Saturday, 21 October 2006

Lazy day's work

Feeling sleepy all day. So, just going to send you straight to the gueast blog. Make of it what you will.

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Dimwit Blunkett and Madonna and and - oh - just Google anyone you do not know

Our gobment - Part (the whatever)

So, I see that Claire Short has resigned again. (Link here for those outside B.Liar's Empire re this lady). She is becoming a serial quitter. I don't go along with the treachery bit; she has for a long time been a bit of a loose cannon and she certainly does not keep her feelings and opinions hidden.
Her Labour neighbour (rhymes at this hour!) makes his point from self-advancement motives as for sure the Party will send the heavyweights up to assassinate her when next they canvas for a General Election and he hopes they will come and show themselves in his fiefdom. I'll put my bigotry into the background beyond mentioning that he is Asian and she is a potential subject for veilling. The points she makes sum up the disaster that the latest NewLabour policies – should that be Thoughts for Today? - have inflicted upon this country. In fact, I think she would be a damned good leader of the Tories instead of that wet and slimy face flannel Dave.
In the context of governance, it seems as if the chickens are coming home to roost. I see it more as the vultures gathering. The National Audit Office has pulled out the plum that was farming controls and subsidies. Never mind the dreadful figures of money lost; the rate at which this Government is throwing away money makes this a small sum in the overall scheme of things. Just look at the reasons given and just see where the pounds poured down the plughole. For an even more eye-watering example of planning and control see what happened to the billions – yes billions of £ and not $ we normally see associated with that sort of sum – sluiced towards the National Health Service. All intended to improve patient care. When it got out to the Health Trusts they spent the majority on staff – more of them and better paid. I suppose there might be some vestigial improvement to me in a bed of pain and confusion to know that I would have three consultants arriving in their Rolls Royce cars very soon. Mind you – hardly any nurses on the wards. The 'patient benefits' did not reach down to the front line troops.
Ah – money for troops. Another funny story. Emperor Tony said that the elements of the British Army in Afghanistan would have all that their commanders asked for. Rumours of under-manning and shortages of fighting tools were not true and just idle talk from each of the 600 guys engaged there and their extended families back home. The Parachute Regiment has just swapped duty to be replaced by Royal Marines. One of the problems was that our grip on the country is so tenuous that resupply and troop movement has to be by air. We have no large cargo aircraft (the planning to fight Russia did not call for them) and helicopters are better suited for the task anyway. Beauty of a Marine unit is that it has it's own helicopters and do not have to rely on offcuts and leavings of the RAF. However, the spending limits imposed some while back are still in force and the gobment have ruled they can take more men or more choppers. Not both. They have taken the men. So much for Bullshine Blair's posturing when in the spotlight.
This apparent disaster to properly budget and then to control expenditure amazes me. The time overruns are incomprehensible. The best I did as a civilian was the preparation and control of an annual budget of about £5 million. On my own. Preparation included new work as well as maintaining what we had. This entailed co-ordination regarding what numerous departments wanted from me in the year ahead, getting estimated costs for those, deciding what would be essential work on the fabric and plant equipment of a large building and satellite offices, what would be nice work to have done. What gobment legislation would require. Having got this I was required to cost it to 10% plus or minus and set a time scale overall and individually. Then followed a Spanish Inquisition before my own Directors who focussed only on money and not physical requirement.
Having got authority to earmark the moneys required, I was Project Manager when the work started after detailed examination was made of that operation. The Finance department gave me monthly reports as to how the actual expenditure was comparing with estimated. Any overspend beyond +/- 10% led to a determined assault upon the globes in my private parts. Similar beating ensued if there was an underspend as my Budgethad tied up monies that could have been better employed elsewhere. The gobment has vastly greater resources far more qualified than I so why does it get into such a mess? Yes – the scale of disaster will be more but the basic principles are the same. Do not give large sums of money to teenagers as they head out to party on down.

Just one small detail re the cost of the NHS (Admired throughout the World). There is a drug which can slow down the progress of Altzheimers effecting old people. A review committee has decided that this medicine will not be made available in the first onset of the disease. Maybe a little later would be OK. So, the period when one is best lucent has to be shortened and it is only when things are desperate to the extent that the patient has totally lost functions and carers are most distressed that the NHS may extend this period of suffering prior to inevitable death. Now - where did I hide that Colt .45 revolver - better check it before I qualify for the helpful drug.

