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We’ve been deciding what we’d do if we won any of the following denominations on the lottery. We now have a plan for each instance.
Without giving away specific personal circumstances, what would your plans be?
The Thatcher dispatcher has done his bit, we all know Margaret Thatcher knocked the Great (that it seems Clement Attlee put there?) off Great Britain. How do we become great again?
I don’t mean Great as in empire constructing, colony gathering etc, if that’s where ‘Great’ came from even. I mean great as in, caring, sharing and looking out for each other. Looking after those who for some reason or another can’t do it for themselves.
How are we to redistribute wealth? Where do we draw the line, speedboats?
Yes let us draw the line at speedboats. Last night I watched The Syndicate, it’s a TV programme about normal people (I say normal, every one of them has a little criminal intent, acted on or otherwise, if not quite criminal then morally deviant), these normal people are in a lotto syndicate that wins £75m on the UK lottery. One member of the syndicate is shown buying a luxury speedboat, because he can.
So, line drawn, speedboats. No one is now allowed a speedboat as it’s a luxury expense too far when we need over £300bn to fund welfare including the NHS. By my calculation, and by looking at the second hand Sunseeker Yacht market, that’s 75,000 of us who are going to have to give up our speedboats to fund this big spend. Who’s with me? Let’s brand this “Sunseekers for Jobseekers“.
Now we have a level playing field, no one has their boat anymore. This isn’t enough, surely it isn’t fair that a shelf stacker may earn 9k while a CEO could be earning 100k. Both people need the other position for the wheels of industry to turn therefore let them both have 50k. Let’s throw the 9k difference into some sort of trust fund, not sure what for yet as we’ve already nearly created Perfect Britain.
Let us imagine for one minute that I’m Teal, the shelf stacker at your local Sainsbury’s and the above is my idea. I now think that the above amazing idea (splitting the 100k) is worthy of reward above and beyond my 50k, but I’m not greedy so I’ll just take a one off 1k bonus, 8k can go in the trust fund. If however I have another great idea next year then we’ll discuss this further as maybe I’m worth 51k per annum.
I’m now dreaming of how to use this extra money, it’s affecting my ability to continue drawing up this fair society.
Concentrate, level playing field, we all live in the same house now. By the same house I mean same specification, not the SAME house that would be silly. We can’t have things different otherwise the whole greed thing kicks in again. We are all going to have the same magnolia box, 2.4 bedrooms, 1.9 children. Clearly we need to kick Mr & Mrs Windsor out of Buckingham Palace for this to be fair. Well not actually kick them out, there are 775 rooms that can be divided up between 155 families, maybe Liz and Phil get first choice for length of service?
What next then, what else do we need to do? I’ve laid the foundation, it’s for you now to comment below, think long and hard about how to make society fair. This model will be rolled out across the world when we’ve mastered it for although Margaret Thatcher invented ‘poor’ other likeminded people developed it for use in their countries worldwide.
Come together Perfect Britain, lets conquer the world, as a mutually agreeable collective…
While we shouldn’t blame front line bank staff for the banking cock-ups of the last decade, the truth is that the banks have put none sales people into sales roles. Retail bankers with relevant experience in their traditional roles have had their numbers diluted by this practice.
These sales roles didn’t exist when bank staff consisted of professional bankers. The introduction of selling and sales targets to people who left school and chose to work in a safe respected industry brought about resentment and disillusionment among experienced staff.
Time served staff were hoisted out on the back of restructuring, mergers and takeovers. People who could sell we’re kept, new people who couldn’t sell were recruited en mass, low salaries, possibilities of high commission, high staff turnover.
This new breed of sales staff mis-sold loans, credit cards, insurances etc. They were badly trained sales people with no eye for the intricacies of the complex decisions required of long term, expensive financial choices.
It probably started with deregulation, when companies used to selling tangible manufactured items had the cash to set up banking divisions. Tesco, Sainsbury, Virgin et al, corporations that knew how to shift product.
