My Post Office, My Government, My disgrace.

My Government held the keys. My Government sat on its hands. My government watched injustice and corruption and ignored the Post Office oversight of Horizon scandal. My Government allows the managers to pick up enormous bonuses years after the scandal was exposed. My Government ignored that many former postmasters and postmistresses had their lives ruined. How can this be?

The Postmasters and mistresses had to cope with the long-term impact of a criminal conviction and imprisonment, some at a time when they had been pregnant or had young children. Marriages broke down, and courts have heard how some families believe the stress led to health conditions, addiction and premature deaths.

The office of Post Master General was abolished in 1969 by the Post Office Act of 1969. A replacement corporation, governed by a chairman, was established under the name of the Post Office (later subsumed by The Royal Mail Group. The cabinet position of Postmaster General was replaced by a Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, with reduced powers, until 1974; most regulatory functions have now been delegated to the The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, and Sport.

The cases of individual suffering are too many to mention, yet the law stood bye, and magistrates and judges continued to send innocent people to prison. The Government sat on its hands when it was obvious that something was radically wrong. The Managers and Directors of the Post Office continued to deny the probability that the technology was at fault, they preferred to believe that long-serving faithful employees had suddenly turned into crooks. How could this be?

Suicide and ruination of families has been the common lot of Post Office sub post-masters/mistresses and yet through the several governments since the beginning of this dreadful saga, no one in Government has intervened. Yes, this Group of companies is owned by you and me, it is overseen by our so-called Government. The clowns and the self important influencers have shown that as far as the Post Office goes no one cares or gives a damn.

Included in this hall of shame must be, The Government, The Chairpersons and Directors (executive and non-executive)of the Post office Group, the auditors and many lawyers and defenders of our system of fairness. Last of all, you and me. What sort of corrupt system do we allow by our acquiescence?

We condescend to laugh at banana republics, what is the UK? A corrupt and careless society where only influencers matter. Shame on us all!


The King and I.

I will readily admit, that in this day and age the idea of a ‘Head of State’ being a heredity title seems absolutely crazy. Here we are, the so called upholders of Democracy, fully (or nearly) embracing the House of Windsor as our begetter of our Head of State. Madness!

Why did at least 20 million Brits and assorted mad foreigners congregate with such joy at the Coronation of King Charles the third. Charles the first didn’t make it and was beheaded, Charles the Second was a benign egghead and a bit of a lad he had at least 13 mistresses including Nel Gwyn and we ‘ve has a series of clowns and odd balls as our Head of Sate ever since. I won’t bother to catalogue the episodes of eccentricity, vulgarity, even treasonable behaviour that has plagued the royal household, merely acknowledge the multiple oddities of the passed Monarchs.

Since George the Sixth, Elizabeth the Second, and now Charles the Third, The United Kingdom and Commonwealth of nations have enjoyed a head of state that first gathered us together in the unity of common battles to save democracy, to fight for right, and to respect the primacy of parliament. They were preceded by Victoria as worshipped a Leader as there ever was, despite her closeted existence. All our royal ancestors since 1689have been German or Mainland European. It was only in 1917 that the existing monarch household changed its name from Sax-Coberg to Windsor.

The royal households have not escaped the movement of history or modern technology. They have evolved from the tribal leaders of Ethelred to the sophisticates of modern day. The one word that has been constant has been LEADER and if they did not sustain leadership then there have been many instances of their failure.

England and the United Kingdom have been a republic before, under Oliver Cromwell and his son Richard from 1649 to 1659. Charles the Second was brought back as our leader by Parliament in 1659.

Through modern history, the Victorian era and the world wars, we have been happy with our lot as loyal subject of the Saxe-Cobergs come Windsors. Why change?

It is clearly at odds with democracy to have the Head of State unelected, and born by right to rule.

Although constitutionally the right to rule exists, in practice it does not. In the UK we have the Primacy of Parliament, and the basic rights laid down by King John (through the will of the then parliament) in the Magna Carta which in practice over rides the rule of the throne. That is not to say that those who are of the Royal family do not have influence. They do, but it is hushed and termed soft power.

Why not get rid of the royal family their heirs and successors and save the exchequer a lot of cash?

Looking at the alternatives, that we should elect a Head of State and give that person the role now ensconced in the King. Election is after all the basis of democracy, one person one vote. If the Head of State does a poor job we can then change him/her via the electoral system. Looking at the electoral results over the last fifty years does not give me much enthusiasm for this idea. The Air heads, Crooks and Lunatics of the last ten years alone gives us fear to trust what will inevitably become a political election.

