Who dares swims

Sat in a fascinating talk by Nick Gillingham*, British Breast swimming medal winner around the late 80s and mid 90s Olympics especially.

Swimming of course being one of the most versatile, relaxing, muscle building and fat reducing sports there are. People of all ages can engage in swimming.

What swimming needs though is pools and that is what Britain is short of.

Coming from the German town of Wuerzburg, my father used to help run a very large swimming club and I grew up with this. But when I say swimming club I mean swimming club. The facilities were absolutely spot on, fit for Olympic competition.

What I particularly refer to is a 50 meter pool. Nick Gillingham* explained why he loved the breaststroke so much, saying that Britain has a particularly good tradition with breaststroke achievements.

I think its due to the small pool sizes in Britain that only breaststroke can achieve any remarkable results. If you look at front crawl, butterfly and even backstroke; those strokes are all very powerful speed producing strokes, that get faster the longer one swims it, whilst breaststroke works better with small pools, that are usually 25 to 33 meters long.

It seems British swimmers and swimming trainers have lost the confidence that they can even compete in any of the fast paced styles because the pools in Britain are too short.

Of course in my home town of Wuerzburg the club had a 50 meter lido and now also a 50 meter indoor pool.

The only 2 50 meter pools I know of in London is the Hackney Lido and now also the Olympic swimming pooI.

My own child takes a particular liking to backstroke but our own club keeps on emphasizing breaststroke but please remember that trainers really should further all styles and not just breaststroke just because the pools are short. If you look at it, the only nations producing fast racing swimmers in the long body stretch disciplines like especially crawl and butterfly and also backstroke are those with lots of 50 meter pools. The government would be well advised to install more 50 meter venues around  the British isle to beef up the sport and help youngster of today reach their potential.

*sorry about earlier mistake

Swimming is hard to do in the UK

Just watched with fascination how Rebecka Addlington had to swim faster to win her bronze medal than she swam for her Gold previously. Some 17 year old swimmers train 4 hours per day to reach their career goals.

But here  in the UK it is really difficult for a child to get into swimming. Having grown up in Germany, my home town Wuerzburg has a huge open air lido with 50 meter pool and it was affordable to spend all day there and swim as long as one wanted.

Here in the UK, London to be specific, pools are hard to get by. Our local pool York Hall was threatened with closure some years ago and that has only got a 25 meter lane. My child’s favourite sport is swimming and she does it since age 4.

Yet her local school does not even go swimming with the children until the kids reach class 4, when kids are age 9-10; they do not take children swimming at all in year 6. I suppose that is down to the fact that such a small pool can only accommodate so many classes per week.

I put her into a local swimming club, the Bethnal Green Sharks who do their best to help the local kids to achieve in the cramped 25 meter pool. The lack of pools makes swimming very expensive. A year’s membership in the swimming club gives a person 1 hours swimming per week for £200. Then to do swimming in the pool privately costs £1 per session.

It is very expensive to learn competitive swimming here in the UK and especially London where pools are scarce and schools are not very keen to teach children to swim.

Artistic activities are much more sponsored, they do not need special facilities but that reflected in the Olympic opening ceremony that the UK is traditional hooked on arts and not so much on sport.

Is this still a free country?

Whilst I read in one headline that the key to elderly care is compassion, I read in another that the government wants to force people into work schemes and take part in any job they are told to do. I think the main stumbling block on the current work scheme, that is supposed to be voluntary is that people are actually forced to do any job, absolutely any job, that this is called voluntary but it is actually forced.

We slowly see the removal of choice in whatever we do. That is normally only happening in war times but then people gladly give in and do what needs doing to save their bacon but now we do not have a war.

We have a bad economy and nothing is happening to make it better. The protesters around St. Paul’s remind me a lot of the hippies, we saw in the 60s but then the hippies generated plenty of business and so they created a hug industry whilst the St. Paul’s protesters just look lazy and messy and one shop keeper complains of an increase in shop lifting where the protest is.