Like everything that the human race has fucked up, it’s made some rich people very rich, a lot of people ill and will take many many years to correct and improve.
Sundays normally take one of two forms, lazy day of chilling before the week’s return to work or busy trying to cram activity in, before the week’s return to work.
Today wasn’t really that different, Nicky and I woke before the boys, quite early for a Sunday, earlier than 9 I think. After a while I could hear Matthew scuttling about. Matthew is seven, a good age for celebration day scuttling. On Christmas morning he moves about his room wondering whether it is too early to go wake mum and dad, or maybe his older brother.
Today Matthew was scuttling because it was Fathers’ Day.
I sat in bed, smiling, not because I was going to get spoilt, maybe, but at that boy’s excitement. Nicky and I had eaten breakfast, I’d been served scrambled egg on toast, tea and fresh orange. Mum went to get Matthew who in turn went for James while Nicky carried George in. That was my day made, wife and three kids on the bed. My eldest, Tom (step-son) was fast asleep in his room, he works weekend evenings in a bar. At 6 foot something there was no room on the bed for him to, though I’m sure we’d have squozed up for him.
Cookies in Use
This morning I set off for work, a leisurely 48 mile drive over two motorways, my fuel light had come on, arriving home last night. I knew I could get to work, I knew on reaching work the light would be flashing and I’d need to fill up for the return journey.
As is my usual pattern, this morning I intended calling at little Tesco to fill up, alas panic buying had started, the signs were up “No Petrol/No diesel/delivery later”. Undeterred I drove on to big Tesco. There was a man at the entrance, I wanted diesel, he only had limited unleaded petrol. Time for Plan B, Nicky had said I could take her car, albeit she had an appointment with George at wheelchair services first.
Plan B was for me to use the train, well three trains, an hour and a half trip and 20 minute walk. I was already destined to be late if driving, after the trafficked foray to the filling station. I’d be in for 10:30 and was already wondering what on earth time I’d get home tonight.
It hadn’t come as a huge shock that there would be panic buying, the government had suggested we fill up, now I’m struggling where to side, who’s at fault Cameron or the people panic buying? I’m not going to poke fun at Francis Maude, he said ‘Jerry Can’ like the rest of us say ‘Hoover’, he wasn’t suggesting people break the law, it was just a comment, he clearly meant petrol can, but politicians are superhuman so don’t make errors.
What shocks me about people’s behavior is that they say the government talk crap then hang on every word and go and queue for petrol. The real laugh of the situation is that, as was pointed out to me this morning, the drivers have to give seven days notice of a strike. I would need to fill up twice in a seven-day period normally, however today I couldn’t fill up as people had filled up to potter round town for the next month.
In fairness, as capitalist petrol-heads we all see our travel as essential, some of the stories I heard of why people needed fuel seemed a bit petty as I stomped about but on thinking it through I didn’t really know other people’s situations, I’m sure in many cases people seriously thought they needed to buy.
So, off I set, walking to the station. I entered the ticket office, the rail worker was sat in front of a side window. I stopped halfway in, he watched as it dawned on me and I turned round to go outside and round to the outdoor serving position.
There was no outside window, he was just basking in the sunlight shining through the sealed unit frosted glass. I re-entered the ticket office, the two rail workers clearly privately amused. I asked if he was selling tickets. ”That’s why I’m sat here was the sarcastic reply”, I half pointed at the ticket desk in front of me, about eight feet from him and did the exasperated Jim Halpert (The Office – US) look to camera.
“Where are you going”?, I told him, apparently I’d just missed the train and it would be an hour wait. I turned on my heels and left the ticket office.
Thinking on ones feet, I knew Nicky would be driving past both me in the next five minutes and the main town station, this would allow me to make up my lost time, brilliant. This was further enhancing my life motto: landus poop accent scentus rosé.
