Archive for February 3rd, 2011

Banking in the UK

When people see my cheques they are surprised that I bank with a building society instead of a “proper” bank. OK until last year I used to bank with Citibank as they issue Euro and Dollar accounts complete with chequebooks and credit and debit cards. But I am retired, no longer in business, and no longer need the services of an international bank – although I have kept my sterling account still live. In addition to this, I no longer have any “real” money to play with!

Last year I decided to move to Nationwide. There are some points which I do like. For example, when I pay in, I don’t have to use a paying in slip, I just hand the teller my Nationwide debit cart and the cheque or cash, and she swipes the card on her till and it is done. Citibank do this but as we normally used Lloyds to pay in as Citibank only have six branches of their own in the UK (and have a special arrangement with Lloyds) this wasn’t a help to me. However, I am not aware of many other banks being so up to date.

The other thing I like is they send me a text every Saturday showing me the account movements since the previous Saturday so I can see if there has been any funny business. Not sure if they offer a text if your account is below a certain amount, but this would be very useful to younger people out there.

Finally, they are giving me around 3.5% p.a. interest on my meagre savings and that is very fair considering the 0.5% bank rate!

If you look on the Internet you will see a string of complaints about every bank and building society out there. I was with Citibank for around a decade and never made a complaint. This was probably due to the fact that I had never been overdrawn and obeyed their rules. No doubt if I had broken any rules and they chastised me, I would have been angry with wounded pride.

The staff in my local bank are always exceedingly polite with me but that is probably because I keep my account in credit.

If you are unhappy with your bank, sit down and have a long think at the reason for it. Could it be a little of your own causing?

Finally if you are unhappy with your bank, changing to another bank can be fraught with difficulties. Also, the entire bank structure doesn’t revolve around one branch and if you have bad people in one branch, consider just changing branches. Moving then is a lot simpler. Especially if you have a chequebook and debit card, and a lot of standing orders and direct debits!

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Why we should sack our police and employ Ghurkas

February 3, 2011: For the last five months, India has been celebrating and honouring a retired Ghurkha soldier (Bishnu Shrestha) who, single-handedly killed three bandits, wounded eight and drove off another 30. This incident occurred five months ago, and since then Shrestha has been given medals, cash and accolades for his outstanding valor and prowess. The Indian Ghurkha regiment he recently retired from persuaded him to return to active duty so he could receive a cash award and a promotion. Bishnu Shrestha father had also served with the same unit, and retired from it 29 years ago.

All this occurred because Bishnu Shrestha was on a train where about forty bandits, pretending to be passengers, suddenly revealed themselves, and, armed with knives, swords and pistols, stopped the train in the jungle, and proceeded to rob the hundreds of passengers.

When the bandits reached Shrestha, he was ready to give up his valuables, but then the 18 year old girl sitting next to him was grabbed by the robbers, who wanted to rape her. The girl, who knew Shrestha was a retired soldier, appealed to him for help. So he pulled out the large, curved khukuri knife that all Ghurkha soldiers (and many Ghurkha civilians) carry, and went after the bandits. In the narrow isle of the train, a trained fighter like Shrestha had the advantage.

Although some of the bandits had pistols, they were either fake (a common ploy in India), inoperable, or handled by a man who didn’t want to get too close to an angry Ghurkha. After about ten minutes of fighting in the train isles, eleven bandits were dead or wounded, and the rest of them decided to drop their loot (200 cell phones, 40 laptops, lots of jewellery, and nearly $10,000 in cash) and flee. The train resumed its journey promptly, in case the bandits came back, and to get medical aid for the eight bandits who had been cut up by Shrestha (who was also wounded in one hand). Shrestha required two months of medical treatment to recover the full use of his injured hand.

Read the rest of the piece at: http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htinf/articles/20110203.aspx

Forty to one? This surely means we could hire a thousand Ghurkha ex soldiers for our police force and “retire” 40,000 of our police. That would go a long way towards saving on expenditure. And, if we let them keep their khukuris, we’d also save on trials, and reduce the prison population. Every way you look at it, it has to be a plus

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It’s easy to put fear into the politicians.

I was watching the story unfold in Egypt over the last few days and thought “This could never happen in England.”

