And That About Wraps it up for God…….

6 Oct

Steve Walker:

Just in case anybody still thinks ‘God’ created the universe…..

Originally posted on A Dripping Tap's Blog:

‘You have to wonder how mankind made through the first 100,000 years of evolution before ‘God’ appeared on the scene to help us manage the next 2,000 years or so.  How did Moses and his posse make to Mount Sinai whilst raping, pillaging and murdering before ‘God’gave Moses the tablets with the instructions on them’……

If ever there was a more sadistic, twisted character in all of fiction ‘God’ takes some beating.  Hannibal Lecter makes ‘God’ look like Ronald MacDonald.

Before we explore some of ‘God’s’ wise words of wisdom lets take a look at how the confidence trick has been pulled off for so long?

It started with the establishment of authority by using the ability to perform magic tricks, giving the appearance that ‘God’ really is up there watching.  This goes back to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks who had scholars with knowledge of how the ‘Heavens’

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Eight Simple Ways for the Treasury to Save Money……

17 Jun

Introduction……

We are not broke, we do not need to tighten our belts and we are certainly not ‘all in this together’.  Immigration and welfare benefits are not the drain on the economy our politicians continually claim; they are just an easy target to divert attention and act as a smokescreen to the reality of our economic position.

Here are eight ways to emancipate billions of pounds back into the economy……

1 – IT Projects……

Government IT projects are notorious.  They frequently do not perform the function for which they were designed, go over budget and are delivered late, if at all.  Those that make it into public use are usually redundant within a couple of years due to their failure to be able to communicate with newer systems in other departments.

Here a just a few examples:

1980 – TAURUS was an electronic trading platform designed to make the buying and selling of stocks and shares easier.  Outcome: cancelled.  Cost: £75 million.

2002 to 2011 – Electronic Care Records; one of many NHS IT project failures.  Over nine years and despite numerous attempts to make it work, it was never launched.  Outcome: Discontinued.  Cost: £12 billion.

2008 to 2013 – Digital Media Initiative was the BBCs digital platform.  It was scrapped when it became clear that other media companies could provide services at a much lower cost to the customer.  Outcome: cancelled.  Cost: £98 million.

The Government continues with IT initiatives, the latest being the universal benefit system.  Again, it has over run and will doubtless be over budget, if it ever works at all……

2 – Public and Judicial Enquiries……

It is understandable that the relatives and victims of events like Hillsborough and Bloody Sunday want answers.  However, the Public or Judicial Enquiry has become a tool for politicians to kick issues into the long grass.  They are hugely expensive, often take years to complete and rarely deliver results.  The Hutton enquiry into the Iraq war was carefully limited in terms of what it was enquiring into.  As a result nobody faced prosecution and nobody  suffered any consequences in respect to the ‘sexed up’ document that was used as the justification for going to war.  The same is true of the enquiries into the shooting of John Charles de Menezes and Mark Duggan, or the newspaper sales man Ian Tomlinson who died after being assaulted by a Police Officer whilst walking home from work during a demonstration.  None of these cases has led to the prosecution of the Officers involved.

The Jimmy Savile case has as many as 30 enquiries currently taking place……

3 – Defense Spending……

The Department of Defense should change its name to the Department of Attack, as the last time it defended the UK was during WWII.  It is time we stopped acting under the influence of the US as the worlds’ police force and concentrated our resources on defending UK sovereign territory.  A look at a map will show that there are no threats to the UK from any of its neighbors, most of whom are our allies.  The non geographical and greatly exaggerated ‘al Qaeda’ does not warrant £57 billion per year on defense spending.  Government wastage has led to the building of redundant aircraft carriers and the replacement of the Trident nuclear deterrent, which is not wanted and unnecessary……

4 – Tax Avoidance……

It is estimated that the UK treasury is deprived of £95 billion per year due to tax avoidance.  At the same time, many of the employees of the companies involved receive benefits to support low paid jobs (more on this later).  It is interesting to note and a demonstration of Governments priorities that HMRC have a team of 300 people dedicated to tackling £95b of tax avoidance whilst the DWP has 3000 people dedicated to recovering £1b of benefit overpayments and fraudulent claims……

