Archive for January, 2005

Whatever the doubts

Yes, we were all either anti the Bush/Blair team, or pro the Bush/Blair team, and had doubts about the war in Iraq. The “anti” brigade had extremely strong doubts and weren’t backward in comeing forwards to tell us about them. But even some of us who thought it was the right thing to do did have nagging doubts.



“No return to Dictatorship”

But, for me, those doubts have disappeared when I saw thousands of Iraquis defying death in coming along to vote. Figures of 70% were bandied around, but I think, although still terrific, the turnout may be nearer to 60% when all figures are known. Even a sizable chunk of the Sunni Muslims eventually turned out to vote which many of us found surprising.

The one thing I am annoyed about is that Blair didn’t ensure the Americans had a good exit strategy for after the fighting had ended. I don’t agree that it was criminal to go in, but what I really do feel strongly about is that there was no strategy to protect our brave troops after the war ended. And of the short-sightedness of the “advisers” (I use this word scathingly) not knowing how things might develop immediately afterwards.

Surely they knew how Arabs are loyal and will always stick together, whether right or wrong?

Andrew

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Today’s education

I have a lot of contact with company executives in most fields as a journalist and I have noticed that so many of them have a public school education.

I began to wonder why this was as, when I was much younger, more working class people from Grammar Schools and even comprehensives tended to do well on the executive ladder.

Looking through the papers this morning I notice that one comprehensive girl got – was it 54% or 56%? It was one of these figures, but it doesn’t really matter. What really does matter and, to me, is disgraceful, is the fact that she managed to get a “A” grade pass.

What is going wrong with our education system that politicians want to massage the figures so much that they give awards away like confetti?

We have a Socialist government which is supposed to look out for the disadvantaged. Do they not realise that this puts these people at more of a disadvantage? Not only that, but it allows pupils from public schools – why do we call them that when they are really private – to do so much better in the Corporate environment?



Harold Wilson with JH (and a Bobby of course)

It reminds me of Wilson’s Labour Government. I am sure they had the best intentions, but when Wilson gave blanket protection for tenants he drove over 90% of rental accommodation out of London. Ordinary young people could not afford to take on long leases and many were driven out of London.

Wilson also tried to protect workers and made it impossible for employers to let them go.

Lets face it, you are a businessman, you have two factories, there is enough business for you to possibly build a third, and even a fourth factory, but if your gamble doesn’t pay off, you can’t get rid of the workers. What are you going to do? I know what I would have done, sat tight and not increase my business, therefore not increasing the number of jobs I offer.

Employment protection is very nice and admirable, but a mobile work force is healthier for the country as a whole. If everyone built extra factories and some closed, there would be enough work around to get another job quickly.

I am sure the Labour government had high ideals, but they didn’t think things through. And I am sure the Conservatives are not really any better. What was that? The Liberal what? Who are they?

The government bring out figures now and again to say comprehensive education is as good as public school education but to no avail. You see, it is a matter of perception. It matters not what the truth is, this is never of importance. What always matters is how people perceive the truth. These two are not necessarily the same, ever.

Andrew.

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Fake Photographs.

There have been a number of fake photographs around the Internet lately. Not drawn up to deceive as they are evidently fakes, but there to bring a smile to our faces.



Gillette Mach 15

Proctor & Gamble will have a difficult time to remove our inherrit belief that Gillettes principle aim is to make us pay more for our Gillette razor blades. I found it amusing that Proctor was an Englishman but Gamble was an Irishman!

The above is a bit contentious! The originator might have done better if he hadn’t added the bit about lying…



Gillette Terrorist Special

And a further one from Gillette showing a before and after of someone we all know only too well.

And, whilst we are on that subject, most of you know Sadam and the Americans were great pals when Sadam was attacking Iran!



I’m having Iraq, you can have Guantanamo Bay

Here’s one showing them hugging each other. Errrr… I think it’s a fake!

And of course there are the naughty ones that poke fun!



Cars for the fairer sex?

Here is a naughty little one that suggests that the fairer sex don’t understand anything about cars. It’s either that or they are just selling cars to Conservatives and Socialists?



Cat on a hot tin roof (Apologies to Tennessee Williams)

And finally, my favourite! A “cat on a hot tin roof” who evidently had a good night on the tiles!

I am afraid my blogs may be a little brief over the next few days owing to pressures of work, but I will try and come up with some nice jucy ones after the first half of next week.

Andrew

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Rubbish in newspapers.

I read today an analysis by some of Britain’s most respected economic forecasters that Labour’s stealth taxes have risen to 157 – double that which was originally thought.

Also the IFS (whoever they are when they are at home) have forecasted that Gordon Brown will have to claim an extra £11B (eleven billion) a year after the next election!

We, the public, do not have to read this in newspapers! We don’t have to pay a team of specialists to work this out! And, as for the extra £11B, hands up all of you, dear readers, who are, in any way, surprised? When will the next brain drain start up again?