The main principle of our society is that we are a free country and that we have choices, that is being gradually eroded by work schemes as the current government plans. Jobs are part of a busy economy and people must be able to choose jobs, ,work where they feel compassion and put their energy into the job as if they personally feel proud about it, because that is something they want to do.

I am happy working for free at the three jobs I currently do voluntarily because I want to do this and I belief that it is worth doing. But I would get really stroppy if someone told me to work voluntarily for a company and I did not make the choice of wanting to work there.

There is so much more to work, there is the whole lifestyle. If people work their whole lifestyle changes, most people need to earn a lot to afford child care and for those with children, it is often easier to volunteer in the hours they can spare.

But for young people there is a slow but certain choice removal from their lives. First they have to go to Junior school, then they have to go to Secondary School, and then they have to work in a job that has been chosen for them and that is the sticking point, that young people are supposed to have a free choice of jobs and not have to do jobs they are told they have to do.

There are hundreds of employment agencies already in place and  it is not necessary to create another huge government led scheme to force young people and others into work. That not only creates the impression of Zwangsarbeit but it also takes away the work for already existing employment agencies.

I think government should look harder to find out why people do not follow the straight and narrow part to a righteous live instead of just forcing them into the jobs that are not really appreciated by some.  This whole work scheme is just like forced conscription army service, which is something this country rejects for the army but they now want to have for normal every day jobs.

Especially vulnerable people depend on compassion in care and if you do not allow employees choices you will never find out who actually has compassion for what.

Don’t understand me wrong, ,I am clearly in favour of the army conscription service for young persons for a matter of 12 or 18 months but I completely oppose forced working for life in jobs people do not like. People must be able to learn the difference between defending a country and its values and freedom of choice in peace times and for peaceful purposes. But this government does not create the clear difference between the two, they muddle it all into one.

It would be much better if they put young people into an army service for a year and then allow them to choose jobs instead of forcing them into jobs straight after school or thereafter. For many people the feeling that at some point they can do what they like is very important and a considerable driver in their lives.

Miscarriage of justice in the Laurence case

I belief that the case of Stephen Laurence ended in a gigantic miscarriage of justice.  Due to media hype and the involvement of prominent human rights campaigners and the bad conscience of the British on their human rights record on the treatment of the blacks, the media decided to belief a lie and condemn a group of white crooks to take the blame for the Laurence murder. Just as in my own case, the frenzy of a group of people has mislead and distorted the truth.

It is plainly before all of us what happened from watching the BBC Panorama play. There is is plain to see that Duwayne asked Stephen to run around for a substantive period of time after the stabbing, he admitted it on the BBC.

It is not the action of a caring friend to asked a stabbed mate to run around. He should have called the police immediately and an ambulance and that could have saved Stephen.  Please also read my previous posts.

I have e-mailed the Court of Appeal and the police with the details of my concerns.

Student protest is a farce

Reading this little sentence from Universities Minister David Willetts, which says: “Most new students will not pay upfront, there will be more financial support for those from poorer families and everyone will make lower loan repayments than they do now once they are in well paid jobs.” “Students, like other citizens, have the right to participate in peaceful protest.”

So I do not understand what these student protests are all about because there is no rational argument that these protests are about the tuition fees because if fees are not to be paid in advance and the repayments are lower, so why do students protest? The only people who are probably worst off, initially are the very rich ones and nobody poor should have reason to support them.  I think that whatever this new government has implemented has not properly been marketed and some individuals exploit that fact to mislead others to find a reason for a protest. 

Please consider the facts and stay at home if you do not really want to protest, dont’ let yourself be drawn into a protest that is not really yours.

It is quite obvious that the police’s first and foremost job is to keep essential order and if the protest gets out of hand they are allowed to use rubber bullets. We already have the tents around St. Paul’s and now we get the students, some of which already occupied some campuses.

I am starting to think whether our current university elite is actually all that clever because if they were they would not participate in that protest and I am also starting to think whether university education is selective enough. I do know that among young people communication works not around what people read but what they tell each other and social networking makes a huge chunk of that communication.