5 – The Monarchy……

The Queen’s household and assorted hangers on costs the UK tax payer £33.3m in 2013; a rise of £900,000 on the previous year.  Although I am a republican I feel our Queen does deserve credit where credit is due.  She is a tourist attraction, or rather her palaces are, so I don’t propose we wheel our the guillotine just yet.  However, the monarchy are independently wealthy and becomming richer by the day.  Assets such as the Duchy of Cornwall net Prince Charles tens of millions each year.  They also hold a huge private art collection thought to be priceless, all of which they aquired through a questionable hereditary lineage.  I propose that the public purse does contribute towards the Queen’s official duties but the numerous palaces, estates and country retreats should be handed to the National Trust and opened to the public thereby generating an income for their upkeep and relieving the tax payer of a large financial burden……

6 – MPs Expenses and Allowances……

Sure, MPs work a long way from home but then so do thousands of other people who pay for their own travel and expenses.  MPs are already well paid but on top of their salary claim £100m in expenses.  Some of this is for the everyday things you and I pay for out of our own pockets and some is for the second home allowance.  As already mentioned many people commute from as far away as Peterborough, Grantham and even further.  If an MPs commute is deemed reasonable they should pay for it themselves.  If a second home is needed it should be sold when the MP looses their seat to reimburse the tax payers.  Even with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority overseeing claims, MPs are still receiving far too much money for expenses that the rest of the population are expected to pay for themselves……

7 – Diplomatic Travel……

The year is 2014, not 1914 and with technology there is little need for diplomatic travel when a simple conference call will suffice.  According to the Daily Mail a lot of ‘diplomatic’ travel is little more than an excuse for what they describe as ‘jollies’ and range from £2k to £10k depending on the destination and who is traveling.  This money does not form part of MPs expenses but comes from departmental budgets; the same budgets that have been squeezed by 25% in recent years.  It is rich to say the least to expect the UK public to ‘tighten their belts’ when MPs and Diplomats do not.  We are not ‘all in this together’……

8 – A Fair Pay Act……

It is time that laws are introduced setting out a workable minimum wage.  Not the £6.31 (21+), £5.03 (18 to 20), £3.27 (under 18) and £2.68 (apprentice); all of which are an insult when taking into account the increasing cost of living.  If you earn £6.31 per hour for 37.5 hours per week, you will barely be able to afford necessities.  This is the reason for the various Tax Credits which are paid to top up earnings to a reasonable amount.  But as mentioned earlier, many of the companies that pay minimum wages are also tax avoiders, thereby depriving the treasury twice.  Our whole economy would function better if wages were increased, Tax Credits abolished and tax avoidance curtailed……

None of this is rocket science and all perfectly achievable given the political will.  But instead of tackling the real issues of waste and poverty our representatives continually repeat the mantra of immigration and welfare reform; always being careful not to give factual details.  Immigrants pay in far more than they take out and welfare covers pensions, tax credits, child care allowances and a multitude of other benefits including universal benefits such as family allowance.  Unemployment benefits make up 1 or 2% of the welfare pie.  It is a tactic as old as democracy; divide and rule.  Whilst the arguments are focused on two vulnerable groups who have been demons, it gives the public someone to blame for the hardship they are suffering when in reality, with a little political will, this country could be £250 billion per year better off if only the pigs would pull their heads out from the trough and do the job for which they were elected……

NB: On the Radio 4 Today program (17th June) a recent survey revealed that the majority of residents believe most immigrants come to the UK to claim benefits.  It appears the political message is working……

Religious Education……

10 Jun

Religious Educating should not be ‘taught’ in our schools.  This is the 21st century, not the 19th.  Making statements of fact that are completely unsubstantiated, if not disproven by science.  We tell our kids there’s a Father Xmas and a Tooth Fairy but they’re little tricks parents play to say well done.  As soon as they develop some awareness and reasoning they forget Santa and Pester mum and Dad.

Religion is different.  It is a long term brainwashing strategy that’s worked quite adequately for a few thousand years.  Re-enforce the nice stories of Nohah then bring in the facts about God and what awaits children who don’t follow the doctrine.  Many kids like me went to Sunday School but that was the norm and it gave our parents a break.  A lot will question the validity of what they are being told and turn Atheist like me.  But some don’t.

RE has been given the title ‘Religious and Social’ education but that’s just smoke and mirrors.  When teaching other religions, questionable events in history become facts by way of veneration through time and a manuscript, of which there are hundreds of differing versions. Many of these ‘facts’ have been disproven by science, right from Genesis which God’s description of is impossible and it is only by evolving the interpretation the bible that it survived.