We all have pay packets every week or month. We know how much we are losing.

Bah! Humbug!

Andrew

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Daily Mail

Am I a typical Mail reader? I don’t think so. So why do I buy the newspaper? I don’t! Well yes I do, but only on Saturdays.

I don’t buy it for the newspaper, neither for the magazine articles. But I do buy it for the Radio and Television pages. Running from Saturday to Friday, the first section has six full pages for each day’s television totalling 42 pages of television schedules. The second section has one page for each day of Radio Programs, totalling seven pages of radio schedules. Although we shun sky and cable, we are on free-to-air and do have a lot more channels. BBc3, BBC4, ITV2, ITV3 and Sky News (and quite a few more besides).

We prefer Sky News to the BBC and ITV renderings and it is interesting to see that Sky has won the “News Channel of the Year” award for three years running now. ITV3 has a lot of repeats such as Morse, Frost, Maigret and other gems of TV.

So how do I get my news? I watch Sky News every Lunchtime as I have said before, but for things that interest me on a long term basis, I use Google news searches which allows me to search on subjects as well as read the latest – but the minute news. The link is UK based but if you go to the site, you can find other news links to use for your country. In the morning I tend to listen to the news on the radio because, apart from feeling it is decadent to watch TV in the morning, radio news can follow me around my home as I get ready to face the day.

In addition to this there are Google Alerts. This takes Google News one step further. Enter a word or phrase of what you are looking for and every day and all day, Google will be searching the web for news on that subject. But be careful how you phrase your search, and sometimes you will need for than one entry. For example I search for “United Kingdom Independence Party” and “UKIP” and “UK Independence Party” just to find all news from the same subject.

If you buy a newspaper every day, it will cost around four pounds a week. In a calendar month that amounts to over £17. Now if you pop over to “Zen Internet” you will see that you could have broadband DSL at a similar price than your daily newspaper. They offer 250K/b which is five times faster than a modem, for £17.99 a calendar month. Although they have a one off activation charge of £57.50 they only lock you in for one month. Their reasoning is, if you are not happy, they would prefer you not to feel trapped into a lengly contract with them. These prices include VAT.

I am sure most readers already have broadband, but if you have a friend who is still on dialup, print this weblog out and hand it to them.

And, of course, the joys of being continually on line as opposed to waiting the the dialing tone, having the modem make contact with the ISP, waiting for the “handshaking” and then the slow transfer of information, cannot be adequately described, or explained.

Andrew

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The Holiday season

It is practically February and many people will be thinking of going on Holiday. In the Southern Hemisphere February is the last month of Summer, with at least two further months of lovely weather to follow.

Making phone calls is always a nightmare when you are on the move in a foreign country. Especially if you can’t find a telephone that works!

So we tend to use our mobile phones. But it is expensive when you realise that if you are phoning to the next town or village, you call routes back to the UK and then back to the country you are in.

Do you have a phone that is unlocked for SIM cards when you are abroad? Ask your cellphone provider as, if you have your phone locked in to a provider in the UK, you could well find it is not locked in if you are overseas.

The best way to buy a SIM card on the PAYG system is to send for it well in advance of your departure date and have it airmailed to the UK. This way you will have your foreign telephone number before you leave. Activate your voicemail service and change your message to give out your new SIM card number. This way you won’t have to pay the “receiving” cost abroad and also, because it costs people more over here to phone you, you won’t be troubled with unnecessary calls whilst you are either on holiday, or trying to clinch deals on business.

So to sum up, a foreign SIM card means less calls and, of the ones you receive, it costs the sender more, but you far less.

Andrew

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Giving advice

A very tricky thing; giving advice to friends.

Apart from the point that, if you don’t give them the advice they are wanting to hear, you will not be thanked!

In addition to this, they never give you the full facts anyway.

And if the advice then goes belly-up, a friend slowly – and sometimes not so slowly – turns into an enemy.



Christine

The reason for this blog? A beautiful young girl wants my advice as she intends to go into journalism and photography. Well, I don’t count too many petite, young and beautiful girls amongst my acquaintances so I don’t want to turn her into an enemy.

So what will I do? The answer is simple. I will sit down with her, and take her through her future studies and training, ask her where she would like to be in ten years time. When I feel I know what she wants and what may be best for her, by asking questions; I will keep silent and won’t tell her at all!

No, but by asking further questions, in such a way, I will try to create a situation where she will come up with the solution I am trying to guide her to make.

She’ll say “That’s what I want to do” as she comes to that decision – and I will say to her; “Well, that’s great, but I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help”, and we will part as friends.

When people come to you for advice, try this, it does work, but you must be wise and ask the right questions, and keep a completely open mind until you have all the answers.

Andrew

PS The meeting is over – it was a particular difficult case as I came to the conclusion that our friend Christine had not worked out her goals as thoroughly as she should have by now. I will see her again and try to steer her in that direction.

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