I phoned her, sure enough she picked me up en route. In the car we decided it would actually be great if I went along with her and George to the appointment. Then afterwards I could take the car that had fuel. Two cars you say, well yes, but Nicky needs hers to ferry George to appointments, she walks the kids to school, will walk if working. She wouldn’t be refueling until after easter, anyway you’ll remember my Plan B was to catch the train. But instead it would be Plan C, Zafira.
So guess what, I got to go to Georges appointment.
George has for some time now been leaning over in his mini wheelchair to ‘self-propel’, he’s worked this out himself.
The professionals have decided he needs a bigger self-propelling chair.
He tried one as you see in the picture, oh what a clever boy. Took straight to it, at first with one hand, then on being shown with both hands.
He also gave us a ‘reverse’ demonstration. The best bit among this proudfest? Well when he was clearly upset when we made him get back in the ‘baby’ one. It’s just a matter of waiting for the chair to come now.
Back to the matter in hand, who cares, petrol schmetrol, I got to spend extra time with George and see what a star he is (I’m sure Nicky and I were grinning like eejits). We dropped him off and off I toddled to work. I got there for 11:30, not 9am but better than not at all.
As a foot note, I stopped at a BP near work, they had fuel, hypocrisy kicks in, I decide to top up, well I need it for my 500 miles a week. There’s a notice on all the pumps, “Please during this time, limit your spend to £10“. I wondered what would happen if I filled up, probably £25+, but I put my tenner in, and got it to a tenner for a change, bang on.
In front of me at the till, there was a woman who like me three hours earlier was exasperated. I was very chilled now. She was ranting on at the attendant that they should only sell fuel to people who need it for work. The attendant, a quietly spoken Asian man for whom I’d think English was probably his second language, was trying to make herself heard above his ranting. He was saying, “I missed you going past the £10, I should have stopped you”.
Yes, that’s right, in spite of notices everywhere asking for self-regulation, she’d put £68 in her chav-mobile, and was hiding this fact behind a rant, she left. Was my blood about to boil again? No, the cashier and I both gave each other a knowing look and smiled.
It’s a big world made up of ‘interesting’ people…
Footnote: Naturally on hearing of a potential strike, I wanted to shout “Tanker drivers earn 45k tell the lazy fuckers to get working”, but it’s not just about the money, below I’ve cut and pasted from the Unite website:
Tanker drivers work in an increasingly fragmented and pressurised industry where corners are being cut on safety and training in a bid to squeeze profits and win contracts. Drivers face growing job insecurity as a result of the contract ‘merry-go-round’ and a ‘beat the clock’ culture has flourished with drivers forced to meet ever shorter delivery deadlines.
Final salary pension schemes have been swapped for inferior money purchase schemes, and some workers are now on their sixth pension in as many years, with 10 to 15 years left to go in the industry.
Commenting Diana Holland, Unite assistant general secretary, said: “These votes send a clear message throughout the industry and should prompt all the major companies to get around the table to establish minimum standards.
“This is not about pay – this is about ensuring that high safety and training standards are maintained, so that our communities are safe. It is about a simple measure, the creation of an industry-wide bargaining forum. It is about bringing fairness and stability back to an essential national industry.”
“No longer can it be acceptable that oil giants rake in profits, while shirking their responsibility for the stable supply of a national commodity. The measures we are proposing are reasonable, responsible and sensible. We urge them to act and listen.”
“Joint enterprise” allows groups of people to be charged with murder, even if only one person delivered the fatal blow.
Wrong or right, it’s a murky divide. The typical example given in support of joint enterprise is that of a gang attacking somebody, one person goes home to get a weapon, returns, the individual attacked and all the gang are at the scene when the victim dies. The gang members are all found guilty of murder, degrees of involvement may mean that sentencing is harsher for a gang leader than say someone who holds the coat.
Of course we are all aware of miscarriages of justice or the fact that only one person may have actually killed the victim above, but my thoughts are that all in attendance ARE guilty of murder. Maybe the definition of murder would need to be changed to stand up to my guilty charge but the fact is if you attack somebody there is always a chance of a death.
