BIG Lottery lost the plot

Virtually that is what they funding, plodding on plots. They have now funded a scheme that is giving the poor of Tower Hamlets the illusion that they can grow their own food, so that they no longer need to be reliant on food banks.

For that illusion they pay several project leaders good salaries to carry out that deception.

Remember how dreamer George Galloway tried it years ago, he tried to convince Tower Hamlets residents that they no longer need supermarkets but just have to buy local or directly from farmers.

The poor haven’t become any richer, they have become poorer and making them feel that they are responsible partly for 20% of the global greenhouse gas emmission because they don’t grow their own food is foolish to say the least.

Tower Hamlets council even splashes out on a community kitchen, which is (un)suitably located directly next to a private school. So any fires from that kitchen will lead to an evacuation of the school of course.

I thought avoiding accidents whilst cooking in my own kitchen was difficult at times but imagine sharing a kitchen with many who are led to cook there together. The person with the nut allergy next to the nut lover.

It is more than cruel to give people the illusion that they can grow their own food in densely crowded urban area.

I grow my own raspberries and currants and still end up getting them from Sainsbury’s because I do not get more than a handful. Any plots people have in Tower Hamlets are small plots, balconies, window boxes. Surely not enough to feed anybody.

And aren’t the poor to work for their money? Now they are not only expected to work but also to grow their own food, so they no longer need food banks.

Apparently the Big Lottery has not yet realised that you can’t grow rice in London and that fish grows in rivers and the sea and not the local canals. So food will always have to be transported into urban areas and all those food-growing schemes can be no more than a hobby to get people out of the house, if they got a tub somewhere.

I am more than disappointed that the Big Lottery supports that scheme, which is also connected to workshops about Climate Action.

As Extinction Rebellion already use our local community centre for making props for their demos, they now gotten even more money to educate local poor people on climate action.

Obviously the last thing a poor person wants to do is spend their last pennies on a bag of compost so that they can harvest 10 potaotes in a few months time. 

Incredible flexibility

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has shown incredible flexibility – for a government – and altered decision making to fit the need of the people. That is something he should be praised for. They listened and acted to come up with best possible solutions.

I am also blaming the media for making a circus of it and stipulating calls for resignation rather than having some kinder comments to make. Perhaps that doesn’t attract readers.

Nobody could have anticipated the chain of events that happened after the realisation of Covid-19.

Unfortunately some opposition politicians critisize for the sake of making points and opposition instead of looking at the issue.

Especially in government departments like Education, we do not want a constant change in the ministerial lead. All those who communicate with the Deptartment of Education see how frustrating it is to get those notifications, that correspondence cannot be answered at the moment because of a change in leadership.

I very much welcome it that he doesn’t resign.

 

Phishing again

I received texts yesterday asking me to verify that I made a payment via my bank account. What I found very amazing is, that somebody managed to purchase URLs with the beginning of HSBC.

I went onto my Internet service provider and searched for URLs beginning with HSBC and none apparently were available. I just wonder where those scammers are able to buy such URL names. Perhaps in some remote country from some strange provider?

It is really up to those selling URL names to ensure that no banking URLs can be bought by anybody but the bank itself.

What became apparent yesterday is that the person who had bought the fraudulent URL and put up a website, looking exactly like the HSBC log in page, managed to buy not only one but two URLs beginning with HSBC then a dot and then some business like phrase.

They first send the first text with the first URL and then 1 hour later another text with a similar sounding URL. The texts came from two non-withheld UK mobile phone numbers, probably burner phones.

Of course it is important that people report such phishing scams to their banks straight away. The quicker those are taken down, the less people fall pray to such scams.

It is relatively easy to put up false websites. It is easy to copy graphics and display them and then put a form onto that website and harvest input information. But if people cannot buy the URL in the first place, the scam becomes much harder to do.

I know all that stuff because I have been a webmaster for over 10 years.

learned behaviour

I am thinking a lot about family obligations lately.

To explain this imagine three scenarios.

  1. Your family is Mafia and you learn how to grow up in that and you have to stick to your family and support them no matter what or you get killed
  2. Your family is police and you see your parent put on that uniform every day and you learn keeping up the law is all that matters.
  3. Your family runs a business and you learn to think about profits and losses and how to make people buy your products.

Everything in between is a mix of those.

There is a lot of underlying crime about and I think it is difficult for kids who are not trained from the start either to be maker/seller criminals or law enforcers to find a way to recognise what is right or wrong these days.

Just read that some Apps like Snapchat are now used to sell drugs. Kids tend to have to learn and once they made the mistake they know it doesn’t work.

I think much more should be done to explain to kids where the dangers are.

Perhaps in schools there should be one lesson per day and good advice on what to avoid and how not to fall for dangers, which are not apparent to anyone unless they’ve made the mistake.

 

Unison Demo today in Tower Hamlets

Unison was holding a demonstration against Tower Hamlets Rewards. I am not sure what it is about, just pictured the moment as I came across the demo on the way home from shopping in Whitechapel. The demo was walking down Cambridge Heath Road from Bethnal Green towards Whitechapel.

I can understand people have a grudge against changes to working conditions. I noticed the traffic held up was not pleased. Did not see any police around to keep the peace.

unison-demo-TH-rewards-17-8-20

Demo against Tower Hamlets Rewards

Find it amazing that Unison is accusing Mayor John Biggs, to behave like Margaret Thatcher, when former Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair himself hailed Margaret Thatcher.