I know all those dreadful strings of nonsense that is constantly spread on Facebook for example when it comes to Facebook Fees and people ask each other to copy and paste it onto their walls. A lot just do it without thinking whether what they spread is actually a fact or not, they do it just because somebody asked them to do it.

Ironically next week the Lord Mayor’s parade also will use the St. Paul’s route to get to the High Court. That will be a ridiculous ceremony when the Lord Mayor has to make his speech among tents of protesting demonstrators.

But as we do have a justice system, that is not ideal and as I have experienced it myself, cannot deliver justice effectively we will see a fair amount of discontent going on because people simply cannot cope with irrational leadership. Yet I could not blame the government for the student protests but think those protests originate elsewhere and fees are just a reason to have a protest. People are quite sensitive to illogical behaviour and since justice is used as a political weapon instead of just what it is supposed to be the current system that should hold itself up, is crumbling away with widespread protests. We have judges sitting in the highest court who disrespect justice and that is the route of the problems I think.

I think that the policy makers should look at the source of the discontent and put justice right before they consider getting any peace for the government.

But just for those still unsatisfied with the student loans on offer here is the student loan calculator from the BBC website. Looking at the fact that a GP now earns around £100.000 per year, where is the problem?

Student Wednesday

Whilst Miliband stays relatively calm and collected and says very little of substance, the radical brigade is doing all the work for him. The protests and tents speak volumes and are meant to undermine the government into submission.

On Wednesday the police again expects a large crowd of students to spill onto our streets. Hopefully it is not going to be the same disastrous outcome as last year’s protests, which saw items thrown from buildings, party headquarters stormed and people arrested and sentenced for crimes.

Anybody of compulsory school age, should not bother bunking off to join the protests. There is no point in ruining ones future for the sake of a wild afternoon in town, that is usually leading to mindless jobbish violence because these protests seem to be laced with professional troublemakers these days.

The Labour leadership is suspiciously quiet these days with little to say but polemicist speeches that dribble only.

My personal view on the student fees makes little difference to those who look for any reason to dishevel the government to get more left-wing politicians in the driving seats. Just remember if you are caught, it is your life that is ruined, you won’t be able to do a lot of jobs in your life if you get a conviction of violence at a demo. Stay at home if you want to stay out of trouble. Unfortunately the concept of peaceful demonstrating has been hi-jacked by nutters these days.

Unions don’t protest about proposed benefit curbs

Unions do not seem to mind that the government does not want to raise benefits to the promised level but they do mind when it is about worker’s rights. In particular they moan about the pensions of public sector workers. Public sector workers are the biggest drain on the tax payer. Unions do not mind if benefits are cut just to satisfy their demands for workers. That makes unions very unpopular with me.

Without the public sector workers our system could not function. They are the middle-man between the rich and the large pool of poorer recipients of funds. If we had a different system whereby the rich were taxed directly by paying relatively more for products, less public sector workers would be needed to supervise subsidies to producers for example, as they would no longer be needed.

There should be more direct connection between purchase and benefit to producers without the interference of the state all the time. Just look at the big workload farmer’s subsidies produce. The matter of production can be completely overhauled by stopping producers making goods solely for the luxury markets, which require large spaces to store them whilst they remain unsold. Whilst lots of shop keepers selling cheaper goods just about survive in struggling markets and have to sell alcohol and tobacco to make ends meet.

Lots of civil servants have to distribute subsidies and tax reductions to those affected. We could do without this extra burden.

We just need to change the economic system to cut out those demanding public sector workers and so the problem is solved. Yet today, business and governments have no fantasy and no inclination to make a positive change for the future.

Many young people today struggle to find apprenticeships because too many goods are mass produced in far away countries, which do not need manual skilled labour. We should end the production of cheap mass goods, which are not fit to survive longer than a year on normal use. We must stop wasting our young people away on the benefit system. If we changed our economy to only produce quality goods, more young people would be needed to learn trades that are needed to make those goods locally.