As the royal family has changed with the time, especially modern times, it has become progressively more servant than served. The present King’s mother Elizabeth was loved and respected both as a person and as a monarch. Despite the slings and arrows of everyday life, of loves, loathing, sickness and health, we have a King who will serve us well. Above politics, a man who believes in goodness and care. I vote for King Charles the Third.

Long live the KING.

Low Interest in, more ways than one.

Have you noticed that when things are going relatively well everyone switches off and gets on with life. When things go badly, like Bank collapses and high mortgage rates everyone naturally gets very agitated. These ups and downs seem to happen about once every fifteen to twenty years. We wallow in success then panic in adversity.

Some believe that what also happens is that a new generation of very successful entrepreneurs who seem to have milked the good times come to the fore, some more by luck than judgement. There is little doubt that the crooked opportunists had a good bite of the Covid 19 supply proceeds. The politics of envy resurface. It appears that there is much more the focus of the voluntary sector. Government and central bank solutions become unpopular and political change of Governments become the norm.

All the Western Governments extol the negative results of unparalleled issues like Covid 19 and the war in Ukraine. Yet, had we listened to the harbingers of reality (like Bill Gates) we would have been ready for both. Today, as far as this writer knows there is little preparation for the next pandemic which will surely come, and President Xi’s declaration that he still believes Taiwan to be part of his China is being met by interventionist drum beating. . Both issues are being addressed as they were before.

All that seems to be happening is the Western Alliance are making aggressive comments about defending Taiwan: supplying planes, missiles and guns etc.. Will we never learn that military intervention does not work. The problem of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is exacerbated by the fear of nuclear war has made the West wary of direct intervention. Russia is being exposed as a Imperial agressor. In some ways the boot is on the other foot.

All these errors cost lots of lives, and the Taiwanese problem is a Taiwanese/Chinese problem. Yes, it is a meeting of libertarian sometimes called Democratic Government and a Totalitarian Government. How far does one ideology go to oppose another? In Vietnam is there a slow coming together of an authoritarian and democratic system, despite the ghastly and ill judged war where the USA intervened militarily.

Now as the world discovers that resources are short ,interest rates in Western democracies are high , it has turned the eyes of politicians inward. Toward healing the financial ills and improving economic competitiveness. It has turned our eyes away from the future pandemic. Alas, the defence (attack) industry remains vibrant. The climate reform industry is growing but is it fast enough. Climate change, will it be a cause for unity or will governments democratic and totalitarian come together to help what is surely a common interest?

The one party state in China must sooner or later turn away from fossil fuels, Mr Xi has huge world responsibility, but will he turn away from coal and toward renewables at the expense of China’s financial competitiveness?

When we recall that the major democracies have made such enormous errors, that Russia in particular has been so meddlesome and destructive, what hope is there?

A little, we must hope that all governments turn to what is our common good, climate change is a no brainer, but so is peace and co-existence.

The BBC – a legacy not to be taken lightly.

The BBC’s U-turn to continue with the BBC Singers is a welcome sign of listening. We all listen in some way to the BBC but does the BBC listen to us? Well, hopefully, it does. Strangely the ‘listening’ has come at a time when the Chairman of the Beeb has been under some pressure since the Boris Johnson affair (the loan arrangement for the then PM) not to mention Gary Lineker.

Balancing classical and contemporary music through the system is a major responsibility of the national broadcaster. In some ways the BBC has been the guardian of the national music archive. The balance between elitism and populism has almost been impossible during a continuing move away from the nanny state and the nationally licenced public broadcaster. Independant broadcasting with all the attendant advertising and popular appeal is deemed necessary, and creates a context that is hostile to the BBC’s survival.

The recent hullaballoo about the BBC singers, has brought many back to the appreciation of a national licensed broadcaster. There is a constant argument about the non competitive nature of the BBC and its apparent code of neutrality. This is in the true sense of the word ; an institution of national worth. What’s it worth and how do we protect it?

The British nation have two sacred cows that are universally worshipped; the NHS and the BBC. They are both under immense pressure. The BBC, from two sides, the lobby to discontinue the license and survive on purely commercial (advertising) terms, and the other its political neutrality. There are signs that the BBC is listening. Is this so because it belongs to its constituents through the license fee? Yes it cares about its clients.

