Monday 31 August 2009

Hey Mr bass man!

At the Scottish Tory conference nobody has the heart to tell David Cameron that he's forgotten to bring his double bass.

Saturday 29 August 2009

Holy hot air

Apparently atheists are responsible for global warming. It’s all our fault!

Well that’s according to that well known nutter who trades under the alias of ‘The Pope’

Info here...

Thursday 27 August 2009

Chip butty

Apparently the chip butty has not made it to the more rural parts of Norfolk.           

A work colleague called in to a chip shop in darkest Norfolk the other night and was met with icy stares from the locals queuing up for their fried delights. He asked the person serving if they did ‘chip butties’. The reply was in the negative. He then asked if they did buttered rolls. They did. So he said ‘I’ll have a buttered roll and a portion of chips please, and I’ll build my own’. The locals continued to stand stony-faced. Perhaps they were pondering on this amazing new learning. Perhaps they were trying to work out how to get one inside the other. Perhaps they were terrified by the strange magic of this very forward outsider. Who can say?

Who knows the chip butty might just catch on here in the next twenty years.

Things happen slowly in Norfolk.

Sunday 23 August 2009

Casino Royale

It’s easy to knock Royal Mail, loads of people do, sometimes it’s justified, sometimes not. I’ve always defended them on the grounds that they are a nationalised industry and that you would never get the universal coverage and delivery service for the price from a private company. Unfortunately the Royal Mail and me* have just fallen out of love.

For years now we’ve put up with receiving letters for other houses around us, our mail being delivered to other houses, days when there appears to be no delivery in our street, and expected post never ever arriving. Towards the end of last year tickets to see Tony Benn were, ironically, lost in the post! I’ve taken all this in good humour, until the other day. A week and a half ago there was a card through my door saying that they’d tried to deliver a parcel, no one was at home and it was too big to go through the letter box. This pissed me off because I knew that it wouldn’t be too big! Never the less I gracefully accepted that I would have to collect it and made arrangements to do so, fitting in with the sorting office’s unhelpful opening times. Guess what? They couldn’t find the bloody parcel. The poor postman came back all apologetic suggesting that it might have been sent back and that he would ‘check on the computer’. The speed it took him to do this would suggest that they do only have the one computer, and that it is probably a Commodore 64! By the time he returned a sizeable queue had been building up behind me, moaning, groaning and turning into a ‘lynching mob’. The unfortunate postman suggested that they would hunt for it and deliver it on Saturday. I left in a grumpy mood, never ever expecting to see the aforementioned package. How wrong I was. It arrived on Saturday as promised. Great service! It contained a couple ink cartridges, and yes they would have gone through the letterbox.

I don’t blame the poor old postmen and women for any of this. They are paid a pittance, ever increasing demands are made on them to do more and more, and as a consequence morale is low. The way that Royal Mail is run needs to change radically it’s a public service bozos and not a profit driven company. Trying to turn it into another DHL or UPS will just kill it as the market is saturated enough.

It could be that the universal postal delivery system is an anachronism and that it will fade as digital technology more and more embraces our lives. But it could still have a long life if it were to find out what its customers wanted. Is that too much to ask?

*yes I know it should be ‘the Royal Mail and I’ but I write colloquially!

Saturday 15 August 2009

We love the NHS

The Norfolk & Norwich Hospital has been great looking after my lady and her broken ankle. I love the NHS and I urge you to add your support.

"I have been profoundly moved by the enormous groundswell of support for the NHS in the last few days. A genuinely National Health Service ‘introduced by a Labour government in the teeth of opposition from the Conservatives and the medical establishment‘ is one of our nation’s finest achievements." - Gordon Brown

Thursday 6 August 2009

The Labour Party

I wrote a post a short while back connected with the democratic process. In it I suggested that I intended to join a political party. Well I’ve done just that. I've just rejoined the Labour Party after a gap of thirty years. Why did I leave all those years ago and why rejoin now?

I left the party in 1979 in what could be described as a marked manner, and had no intention of ever returning. I was so disgusted with the broad labour movement giving Margaret Thatcher such as easy ride to power that I just felt that I no longer belonged in a party and a wider movement that seemed hell bent on self destruction. My feelings were such that I couldn't stomach to witness the inevitable bloodbath that was surely about to happen. I’m glad I didn't hang around because as history affirms it turned out to be more of a massacre than perhaps many of us imagined.

Why rejoin now?
I suppose because I was so incensed by the MP’s expenses 'scandal'. I was incensed that parliament had allowed it to get to the state that it had become, but I was even more incensed at the general public’s reaction. How dare people criticise when they are not prepared to play a part in the democratic process I thought. Then I thought, well apart from vote at every election, what do I do? Democracy is more than just putting a cross on a piece of paper. Democracy is about debate and influencing decisions. The degree to which you do this is up to the individual and what they feel comfortable with, but it is a healthy democracy that has a high degree of engagement from the constituency at large.

So I have rejoined the Labour Party to reconnect with the democratic process. I'm not sure yet to what extent my involvement will be but I intend to play my part however small. Watch this space.