For one thing, successive governments have made us far too reliant on the state and no matter how evil the politicians become, the people who actually have the time to take to the streets won’t want to knock the status quo.

Yes, I know of the students riots and the poll tax riots, but these are riots with a hidden agenda, orchestrated by the Labour movement. Have you noticed that the riots are always when the Conservatives are in power? And, that the Labour Government always seem to “break” our country, and the Tory governments always try to fix it? Not that they ever make a good job of it!

Then there is television. No way will people riot in the street if they have to miss EastEnders or Coronation Street, not to mention the Archers or Neighbours!

Then there is the molly-coddling of the young. I grew up in Africa and had access to a little bit of danger – in fact I had access to a huge amount of danger but my parents never found out! Kids nowadays aren’t allowed the slightest bit of danger so grow up into pretty strange human beings.

There are many other examples, but these should suffice to explain why we have been slowly conditioned by our political masters to be completely docile. Even young soldiers have difficulty coping, mentally, with war any more. They come home a bag of nerves and need serious treatment, even those who haven’t been physically wounded. And our government doesn’t do enough!

We could never riot tomorrow, but we could start to toughen ourselves up politically. Here is a 5 point plan if you want to take a more active part of life in your country. I have also added a bonus item!

  1. Take more of an interest in politics. If you have digital TV watch, not just BBC or ITV news, but watch Sky news as well – they keep winning the annual prize for being the best news programme. Go to meetings, the Adam Smith Institute have many free meetings in London. Attend the occasional local council meetings, this is permitted and you can see how awful democracy works locally. Understand what ALL the parties stand for, even those you hate. I keep an eye on them all, even the obnoxious BNP!
  2. Watch less TV. You are going to hate this but don’t watch any programme which is not self-contained into one showing. This means the soaps and anything that is serialised. This locks you into the TV. Get a good magazine which shows next week’s programmes, highlight only those you really want to watch. After a few months, become even more strict, choose one weekday and one weekend day where you will not turn on the TV. If you really “have” to see a programme, watch it next day on iPlayer or record it! Work towards eventually getting rid of TV and take control of your life again.
  3. I know you have a computer as you are reading this. Investigate RSS feeds and how they work. I use Google Reader to “collect” any additions to a lot of websites and read them all at once. You can read every article in your newspaper’s on-line edition very quickly this way. Read my blog on how it works at https://ampers.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/google-reader/ this can reduce an hours searching for news ino 60 seconds!
  4. My mother used to say to me “Believe nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.” This is an ideal philosophy to have when watching or listening to anyone in the political classes spouting on the box or in print. Ask yourself Cui bono (who benefits) or Cui malo (to whose detriment) or perhaps, what is their hidden agenda in saying this? All this is important as there will always be a hidden agenda, and whatever they do will usually be to our detriment and to their advantage.
  5. Know where you are on the political spectrum. Those of you who are a little older and can remember their school maths, will understand it when I talk about the ‘x’ axis and the ‘y’ axis. With politics, knowing where you stand in the political spectrum is important. The ‘x’ axis tells us where we stand between left and right but this is only a third of the picture. More important and counting for twothirds, is the ‘y’ axis. This tells us exactly how much of a statist, centist or libertarian we are. If you aren’t sure, the statist believes the government should run the economy and also run peoples lives. The socialists are statists. A centist believes the government should run the economy but people should run their own lives. It is debatable whether the Conservatives are true centists but they lean a little towards that position. Libertarians are at the top and believe people should run their own economy and their own lives. To work out what you are, go to http://www.theadvocates.org/quiz and complete the ten questions. However, so that you can get proper results, spend a few minutes with every question, no matter how cut and dried they seem to be, and consider the implications of each before you tick the box. For example. Should we legalise drugs? Here you would mull over the fact that, for decades, we have not halted illegal drugs, we are not just losing the battle, we have lost the war. If we legalised drugs and you could buy them cheaply in Boots, then they would be ”clean”. Every drug dealer in Britain would be out of work, kids would not have access to drugs at the school gate in return for “deliveries”, muggings and burglaries would go down. OK, you might still say no, but at least you would have thought it through.Bonus: This brings me to my last point, Thinking things through. You will never be free of the current political oppression unless you learn to think for yourself, to think everything through before making any decision. This will also help in your personal and business life.

Ampers.

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