The good news is that the BBC is alive and listening. Yes, we agree that the license fee is expensive, especially for those who have little income. Perhaps there should be a mandatory sliding scale? The point must be to keep the institution out of commercial hands and at the same time demand its excellence. This idea of public ownership at arms length is difficult for the Tory party to respect. It is to be hoped that they will learn from the evolving scenario and keep the BBC in public hands.

Public opinion has supported the BBC Singers, an elitist cadre, no doubt, but as legitimate as any. The validity of this successful campaign is so important even if it does represent a minority. The BBC if it listens, will continue to reflect national taste without prejudice as long as it lives off a national income. It needs nurturing as times and culture changes, but as one of our most cherished sacred cows it remains at the core of our national culture. Long may it survive in this imperfect form.

Right,Left or Lost? Freedom versus leadership.

Whilst several countries of the world have waded in to the Ukrainian conflict, the majority of independent nations have sat on their hands and made no contribution at all. We have to ask ourselves; if they are all on one side or the other? Or, are those detached non aligned countries just disinterested?

It seems likely that all countries do not believe that Western democracies are desirable. To our surprise we learn that, maybe, our ideas and ideals are not what everyone is comfortable with, or believes to be the best.

China amongst the fastest and largest economies in the world has a speedily growing middle class. Yes, there were humungous problems with Covid, but nonetheless Chinese influence has grown both economically and influentially more than any other nation over the last twenty years. By any measure, China could be winning, be it influence or political clout.

Are the so called non aligned afraid to join the predominantly Western democracies or do they distrust the Western bloc motives? Do they trust strong one party states more?

China, especially, has over the last several years, particularly under the guidance of Xi, invested widely in the developing world. In Africa and parts of the Asian and South American continents. In contrast the West has made very little effort economically at all. The West has relied on a competitive economic self serving model. The Contrast between the ‘soft power’ of the diminishing British Council versus the investment in the ‘silk road’ is alarmingly apparent.

What the West has done, by contrast, is interfere militarily, with catastrophic consequences. Instead of reinforcing democratic ideals thier policy has led to prolonged chaos, bloodshed and the rise of tyrannical leadership. Only in Vietnam has there been a recovery where totalitarianism has been modified some way toward the Western democratic model.No wonder the degree of trust in Western philosophy has eroded. In these intervening years, China has been investing finacial capital into the non-aligned countries, and when it comes to decesion making, not surprisingly, soft loans beat interventionism, hands down.

Migration is amongst the world’s biggest problems. Mass migration, exacerbated by the Ukrainian crisis, is one of the biggest problems facing the richer Western economies. Almost every Western country has major immigration problems as massive number of the poorest seek a better life amongst the richest.

It is noteworthy that the only countries in the world without immigration problems are the totalitarian regimes. We see very few immigrants trying to access North Korea, we see very few Taiwanese or Hong Kong citizens making the journey to China. The Russian federation has a problem only with people leaving, be they oligarchs or potential young military recruits.

The problem is two pronged, migration and belief system competition. Investment and sharing of wealth hold the secret of world balance. It seems the Chinese have latched on to one side of the coin. Let us hope they are copied by the Western alliance and that military interventionalism is a thing of the past.

Putin, is the prime example of the cross over. He is a one man terrorist with little regard for the individual Russian subject, yet he is manically attached to the idea of the Russian Empire. President Xi is belligerently making noises about reunification with Taiwan. Will the totalitarians not learn from the mistakes of the Western alliance?

We are poised between the mistakes of the past on both sides of the belief systems. There is evidence that neither side has it absolutely right.

It is easy to see what is wrong with killing and brutality in Ukraine, but it is much more difficult to see what’s right with the left and whats wrong with the right. Talking and learning from each other is the key to a peaceful future.

Migration – a worldwide problem.

The Government is surely deluding itself in thinking it can outlaw the small boat people. These are first and foremost real people escaping to a land of milk and honey.

We may think our island is overcrowded and underfunded but believe me, it’s a lot better than Afghanistan or Syria.

The government of the UK is just one of many countries attracting migrants of every background, be it persecution or economic woe. To pretend that we can do what we like with these unfortunate fellow human beings is clearly absurd. There is no country that will accept thousands of migrants from the Uk whatever their circumstances or situation. We surely cannot expect to repatriate folk into places like Syria and Afghanistan, where we know for certain, that, a) Their Government will not accept them and b) if they do, then those repatriated, will be mistreated.

