Monday, January 31, 2005

Greatest English Footballers of all time

The Football Association (FA) have managed to make yet another balls up. This time the open goal was a DVD, "The Pride of The Nation", of the greatest English (Is that racist!?!) footballers of all time. The 30 minute DVDs were to be given to new England fans when it was discovered that none of the greatest were black. At this point I should declare that I have no interest in football, would struggle to name twenty great players and would have even more of a problem discussing their relative merits!!

However, it does strike me that if, in their humble opinion, the greatest twenty players happen to be white, then so be it. The FA should have been able to foresee this problem and nipped it in the bud by being racist intitially (!!) and having a quota of "non-white" players. By withdrawing the DVD, they have presumably accepted that their choice was racist and will try harder. They are left with one final dilemma, do they now remove some of these players and replace them with (in their judgement) not such good players that are "non-white" or do they make it an hour long DVD featuring more players, the majority of whom will just happen to be non-white?

Sunday, January 30, 2005

How much did their house cost?

Wouldn't it be great if you knew how much your new neighbour's house cost!?! Especially in such a property and home ownership obsessed country where prices are apparently going up or down by £100s each month. Rather than have to ask the embarrasing question, "How much did you pay?", you can now find out all the nitty gritty for just £2.

All you need to do is obtain the postcode and speak to the officials over at the Land Registry in the UK. Not only will you discover how much was paid, but you will also be able to discover your new neighbours' full names and the mortgage company providing the finances to pay for the house!!

The only problem with that is if you are the purchaser, frankly, there is no reason I can see why your neighbours should need to know any of these details. It's a private transaction that should not be open to public scrutiny. Why do the provisions of the Data Protection Act not apply in this case? Can public access to such information assist in future Identity theft cases?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

EU attempt to ban the Swastika

It would be a struggle to find anyone suggesting that the Swastika is viewed in a positive light following the Nazi adoption of this ancient religious symbol. However, it doesn't mean that it should be banned across Europe!! It's not a liberal thing to do and should history be airbrushed out in this way?

Even if it is banned, how long should it be banned for? 10 years? 50 years, 1000 years? To keep things even, I assume the crucifix will also be banned as it was a symbol of repression, torture and destruction during the middle ages and is still divisive across the world these days?

How about banning the Hammer and Sickle following the millions of deaths in the name of communism around the world over the past one hundred years? Ban the yellow star too (A key part of the EU flag!?!) due to it's associations with communism whilst we're at it?

Gordon's spending plans

The IFS believes that Gordon Brown will have to increase taxes by £11bn to cover the gap between spending and income in the budget this year. It's going to be a tough call then as the General Election is widely anticipated only a few months later. To overcome this, I make several predictions, taxes will go up (following year of course so that voters don't see their paypackets shrinking so close to an election), allowances will rise with inflation or not at all. Spending will not be reduced so that key public services are harmed.

Onwards to a Police State

The UK is rapidly moving towards a Police State!! The new Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, now wants to intern people in their own homes without trial and without a successful conviction!! Who chooses these suspects? Will their evidence be as reliable as the fabled WMD? The search for which is quietly being dropped!?!

The only benefit apparently is that this proposed law will not be discriminatory as it will lock up British citizens as well as foreigners so should be welcomed with open arms!! I'm not aware that such a law was even introduced at the height of the troubles in Northern Ireland.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Wetherspoons Pubs

Great news to see that Wetherspoons are introducing a smoking ban across all their pubs in the UK. Just a shame we'll have to wait until May 2006 to benefit from it.

Labour's Economic Achievements

Labour is very proud of it's economic record since coming to office in '97 hence it's proud billboard boasts recently. I'm not so sure though!!

Yes, inflation is at record lows, but then global inflation rates are also at historically low records so it would be odd if the UK wasn't benefiting from this regardless of who was in power.

Mortgage rates are at historically low levels. Well, yes they are, (see above) but real interest rates (ie the mortgage rate less the inflation rate) aren't.

There are record levels of employment in the UK, that's good news, and unemployment is the lowest it has been for many years. Again, great news, but public sector jobs continue to rise, not all of which create wealth but simply redistribute it. There also seems to be a record number of "hidden" unemployment as the numbers of people claiming incapacity benefits are at a record.

As personal debt reaches £1 trillion (!?!), it's not surprising that the economy continues to boom, helped by additional Government borrowing. Surely it would be prudent for the Government to be reducing debt when the economy is booming so that it can be increased when the outlook is not so sunny?

I am fearful that the hangover, when it comes, will be severe.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Binge Drinking

The UK government is rightly concerned about binge drinking and it's anti-social consequences in towns and cities across the UK. Good job then that it's rewarding low income students with good school attendance records £100 each this week. How long before that money finds it's way into the pockets of pubs and clubs around the UK?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Selective schools

Once upon a time, schools in the UK were selective on academic abilities rather than parent's salaries. It meant that all pupils had access to a good education regardless of their parent's wealth or income. However, such schools were clearly elitist and should be scrapped. So they were, except that some areas doggedly held on to selective education.

This stubborness frustrated many liberals and left wingers who wanted a comprehensive education for all (except for their own offspring off course), so they did everything they could to close them down.

Now many years passed, governments came and went, school league tables were introduced to show how well they performed for the benefit of local parents. A new problem arose, the top schools were nearly all grammar schools or independents. This was not good news for the liberals or left wingers, there must surely be a better way of demonstrating that a comprehensive education was superior for everyone but how to achieve this? The solution was quite simple in fact, grammar schools and independents clearly have a head start because their pupil intake tends to be academically superior, they are therefore bound to achieve more. A new league table was devised to demonstrate that the "Value added" would be greater for comprehensives than grammar schools.

This morning, 13th January 2005, the latest value added reports have been published in the UK. Who heads the top of the league tables? Grammars and Independents, as they stretch their pupils' abilities further!!

Any apologies from left wingers and liberals for the educational experiement that has failed a generation of children will be appreciated.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

TV Licence Fee

Another gem of the UK, the poll tax for the media, paying over £160 a year for the chance to watch repeats and rubbish on BBC1, BBC2 etc. with no possibility opting out unless you don't have a TV. It seems bizarre student houses have to have a licence per TV set whilst hotels only require one licence per property!!

At least you can watch TV happy that newsreaders earn over £300k a year. The funniest thing I saw was when they were interviewing a single mum who was desperate for the £10 tax credit that the Inland Revenue had not forwarded to her!! How they squirmed!!