It is true that John Biggs only enforces government legislation without making much fuss about it. All policies about school closures for example are carried out because of government rules on school funding.

What room to exercise discretion does any council actually have?

The reasons for the dispute are listed here.

  • Slashing Severance Pay by at least 80% and capping pay outs at £25,000.
  • Reducing starting salaries for Scale 6 to SO2 by one increment instead of expanding grades upwards.
  • Substantially reduced Flexi scheme that allows a maximum of one day owed per month with a maximum of seven hours credit/debit and loss of credit if not used within a month.
  • Travel allowances cut by £596 with more restrictive ECUA criteria.
  • Night work supplements starting later (at 9pm, rather than 8pm).
  • Market supplements replaced and restricted by subsuming into future pay rises and only giving to new starters.
  • Review of Special Leave entitlements
  • Removing protections around disciplinary and grievance procedures by making them non-contractual. This will offer less protection to TUPE transfers and reduce consultation if changed in future.
  • No payment for travel time in new Mobility Clause and limited compensation for excess travel costs.

It is concerning that the payment for travel time is to be axed. That always had been a big problem for people on zero hours contracts or the self-employed for example when they had to travel from job to job.

The proportionality of travel costs in jobs must be a matter of consideration. Almost everybody complains about travel costs. Season tickets can make a big dent into ones income. It makes a difference though if you pay for twice daily travel to and from work and a regular income with that or if you are self-employed, like a carer and have to travel to several jobs per day and dont’ earn proportionally enough to make that worth it.

 

Cheating perceptions

brown rope tangled and formed into heart shape on brown wooden rail

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

“The Bridge” is an excellent Swedish/Danish mini series streamed via BBC iPlayer. It takes time to watch the sub-titled films, if you do not speak the native language.

It took me the weekend to watch the 10 films.

Another film that shows how people with an excellent professional repuation can con a lot of people pretending that they have died and carry out a lot of crime without being found for a long time.

The perpetrator an ex-police officer wants revenge for having lost his wife, who cheated on him.

Actually the whole story is about two police officers fighting each other over who has ownership of a woman.

It’s down to the unusally frankly spoken girl Saga who applies pure logic and her mind is not clouded with emotion.

The perpetrator is an ex-pliceman who was admired by his colleagues who would never suspect him of all the murders he committed as they were all best mates. People thought he had died.

This story is much smoother than the ‘Line of Duty’ where the layers of police confidential operational teams all out-do each other in hiding things.  The ice-cold logic of looking at actual evidence makes it easy to make connections and show that the guy actually wasn’t dead and killed someone else, took his face off, to take his place.

It’s quite well shown how psychopaths befriend people and slowly trick their way into families by exploiting people’s emotional weaknesses.

I don’t want to give too much away but it’s very engaging and well worth watching.

What these types of films clearly show that even an armed police patrol can be overpowered by someone without scrouples because the normal guy is just not alert to sudden events.

At the end it gets very emotional and clears up how much damage over-emotional situations can do if people don’t keep it together.

I like Saga a lot, I can even identify with her, as she is equally rational, as I think I am.

 

Duty and the law

My two favourite programs at present are ‘Law and Order – UK’ and ‘Line of Duty‘. The latter I am watching the back-series on BBC i-Player.

Series three of ‘Line of Duty’ showed this very concerning situation, wherby a thoroughly corrupt police officer rose up into the ranks of the police standards investigation branch of the police service and managed to manipulate, falsify and distort evidence, so that good officers gotten blamed for murders he himself committed but framed other officers for it.

The swine was so well organised that he was in charge of a row of burner phones, had a member of the armed police branch standing by to shoot a salvo from his machine gun into the room full of officers to aide his escape.

Apparently his own actions weren’t scrutinized, he gotten himself this halo of ‘always good, always untouchable’.

Beware of psychopaths who always appear charming, well-dressed, and know what we want to hear.

The rules for serving officers and some volunteers even are simple. You are not allowed to accept individual gifts, you are allowed to accept small gifts, which are generally given to a group of people. E.g. when you get those promotional gift bags or free sandwiches at functions.

 

The exam result revolt

the latest decisions by education ministers reveal that pupils can use their Mock GCSE or A-level results if algorithms’ used to determine grades seriously lower their achievements.

We are in such a predicament. The school has been closed because of bad results – among other reasons. Yet my child’s results have always been above average. Went to a low-achieving Primary and the year of his SATs the school’s standing in the league tables rose.

Unfortunately for us, now in the school, which is also closing this year, the school has refused to supply a printed copy of the second Mock GCSE results.

The first Mock GCSE results already provide a pass for Sixth form entry but the second lot was even better. I do not understand why a school would refuse to give a printed copy of those mock exam results to pupils.

I have now contacted the head of education in the borough, Christine McInnes and the head of the closing school and the Executive head of the school who works in another school.

It is stressful to say the least.

lasting damage

Just watched the official secrets film about Katherine Gun on Amazon Video and that is probably another reason why we didn’t have a Labour government since a long time.

Since the Iraq war those classical MPs stood down or left politics. The new crop has not managed to get over issues like race.

We are all humans.

13 seconds

On average it takes me about 13 seconds after receipt of a phishing phone call to hang up. The same is happening about abusive phone calls.

Amazing to see that when I post some things, how long it takes for a stupid phone call to come in.

There is a clear connection.

I received one of these calls after this mornings’ posts. I leave it to anybody’s imagination where that call could have come from.

My phone numbers are widely available. Obviously anybody could be calling but motive and timing is always a giveaway.

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