Our history as the founder and exploiter of the world where the English language is the lingua franca is coming home to roost. Freedom that we hold so dear, attracts those without it, from barbarous totalitarian regimes. Are we following the tenets of our own beliefs?

This is clearly a difficult ethical issue. We Brits can see the everyday problems of inflation and the failures of our welfare state, but should we turn our backs on those less fortunate than ourselves?

This is an issue that transcends our national interest, or even the Western alliance interest, it is a symptom of the developing human situation. It harks back to the great conflicts of totalitarianism and democracy.

What example will it be then, to see the founding fathers of parliamentary democracy ruling against these unfortunate migrants?

True, there are those of evil persuasions involved in people trafficking, and there are those of younger adventurous spirits, who exploit the opportunities, but nonetheless, there remains an enormous international and ethical problem. These problems will not be solved by unilateral and selfish unworkable laws. They will only be salved by international cooperation.

Sue Gray – a Johnson supporter?

I'm not being too serious here, but surely Sur Gray must have known that to accept a job with Labour now, when Johnson is about to be taken to task, looks at best suspicious and at worst corrupt.

It all adds to the chaos that Johnson has wrought over the last few years. Add to that the shambles of Hancock’s diaries, the DUP response to the Sunak N.Ireland protocol solution (or not), the ‘Stop the boats’ half arsed scheme, the NHS shambles, – all these issues hark back to Johnson.

Yet, today we learn John is proposing a Knighthood for his Dad! I am not kidding. This outrageous fellow has created more chaos than any British Prime Minister with the possible exception of Liz Truss.

Now Sue Gray’s proposed appointment as Kier Starmer’s CoS has come to Johnson’s rescue. Just as he was about to be kicked out of Parliament for misleading the house on a number of accasions, all of them knowingly. Now there will be a furore that Gray’s report was obviously biased, as she clearly had her eyes set on supporting the Labour Party at a high ranking level and that she, therefore, knowingly tried to scupper the clown Johnson.

You could not make this up! This story is so outrageous as to be beyond imagination.

While all this pantomime is going on the country is fighting inflation, Mr Putin, and a general slide in standards at every turn. Inflation, Social Care, Education, Immigration to name but a few. Johnson in the meantime has picked up a couple of million pounds for speeches which do nothing other than praise his decisions as our buffon PM.

Whilst Sunak is a smart fellow, he certainly has his hands full. Gray’s unsettling move has done nothing to help him. Maybe, she’s smarter than we think. After all Johnson creating upset in the Tory Party can’t be bad for her new boss.

The (dis) United Kingdom.

As Rishi Sunak settles in to sort the impenetrable problems of the UK there is a sizeable minority still agitating for national dismemberment into four smaller entities or if you will three and an integrated Ireland.

The wee spicey leader of Scotland is the nearest to achieving independence but none in Wales, Ireland or Scotland have so far have faced the issue of fiscal deficit. Each separate national entity depends, whether they like it or not, on the South East of England including greater London which contributes the by far largest income to the UK Government.

In the meantime everyone is whining about the cost of living, inflation and all. Nichola Sturgeon, in Scotland, Adam Price in Wales and Sinn Fain in Northern Ireland are all to the foe, all omitting the real issues of interdependency, At least Drakeford, the First Minister in Wales professes to be a Unionist, but sees no issue with a cooperative agreement with Plaid Cymru..

In 2021 all countries and all regions had fiscal deficits, London being the lowest but still with a deficit of £800 per head, N Ireland had a deficit twelve (12) times that. But its not all about balancing regional expenditure and income. It is about the fiscal whole of the UK – regional and national home rule aside.

What Sunak faces now, some of his own doing – is an overall deficit whose only short term route to cure is austerity. Whilst cutting money supply we must bring supply and demand into some form of balance. What do we do know? The demands of the Defence of the realm, The NHS, Education and Welfare all have legitimate voracious demands.

Where is the opportunity for growth in all this?

It seems that each region in the UK must front up as a contributor to the UK economy as a whole and not continue either as a begging bowl economy or a separate economic entity. One for all and all for one seems appropriate. That we will suffer in the short term is inevitable, but at the same time we must save personally and nationally. We must stop asking, and politicians must stop giving in to popular demand, be they right or left wing.

