Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Monday, 27 February 2012

North-South water pipeline

At last-some sense. A water company is proposing to build a pipeline that will take fresh water from the rainy north to the parched south. The only wonder is that this hasn't been done before. I bet that if the south was suffering severe draught in the Victorian era, a beautifully designed and built pipeline would have been put in place, complete with jaw-dropping aqueducts and tunnels built to last.

Typically, the objections to such an idea have been build cost, operational cost, planning difficulties and environmental impact. The new proposal is that the pepeline will be built alongside the new high speed rail link, thereby nullifying the last two objections. What the hell is the 'operational cost'? Once built it's a pipe for heaven's sake. There should be no operational costs other than those to monitor to whom the water goes for payment purposes. It should be built to modern standards, including earthquake resistance, insisting that it is maintenance free.
That leaves build cost. With the ground prepared for the railway, I would have thought that the cost of pipelaying, including weld testing, would have been reasonably inexpensive for a project of this type. In other words, this is an excellent scheme that MPs should approve with the minimum of delay, extending the pipe to Northumberland where water can be taken from the normally full, Kielder resevoir. It is an opportunity for the North to enjoy some income from their natural resources, money that can be used to build a better economy away from the service rich south east.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Unearned Income 2

Despite a legal attempt to stop Channel4 by Viagogo, the television programme, Dispatches, exposed the appalling way this company exploits the ordinary man in the street by wracking up the price of tickets for music shows and other events.
That they attempted to get an injunction surely demonstrates that, deep down, they feel that what they are doing is wrong. The people behind the company are not making anything or creating wealth except for themselves by providing an unnecessary service that relies on exploitation and GREED. Why don't these people go out and get a proper job?

Nigel Farage

I can't help liking Nigel Farage and what he says makes a lot of sense. Listen below:

It's not only Greece and Italy that are having their sovereignty diminished and Democracy subverted, Ireland may be told to cancel their General Election in case an anti-EU Party win and hold a referendum.

I also believe he is right in what he says about Cameron. Now he is power, he is renaging on his principles to accommodate the Liberals. It is not good for the UK and it is disingenuous of him to continue pretending that he can continue in the same way. He must make a stand on the EU. He claims that 40% of our trade is with the EU. So what! Let's do more with the 60%.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Unearned income

You cannot fail to see on television adverts the concerted efforts of the financial sector to screw the ordinary man and woman on the street. They are targeting the most vulnerable with their offers of 'payday' loans and promises to recover money needlessly wasted on insurance cover for bank loans.

These are two examples of businesses that trade in money rather than commodities or services that are more meaningful or useful in the community.
The people who own these businesses are happy NOT to do proper work to attract wealth. They are typical of those who relish unearned income, doing work where they do not have to get their hands dirty. I have often said that in the light of the banking crisis, there has to be a better way. We could make a start by asking why people do work? Surely the best answer is 'to make a living' but this wouldn't satisfy a Bank when seeking a loan. The answer a Bank wants to hear is: 'to make money; lots of it!'. And this, to my mind, is the problem. To make more UNEARNED money than you really need is GREED. It is surely not the aim of Capitalism for a few people to attract more and more money without working, thereby restricting the majority to struggle to make a living.

If you work, like Mr. Branson, to build a good business, employing many people, offering services, then it is good that you earn a fortune. So too for top artists and authors that entertain billions of people with their skill and artistry. They deserve it all. It is time for the Government to support industry and manufacturing and hammer, like Jesus in the temple, the money traders and userers.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

I believe in miracles

On a BBC programme, 'The Big Question', one of the participants, a journalist, Christina Odone, who argued that Britain was a Christian country asserted that she believed in the 'Virgin Birth' and, 'Oh yes...she believed in miracles'.

It had me thinking. How can one have a rational debate with a person who believes in miracles? As Prof. Dawkins found it it is impossible, it is clear why he must be frustrated that despite all the advances of science, people still cling to their faith, a belief in something that cannot be empiracally proved. Dawkins is particularly upset that 'Creationism' is being taken seriously in some educational circles, presumably happy that people can believe that the earth is only six thousand years old if they want to but to teach this as the truth to children is an outrage.
I share his frustration, but can offer no advice of how to overcome peoples reliance on the verity of the ineffable qualities such as 'love'.

Some time ago, scientists claimed that they had identified a gene in those people predisposed to follow some religious faith. Perhaps this is what it boils down to; it is impossible to persuade someone with this gene that their belief is baseless. No rational arguments can make a difference. It is another example of my 'Theory of Two' ( where I assert that the natural default position for nature is to provide a minimum of two options in almost everything.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Ordure! Ordure! 5

Mr. Speaker:     Ed Miliband.

Ed Miliband:     Thank you Mr. Speaker. Would the Prime Minister agree that Moody's assessment of the UK economy suggests that his strategy just isn't working.

