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

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Friday 29 July 2016

The problem with Civil Servants

Recent revelations about alleged fraud in academy and NHS trusts should perhaps come as no surprise. Huge amounts of taxpayer's money is handed over to these organisations to use as they feel fit in pursuit of Government targets. Yet, because of the huge amounts involved can we really be surprised that some 'creaming off' occurs; obscenely high and disproportionate salaries, executive perks and the sourcing of goods and services from friends and family. One can't help feeling that what, so far, has been uncovered is the tip of the iceberg but how has it happened?
I think that behind it all is the Government's desire to cut rather generous Civil Servant pensions. Already costing the exchequer a fortune, with people living longer, there is a need to cut back on those directly paid by the State and therefore the responsibility for hiring teachers and nurses falls on the new trusts.
I can remember when Civil Servants were remunerated according to fixed scales with no likelihood of exceeding the official limit. Expenses, for such as petrol, were scrutinised before being refunded. How things have changed with trusts paying headmasters more than the Prime Minister earns and agencies raking in £2000 a shift for nurses. I hear that some Headquarter Civil Servants even attract bonuses for failing. Somebody in Government has got to challenge this situation, sacking unscrupulous executives in high profile court cases and confiscating assets but I fear that they may be 'all in it together'.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Is the Pope deluding himself?

Pope Francis has recently agreed, yes, we are at war! But he went on to argue that it was nothing to do with religion.
Is that so? Coptic Christians are being murdered in Egypt and their churches destroyed; a Catholic priest has his own throat cut before the altar of his church in Normandy. Other outrages against Christians around the world suggest that the Pope is delusional if he doesn't think we are in the midst of a modern day crusade. But then as I keep reminding myself: if one could REASON with the faithful, there would be NO faithful.
Perhaps he is trying to defuse a situation already deteriorating daily, taking political and social correctness to the extreme in order to divert further unrest but has it already gone too far. Muslims cannot compromise on the religion. It is what it is and no arguments about, for example, integration, will alter their allegiance to a belief, Islam, that demands total subjugation to Allah. I fear that whilst Christian leaders are ignoring the obvious, the situation will become worse and spread to every corner of the globe.
In the end, the only solution in the twenty-first century is to disabuse the world population of their belief in a supernatural  being and this means putting aside ALL religions and cults. It will take generations to complete but the world must start now. Who will lead? Who can command the attention and respect of everyone and take the first step; outlawing punishment or censure for apostacy?

Tuesday 19 July 2016

Trident risks

The British Parliament has voted to renew the Countrys independent nuclear deterrant, Trident, the submarine launched missile system. The new weapons will come into service in 2030 and last for approximately thirty years at a total estimated cost of £30-40 billion plus running expenses of approx. £130b over the period. So far, so good if it keeps the Country safe against unknown risks in an ever more dangerous and unpredictable world. The question is: will a future enemy find a way to neutralise the British fleet by the time it comes into service.
Every submarine (and surface vessel) has a signature noise, a hum from the propulsion system, the engine or simply the way it moves through the water. Now, imagine that a future enemy designs a tethered mine apparatus fitted with a programmable release mechanism. These mines may already be in place, tethered to the sea bed in those areas thought to be favoured by the submarines such as the strait of Gibraltar. They are easily updated to recognise the characteristic hum of the UK's new subs, awaiting only the signal to become active in time of hostility.
As the submarine passes over the apparatus it recognises the vessel and releases the mine to home in on the target. The relatively inexpensive mine then destroys the sub with incalculable cost, not only of the hardware but the highly trained sailors who operate it. All that money and loss of life for nothing.
It is a chilling thought.

Thursday 7 July 2016

The Davies Hypothesis: Prologue

The NEW big idea. Why we need to be bold and think the unknowable.

Saturday 2 July 2016

National Theatre - Ghost Soldiers

On the hundredth year anniversary of the start of the battle of the Somme, an extraordinary event took place in the UK. Organised by the National Theatre under the guise of the secret Project Octagon, volunteers around the country were dressed as first world war Tommies and sent out to inform the world. Each 'Tommie' was equipped with cards to give out, each bearing the name and regiment of one of those nineteen thousand plus who fell on the first day.
What an amazing display, not only in its execution but in its conception and planning. The National Theatre needs to be applauded for its collective effort and those who conceived the idea, like those behind the poppies at the tower, recognised for their ingenuity. Make no mistake, this was another example of what makes the UK so great. The skill and artistry of its people cannot be matched anywhere in the world, something that should be acknowledged by those who believe that the UK cannot go it alone. Well done all of you at the National Theatre.