no one is sure how. we are still waiting to know.

i don’t have a coherent picture of my friendship with emma. we met through work. it was a fiery relationship – full of rows and arguments. we loved each other in the way only friends can do. we shared ups and downs. we talked about serious stuff, we talked about silly stuff. we loved comics and movies. we hated each other’s music. she was there when i developed my man crush on bruce willis: the night we went to see die hard 2 in the prince charles cinema, just before she flew out to los angeles to work. we called each other late at night just to swap burps and swear words. she was one of the creators of the ‘geppi heads’ an event that still makes me smile, but it can’t be explained to anyone who wasn’t there.

as with many things we grew apart and as friends are wont came back together again. things had changed for both of us, but it didn’t matter we could still swear, we could still burp, we could still talk shit.

emma was intelligent, talented, outspoken, infuriating, passionate, argumentative and annoying. most of all, most importantly, she was my friend, and i was lucky to know her.

i will miss her.


i have a love hate relationship with amazon. in a previous life i hated having to deal with amazon, they made the life of a supplier a misery – for all their sophistication they could get their orders spectacularly wrong and we would have to bear the cost of that.

i love getting books cheap. i love getting books delivered to me.

there is something wonderful about having a package turn up at work, ripping it open and seeing a book you have ordered all new and waiting to be read. it makes the day.

what i hate about amazon is that something so simple can be so irritating.

i can order books that are in stock on a sunday night and not see them until the following week. meanwhile one of my work colleagues can order on a monday and get it tuesday! so it seems can my pal paul! why am i singled out for such poor treatment? i have no idea.

ok i will cheat the system. i will order on a saturday. ha! that will fool them. that will confuse them and i will have the books monday or tuesday. reeeeeeesult.

it was a nice plan. i made the cardinal error of ordering a books that wasn’t in stock and not due into stock for a week or so. both books i have ordered are sitting there. staring at me.

i needed cheering up so i decided i would place a second order on sunday. this time i have made sure all the books are in stock. they have them all and soon i will have them. oh yeah. i instruct amazon that i want them to go cheapest delivery and i want them to go in the fewest parcels (i care about the environment you see).

three books, all in stock. one delivery. midweek. sorted. happy pat.

a simple plan.

i look at the progress of my order. all three books are in stock. one is being processed. the other two are like the earlier books i have ordered just sitting there waiting.

i look again. no change. one book being processed. the other two still waiting.

i look again. one book has been despatched – by royal mail and no tracking to it. the other two books still sitting there. so that is 3 books in stock just sat there doing nothing, and one book waiting for a restock to arrive. one book on its way to me.

so much for the smallest number of packages.

i have no idea why they have sent just one book of an order of 3, when all are in stock. i have no idea why they take so long to deliver to me.

it is like amazon is out there persecuting me, they are picking on me, making my life a misery.

it is not fair.

i call on amazon to free the three books they have of mine and deliver them now. now i say.

amazon doesn’t care. they know i will be back.

the bastards.

Thursday, June 09, 2011


it seems every government has to have one. new labour had prescott, the coalition has eric pickles.
mr. pickles is the communities secretary who is very keen on pushing 'localism' at people except in circumstances where the local people disagree and then it is all about the power of central government.
mr. pickles has a new wheeze - he wants to rent out the foyer of his office block to a well respected (and well heeled) chain retailer. he says it will bring money into the state's coffers, and as all good supporters of the coalition know we are in the middle of the worst deficit ever all caused by blah blah bloody fucking blah blah and we are all in it toblahblah.
some retail guru's have poured cold water over the idea (those simple naysayers) claiming that there isn't enough floor space to make it worthwhile.
they have no vision - mr. pickles does. he knows if it can work in his foyer then he can launch a range of starbucks (or such like) in everyone of the jobcentres in the country. not only can you sign on, not only can you get a coffee but you can also train for a career in the food industry.
once they have been cracked expect all the royal palaces to sport a coffee shop and supermarket or two.
think how much they could get if each of the members of parliament were sponsored - something like a cross-between a snooker player with one logo on the waistcoat and a formula 1 driver with lots plastered all over. you can see it now clegg stepping up to give his deputy leader speech festooned with the sponsorshp logos of the various universities who have raised their fees to £9k a year.
the house of commons would be brightened up by hanging large advertising banners from the roof. it would make money and let the country know who is really in charge.
once you have done that mr. pickles open up buck house to a retail chain - they must have enough space in there to have a small mall there.

however if you have seen mr. pickles you know there is one reason and one reason alone why he has decided to get a chain food store in there and it has nothing to do with deficit busting,
mr, pickles has decided that it is too far to walk in order to get a nice cheap sarnie, so he has decided to let the sandwiches and cakes come to him. after all it takes a great deal of work to get a body like mr. pickles.
just remember to make sure you don't have crumbs on your chin before your next appearance on local tv.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


i didn't get any of the olympic tickets i ordered. boo hoo.
me and a million others.
while a pal of mine got all that he ordered and he is as happy as larry.
the outpouring of whinging from the people who didn't get their tickets was pretty amazing. 'oh i didn't get what i ordered - i am no longer interested in the olympics' 'i ordered lots of tickets and i didn't get any: it's a fix' 'i don't know anyone who got tickets' and on and on and on.
even boris johnson got in on the act bleating on about how disappointed that he didn't get any of the tickets he ordered.
yes boris, how i feel for you. i might have had more sympathy for you if it wasn't for the fact that as the mayor you will be getting to be there. now that you have told us all that you didn't get any tickets for the olympics, you might make sure that you don't go to any of the events that you have mayoral tickets for. of course that won't happen.
still you have given the impression you are just like us, so don't feel too guilty when you squat in those best in the house seats that you no doubt have.
or you could prove me wrong.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


had a bit of a break. an old friend was over from the states so we spent time hanging out, chewing the breeze and shooting the shit. didn't leave much time for doing this.
while away from this went to a school reunion. normally i wouldn't go to such a thing but my friend had arranged it so i was honour bound to go.
i was glad i went.
it wasn't the borefest i thought it might be.
the old stomping grounds were pretty much as you expected them to be with changes thrown in to make it feel like it was fresh.
there were even a few people i was pleased to see. odd how you won't see someone for thiry-years or so and yet you can remember their gestures and quirks from when you knew them at school: that familiarity reminding you why you liked them in the first place.
for something i didn't want to go to i had a good time. i think i even learnt a few things about myself: some good, some bad.
best of all there was no 'let's keep in touch, let's exchange contact details' type of thing (which probably tells you all you need to know about how popular i was at school...), it was just a brief meeting and remembering of a shared past.

reunion done and dusted.
friend has gone back to the states.
things are almost back to normal, albeit with some thoughts about some changes that i need to make.

enough of that.
all you need to know is that i am back and i will be ranting and raving in a much ado about nothing kind of style.

go on admit - you have missed it.