The story of the UK must be based on fiscal discipline and fairness in bearing the burden. Petty nationalism does not seem a way to go.

How big the UK £ pie? Will it go round?

Essentially the title encapsulates the Government’s issues. How to make the pie bigger? Surely that must come first. Clearly we need to pass round larger slices to the NHS, Education, Defense etc etc.

Mrs Truss PM at the time of writing, for reasons which are easy to understand (if not agree with) was entirely focussed on making the pie bigger through some fairly simplistic actions, i.e. Making UK a low tax and attractive base for international talent and corporate investment. A simple and superficial idea, but sadly life is not as simple as that. For the uninitiated, lower income from lower tax base has to be balanced with expenditure, therefore there will have to be radical reduction or radical borrowing certainly in the short to medium term. How the PM and Latin speaker, Kwarteng didn’t take this into account is nothing short of astonishing. Even the most elementary economist knows all about Laffer’s curve and fiscal lag.

How could anyone, be so narrow minded and still be voted in as our leader is a mystery to many, but now the s**t has hit the fan and the UK is now seen as unreliable and chaotic. The consequences are appalling, with the cost of borrowing escalating and adding to the flames of rampant inflation.

The Pie is therefore getting SMALLER, that’s what inflation does!

Enter a new Chancellor – a realist. A steady hand on the economic tiller, ‘Jeremy Hunt’. Guess what? Not only do we face inflation, the only one medium term way out ie to save and save some more – AUSTERITY!!

This is undoubtedly a bad situation made worse by a narrow minded leader who is not qualified to lead the UK especially now. If we had a surplus and Brexit had turned out well, if, if, if only!. But Brexit has not turned out well, the world economy is shot, kind support of the maniac Putin and the UK has become a laughing stock because of the ‘Blue Rinse Brigade Tory Members’ who voted in the hopeless leader Truss.

The pie is smaller, and getting smaller. How then does the Government react. Do they put aspects of incentivised growth on the back burner? Do we go flat out on Austerity?

How do we contain the demands of workers all demanding a salary/wages are hyked to keep up with at least medium turn inflation?

The UK is in danger of abandoning its place as the mother of democracy, the ideal state that can no longer sustain its place as one of the world’s great powers. The mess before our nation is not soluble in the short term unless we have a respected Government Leader, and a population that understands the problems which are vast from; migration to climate change, from freedom to totalitarianism. They are all up for grabs in the medium term.

Truss must go!

Don’t let the silence of Old Age shut you down.

Growing old is not for sissies, or so they say. There is no doubt that the onset of things like arthritis, deafness, sight failure, and other ailments are all hard to bare. Nonetheless, we must take on board that we are lucky to be old, to be still around, and that we may still have something to offer. The real hardship is none of these. It is loneliness and inertia, waiting for an end that surely must come.

Yes, it must, but just waiting is the silliest waste that can be, for now is precious, now is when we can do something, now we are alive. Here are some things we can do: read the paper or a book, listen to music whatever kind you like, paint a picture, even write a blog. . Some of the lucky ones can stare at a stamp collection, or a collection of anything and be happy with an accomplishment that has taken a lifetime. The luckiest can share and rejoice with others at their wonderful achievements.

The others, it is they who transcend all else, if we are lucky enough to live in love then everything else does not matter a jot. Life is worth living and its easy to see why. There is humor and laughter, there is sharing and fighting, there is caring and weeping. There is no silence.

Grief at the loss of a loved one is wrapping of ones soul in silence, and there are degrees of grief, believe me. There are degrees of grief, losing your mum and dad, losing your son or daughter, losing your partner. All are different, and all grip your heart and soul in slightly different ways, always with the cold fingers of loneliness and isolation. Here is an end that we hoped would never be, and losing a ninety year old parent does not hammer us as hard as losing a nine year old child. The Blanket of cold loneliness thaws at different speeds and ways.

One of the hard things in growing old is the fear of losing ones partner, whether there is loving dull routine or hysterical ups and downs. It doesn’t much matter if you’ve loved for a day or a millennium the dependency is absolute and the fear of loss even before that awful day can be haunting. That cold silent harbinger of grief overshadows the joy that should be our daily gift.

So my advice to everyone, young and old, is simple, enjoy what you can when you can. Remember you won’t have today again. So care for today, care for everyone who passes through. Be proud of what you did yesterday, and know that when the end comes as it must, you made the best of it. If you’re lonely and cold get warm with whoever you meet.