Monthly Archives: December 2010

Well that was 2010

2010, what a year – highs and lows of amazing and awful proportion. On balance it’s a year I think I’m going to want to forget – not however that I’m going to want to forget the lessons from…

I don’t believe in resolutions, but I do have goals that I review weekly, monthly and annually – most of them are horribly mundane: my way of making sure the tasks of the day whether work or domestic get done – others are less so.

So in this coming year I want to

  • Settle down into a house that we intend to stay in for some time and looking at renting a place in Germany that we can consider a second home
  • I want to travel more, this means putting the car on the road and ensuring there’s a ready pot of ferry, petrol, hotel and food money stashed away for last minute urges to be on the continent.
  • I want to re-evaluate how and where I work, if there are new challenges now is the time to take them.
  • I want to make as much money as I did in 2008/9 – I know what I need to do this, so I just need to get on and do it.
  • I want to eat better stuff: I’ve had it with being a slave to the supermarket, from now on I’m going to buy local and regularly rather than in a warehouse weekly.
  • I want to digitise my whole audio collection – I’ve got tonnes of music on CDs, Tapes, Reels, Records and MiniDiscs, I want them all at the click of a button on my Mac.
  • I want to write a book – I’ve been thinking about it for ages, I know what I want to write about, christ I’m an expert in it! So I need to dedicate some time to making it happen.
  • I want to DJ more too – you’ll see a broadcaster page appearing soon with a showreel and links to programmes and shows I’m presenting or producing.

This isn’t a list of resolutions, and it’s not really a blog post, more a note to myself in a place I know I’m going to have to look at.

It’s so quiet.

So here we are, just after Christmas – I hope you had a good one. It’s been a little quiet on this front; a combination of work and moving house… so boxes everywhere, lots in storage, and a date not quite set for moving into the new place at some point in early January. I do however have a few articles that I’ve written while offline which I’ll be uploading this week.

All change in the political blogging world.

So Tory Bear is no longer so Tory, he’ll be going about his business as plain old Harry Cole from now on – whether that’s going to make much of a difference to his media profile who knows, his editorship of Order-Order surely won’t hurt his continued presence in the media even if he is losing the cutesy website filled with reasonably inconsqeuential gossip and ranting.

The bigger news in the blogging world is Iain Dale – who after much umming and arring, and a frankly miserable year of half-hearted blogging has decided to quit his blog to concentrate on his radio presentation and Biteback publishing. I’ll miss Iain: I hope he reconsiders his position as he’s often been a centrist voice and that’ll be what’s needed as the coalition rumbles along toward the next election.

A must read.

Over at Order Order, Guido Fawkes has published a rallying cry for all entreprenuers to get behind; a defence of Phillip Green. Very rarely do you see the case being made for the people that risk everything to start businesses being made so succinctly.

I’ve given houses, relationships, credit records, personal belongings and my social life to the businesses that I’ve been involved in running over the years – don’t get me wrong, when the times are good, it can be great, but when it all goes wrong it can be horrific – and all the time the British distain of entreprenualiasm and risk dogs you, while generation after generations of our politicians insist on double taxing business owners, making SMEs subsidise employee taxes and wrapping businesses up in red tape and restrictive tax regimes – It’s really no surprise at all that those that get to the stage where they can afford to move their liability do so – and they do so perfectly legally.

Have a look at Guido’s article now – and the next time you see an over-stuffed leftie ranting in front of top shop, or from her overpaid, over exposed Grauniad column, think of the shit that most people that run the backbone of this countries small and medium businesses go through every day to subsidise a state that doesn’t support business and feels it has a right to steal and cheat from anyone that dares take a risk setting up a new business.

Clearing snow is a civic duty.

I’m on Snow again, you’ll have to excuse this mini-obsession. The UK needs to stop treating heavy snowfall in the same manner it treats a dusting – and this time I’m not talking about the media. What I’m talking about is the physical way that we’re handling snow. Our obsession with salt, salt reserves and liberally throwing salt onto every highway and byway is bloody ludicrous! Salt only makes a difference if the temperatures are above -8, which in many places in the UK they’re not. Doesn’t matter how much you spread, it won’t make a blind bit of difference.

It’s refreshing to see more snow ploughs on display this year, but they’re not scraping the road anywhere near close enough to avoid humps of slush and we’re not following ploughs with standard road sweepers – they do this in almost every other country with heavy snowfall in Europe; and it’s this step that avoids the slush piles that so plague our major trunk routes. Councils actually need to train their staff to understand what is and isn’t appropriate in snow,  or any other severe weather, so we maintain some level of structural cohesion in our transport network.

Worse thatn that though, is the whinging, endless streams of people whinging they “couldn’t get to work” – “I couldn’t even get out of my drive“: yes dear, that’s because you didn’t shovel or brush it clear did you? You just stomped on the gas in first and spun the wheels till you were satisfied that you’d be going nowhere. Up and down the country people are sitting bone idle at home when a brush or a snow-shovel would have had them out onto reasonably passable roads in a matter of 10 or 15 minutes work.

Of course we do need clarification of the law in the UK to cover your personal civic duty, especially when it comes to clearing snow: elsewhere it’s your civic duty to clear your own drive and the pavement to your house, no fannying about – if the council find you’ve not done it, they’ll bill you for doing it themselves – the result, millions of people clear their own property and immediate roadways allowing gritters, ploughs and sweepers to keep major routes open rather than pootling around every estate with a gang of men salting pavements to ensure Mrs.Miggins’ doesn’t do her hip in.

Eight times in the last 48 hours I’ve heard Health & Safety dragged up as a reason for not clearing your own personal drive and pavement, and yes in the UK someone could sue you – but 1) why don’t you have personal liability insurance? and 2) to sue you, and win they’d have to contest that you maliciously salted or cleared, or  that you’d shown provable negligence in the way you’d done it. Tort law.  A law that’s almost always on your side… so come on, get off your arse, pick up a broom and a shovel and clear your drive, your pavement and the ramp to the road, you’ll be doing yourself and your neighbourhood a real favour.

Leave Us Alone!

They promised it would stop, they promised that they’d leave us be – the big society – “we’ll not meddle anymore…” – But no. Only today this was rammed through my door. “Just a postcard” you say, but you’d be wrong, this was just one item of five – which included a letter, a stapled, folded 8 page questionaire, a trifold leaflet and a prepaid envelope. It hit the doormat like a veritable lead weight.

Tower Hamlets... Groan

We're not *just* being nosy.

What Tower Hamlets council wanted to know in their New Housing Development Survey 2010 was innocently, what I think of the new housing development I live in, oh and what my income is, and how many people live here, and where I work, and whether I’m employed, and what ethnic group I belong to, and whether i’m registered with a Doctor… the list went on and on and on. All of this on a form designed to be electronically collated, and all given a unique code number printed on the front page to track where it ended up.

This is on top of 3 demands this year to re-register to vote (despite being registered) all coming with threatening demands of £1000 fines if I refuse to send the detail back (again… and again…). Tower Hamlets council sure seem very keen to know every single persons details in triplicate.

For clarity, I am registered to vote, and I don’t live in property owned by the council. I live in a private new development run and maintained by a private company and built by a private company, and yet the council want to nose in – they want to know what I think of it, and everything else they can dig about me and anyone else that lives in the flat. It smacks of clumsy data-mining.

What’s worse is that nowhere in this huge pack were there any details of how the information would be used, or who the information commissioner for the research was, or your rights over the data if you chose to send it back. I can’t help but feel that the seemingly  relentless march to make us all numbered citizens is carrying on regardless.