Oxfam’s Recovery

Hello

Oxfam’s Chief Executive, Mark Goldring, tried to justify himself today, never a good idea. After public outrage concerning his comment that aid workers had not ‘murdered babies in their cots, his apology compounded the mistake.

We always hear about fat cats and people earning vast amounts of money, but when something bad happens, it is precisely their job to talk their charity out of the situation. Making a comment like that cannot be excused by being under pressure. Everyone feels pressure sometimes,  but are not paid £128,000 a year to make the situation better (although below what he could earn in the private sector). Not making comments like that is what he is paid for!

Yes, it is very tough at the top and lonely. Unfortunately, his position today may be untenable. The statement from one MP that this did not happen under his tenure made the poor man look away. More people, namely the Executive in charge of Haiti should be brought to account. Using Haitian citizens as prostitutes after a devastating earthquake is appalling. (Please do not let any MP and certainly not the Prime Minister apologise.) We want action. Who is the UK Minister for Charities? That looks like a crisis waiting to happen; a fundamental ignorance and sweeping under the carpet of everybody in the voluntary sector.

Every Oxfam employee apologised in front of the Parliamentary Select Committee today. It must be a record, but very frustrating for the listening MP’s. Oxfam’s Trustees will be busy, doubtless, in setting a new Charity Charter with the help of the Charity Commission.  As a minor volunteer, I would be aghast if anything happened to the detriment of a charity and so must Oxfam’s volunteers be thinking. So, some donors have run for the hills.  Corporate donors, however, can see the bigger picture that Oxfam is a world giver, founded in Oxford, England in 1942. Now it is a confederation of 19 different charitable organisations, operating around the world, under the banner  of Oxfam.

Mostly, it will be the corporate donors, Trustees, workers and volunteers who will help Oxfam to recover. I think we can expect more claims as the media chases charities for comment.

But today, my heart sings as recognition that North Lanarkshire Council in Scotland has been offering free school meals for primary school years 1-3 since 2015. Now it hopes to offer free school meals to all children 365 days a year.  Holiday and weekend lunches will be served in sports halls and community centres.  They noticed that children from deprived areas were underfed and the Council decided to make a difference, not only to the children, yet to their exam results. Let us hope there is agreement  to implement the groundbreaking scheme at the Council meeting next Tuesday.

LucyLou

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/feb/16/council-free-school-meals-year-holiday-hunger-north-lanarkshire

 

 

 

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British Earthquakes And What To Do With Everybody’s Nuclear Waste

Hello

The first thing that I thought when I heard about the earthquake in Wales, UK, was where is the nuclear waste buried? I think the optimum place has granite as bedrock, with a host of other requirements such as ecologically ordinary environment.

As for the earthquake around Swansea, that hit 4.4 on the Richter scale and lots of people fled into the streets. That much we have learnt from other countries’ misfortunes. It is also true that a fault line from trenches off China, north to Hawaii and south along California’s sea border has resulted in earthquakes all down it in the same week as ours. This one registered walls shaking and ornaments falling off shelves. This same thing happened to a relative attending the University of Sheffield in 2004. Four girls clung together in the house, then ran outside, thank goodness. They said that the house shook.

I had no idea of the turbulence around choosing British sites for Low Level Dumping (LLD) and Intermediate Level Dumping (ILD).  Uranium and plutonium is extracted and this can be reused to make new nuclear fuel, which is then returned to nuclear power plants around the world. The remainder is then waste in a liquid form. Most of it is stored above ground at Sellafield and that is the preferred option to dumping it underground and letting it disseminate into the environment for  ‘x’ years. At least above ground, our children will have access to it, so offloading a decision.

May I make a suggestion to send all high and low level nuclear waste to the Moon? It would be a refuelling station for onward exploration of other planets. Doubtless, they will create more efficient fuel.  Let us not fight about who does and does not have rights on the Moon.  Let us use it for the common good. Scientists, explorers and a few comedians should inhabit the Moon, if only to alleviate the mix of people essential to a society.

A decision was taken recently to cancel extraction of uranium and plutonium to make money for the extractor, namely Sellafield in the UK.  This is against the opinion of every scientific community that reads about it. My final suggestion is that all disciplines, including writers, artists, creative people and thinkers should look at the problem.

