Monday, 10 March 2014

My rights, your rights. All wrong

A few miles away from me there is a rest area adjoining a roundabout off the main A1 road. It is nicely secluded, screened by trees and with a footpath down to the river. There are toilets which were always clean and fresh. I say 'were' but the whole facility is now shut with massive concrete blocks shutting off the only access.
Why? Because a large group of 'travellers' colonised the place for a fortnight or so and, when finally moved on, left piles of rubbish and filth behind.
The usual excuse for this sort of vandalism is that there are not enough officially designated sites for travellers and they have to stop somewhere - it is part of their life-style. We have a Naked Rambler who exercises what he sees as his right to ramble in the buff. There are many things I would like to do as a 'right' if I had the brass neck to set them up.
The official stop-overs for the fraternity soon become unavailable as families occupy them on a semi-permanent basis. The saga of Dale Farm shows the complexity of the issue. The costs to tax-payers cannot be justified in these hard economic times.
As I see it, there is a simple solution. These should be in place for a location. A set time limit needs to be imposed for presence on a site. Areas designated as rest areas should also have a definite period limiting stays - say, 60 hours. After these periods, eviction is guaranteed without recourse to legal action; a similar bar is needed to avoid travellers seeking legal permission to stay or to resist being moved on.
At the designated time, the travellers would be reminded of the limitations. Those who refused to vacate should be towed away from the prohibited area. Once on a public road the normal sanctions should be used. If a vehicle fails to meet MOT standards there are directives as to limitations and use. Checks should be made as to driving licences and insurance. There is provision for vehicles to be seized and even destroyed. All of these should be considered.
These actions put responsibility where it belongs; I might decide on a change of life style. If I decide it is my right and life style to swim amongst sharks then the results are purely my choice

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Rattling a blunt sabre


This is a letter appearing in today's Telegraph. The writer talks of his time with a major Corps serving in Germany in 1968 but it is the final paragraph that concerns me. I would hope that no one is asking the question as to preparedness; should there be some gung-ho subaltern doing so he should be chopped off at the knees. In 1968 we still had forces capable of putting on a show. We would be hard pressed now in finding sufficient troops to fill a good size trench. Let me make no criticism of the good General. But then, I saw little wrong with Colonel Blimp.

Friday, 31 January 2014

Welcome to MY world: That other shoe

Welcome to MY world: That other shoe: "Waiting for the other shoe to drop" was a phrase I heard often when working with Americans; I thought they had created it but it ...

That other shoe

"Waiting for the other shoe to drop" was a phrase I heard often when working with Americans; I thought they had created it but it seems it may have been we Brits who coined it for them. It came back to me when thinking of the phone hacking as now being described in the Wade & Coulson trial now in progress. Why did we not hear far more of the revelations so easily captured from the mobile telephones of the rich and famous or the pseudo-rich ad famous? After all, the surveillance industry has many nifty little gadgets for eavesdropping and I have not heard anything about their being used. Most companies have premises swept for electronic bugs but a device does not have to be in the physical cartilage of the offices.
These musings led me to think deeper. Did anyone do widespread or targeted eavesdropping or was it impending interest that directed the buggers? For example, was anyone dropping in on the conversations of that 'fragrent' wife of an erstwhile Lord? Why did we not hear long ago about la sauce hollandaise? Given what passes as politics in America there must have been rich pickings hanging on low branches. Not that we would want daily situation reports - we have the Daily Wail and the Sun for such stuff - but those times when someone goes on a updated Tea Party. Mention of the Wail reminds me that the Daily Mirror used to have a feature called The 3am Girls. These were not even undercover but were party girls with loads of front and large ears. There was a report that when Posh was in America and Beckham mania was high a 3am girl was established in America just to hone in on the buzz. Not a big step from party going to the surveillance shop one would have thought.
We do seem to have come upon hacking a little late. It was 1989 that our bonnie Prince contemplated resurrection as a Tampax. That was captured on a simple scanner and the story is that Special Branch had a number of recordings from various sources. The technical advances in communications have killed off the scanner routes but modern day interception of phones is not difficult anyway.
Of course, once one gets into the depths of theorising about this, it can go haywire. Could it be that the current drama of flooding is the result of some secondary Thames Barrier created by abandoned phones dumped in the Thames? And, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when the Metropolitan Police Underwater Search Team were told they were going under to find a mobile phone.