Archive of Postings to December 2016

28-Dec-2016

Unfinished Business

Looking back at the year here in the UK there have been some major decisions taken. After years of delays there was the choice of Heathrow over Gatwick for an extra runway. And, at last, an agreement on a new nuclear power station for Hickley Point. Plus, of course, the once in a life time chance to have a vote on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

2016YearReview1But on reflection many promises and plans failed to reach their targets and objectives. Some never even left the launch pad.

In politics, of course, the big one was the vote where the populus refused to be pressured into accepting a future tied to building a single European super state. But six months later and the actual implementation of this critical decision is still stuck in quicksands around parliament and delayed by legal processes. Clearly the people’s decision was not the one that the power brokers wanted to hear or can now accept.

In transport we had another year where HS2 kept consuming public funds at an alarming rate but without actually laying any tracks. This prestige project has already taken longer to get to this point than it took the Victorian navvies to complete an entire railway between the same two stations - by hand. But at least some lower profile railway projects did produce results. For example the delivery of the first of the Hitachi Intercity Express trains being built at Newton Aycliffe, County Durham. As reported here before these new trains - and others proposed - will be able to cut journey times using existing tracks. In fact, well before the HS2 links arrive at Leeds and Manchester, these new trains could be providing nearly the same journey times as HS2 - for much less cost and lower fares.

In energy any electricity from Hickley Point is still decades away and it feels like only a succession of mild winters will avoid major black-outs as demand continues to climb but capacity steadily falls. The idea that all new homes would be zero-carbon was quietly abandoned. While the smart meter project limped along - costing more but achieving less. And extra gas from fracking will not be around to help - as a combination of indecisive leadership and grass roots protests crippled all attempts at drilling.

In the media the year is probably best described as familiar. The press stuck to the traditional views of themselves and the world at large. While the BBC continued to claim it was both politically neutral and seriously underfunded. So still living in a world of its own. One day someone will bring reality to bear on the claim that we are all happy to pay the TV tax as good value for money ... but that’s some way off.

In sport things looked much brighter in 2016. Everywhere there were victories, records and medal winners. A truly memorable year that will be hard to match. While it is true that England continued to fall short of expectations in the national game - football - again; the other home nations did a good job at making amends. Sometimes having the richest league does not help build a winning national team.

So it is probably best to look back at 2016 as the year of sporting success - and forget all the other issues. At least until life returns to normal early in January!

tags: 2016, retrospective, year passed

 

5-Dec-2016

More Delays Mrs May

Today sees the start of a second legal process to give a further opinion about who needs to be consulted before the EU withdrawal letter can be sent. A process expected to take us past the six month anniversary of the vote and into 2017.

Yet this is a legal process that need never have happened. If the Prime Minister had accepted the outcome of the previous court ruling and tabled the minimal withdrawal bill before parliament the issue could have already been resolved. This expensive and time consuming approach of appealing to the supreme court does call into question Mrs May’s judgement and even her motives. Since as things stand she has not actually completed any of the steps needed to implement leaving the EU.

BreakOutEUchains2bTo quote the official Government web site -

A once in a generation decision

The referendum on Thursday, 23 June is your chance to decide if we should remain in or leave the European Union.

The government believes it is in the best interests of the UK to remain in the EU.

This is the way to protect jobs, provide security, and strengthen the UK’s economy for every family in this country – a clear path into the future, in contrast to the uncertainty of leaving.

This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide.

And we all know that despite continual pressure from both the Government and the opposition parties over an extended period our majority decision was to leave.

So when will the current government - or indeed any replacement government - actually make it happen? These constant delays and attempts to redefine what Leave means are getting very frustrating ...

tags: waiting, Brexit, no news, more costs, less opportunities

 

3-Dec-2016

Rewriting History

BreakOutEUchains2wThe British public would be voting, if we Leave, to leave the EU and leave the Single Market - David Cameron, Prime Minister in BBC TV interview broadcast nationally 12-Jun-2016.

We’d be out of the Single Market, that’s the reality, Britain would be quitting, quitting the Single Market - George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer in BBC TV interview broadcast nationally 8-Jun-2016.