Have a good week.

LucyLou

PS Grateful thanks to

http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/radwaste/history-of-nuclear-waste-disposal-proposals-in-britain/

 

 

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Whatever Next?

“We should understand the way fascism arose in Germany and the circumstances that gave space for the Nazis to grow.”

On 26 January 2018, Mr Corbyn wrote that in the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Memorial Day Book, remembered in the UK as a promise never to allow such evil against Jewish people ever again. He was at best disingenuous.  Has he already forgotten his attempt to build a student army, after promising to pay their current University charges?

Now he is being condemned for not mentioning Jewish people’s suffering in the Memorial Book. The Jewish Leadership Council said it demonstrated “a complete lack of sensitivity”. * It is also an exact description of Mr Corbyn and he appears to be using it, at every opportunity, to draw attention to himself.

Apart from Mr Corbyn, this government has just signed a treaty with Poland. What for? Is Russia going to invade? The Russian Ambassador to the UK was bordering on insulting when he laughed off the idea.

As intelligent people, we will not repeat history.  It sounds like dangerous posturing by some part of the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) to stockpile weapons. If it is Procurement, replace them.  May I suggest that the new Defence Secretary compiles his own ideas, rather than parroting the views of Generals who are happy to go to war with anyone and spend our NHS millions on bombs.

And yesterday’s ‘The Daily Telegraph’ trumpets that Russia has attempted to infiltrate our infrastructure to find out how it works and then destroy it.  Do wake up.  This is the unpleasant facet of all major nations. Ultimately, they want to rule the world, so they start with this small country, which is ready to fight, even in the desert, to uphold its, what exactly?  Freedom? What freedom do we have when we allow the EU to steamroller us?

However, we could have a little joke with them.  They are rightly terrified of Boris. He may say something so complicated that EU translators will be tearing their hair out!  Put him in the UK Brexit team and he will force the Europeans to respect us.

Why did we help destroy Syria, a 3000-year-old trade route? Former Prime Minister, David Cameron had a paradigm shift of an idea, when he suggested that instead of invading countries outside Europe, we should use our skills to put them on a sound economical and cultural level.    Interesting culture means tourists will visit.

His idea could have worked, but sadly, he staked his leadership on remaining in Europe and the British people voted to leave, on immigration and not having EU control over our laws any more.  Not that we do have any control.  A little whisper said on a News programme, before Christmas 2017, that MP’s were sitting late into the night to put EU laws into UK justice.  Excuse me? I understood that UK MP’s were sitting late with a view to amending laws and not instating them left, right and centre.  This small island has the best skilled workers in the world and people come here to live, as they like us.  I hope that Lloyd Blankfein likes sausage.

LucyLou

*Birmingham Mail, UK,

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Computer Crashes … Four Weeks Later …

Hello

I was beginning to believe that I would never be able to access this blog again.  My dear old PC bit the dust and it has taken this long to find my way back.

I’m talking about the things, technical term, that I remember in the past four weeks, starting with the vision of Dr Liam Fox.  He was accompanied on a trip to the US by a team of career diplomats.  I read that some newspaper bemoaned the fact when I celebrated it .  Politicians only have experience of one or two treaties,  helped by people who truly do serve Queen and country through many governments.  In my experience, some politicans serve ego first, then Queen and country.

And the tragedy of Grenfell: there are still people waiting to be housed.  Of course the local housing list cannot produce accommodation out of thin air and some families have moved away.  Of course some want to stay and who could blame them?  Kensington and Chelsea Boroughs are amongst the wealthiest and thus most beautiful in the country.

My third alarm is over Mrs May, who continues to dig holes for herself.  She went to a State banquet and declared to the sophisticated and intelligent attendees about Russia.

“We know what you are doing.”

What?  Is this a playground?  It sounds like Trump-speak to me.  Mrs May is an intelligent woman and not prone to utterances like that. It is alarming that he has any influence over our politics when he has plenty of his own.  However, it is not just that.  It is that Mrs May has opened up another front to fight.  Do we learn nothing from Remembrance Sunday?  Hitler opened a second front by sending troops to fight the Russians and he promptly lost the war.