A blow to the head can cause a death, punching someone and knocking them to the floor can kill them if their head strikes the pavement. With this in mind any intention to maim can run the risk of death, this fact is what can make the distinction between murder and manslaughter difficult.
One example of opposition to joint enterprise is the mother of Jordan Cunliffe. Jordan was jailed for life along with Adam Swelling and Stephen Sorton for the murder of Garry Newlove outside his home in Warrington, Cheshire in 2007. Cunliffe’s mother claims that although he was present he did not take part and, as he was virtually blind he could not have known what was happening.
I don’t know enough about the Garry Newlove case to have an informed opinion but whatever the degree of innocence the Cunliffe family think should be attributed to Jordon, he was involved with a bad lot. Of course, having dodgy mates isn’t a crime in itself.
Capital punishment, an eye for an eye isn’t my bag. Some people say if someone killed or hurt a member of their family, their children, they would hunt down and kill the attacker. I can understand that emotion, but how do you explain to your children that violence is wrong while also presenting a manifesto of what will happen if anyone harms them. This is without considering the earlier mentioned possibility miscarriages of justice.
Some people say you should write things down to help think things through, I remain dazed and confused. My fundamental thought is that to kill is wrong.
This blog was inspired by the debate about the Joint Enterprise Law on Radio 4s Today program this morning and a subsequent debate I noticed on Twitter.
We have been to Legoland Windsor several times so really weren’t sure what to expect at the Trafford Centre’s Legoland Discovery Centre. We have friends who have been and have been given both negative and positive feed back. We also know a family with an annual pass.
Our seven-year old is Lego mad, we figured that a Legoland that’s fastened onto the side of the Trafford centre will be a worthy play area for someone of his age. In the morning before we set of I declared that I was expecting to be underwhelmed. Was I underwhelmed, quite the contrary.
Nicky and I took the three young ones, James 11, Matthew 7 and George 5. James is at the age where he opts out of some outings and he was never big on Lego but I think his curiosity got the better of him. That, and the promise of a McDonald’s lunch en route.
We couldn’t go wrong with Matthew, he’s been to Legoland in Windsor, a nice family theme park, but the Legoland Discovery Centres like at Manchester are for people who want to touch Lego and probably leave with a bit in a bag too. It is hard to gauge these places for George, he is a wheelchair user and although he can go on some of the small rides at traditional theme parks, you have to see the facilities to carry out the inevitable risk assessment.
The transition from pay-desk to inside was through the Lego Factory, where a very enthusiastic Professor Brick-a-Brac explains in a child friendly, timely manner, how Lego is made. Inviting the children to turn wheels and off load the finished product.
Inside, the first attraction is a ride, “Kingdom Quest”, the carts seated five and the ride was of the shoot-’em ghost train type, where all riders have a laser gun to shoot mixed scenes on the way round. George is able to hold the gun and generally gets giddy on those rides and enjoy the excitement of his family. When we’d finished this ride, I advised the staff that they may as well close as I’d shot everything…
Next was the walk through Mini-Land. Lego built UK cities, with some lovely touches with moving parts and interactive button presses. We spent longer in awe of these constructions than at some of the outside model villages we’ve visited over the years. There is something magical about a Lego building, maybe the belief that it’s just possible to build it yourself one day.
There are a number of themed Lego building areas: Lego Racers ‘Build & Test’ to name but one. Buckets and buckets of the plastic pieces built into worktables and ramps & circuits for testing your finished design. There was a mix of adults in this area, bored looking parents and those of us elbow deep in Lego.
Merlin’s Apprentice is another ride, a rotary thingy with about eight two-seater cars. You pedal like fury and are rewarded by your car rising as the ride spins. George was able to enjoy this with mum or myself. James and Matthew were able to maximise their enjoyment without an adult.
