Prime Minister’s Question Time 8/1/14

Was able to watch some of it and it  became quite clear yesterday that the Conservative Party simply is trained to turn any criticism into something positive.

Simple example. An MP asked Cameron that in his constituency police officers now have to transport arrested suspects on public transport, what he thinks about this. Cameron immediately replied that in that constituency crime is down by about 25%.

Later in points of order the same MP asked what he could do to stop the PM from misrepresenting facts. The point he made that crime in his constituency had in fact gone up by 25% and not down and that amazingly seconds after the PM’s answer the wrong answer was published on twitter.

The speaker did not have a conclusive solution to this problem and asked MPs to persevere.

I could not say that I have heard once that any Conservative has shown any compassion towards the suffering that was portrait in the House of Commons by opposition MPs.

UK still very low ranked in the eduction league tables

It is no wonder that the UK does so badly. As an immigrant from Germany I struggle daily with English attitudes to almost everything. I just live along and get on but just educating my child is hard at times; though the school has now improved and provides better for gifted and talented pupils. Hopefully that will carry on in Secondary School.

No wonder my learning disabled daughter likes it so much in Wales, as Wales is the lowest performing part of the UK, when the UK’s best performing part is Scotland.

I am stuck here in London, considering going to Germany as their schools are doing better. See tables.

Try out your skills you can take the PISA test here.

Eating out

There is no doubt about it, that each time I ate out, I felt ill after. This was particularly bad yesterday after a McDonald’s meal. I never felt so tired as I am the type of person that never sleeps during the day or in public in any event. Even when I go to bed I do not feel tired as such, I just fall asleep.

Yet yesterday, when I sat in the Catholic Holy Communion class, I felt so tired, I nearly fell off the chair and couldn’t stop yawning. Poor priest, he probably thought I was rude or felt him boring.

Today I feel really ill, my eyes had big black rings underneath, also very not typical for me.

When I went to a local restaurant, Madison fell ill afterwards and even when we went to Giraffe, Madison fell ill after and she is never ill.

There is no point in getting paranoid but since it affects us so badly when we eat out, I decided not to eat out any more.

There are certain meals where a particular portion cannot easily be manipulated and this are instances like school meals for example but most other meals are pretty much individually prepared. Even McDonald’s meals come off a production method that is tailored to individual orders.

That’s eating out for me done and dusted. Not unless I absolutely have to.

Fact is one does not know what is in the production line and where a person that prepared food had their hands prior to serving the meal. I just want to evade extra occasions that could make me ill. Even my child has become more listless since she attends her school’s free breakfast club. Why would anybody offer free breakfast to kids who get fed at home?

More official nonsense

An official report by a government funded body has now officially declared that many government flagship programs are deemed to failure.

The Mayor Projects Authority (MPA) has declared 32 projects potentially unfit for purpose, this includes the Universal Credit.

I can see it in everyday life situations that the government policies frankly make no sense.

How can a government, that is serious about internal security hassle Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators into giving up their voluntary roles by threatening their benefit status if they happen to be unemployed.

Most watch coordinators have jobs but it can happen to anybody that unemployment strikes, especially these days in the recession; unemployment should never be a reason to stop anybody being a watch co-ordinator but unfortunately the DWP forced me to give up this entirely voluntary post.

Such stupidity on the side of the DWP shows they are not fit for purpose.

Whilst government has some grand ideas, in reality the government is unable to bring ideas into workable reality.

“[MPA’s] report warns that billions of pounds of public money could be at risk because of delays and inefficiencies in delivering key projects.”

Why are we told that this government wants to save money when it just seeks other ways to waste it in fancy ideas that channel money to their approved partners but is wasted nonetheless?

price manipulations used by chain stores

Just watching Prime Minister’s Question time and one MP made an interesting point in that he said that supermarkets can use price fixing across their chains and charge the same price everywhere.

Of course that is the reason why prices are the same wherever you go and only totally decentralised shopping could prevent that. But getting rid of supermarket chains is not going to improve supply of food throughout the country, especially not fresh fruit and veg.

They’re going home Uncut

I was just thinking yesterday, it is always easy to look at a balance sheet and then impose policies on those one has no relationship with, in this case the poor or less well off. It’s easy for Duncan-Smith, Osborne, Cameron and the like to impose sanctions against people they never see and have no personal contact with. They do not live in neighbourhoods that makes them meet victims of their policies on their way to work, so they have no eye to eye contact with them.

I live in a ‘poor ‘neighbourhood. My child is losing her best friend whose mother has to move because she cannot afford her rent any longer on her wages. I meet mothers all the time who have to turn to soup kitchens because their benefits have been cut off as their child turns 5. Mothers have had their dole money refused because they could not go to sign on because their child has had a fever. I could not possibly bring my child to school in the morning and trumpet around the playground that I think the cuts are good and encourage people into work when we are asked to contribute to food banks to feed those mothers that are penniless.