Mrs May’s attempt to govern whilst delegating responsibility to individuals in the Cabinet, has led to them either refusing to let anyone speak out from the armed forces (Sir Michael Duncan) or David Davies and his pontifications over Brexit.

I read with incredulity about the ‘no deal’ Brexit option.  It is stalemate.  Faced with the former Chief Whip, Gavin Williamson who demanded a Cabinet post on Sir Michael Duncan’s departure, we then find out that it was he who negotiated the deal with Ireland’s DUP and he who made the Queen late for Royal Ascot.  (She has few holidays, so to disappoint someone who only does good for us, is annoying.)  Of course, £1 billion to the DUP, unbalancing Irish peace is ridiculous.  You don’t give that sort of money to one political side! Is it like selling weapons to Saudi Arabia and finding out way down the line that they are using them to attack your allies?

Cross-party support and briefing should be in every meeting on Brexit.  That’s another post.

Wishing you well this week and so glad to be back

LucyLou

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Take the Americans to task, before they obliterate our trade

Hello

We cannot slump out of Brexit, just because it seems too hard.  It has always been the case that an exit on any subject involves a British law or one that needs to be made.  Presumably, MEP’s are pulling their weight and helping to disentangle us.

The reality of building inland lorry parks before they can begin to transit UK Customs means fewer exports.  This is why we must stay in the Customs Union.  I do not understand why this is a sticking point as the EU will have the same trouble exporting here.  The worst case scenario is that they dismiss the UK market, as import levies and traffic-choked roads is too expensive and time-consuming.

Ah, why not have a Premium Service, which will fast-track regular importers and exporters?  This is designed to keep hauliers in business from Dover.

So what is the UK as a business entity?

We trade with the EU and across the world.  They trade back with us.

Our Financial Analysts are the best in the world (according to ‘The Times’, 8 October 2017).  Companies are ignoring Goldman Sachs slipping away to Switzerland and digging in their heels here, in greater numbers. Great, thank you.

Start-up companies increase year-on-year.

Manufacturing reduces in public spats like the US Department of Commerce, which has temporarily slapped a 220% import tariff on C-series jets to be sold to Delta Airlines, in the US.

The US aircraft company, Boeing, complained to its government at what it saw as unfair subsidy by the British and Canadian governments.  Since all multi-billion projects have inward investment, the complaint looks unfair, to put it mildly.  And that is the problem; we are being too meek, unsure of which way Donald Trump will jump.

A word for the Irish company,Bombardier’s 4,000 highly-skilled workers who make the wings of the aircraft.  Their highly specialised jobs are at risk and for every worker, there are apparently four outsourcing jobs which rely on them.  Northern Ireland needs the UK government to object more strongly.

Sir Michael Fallon, Defence Secretary, said:

“Boeing is a major defence partner and one of the big winners of the latest defence review, so this is not the kind of behaviour we expect from a long-term partner.”

We cannot have Northern Ireland’s economy take a dive, as we are worried about upsetting our American partners.  Hello?  They don’t want to be partners anymore.  The special relationship does not exist in the brain of Donald Trump.  We have to object, or better still, take the Defence Review apart and see where else we can give out contracts instead of to the US.  This attempt by Boeing, which has doubtless had US government subsidies before, to extinguish a competitor, reveals an inward-looking attitude.  This is bad news for trade.

Boeing is one problem.  The import tariff exacerbates it.  The short- and long-term trade with the US, shows where their heart is: in the US.  Britain has been disrespected as a trading partner. They cannot be allowed to get away with it.  Otherwise Boeing is only the beginning.

LucyLou

 

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Oh Blimey, An RMT Rally, Do I Have It Right?

Hello

Oh, blimey, there is to be a demonstration and rally by the RMT (National Union of Rail, Maritime & Train workers), combining with other unions who want to join in.

The date is 17th October as published by Eamonn Lynch of RMT’s blog.

It will cost so much money to police, when we are reeling from expenditure on rooting out people who plan war against our country.   If the cost of policing is put against possible financial gain for Trade Unionists, is there any left over? Different budgets, they will protest.

