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A Very Serious Chink in the UK's Foreign Policy...

Today's i (a derivative of The Independent - http://www.independent.co.uk/i/) tells us how Cameron has ConDem'd us to a deep trading involvement with China. "Good", we say, "that must be good for business!"

But a Chinese company has already bought up the black cab manufacturing company (a British icon, I thought - how come there was no European buyer at least?), announcements had already been made about China's part in the development of nuclear power in the UK, and now they want to participate in HS2 (the biggest red herring that ever existed. No pun intended!).

Now apart from the downside of the general lack of wisdom of selling off so much interest to China (whose values are in a smog), we are dealing with a country that is involved in:

the slaughter of tigers and elephantsthe domination of Tibet
I say that by developing our ties with China we are also demeaning ourselves by so-closely aligning with a power that is thus involved in questionable activ…

Is it the Government that is disabled in its logic?

Back in May, 2012 the Disability Rights UK (DR UK) report, Impact Assessing the Abolition of Working Age DLA, accused the government of ignoring the effects on disabled people’s lives of cutting working-age DLA spending by 20 per cent, or £1.4 billion a year by 2015/16.

The report analysed the likely impact on disabled people’s ability to work, and their extra need for NHS services and local authority support. It said that the government’s claim that there will be no such knock-on effects is a “falsehood” and describes its failure to carry out a proper analysis as “irresponsible”.

DR UK estimated that the extra costs could wipe out any planned savings, and even its lowest estimates add up to more than a third of the government’s intended savings. The report’s estimates range from about £600 million a year to as much as £3 billion.

Today, 15 months later, it is reported that Atos, the privately-run organisation conducting disability tests since 2005 (and who have been granted other lu…

We are sleep-walking towards... ?

The results are in and we can see that Nigel Farage has the spotlight on him as the party spoiler. UKIP has shown itself as a danger to the main two parties and to the Liberal-Democrats. If the next general election (in 2015) produces the same kind of share of votes, then it could result in a national government as no two parties would be able to sustain a 2-way coalition.

It would be nice to say that UKIP would be a refreshing change to the three parties that have controlled this country's affairs for several generations. Unfortunately, however, no matter how eloquently Farage speaks, the crux of their policies is about destruction rather than the construction of a sustainable alternative. Their policies speak about what they consider is wrong (and which is easy to get support for) rather than the more difficult task of setting out a stall with constructive plans. And they have no experience of government.

The best thing you can say is that their success in these local elections…

We should think about burying Thatcherism...

In my view it's time to bury Thatcherism, despite Cameron and his belief that we are now all Thatcherites. Such a short-sighted comment can only stem from a person who (like the real Thatcher) is isolated from the realities of life. But we must learn from the mistakes of all the political factions and evolve management principles that are sustainable - and fair.

I don't suggest that the country goes to war within itself, but that a new and humane doctrine based on limited growth is found.

It is clear to my mind that Margaret Thatcher grew up in a quiet part of the country that had little to do with the main thrust of industry such as existed in the West Midlands and the north and other areas, and in a time when TV had still not made an impact. It is little wonder, therefore, that her simple homely and thrifty ways would seem (in 1979) to be the panacea for the governing of the country and why her Tory friends were captivated by her simple and direct logic. Domination of the w…

The Rewriting of History

The point that Glenda Jackson made as the motive behind her description of the Thatcher reign was that she felt a need to ensure that history was not being re-written - i.e. that the Tories would not get their wish to have a spotless description of her reign recorded for posterity.

On thinking about it, I find that we English tend to have a wonderful ability to exaggerate our history - particularly in the notion that we gave things to the world that the world didn't have before. Though that may be true in respect of things mechanical and the ability to divide and rule, the notion that our sense of civilisation was any better than what existed in all the lands that we occupied is often a completely flawed notion. This was particularly true in India, which - I am sure - will come back and show us to be the repository of true civilisation in not many years from now.

Many even think that the sciences stemmed from Isaac Newton and other European greats, until a study of history reveals…

Needed: More Inspiration, less Aspiration.

The death of Lady Thatcher this week has aroused (again) considerable emotion about what she did and did not do during her term of office from 1979 to 1990. It is, however, agreed by virtually everyone that in certain ways she changed the face of British politics and has left subsequent party leaders (of left and right persuasion) eager to emulate her in certain ways.

And to the British public at large she infused a sense of what we have come to term 'aspiration'. However, what does that term really mean ... and does it really take us in the direction we should be aiming for?

In fact, by bringing in this aspirational concept, Mrs. (as she was then) Thatcher had the affect of nearly burying some trends that were beginning to be popularised in the 1970s towards green concepts ... the notion that was developing among certain groups of people that Mother Earth was being hard done by, that we were steaming ahead in extracting fossil fuels and creating much dangerous waste. Greenpe…

The Passing of a Notable Prime Minister

The upshot of Maggie's era (having misquoted St. Francis' prayer to start off the process!) is to leave us with professional politicians whose leaders have hardly ever experienced another line of work and an attitude that has left behind those days when at least there was a semblance of genuine experience in public life. And the morals of business - which were always suspect - have been let loose big style.
And - yes - Tony Blair capitalised on the era he inherited.
It's not to say that everyone's 'at it', but what has been uncovered these last few years makes us realise that the era in which us oldies were brought up (for me the late 40s and the 50s) was the best era in terms of decency, when a TV with 2 b & w channels and 2 weeks' holiday was perfectly all right thanks. And also when most of us ate decent wholesome food.
No, of course the society of the 50s couldn't stay where it was, but our leaders (in politics and of trades unions) o…

We're all in it together? (Part 2)

It's been some months since I've felt the energy to write another article. I also thought that perhaps it would be worthwhile seeing just how our ConDem coalition government is working ... just how it is fairing as it hits its mid-way point in their government term. And I say that remembering that they were very clever in getting the government term fixed at 5 years; I doubt whether the coalition would otherwise have survived quite so long as it has.

The confident "We're all in it together" speeches from the government when they arrived in power were supposed to pep us all up ... make us believe that such a thing could possible be true. I would suggest that nothing could be further from the truth, and, what is worse, the situation is getting worse ... for the needy, the bottom 10% of society in income and opportunity terms.

This very week I read a startling account of how a teenage underclass is rapidly developing in London. While the Shard rises high and other …