Instead we get mass production, mass data processing and little attention to the needs of the people, who are made to survive on handouts and cheap provisions, distributed by expensive government officials.

After all it is only this economic system that allows left-wing politics to take a hold.

The Germans educate that way

I think over the years I quoted many times how I was educated in Germany and that the official school laving age is 14 there. After 14 you can go on to Gymnasium or College to get the Abitur and ready for Undergraduate or University studies. But for those who are not inclined to further intellectual talents, they get an early choice to learn a trade. I think the teenage years are the most productive in a person wanting to learn a trade and the most dangerous years for a young person being unhappy or bored and most likely to lead to a life of criminality if things go wrong. I completely agree with Chris Woodhead and his proposals to cut the school compulsory years to age 14 and I have always opposed the Labour strategy that tried to force all pupils into university and though it a privilege for all.

It’s the thought that counts

I am disturbed by the fact that people got prison for suggesting rioting over social media. It is a basic Freedom of Speech that people can organise revolts. Whether they succeed or not is another matter. Over the ages, we all learned in history how many times people revolted against despotic rulers and sometimes they succeeded, and we all nod our heads in approval that people managed to rid themselves of despots and bad rulers.

I am certain those ancient rulers also did not like it when people congregated or communicated to organise such riots and revolts.

But if enough people want to topple a government, they can, I am sure of it.

Forbidding people to organise a riot over Facebook, is similar to not allowing them to speak about this at all to others.

Of course it keeps the police more busy and makes our lives that little more difficult but in the end, if only a tiny minority always comes together to cause damage, there is certainty that things are good for most of us. During the most recent riots in the UK some very ridiculous sentences have been passed down to show how much the government disapproves with the fact that some made a point and showed dissatisfaction with our current order. Fair enough, the rioters didn’t succeed, the majority was not on their side, but they could have joined in and toppled the government. Lets be realistic about this.

I agree that anybody should have the freedom of speech to organise a putsch and if they are in the minority, they have to take the consequences and in the case of immigrants be banned from our shores. If people protest more often it would force the government to invest more in people to avoid discontent. What we see now is more control over freedom of speech to avoid any grumbling about living conditions, which makes no happiness at all but just quenches the protest before it arises but it will simmer under the bonnets, in people’s thoughts just to break out more forceful later on.

I think the UK has to be a people’s investor and do more to teach people skills, invest in public schemes, improve live in general instead of telling people they are not allowed to voice their frustration if there is no other democratic way for them to make desired change. Maybe the processes currently in place are not user-friendly enough but our government just doesn’t want to look into this and thinks arresting their way out of this problem solves it.

It is the thought that counts and it always tarts with a thought and the more have the same thought, the less satisfaction is all around. I think Cameron has not shown any compassion for young people in Britain today.

The government simply tries to silence protest but that does not mean that the dissent has disappeared. Just because Abu Hamza has been stopped from preaching hate does not mean that this hate does not exist. It would be much more useful to look the hate in the eye and deal with it rather than driving it underground, which is what this government and current laws does.

It must be obvious that if protest stays open that it is much easier to keep track of the protesters. It must be easy for the law enforcers to follow open made protests and keep them in check but if that communication is no longer accessible easily then it is much easier for protest to stay unnoticed until it is too late.

The government thinks that people just stay quiet and eat their crumbs and sleep under bridges and die quietly without voicing protest because it is against the law.  The only difference between the UK and Syria is the fact that rioters here in the UK don’t get shot.  We however have increasing incidences where individuals get shot by armed police. But the excuse that the police can feel under threat and therefore have the right to shoot people would be valid in Syria as well as in the UK and there is little qualitative difference.

More down to Orde

From this recent BBC article it seems that Sir Hugh Orde is more down to Earth in his approach to policing here in Britain because he puts the context within the European Union and the laws that have to be observed in Europe. David Cameron’s approach is quite clearly a forceful one as he accused the police of acting timidly. Cameron’s newly appointed personal advisor Bill Bratton wears 2 handguns when he is out on patrol. Bratton has 400 gangs in his neck of the woods to deal with and Sir Orde points out that getting to a stage where 400 gangs can even built up is a sign of bad policing. I am not certain how many gangs operate in the UK.

