So Soon!

Grandads may find this hard to believe but .. submissions for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest have to be in by next Tuesday.

EuroSong1As always finding the UK entry is down to the BBC – and their plan is that all public entries will be carefully considered and shortlisted by a representative panel of official UK Eurovision fan club (OGAE UK) members. At the same time, entries are also being sought from leading professional songwriters, including BASCA members, with guidance from Record Industry Executive and Music Consultant for the BBC, Hugh Goldsmith.

And we expect the same dismal result for the UK as last year unless the in-built voting bias can be overcome with a truly spectacular song. However, after the Brexit vote, the quality of the song may not be a deciding factor. But perhaps Graham can reduce the damage, in Kiev next May, by issuing a groveling apology on behalf of the senile old voters who forced such a terrible result on the elite and glitterati …

New Independence Move

While attention was directed at Scotland a second part of the UK has been working towards staying in the European Union. In an unpredicted move Hoxton has become the next to announce its aim of breaking with Westminster and switching its allegiance to Brussels.

HOXTON_300Leaked documents reveal that the Hoxton Independence Party (HIP) have been making plans since July and will soon be ready to launch their independence manifesto. So going public well before the UK Government gives notice to quit the EU.

When contacted the HIP spokesperson, Nikolai Popescu, said that the party would “work with others across the political divide to try to save Hoxton from the fate of a hard Brexit. We will demand the powers to keep Hoxton in the single market even if the UK opts to leave. But if the Westminster government rejects our demands and insists on taking Hoxton down a path that hurts our economy, costs jobs, lowers our living standards and damages our reputation as an open, welcoming, diverse region, then be in no doubt that Hoxton must have a second vote on EU membership and its ultimate independence. San Marino, Andorra and the Vatican have shown that small, land-locked communities can survive and prosper in Europe. Power to Hoxtonia Europa!”

We await developments with interest ..

We Can’t Afford To Be Without It

I’d like to take the opportunity to remind people why HS2 is so important for the West Midlands. Put simply, we can’t afford to be without it. HS2 is an opportunity to create jobs, bring investment and build for future generations. It is an opportunity to provide better and faster links for our region, not just to London but to the north of England and Scotland as well as Europe. Centro Chief Executive, Geoff Inskip 19-Aug-2011

Heckerslyke_160And yet now, a full five years later, the High Speed Rail 2 project continues to burn up our taxes without having laid a single metre of track. This lack of track construction is because the project needs further government approvals before it can be deemed to have started. A surreal situation considering how much support work is already in progress and contractually committed. Work that will have to be largely written off if the project was stopped or fails to deliver.

Earlier this week came the news that a You Gov survey in Birmingham has found that 51% of people in the city think HS2 will be a waste of money while only 32% thought HS2 is a good investment. Yet only yesterday Prime Minister Theresa May confirmed that the government would press ahead with HS2 development.

So despite changes in some senior positions and declining support in the city with the most to gain HS2 remains a project that has become too big to stop. Sadly when it does eventually become operational it will be London that will gain at the expense of Birmingham. But at least Birmingham and Doncaster will have their new National Colleges for High Speed Rail and the promise of some graduate level engineers for future projects. Let us hope that it’s UK applicants that get preference now that EU constraints are on the way out.

Are We There Yet?

This year was going to be the year of the smart meter for energy suppliers. And as Grandad reported in August the Smart Data Communications network was due to be declared live last Friday. However no announcement has appeared on the company’s website and Which? are exclusively reporting that the live date has slipped again.

Newsman1_160Now Grandad is not recommending that anyone opts for a smart meter anytime soon. So this delay should not cause any direct concerns. In fact each delay gives the top level policy makers that extra bit of time to reconsider the scope of the EU-directed grand plan.

But the network will surely go live soon and then the energy companies will renew their efforts to convince us that smart meters are good for us. Even if the current Mark 1 meters do not allow you to switch suppliers later. But one thing that the Which? report did not say is that this network live date is only for Version 1.2 of the network. It really needs to have the extra functionality of Version 1.3 and that is not promised until the end of November 2016. Or rather it was promised for then before the latest slippage. So it looks like 2016 will slip away before the network is actually fully functional .. no surprises there I guess.