Now Uncut has taken the protest to the homes of the policy makers. This way politicians have some personal experience of the results of their policies.

Frankly the cut in housing benefit and the switch to universal benefits will reduce rent levels and all those landlords who are losing out are going to be steaming mad. All our standards of living are going to lower so that we can become compatible with third world markets and can produce goods equally cheap.

Perhaps we are soon not only going to live in shipping containers but also tents and card board boxes, so that the feeling is really authentic, NOT!!!

swimming for all ages

I had this amazing conversation about swimming fins and it is worth mentioning this. My child’s competitive swimming club does not carry out fin training till they are about 10 roughly. Though the age classification is not a good one as children can have wildly varying shoe sizes.

In the Better swim school the fins start at size 2 1/2. So I went to a large sports shop and asked for swim fins smaller than 2 1/2. I was told that 2 1/2 is the smallest they do because children’s feet are still growing and it would damage their feet if they did fins training before.

Then my child found a pair of swimming fins in size 1 – 2 1/2  and that at least resulted in a blushing sales assistant. We then had to take a pair in size 10 1/2 – 13 because there are no smaller sized regular swimming fins available.

Yet the size and age argument is highly unreliable.

Firstly everybody still grows till they are age 18,  secondly in my child’s class is a girl aged 8 with size 5 shoe size. So that girl aged 8 with size 5 shoes size could easily get a pair of size 5 fins and nobody could argue there are no fins for that age.

Isn’t it just the case that swimming fins are not manufactured smaller than size 1 because the industry thinks that kids just can’t swim properly till they reached about that show size? Yet in our latest club championships the winner of the under 10 category in 1 discipline was 6 years old.

I think that sports equipment manufacturers don’t do enough for kids that want to do competitive sports. I could not find one child size sports watch in the whole store.

strongest shopper in London

Just put some items into my plastic supermarket basket at Sainsbury’s today and I felt it getting really heavy. I thought I had a particularly weak day, after all I am getting on in life, but to my amazement, half way to the cashiers, the basket simply broke apart. The handle broke off the basket and the plastic fastening could not be repaired again.

That didn’t happen years ago when shopping baskets were made from metal. Then it was annoying that overloaded baskets simply spilled their contents into the isle, but nowadays with the plastic ones, the baskets just break from the weight.

Has this happened to others? Who is the strongest shopper or how much can you fill in your basket before it breaks?

The dialectic of law and politics

I suppose I have to read up on that because the latest development in the Home Office makes me cringe with desire to learn about the subjects. Theresa May wants judges not to interfere with decisions made in parliament.

The lady makes a very good trilogy of thought stating that: “It is about how to balance rights against each other: in particular, the individual’s right to family life, the right of the individual to be free from violent crime, and the right of society to protect itself against foreign criminals,” she said.

There I would say ad hoc that a society should want to protect itself against any type of criminal and that it may be sensible to not let foreign criminals in when we already have local ones.

Yet laws are there as an overriding objective so to speak, that forces parliaments to couch legislation within the laws already present. Thought it must be very difficult to stream politics in a variation direction from existing laws.

Having looked at the budget proposals of the EU it seems that the smallest proportion of money has actually been put aside for the legal process, which probably explains why the European Court of Human Rights refuses 85% of applications on grounds of admissibility. Only the most prominent cases get heard generally. The question is whether there is even the capacity in the courts to rule on all legal questions effectively. The current Human Rights laws are determined by EU laws but the current budget shows that out of 960 Billion Euros, only about 9 billion go to court expenses. See page 6 of this document for individual breakdown till 2020.

I think the European Court would be more effective if they tried more individual cases to give better guidance to countries in how they apply laws in their regions. Yet UK courts have a duty to refer cases to the ECHR if they are not sure how to apply legislation and that is why an Appellant can then appeal decisions instead of making  comments in the political arena.


profit shifting

I am definitely with George Osborne on this one. George wants to take it up with the multi-nationals who use a tactic called profit shifting to make as much money as possible. But it means regions like Britain can suffer from high unemployment because our companies decide to set up business elsewhere; usually in a region with low labour costs.

The result is our locals end up unemployed and that then leads governments to introduce rules, which require the unemployed to work for free, as to make it viable for a company to even stay in a region like ours. Also it keeps our unemployed busy. But I am also glad that this practise has been repelled by a recent high-court ruling; the unemployed cannot be forced to work for free in Britain by the DWP.

Unemployment in any region has become a global problem and the G20 better tackle it quickly as otherwise we have law and order problems popping up here and there.

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