Stop wasting tax payers money indoctrinating children into a single minded process of thinking and replace it with physics or PE.  You wouldn’t make your kids Liberal Democrats and send them to Lib Dem schools so they leave as caring lefties with not much understanding of the Torys of Labour.  Let kids make up their own minds when they’ve been given all of the information……

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See no Evil, Hear no Evil, Speak no Evil……

4 Jun

The victims of Jimmy Savile have now reached over 500 people, makingSavile_Grim him the most prolific paedophile that this country has ever known.  With each new revelation in the media it becomes more and more apparent that this manipulative deviant managed to operate for 50 years without detection.  This is the hardest part to understand, bearing in mind the number of police investigations and anecdotal stories that have come to light.  With so many people expressing their concern at the time, surely those who knew about Savile must have crossed paths and, one would assume, an exponentially increasing catalogue of his behaviour would have accumulated becoming widely talked about within charities, the NHS and the BBC.

The proponents of this accumulated information may not have felt that they could approach someone in authority; partly due to a lack of hard evidence or because they felt it may harm their career prospects, attacking a celebrity icon in the zeitgeist of that era, but surely someone would have been compelled to ‘out’ him by catching him in the act.  This doesn’t seem like something that would have been hard to do based on the stories that are surfacing now.

It is a tragic thought that some lone individual, or worse a cabal of executives high up in the BBC may have chosen not to actively pursueSecrecy_Shhh Savile instead turning a blind eye.  At that time Savile’s audience was akin to that of Coronation Street back in the days when we only had 3 channels to watch.  Could it be that the ‘yes’ men allowed it to happen in the same way the ‘yes’ men allowed Michael Jackson to share his bed with prepubesent boys.  A case of not shooting the goose that laid the golden egg.  It’s almost too twisted to imagine it happening but we have all seen the product of greed; it surrounds us every day……

All of this is pure speculation but it strikes me as extremely unlikey that such a prolific paedophile wasn’t ever caught in the act.  With reference to the victims who did come forward at the time, they will have lived through their distress three times.  The whole affair seems to have sex offenders crawling out from the celebrity woodwork.  Stuart Hall from ‘It’s a Cock Out’ and Rolf Harris putting his Digery Doo where you Digery don’t……

Although completely unrelated but only one rung down from Savile are the seemingly immune politicians who steal from the public purse to the police officers who felt the need to shoot John Charles de Menenez in the head seven times, kill bystanders at protest marches and all get off scot free.

Some people would sell their own grandmother’s organs if they thought it would make them wealthier, so I wouldn’t put it past the BBC executives to have protected their main asset.  Given the bullets that those mentioned above have been able to dodge the ‘See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ proverb could have contributed to Savile’s ability to act as he did.  If  that is the case, I don’t know how the people who chose to do nothing can sleep at night……

Could Social Media be the Answer to Broken Politics……

28 May

‘Social Media has found missing people, contributed to the  organistion of the ‘Arab Spring’ and even deprived Simon Cowell of his predictable Xmas #1.  So, can Social Media bring down our broken and corrupt political system…….?’

FaceBook connects us all following the ‘six degrees of separation’ rule.  Friends of people who know you are friends of others who don’t but we are all pretty much connected and going ‘viral’ takes no time at all……

It would be simple to create a ‘Peoples’ Party’ and, with a little commitment from the electorate, a landslide victory could easily achieved.  UKIP get a lot of flack over their perceived racist views and it’s not hard to see why.  However, I’m pretty sure that most people who voted for them are not racist, they are simply sick and tired of politicians evasive answers; it is interesting to note that all parties have immigration and welfare at the top of their agendas, so accusing UKIP of being racist is a bit rich to say the least and consider the NHS without foreign doctors……

I am not a politician and don’t have all the answers but what I do know is Portcullis_Logothat Special Advisers (SPADS) remain when governments’ change.   As soon as the ‘Peoples’ Party’ takes power cleaning up politics could start with the dismissal of the career SPADS, who guide newly elected officials and in doing so shape policy.  Accountability under a new system freed from the ‘old boy’ networking is plausible.  The details need to be flushed out but industry financed campaigns and lobbying would be outlawed, as would the second home allowance which would be repayable upon sale of an MP’s property if voted out of office…….