And all of the Remain campaigns boldly stated what a vote to leave would mean. Most of their material is still online and can easily be checked by anyone unable to remember as far back as June.

Yet this week we have - there should be a second referendum because people did not know what they were voting for - Sarah Olney, LibDem MP on BBC TV. A view supported by her party leader.

So now we have the surreal situation that Remain politicians are saying that their own party’s pre-referendum statements - and involvement in Project Fear - never actually happened. A denial of the truth that even Paul Joseph Goebbels would have struggled to sell.

tags: waiting, Brexit, no news, more costs, less opportunities

 

1-Dec-2016

No News Is Bad News

Break Out Of EU ChainsWe start another month without any form of public admissions or signs of progress on that most basic step towards leaving the EU - written notice.

It is twenty-three weeks since the UK voted to leave. Everyone knows the official result - not just in the UK but throughout Europe - especially the Brussels politicians. Yet we are going through a charade of delays and petty arguments about who needs to be told, by whom, where and when before the withdrawal notice can be officially issued.

Everyone already knows the people’s decision. How can all these delays and arguments be expected to change the result? What is the point of putting off any useful discussions with the EU until the end of March 2017? Why does it take so many politicians, advisors and civil servants to put into writing what is already *!# obvious?

Every week that the UK delays means another week of sending millions of pounds to Brussels never to be seen again. But more critically it also means another week of lost opportunities for Britain to promote itself in world markets. Oh how we want to break free!

tags: waiting, Brexit, 23 weeks, no news, more costs, less opportunities

 

28-Nov-2016

Meme of the Day

Clueless Tim Brexit Vote

tags: Brexit, vote denier, clueless, LIbDem, leader, ET

 

23-Nov-2016

Meme of the Day

Waiting_Bexexit-2

tags: waiting, Brexit, five months, missing, kidnap, randsom

 

22-Nov-2016

Meme of the Day

FlamesHell3a

tags: dictator, corruption, ruin, suffering, Africa

 

18-Nov-2016

End of a Battle

Today officially marks 100 years since the end of the Battle of the Somme. A phase in the First World War that inflicted death or injury on over one million soldiers of all nations. It is hard to say if either side gained anything - or indeed if the battle really did finish on 18 Nov 1916. But the losses were so great and so many families were effected that the date will be remembered for a few more generations at least.

Scan_site062w

More centenaries of events will continue to be remembered during two further years - putting into perspective just how long the Great War dragged on and how trivial some of today’s concerns are in comparison. However we still have values that need to be defended and sometimes that defense will lead to a life or death struggle. For no matter how civilised we think we are there will always be nature’s self-preservation instinct waiting just below the surface.

tags: WW1, anniversary, Europe, Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Somme, Western Front

 

16-Nov-2016

Meme of the Day

San ISIL disinfectant

tags: disinfects, germs, smells, strong, wipes out, vintage

 

15-Nov-2016

Pointless Predictions

ExpressWeatherSep2016aAt the end of September newspaper headlines gave us the news that in six weeks time we would start a four month period of heavy snow and a big freeze. Much the same story as the one printed last February and before that in October 2015.

Now those six weeks have passed without any sign of the predicted white-out. In fact the mild 14 degrees we had yesterday prompted our rose bush to open one last bloom before winter starts. If it ever does start, that is, since for years the Daily Express has been printing incredible stories about the weather that turn out to be wildly inaccurate. Undeterred the Express has further hyped the weather predictions with the latest headline - BRITAIN will be colder than Antarctica this week when temperatures plummet to -11C. Let’s see how near the truth that one turns out to be ...

So why does the Express keeping printing them? Who knows - or cares? One day they may be right - but no one will have taken any notice. Such a pity to see what was once a reputable newspaper become little more than a comic. A comic that undermines the credibility of causes that it claims to be supporting.

tags: spin, incompetence, crying wolf, sloppy journalism

 

14-Nov-2016

Meme of the Day

Phone Home Tim

tags: ET, extra terrestrial, LIbDem, leader, alien

 

Earlier postings ...

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FOOTNOTES

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