Prime Minister:  What isn't working, Mister Speaker, is the Party opposite who cannot accept that they are responsible for the position the Country finds itself in! Do they, I wonder, tell their constituents that it was THEIR policies that failed the citizens, causing so much misery? I doubt it! Do they tell their constituents that it was THEIR manic spending, euphemistically called 'investment', that led to our current woes? I doubt it! All we get from the Party opposite Mister Speaker, are weak policies from an even weaker leader!

Ed Miliband:    He just doesn't get it, Mister Speaker. Can't he see that his policies are going too far, too quickly? Now the OECD says that although there is some positive signs from Europe, thanks to the improvement in the US economy, the UK is languishing with, and I quote, 'below trend growth'. Will the Chancellor now change his strategy and go for growth.

PM:     What hypocrisy from the Party opposite! They complain of stagnation; yet the CBI today report that the UK will avoid a double-dip recession despite the mess the Party opposite caused.

Mr. Speaker:   Ordure! Ordure!

PM:  Isn't it the truth, Mister Speaker, that until the Party opposite recognises that they got us into this mess and apologised to the people, they can have no hope of joining the debate on how to get us out. They have lost all credibility.

Mr. Speaker:     Ordure, ordure. The house must calm down. I want to hear the Prime Minister's answer.

Prime Minister:  And you can shut up you fatuous old windbag.

Mr. Speaker:   Ordure! Ordure! My wife says I'm not old.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Translations of scripture

The blogger, Cranmer, has, in an erudite article, written disparagingly of a new Wycliffe translation of the Bible which he claims downgrades the role of Jesus in deference to Muslim sensibilities.

His report for 7th Feb 2012 can be seen at:

The translation of scripture has always been a problem, especially where the original is not available and the translator is working from a text, not in the language of the original. Sometimes, it is thought that translation is impossible because of the idiomatic nuances of the original as in the case of the Qu'ran, where many insist that the true word of God can only be appreciated in the poetic beauty of sixth and seventh century Arabic as understood by the 'Messenger'.

It has always amazed me that translations are needed at all. Why is it that these so called works of God were not simultaneously made available to all the peoples of the world in their own language? We are told that God, Allah or Yahweh has dominion over the universe, having created the heavens and earth before turning his hand to man and the other creatures. Why then does he choose to pass on his confusing messages solely to people who reside in the Middle East? Why were these revelations not shown simultaneously to, for instance, the northern Europeans, the Ennuits or peoples of South America in their own languages so that the entire World would know of His Works? Could it be because there is no such thing as a God? Isn't it the truth that the whole Judaeo-Christian-Muslim tradition was created by and for the priest classes using the words of the time to subjugate the people and they are still at it?

It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for the fervour with which the adherents attach to the texts, giving them authority to impose their deluded ideology on others, regardless of alternative, more realistic approaches to life. A Muslim believes that the Qu'ran is the Word of God and cannot be disputed or changed. A Muslim may not, therefore, ask the questions, but I can. Why then, after fifteen hundred years do Muslims not know whether it is better or more correct to be either Shia or Sunni. Why did Allah, not send the Angel Gabriel to enlighten Abu Bakr or Uthman about the role of Ali, the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad? The Qu'ran strangely makes no prediction of this anomoly, just as it stuck in the culture of seventh century Arabia with little relevance to life today, except to create unrest and war causing millions of deaths worldwide as evident today in Syria, Iraq and Egypt.

Monday, 6 February 2012


I would like to wish Richard a very Happy Birthday.

Her Majesty, the Queen.

On this, the sixtieth anniversary of the accession of the Queen to the throne, I wish her Majesty a peaceful, happy and long continuation to her reign.
Her Majesty has served the people of the United Kingdom with great distinction and devotion, never faltering in her belief of the people and the Commonwealth, earning the affection of all those who truly hold the interests of the Realm at heart.

Friday, 3 February 2012

One nation banking

I haven't a clue what Mr. Miliband means by one nation banking but again the two key issues of Banking have been missed.

1. Why is it that Banking generates so much profit?
2. Why doesn't all the profit go to the shareholder rather than to employees as bonuses?

That many Banks have been making huge profits is undeniable. That some have failed, like Lehman Brothers and Barings, tells us that it is  largely the 'Investment' side where the answer lies to the first question. If Banks were split as many have proposed into Retail banking where public money is managed and private investment banking, there would be no problem. Nobody would care what happened to the investment banks, except their shareholders. It is different with retail banking. Now, I may be wrong, but I suspect profits are not so high in this sector. If they were, I would wonder why anyone would want to start a company, making, say, steel on the Isle of Sheppey when they would be better opening a bank, like Virgin.

The question of bonuses given to people for simply doing their job is a sticky one. However, if I was a bank shareholder, I would want to know why the billions of pounds is not being shared amongst the owners of the Company. I suspect the answer to this lies in the close and unofficial relationship between the major shareholders, pension funds etc, and the executive in a symbiotic arrangement that rewards them all to the detriment of the small shareholders. The whole thing stinks of corruption and the sooner the Government recognises this and bows to public sentiment the sooner we can think of 'One Nation' banking.