Bill Bratton has advised that the UK police cannot arrest their way out of the problem, that either indicates that he thinks shooting is better than arresting or that he thinks that the underlying social problems have to be addressed.

I think what has to be on the forefront of tactical thinking is the fact that the riots have to be broken up quickly to prevent loss of life and victims. The longer those riots would have gone on, the more people’s lives would have been at risk and there were already a number of deaths and people had to escape fires and run or jump for their lives.

It’s a little bit strange that David Cameron gets  himself a personal advisor from the US on board, who has no legal powers whatsoever in the UK and cannot think in the local context. There also has been wrangling between government ministers and police chiefs over who has the final word on policing orders and strategies. Obviously the police have to be seen to be politically neutral. Theresa May reacted cleverly to publications about a possible rift with the police over cancelling all leave. One report said she ordered all leave to be cancelled whereby police said that she has no power to do so. Mrs May praised the police for their actions.

The riots were completely unpredictable and with current police numbers impossible to quench quickly on the basis that no water canons or plastic bullets were used. I don’t think using those methods would have alienated the youth more because there is little in social actions proposed to help them out of the dilemma they are in, the youth that is. There is little social investment in young people and their families and instead of proposing some, the government wants to favour benefit cuts and homelessness for riot participants and their families. It would have done the youth a favour to cool them down quickly and disperse them even faster because then they could not have committed the crimes that later happened when the riots progressed further north.

It seems that Mr Osborne is more concerned cutting the 50p tax rate than devising help packages for our young citizens.

The riots leave a bitter taste in everybody’s mouth who expected a caring attitude from our government towards young people. It’s really just cracking down the whip and getting rid of the responsibility by sanction and imprisonment.

The problem that has arisen is the lack of consistency for what is needed to deal with such sudden riots and what the political and social answer to those discontented is. David Cameron does not even want to hold an enquiry and forget about it as quickly as possible whilst Ed Miliband called for one.

The former advisor to Ken Livingstone made a sympathetic statement for the youth but then under Livingstone, there was a much higher rate of youth on youth crime, when he constantly had stabbings in London, which have receded under Boris Johnson. Yet under Livingstone we did not have youth rioting. It seems we have a choice between rioting and stabbing but that is a choice nobody really wants to make and all we need is a way out of this malaise.

From other comments made around the net, I wonder whether this riot was a political uprising on the scale of an attempted revolution and think that David Cameron’s approach will not help stem it at all. He simply drives the problem into the Underground and that can get well out of hand. It seems to be Cameron’s tactic not to get involved in any social tit for tat and just get rid of the unhappy youth by making them criminals and keeping them criminals and outlaws a bit similar to the good old Sheriff of Nottingham.  I think Cameron’s strategy is political suicide and will lead to a further detriment of the UK gentry.

Putting it into the context that Mark Duggan’s uncle was a crime lord, according to the Mail online, I wonder how much criminal and how much political context this whole riot actually has. History has proven that politicians always call those who are in more or less violent opposition criminals. Yet it has to be seriously considered as a tactic that local opponents of current upper classes want to flood the UK with drugs in the hope that those upper classes drug themselves out of their minds and become hapless victims of their own habits. The recent confiscation of a very large haul of drugs cannot have been welcome by UK drug barons.

It is only in the drug context that I can understand why Cameron wants to involve a US cop (Bratton) as advisor.  I see little hope that the current government can come up with a digestible approach that is coordinated across all service areas of government.

I am often tempted to compare today’s civilisation with the Roman Empire and scientists now belief that the sanity of Roman Emperors was afflicted by the lead in the water they drank because their water viaduct pipes contained a lot of lead. Could it be that the lead of Roman times is replaced today by class A drugs? After all the use of drugs spreads more and more into upper circles and I believe that today’s society is very much inflicted with drug abuse. We see that society is pretty stagnant and corrupt too.

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