I am not sure whether or not this is the object of the strike, but the management at RMT was talking about removing guards from trains.

May I suggest another way of using the guards, as Public/ LWT Marshals, who walk up and down the train, where possible, to identify suspect packages.  To yell, if need be, down the carriage to ask if customers can see one.  Essentially, the public needs Guards for protection against attack and also peace of mind that there is someone at the back of the train, who is taking their backs.

Lots of times in the Tube, I have seen a Guard help people onto the platform, including baby buggies and elderly people.  He usually communicates with the train driver, as to the status of the train and can it depart for the next station safely?  Often London Tube platforms are straight, but the railtrack is curved and there is quite a big gap between the train and the platform edge.

Otherwise, is the driver expected to leave the train to check himself? That is a wide-open choice for criminals.

Protection.  Call them LWT Care Marshals, give them a slightly different uniform, not to make them easy to single out, but to give them status.  I also want them given a higher salary, danger money and life insurance, as every day they are taking risks with suspect packages.

Virgin Trains has Advisers, who can be approached on all journeys for information and help.

I am sure LWT can do as well if not better than that.

LucyLou

 

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Trending: UK Prime Ministers

Hello

I have noticed a regrettable trend in ousting British Prime Ministers.  Tony Blair (Labour, in power from 1997 to 26 June 2007), said that if someone did not kick him, verbally, during any day, it was rare.

William Hague (Conservative Leader, elected Leader of the Conservative Party at 36, in 1997), was hounded by the media and resigned in 2001 after a second Election, which resulted in the net Conservative gain of one seat.  Hey, that sounds familiar.

John Major  (Prime Minster 1990-1997) was called a ‘grey man’, although he extricated us from the Exchange Rate Mechanism in 1992.  He did not agree with it personally, but had a mandate from the British people.  He also presided over the Maastricht Treaty (on European Union), but Conservative MP’s rebelled by twenty-two, when the then majority in the Commons was eighteen.

Mr David Cameron fell on his sword when the country mainly voted to leave the EU.  Now we have Mrs May, hounded by her Conservative minsters.  I think Amber Rudd’s face was anguished rather than stony at last week’s Conservative Conference.  Mrs May has been too proud to accept help on public speaking and from the SAS, on ways to be resilient. Please persuade her to take offers of help, for her own sake.

Mrs May has delegated, which means she is a strong leader.  She lets Cabinet Ministers research their own briefs, but the Brexit talks are more difficult than the people ever dreamed.  It seems that every decision has ramifications and a corresponding UK law needs to be re-examined.

Let’s touch on the Customs Union.  France blocked us in 1985 when they refused to import our beef and we retaliated by refusing to import their lamb.  It was the midst of the UK beef crisis, but the French acted immediately in their national interest.  That has been the same ever since, irrelevant of the EU.  How difficult is trade going to be if we have no laws and curbs to help our own export industries?  How does it affect agriculture?

I wonder whether the Prime Ministers now consults UK trade bodies, or relies on Civil Servants?  John Major overruled them in private and in public, when he initiated a key mechanism to stop BSE (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy).  He prohibited the giving of cattle’s brains and spinal cords to healthy cows and sheep, which was later deemed to have succeeded in halting its progress. A friend of mine’s husband worked at a secret government facility and she was offered an instant abortion if some of the virus escaped.  It was irrelevant to her at the time, but showed how worried the government was about its human variant CJD.

It seems so much less important, but I wonder if Civil Servants have been overruled in the wake of the UK cars’ trade body being wrongfooted when the government announced electric cars only from 2040, I wonder what help the government is getting.

As of today, Theresa May is being asked about secret talks she had earlier about the legal potential of changing our minds over Brexit.  Thank goodness someone is being sensible. The public’s overriding concern was always being overrun by incomers.  Failing information to the contrary and a distinct lack of action on it, I think they are still concerned.  I cannot see how the vote would change on Brexit, as a result of this, but then you cannot have another referendum just because you do not like the results of the first one.  In my view, better concentrate on that first and then look at smoothing our exit from the EU.

Whoever knew that being a Prime Minister was such an exacting role?

Have an interesting week

LucyLou

 

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