The café is lightweight but perfect for a snack stop while the kids can play in one or other of the soft play areas. The two areas being for differing height ranges. In fact depending on your children, they can wander anywhere within the discovery centre safely, it’s a secure site and to escape you need to navigate doors, stairs or lift and through the shop.
We sat at the café drinking tea (£1.60/cup) while the kids played, waiting for the next showing at the 4D Cinema. The 4D cinema, I rated for story, cosyness and overall experience as better than the ’Honey I Shrunk The Kids’ at EuroDisney. Obviously it wouldn’t be fair to compare with any other parts of Disney.
We bought our tickets using left over Airmiles having left that scheme before its re-brand. The tickets would have cost around £50, we were at the Discovery Centre for five hours. The tickets for the same family to attend Legoland Windsor would be £160.
We of course left through the shop and purchases were made. I don’t know if the goods were more expensive that other outlets, Lego is expensive anyhow. If you need more food choices the Trafford Centre has something for everyone. The staff at the Discovery Centre were without question the most consistently friendly of any attraction of that type we’ve visited. A great day was had by all.
A public sector worker kindly took the time to explain the reasons behind todays strike action:
My pension (a real fund called USS) is 108% funded from contributions. It has always performed well and is one of the largest in the uk. Over the years we have accepted changes in T&Cs to keep it like this. Very low admin charges and large membership.
Now the government is using a perceived pension crisis to attack it. They will not negotiate or even audit it. We need to pay more, work longer and for less. All this even though the fund is over funded. I have contributed for over 20 years.
There is also a general dissatisfaction with this government, their regressive policies and the current negation of the efforts of public sector.
Terms are changing so the payments at the end will be reduced substantially for most members.
That person and others have stated their dismay that today’s strike wrongly becomes public versus private. That of course isn’t the point of the public sectors strike.
I am working in the private sector and here follows my experience. My pension has been negatively affected by the unstable markets of recent years. I guess this also affects the public sector pension pot too. Where I work, two years ago we were asked to take a cut in salary to support all our jobs, we all signed up for this.
There is some sort of salary scale within our company. Some people get paid more than me, some people less. One of the directors here has described at length how much extra he pays into his private pension scheme. My pension scheme is what it is, I may or may not make extra provision.
I have a colleague who earns less than me who has no pension provision outside of the government but I also have a workmate who earns more than me who has not arranged an extra pension. The person who has a lower salary does not value its importance. The ‘richer’ person says they can’t afford a pension.
If we go back to the earlier explanation of today’s strike it seems that the public sector has been made promises by their employers, the government, and these promises have not been kept. I wonder what will happen if my employer once again asks us to consider a drop in pay to again protect the company as a whole, have they failed in their last promise?
Would we find a change in terms and conditions acceptable? Would we sign up in union (small u), in that instance some may choose to find work elsewhere. It’s unlikely that we would strike. The reality is though we have seen competitors fold during these difficult times and there is a fear which guides an individual’s choice. Times are hard, two million strong we are not, we are but thirty.
My bias here appears to be anti-public sector/anti-strike. I’m not meaning to express a bias, just asking some questions and relating my experience.
The work of bin men, nurses, teacher’s et al is important and undervalued. I would like to think that the majority of people across the political spectrum would want for society to be fairer. How to differentiate the worth between someone who shifts your refuse and someone who decides where to invest other people’s money is an unenviable task.
Take away the uniforms of work and we are all just human. Complete your career and hopefully your salary has rewarded your hard work, you too are stripped of your badge and are the same human as the next person.
The other point made at the start is the general dissatisfaction with this government. I do have an opinion on this, there have been politicians across all parties that have abused the system or represented themselves before that of their electorate. I think that there should be a radical overhaul of our government to suit the good of everyone’s future, but I’m not sure how to bring about the start of that.
I dare say the public sectors expression of disgust with the current government may get the ball rolling toward a brighter future for all. It’s thought that there maybe 2 million striking today, are they voicing the dissatisfaction of 44 million voters?