This country belongs to us and there is more than enough money to pay for public services, provided we don’t waste money on questionable foreign wars, fancy lunches and chauffeur driven cars.  The time has come to take it back.

Please feel free to get in touch and maybe together we can formulate a campaign and make a difference to our broken system……

www.facebook.com/adrippingtap

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The Cost of Technological Progress……

15 May

‘We all love our mobiles, iPads and laptops and most of us would feel lost without them. We also care about our planet, support eco-friendly products and would use them if they met our needs. Everybody loves a bargain, so when the price of technology keeps on falling we upgrade, even if our device is perfectly adequate. It sounds like a panacea; cheap, accessible and green. But as the old saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is……’

 

We all know that global industries are not in business for pleasure. They have one goal and that is to return the maximum possible profits. So a penny saved by the consumer is a penny recouped from somewhere else and that usually involves a human cost along the way……

 

I am writing and administering this blog from a seven year old laptop and, with good housekeeping, it continues to function perfectly. In fact I cannot think of anything I can’t do that a new computer would make possible. The truth of the matter is that we suffer from ‘technology envy’ and the sleek new laptops and phones are more cosmetically satisfying than they are functionally better; but we want one anyway. This applies to TVs, fridges, coffee machines, cars and almost any gadget we own. To supply goods at discount prices savings have to be made……

 

Human Resources, and a ‘resource’ is what we are in the eyes of global industries, is one of the first lines of cost cutting which is why your technology is almost always made in a country with no public healthcare, dilapidated infrastructure, chronic poverty and corrupt officials. For it is in those countries that humans can be bought at the least cost. They work 16 hour days and the concept of health and safety doesn’t appear in the equation. There is no sick pay or paid holidays and the employees dare not challenge the bosses because they are replaceable by the next desperate person……

 

Many companies claim to monitor standards at their far eastern supplier but the reality is that they will be shown a specially set up part of a factory; clean, safe and air conditioned. If they interview employees they are too frightened to speak up. This was brought into sharp focus by the recent collapse of a factory that made clothing for many well known high street brands……

 

The second issue is caused by the technology itself. To make batteries that last longer, motors with more power and the materials that aid miniaturisation we often use what are known as ‘rare earth elements’ such as Boron and Neodymium. By an accident of geology rare earth elements are most common in third world economies. Extracting them requires yet more cheap manpower and extracting them can leave behind toxic chemicals; chemicals that developed nations have strict regulations regarding their disposal. Unscrupulous third world companies simply dump them on the ground or into rivers. Another unfortunate consequence of rare earth elements is their rarity. Hundreds of tons of earth may contain only a tiny amount of the desired element, therefore, extracting them causes the destruction of vast areas of important ecosystems……

 

So, the next time you’re thinking of upgrading to the latest sleek, brushed aluminium mobile phone or laptop, ask yourself if you really need it, because your new phone may be helping to shorten someone’s life, contributing to the extinction of plants and animals, and ultimately halting development of third world countries.

 

And all because multi-national global companies need to pay huge bonuses and increase profits. ‘Sustainable growth’ has to be one of histories most damaging and unrealistic oxymoron ever to have come from a comfortable, air conditioned, over staffed and detached boardroom since ‘think tanks’ came into existence……

The Government’s 0845 Scam…..

9 May

In January the Government quietly put out a press release concerning the extortionate practice of charging the public premium rates for essential services; services that those least able to afford need to use the most.  You will always get through, have to listen to a long and drawn out announcement regarding data protection, followed by a multitude of options only to find yourself on hold for half an hour.  It is not unusual for the person who answered to tell you you’d chosen the wrong option and, unable to transfer you, make you start the whole process again……

Many of those 0845 numbers have been replaced by 0345 numbers which are free in most cases but nothing has been done to publicise this fact.  I asked at the Jobcenter Plus and they claimed to have no knowlege of the new numbers……

Press_Release

For the benefit of those who are unfortunate enough to have to call the DWP regarding the benefits to which you are entitled, even though they portray you as scroungers and people who don’t want to work, I feel it is my duty to inform you of the new, free number……

dwp_free

Incidentally, the income from higher rate 0845 numbers is split between the provider and user, so all those hours you have spent listenning to Green Sleeves earned the Government thousands and thousands of Pounds……

PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD……

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