Monthly Archives: October 2008

RIP Doctor

I was rung at “I should be sleeping o’clock” last night by a tearful Sad Sister. It seems that she was upset upon hearing that The Doctor had resigned. He has 4 specials next year and then he will be an ex-Doctor.

With Russel Davies going as well you wonder just what will happen to the show’s long term prospects. Hopefully they’ll get another good actor to take over who can make something of the part. I’d volunteer but I’m neither geeky or old enough for the job.

In better news…..

TOP GEAR returns on Sunday!!!!! Hurrah!!!! The BBC get something right again. WE WANT MORE!!! WE WANT MORE!!!!

Spend & Bust

The Chancellor is making a speech tonight about the government’s need to spend responsibly to get us out of the coming recession. He wants to bring forward spending on public projects, such as schools and hospitals, as a way of alleviating the downturn.

This is a return to good old Keynesian economics from the 20’s & 30’s. To get out of the depression he suggested that government should spend, spend, spend; to a certain extent it worked – not just here but in Germany and America. However it did saddle us with a great debt that would need to be paid off later.

Unfortunately things got worse because of some unrecognised results – i.e. German rearmament and WW2. It took us until the very late 50’s & early 60’s to begin to recover; only for us to fall again in the 70’s. It took Mrs T. and her policies to turn things around, though that caused other problems.

Since 1997 the public debt has risen from £500 per person to a staggering £3200 and now they want to spend more. This is officially declared debt and does not include spending on PFI initiatives, these don’t appear on the government accounts. PFI debt is “off balance sheet” debt, the kind that led to the fall of Enron and Worldcom.

Is it really the right thing to do to spend further in the hope of heading off a deep recession? Is it prudent to keep spending money you don’t have?

We have already found billions to bail out the banks, not that it’s worked yet and may not do. Companies are finding it more and more difficult to find finance to keep the wheels moving. The loosening of credit constraints, promised as a boon of the rescue have not materialised. The exchange rate is dropping and dropping; the economy is beginning to slow very quickly – I know this from the amount of work coming our way; jobs are being lost and companies closinmg down their facalities – either going bust or moving to low cost alternatives.

If it was us we would be stopped by our bank. They wouldn’t allow you to borrow and borrow and borrow without stop. Yet the government, under our “Prudent P.M.”, have no problem with this. Unfortunately we’ll be left to pay for this for many years to come. Maybe he’s happy because he knows that it’ll be someone else’s problem after the next election.

The Draprentchefshooter

I have decided on a career change. I have decided to become the next Sir John Harvey Jones; Gordon Ramsey; Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice. I’ll call myself The Draprenchefshooter.

I’ll visit struggling businesses and tell them how crap they are and how they should follow my advise and destroy their business. I’ve already made a start by advising several different banks, property developers and estate agencies on how to manage their businesses and you can see the results for yourselves.

Next I’m moving onto airlines, football clubs and the Church of England…

Prats

The recent controversy surrounding Russell Brand and Johnathan Ross has only reinforced my belief that my TV licence fee is being wasted on talentless gits like them. I have yet to meet anyone who finds them funny.

It’s not that I’m old fashioned in my humour I just can’t find what they do to be funny. They are “comedians” whose sole purpose is to try to shock and sink to the lowest possible level – just past Graham Norton. Maybe humour has changed since I grew up but I can’t see either of them having the longevity of The Goons, Hancock, Python or even The Goodies.

Their latest “stunt” was to ring Andrew Sachs (Manuel from Fawlty Towers) and leave lewd messages on his answering machine concerning his grandaughter. However Brand has apologised – “you musn’t swear on someone else’s answer phone” – and then added that it was “funny”. So where is the apology?

The worst thing is that the BBC haven’t suspended or sacked either of these bozos. They probably won’t face any sanction whatsoever, just carry on as they always have. Someone high up in the BBC will just tell them to keep their heads down until the fuss blows over.

That’s modern society for you – abdicate responsibility wherever possible.

Faith In The Future

Tonight I preached at a local chapel. It is one of those places that actually does have a congregation of 6 elderly women. Yet I really look forward to going there. We always receive a warm welcome and a great sense of appreciation at our presence.

Being such a small congregation they don’t usually have accompanient and so, like me, are very grateful that my mother is able to play the piano for them. Like they told us tonight, you don’t know how much you appreciate something until you don’t have it.

I’m really looking forward to leading there Christmas service on 21st December. It is places like this that speak to me abiout the perseverance and endurance. A church/chapel of 100+ may have many people but no soul. A chapel of 6 elderly women who attend week-in/week out can be a greater servant to the Kingdom without realising it. They keep the doors open week after week through faith and not through the communion plate.

They have no talented speakers, musicians or anything else. What they have is a sense of faith and wisdom that many churches could do with.

Things I Have Done/Seen In The Past 48 Hours

1. Visited places I’ve never before
2. Slept with a friend’s boyfriend
3. Slept with her mother
4. Driven 1000Km from mid-France to the UK
5. Managed to survive in France without being able to string a sentence together – many thanks to Mini’s mum and boyfriend for the help with this
6. Found my way from Lyon to Montbrison without help and by talking to French people who didn’t speak much/any English
7. The Auvergne volcanoes – from not far away
8. Driven passed a few little known places – Vimy, Vichy, Arras, Compeigne
9. Driven around the Paris Periferique – if you haven’t then you won’t understand the sheer pleasure/nightmare it is
10. Avoided any real traffic delays – until we reached the M25 & M4 today
11. Met many nice French people – a contradiction in terms I know 🙂

To show how small the world is….