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Heritage - what bloody heritage?

I am, I think, quite aged. I have bits of memory that go back to 1938 and quite good recall of things since 1940. Mind you, this morning sometimes gets a bit hazy!
What I have no difficulty with is the way I was brought up. It was very much a case of 'children are seen but not heard'. My parents were above the normal age for parenting when I was born; my father considerably so. As an only child I had the full benefit of their attentions in ensuring I knew and complied with the standards of that time.
I learned that truthfulness was at the top of everything. This might be moderated by considerations of what was permissible in the way of conversation. 'That lady is fat' was possibly true but not permitted from even the youngest child. I was taught respect for my elders. How to approach them, speak to them – after being spoken to – and how to exist alongside them. My parents counted as elders and there was no relaxation due to familial relationship. Aunts and Uncles had to receive the same respect and consideration. Transgressions resulted in physical punishment. The punishment came first directly after the offence. No debate, no discussion.
I knew that provided I had said where I was going, I could be away all day playing in the woods and fields that surrounded our house. I was introduced to a shotgun at an early age – 10'ish or so. The rule was that if you shot it – you ate it. All adults could be trusted – almost implicitly. The police were regarded as friends and one was encouraged to say Hello when seeing one in and around the street. They always answered and often chatted with a young citizen.
Religion was of much significance. Just as important as knowing the tenets of one's own faith was recognition of other faiths and some understanding of what they believed. There was no clash over a person's choice of religion; that was respected.
Schooling was most formal. The idea that one would cause the slightest annoyance to one's teacher was totally absent. Avoiding school was not even considered. One did as one was told. There was little discussion as to why we learned what was put to us no matter how abstract it might seem. Most learning was by rote. Spelling bees were frequent. Reading aloud was common and we all knew our multiplication tables up to twenty times twenty. There were no exemptions from games and sports – all competitive – and those with sick notes still went onto the field and were chivvied around.
Around the age of twenty, I was conscripted into the Army to do a compulsory two years of service. I will not drag on as to what that taught me other than to say it must have been the best finishing school this side of Switzerland. I learned to be loyal and to understand what the loyalty of others meant to me. I became completely able to operate as a single unit with few resources as well as a team member. “Can do” became a watchword that was used to evaluate my personal and team performance. I saw foreign countries and observed how they operated. How the inhabitants inter-reacted and how they treated us – sometimes unwelcome in their land. From these experiences I gained some strong opinions – yes, maybe only just short of prejudice and bigotry.
Now, the world of my youth has gone. I cannot think of a single thing I have described that has survived. All swept away. I've gone back through the archives of the newspapers of those days and certainly there was violence, crime and social injustice. However, the spread of those olden days in no way relates to the parlous state we are in today. This is not just an immigration thing; the changes were wrought by those I would have to consider as 'one of us'.
However, those changes were to some extent benign. Just as people get the Government they deserve (and isn't that appropriate right now!), the community developed as the majority voice decided. I could regret it without understanding it or approving it. I adopted what I named 'reverse apartheid' where I did not aim to exclude people from my personal space and environment but I exiled myself from them.
However, I am now being reviled and threatened by people who are but fairly recent incomers to what was my land. They seek to implement massive change – indeed, the aim is to take the country's principles away and introduce a Islamic paradise. This is being carried out not just by obvious hotheads and terrorists with bombs and threats of chemical warfare on the streets of London. Muslims we might regard as 'nice old guys' are demanding rights and concessions that empower them but remove from me attitudes and conduct I have known and practised for over seventy years. Our smiley-face government has no experience of the attitudes that these disrupters have as their basic drives and cannot accept that there is a hidden agenda. Human Rights For All is the cry. Most of the things I have seen demanded conflict with what I regard as my Human Rights but I'm am told to grin and bear it. The status of refugee is, to me, clouded. Why seek sanctuary here when they have already travelled through three or four countries where, it seems to me, peace reigns? Having made the decision to travel to England as a 'nice' place, why set about destroying everything that has made it 'nice over the years?
Answers on a £10 note please.