I have a friend who drives for a living; he makes his living driving his van around Europe. Yesterday I rang him to discuss my route from Montbrison to Calais. He had driven to Southern France on Tuesday and had been looking for a return load on Wednesday afternoon.

He knew I was in Lyon and I knew that he had been down to Clermont Ferrand to deliver. He asked where I was coming from, so I said Saint Etienne way. He’d been there on Wednesday for his return load. So I said, “Well I’m in a little town a few miles away.” We talked a few minutes more and then I said I was on Montbrison – “That’s where I collected my load on Wednesday.”

Now Montbrison isn’t a large place and most people would never know it existed.

Aurevoir

As you can see I speak perfect French. Therefore I’ll be able to blend in as a native and will not stand out as a Rosbeuf in anyway. I have been practising everyday this week to ensure that my rusty French is improved.

I now have a grand total of 15 words in my vocabulary. I’m not sure I’ll remember them all and use them in the right setting. I’m ok for the pub/bar though.

What Do We Want? Extreme Porn! When Do We Want It?

Today there was a protest at Parliament. It shows the times we now live in.

I’m a great believer in the freedom of choice. Wherever possible people should be allowed to be free to choose for themselves what they do. However there are times when society needs to be protected from certain things.

So I viewed a report on the BBC site with a little trepidation.

The people were parading wearing chains, stockings and gags in a protest against “extreme” pornography. Before some of you get over excited this does not mean having sex in dangerous places 🙁 The government are planning to outlaw images that show a threat to life or serious injury to aperson’s genitals.

Now I don’t want to see threats to life as a turn on. The thought of anyone allowing serious injury to their genitals means that those people should be locked away for their own protection. Ministers say that the law is needed to cope with more use of the internet.

What people do in the privacy of their own dungeon is their own concern. However we still have to protect society from extremist views of religion or anything else. Our society has basic freedoms built in that should be recognised by everyone. Yet this freedom comes with a responsibility to our wider community.

With pornography and the internet we have a problem that the medium has a belief in the freedom of expression to the nth degree. Many believe that censorship is to be resisted at all costs but you have to have a form of censorship to protect the vulnerable in society. There has to be a measure of right and wrong that sets limits for the greater good.

If you read about the US you will see that freedom of speech is a weapon used to promote almost any outrageous position you can think of. That is unless you say something against America and then you could lose your freedom to live…. That is why the internet is seen as a threat. People believe that you have the freedom to spread whatever you like without the threat of prosecution or the state’s interference.

This is the problem with society today; people refuse to take personal responsibility for their actions. They believe that whatever they want to do is acceptable and that no one has the right to object.

Naughty T&E

I have been a very bad boy this weekend.

Yesterday was a church meeting at 13:00hrs yesterday afternoon. I didn’t go – bad boy!! I chose to go to the rugby instead. In fairness I had said that I would only attend for an hour and then go staright to the rugby but I chose to let FW go on her own and then walk down to the park to watch the match.

Thankfully it was a much better performance than that of the week before. It wasn’t the great flowing rugby of last year but it was a much better display. They are beginning to find their feet and play as a team. If we carry on like this then we should still be playing Premiership rugby next season.

Today we were also very naughty and didn’t go to chapel. We decided to have an slow, easy start as we were going to be busy in the afternoon. So we have done our visits to Bristol and to see Best Man at the local hospital.

Best Man is looking better and making (slow) progress in his recovery. His sister was also there as she was home for the weekend.

Build It Up

Did you know that there are 80,000 families on the waiting list for council/social housing in Wales? There are also 24,500 empty private houses that have been for 6 months or more.

At the end of our road is a house that has been empty for at least 3-4 months. It was bought by a “property developer” who has done some work on it to improve it for resale but nothing further has happened. He finished it just as the housing market collapsed. It wasn’t unreasonably priced when he bought it and, if all things had gone to plan, he’d be looking at a 30-40% profit.

So if he knows he can’t sell, and it is costing him money while empty, why hasn’t he put it onto the rental market? At least there would be money coming in every month. The rental market is still bouyant as people are looking to rent until the avalability of mortgages recovers.

Government, of the local and national kinds, have been “looking” at this situation for several years but, as ever, have done nothing about it. Maybe they’re worried that families in more affluent areas will complain that their house prices are effected if more low income families move in.

It costs more to keep a family in B&B accomodation than it would to house them in rented accomodation. At least by temporarily encouraging empty houses to be used would give the government time to encourage the building of more housing to accomodate them.

Yet no one wants to build social housing. It is difficult to fund at the moment and the government shows no desire to encourage it. Yet there is a dowenturn in the construction industry and many experienced people are being sacked or made redundant.

Wouldn’t it be better to encourage them to carry on building social housing instead? This would reduce the unemployment levels and help tackle the shortage of accomodation.