Sunday, 20 November 2016

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Election Results 2015



I meant to post this the day after the General Election back in May, but as I had become completely disillusioned with the whole political process I didn't bother, and going on the figures I guessed the British public couldn't give a toss either?

Dispiriting fact is that only two thirds of eligible voters bothered to vote.

The Conservatives got power despite gaining less than a quarter of the eligible votes and less than a fifth of the country as a whole … so much for democracy.

Love or loathe UKIP they were severely screwed by the first past the post system, picking up over a third of the Tory vote and ending up with one seat compared to the Tories 331? 
To a lesser extent the Liberal Democrats and Green Party also suffered from this system.

Sadly we all have to live with this result for the next five years, and with the current state of the Labour party and the Tory supporting media ramping up their opinions conning all the gullible people in this country, it looks like this is our future .... Bleak.

But I do like my facts and figures so here it is.

Or as a Pie Chart

 Or to show how Democracy actually works?


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The Labour Leadership Battle

Cooper, Kendall, Burnham or Corbyn?
When the names were announced I thought is that the best they can come up with?

Cooper and Kendall are usually out of their depth on question time, let alone trying to hold their own in Parliament.
Burnham seemed to be the one big name there, but have just found him to be a bit dull and stuck in the "wannabe" Tory mode.

Corbyn offered something different, but he doesn't fit the bill of "new" Labour, he's not young and bright to appeal to the image concious media and some of his policies just sound like "old" Labour.
But as a Labour supporter all my life, he ticks a lot of the boxes that I want filled for a leader of my party.

Do I think he will become Labour leader? Probably not as there are too many people calling themselves Labour supporters whose only interest is winning the next election, even if that means adopting all the Tory policies.

Do I think he will become Prime Minister? Not a hope, the Tory run media will slaughter him with every skeleton in his closet spun to make him appear a totally loonie leftie, and all the lemmings will lap it up even if Cameron is running the country into the ground.

Would I vote for him? Yes, if he gets good support in the country for his policies it might persaude some Labour supporters that they need to get back to being a party of the people, instead of the current position of pandering to Tory voters with a conscience.

Hopefully by 2025 Labour will have come up with an electable leader, who follows traditional Labour policies?

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Oh Yeah?

No, 
Good things come to the bosses of the companies that employ people to work their asses off for low wages, while they sit in their boardrooms drinking champagne and deciding who they can screw more money out of, while checking what the latest loopholes are for not paying tax.
... and before anyone says they probably worked their asses off to get in that position? some might have done, but a lot inherited it from relatives and haven't done a proper days work in their privileged lives :(

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Old News

Every day there is some story in the papers or online that seems to get Social media going nuts.
Today's was a story about how a father in Dubai stopped rescuers from saving his drowning daughter because if he had let them touch her it would have "dishonoured" her.
As it turned out the story appears to be true but it happened back in 1996, but for some reason was published today as breaking news?
As tragic and horrible as this incident is, I haven't seen many people condemning the Mail, Telegraph etc for bringing up a 19 year old story obviously with the intention of stirring up more hatred?
Sadly the thousands and maybe millions of comments that have been published today prove that the people will believe everything written and published without question and voice an opinion, yes this one appears to have been a true story, but so are all the historic atrocities performed by virtually every nation and religion in the world .. so how far back do you go to make a point?

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Virgin On The Ridiculous

I think I now know why Virgin bills are so high.
Over the last week the phone has been making really loud crackling noises making most phone calls unlistenable, especially a problem with the answering machine as the 10 times a day scam artists / solar panel sellers etc never leave a message but we get a recording of several minutes crackling after they put the phone down.
So called up Virgin who arranged to send an engineer, booked for an 8am-Noon slot he turned up at 1pm.
As he listened to the problem I suggested it might be related to the frayed cable between the outside box and where it comes into the house? he said it was unlikely and preceded to change the internal socket which did not fix the problem.
After spending a couple of hours changing cables and connections in our outside box, the manhole about 50 feet away and in the main box 2 streets away the problem was still not fixed.
So he arranges for a senior engineer to come around and check the various cables in the street this morning, I am sure he replaced the same things as the guy did yesterday but somehow managed to cut off our internet and TV, the phone still worked but was still as crackly as before.
Called up the first engineer to point out we still had the problem plus new ones, he couldn't explain but said he would come back this afternoon, but would also call the area engineer to come and have a look.
Before he arrived the TV and Internet came back on, although he didn't know why?
He changes the internal socket again which makes no difference, so finally he checks and repairs the short length of cable between outside box and where it comes in for the internal socket (as I had suggested at the start) and finally problem solved.
I'm not a telecommunications engineer so what do I know, but just a little bit of common sense would have suggested that might have been worth changing first? :)

Bog Standard

Long overdue next post I know, and Just a couple of whinges sadly.
Replaced my toilet a couple of weeks back as the cistern on the old one had given up again, the diaphragm had split again and the rest was held together with cable ties.
As my disabled wife was having problems with the height of the old one it seemed a good opportunity to kill 2 birds with 1 stone and replace the loo with a new one.
Higher disabled toilets are really expensive so as I'm not too bad at DIY I bought a standard loo and built a platform for it to stand on and raise it about 3 inches which was what was needed.
Other than having to buy a flexible waste pipe it all went well and the wife is happy.

Here comes the whinge - it's one of those with the smaller "water saving" cisterns, the problem is if you've done your number two's (to put it politely) it takes at least 2 flushes to clear it properly and sometimes needs a scrub with the bog brush which was rarely needed with the old one?
so it really does not save water and probably uses more?

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

2015 So Far

Shaping up to be one of the shittier years of my life, but still 6 months to go?
Made redundant on last day of 2014 - Employer can't pay statutory redundancy. Six months later - Still waiting on the various government agencies to get at least some of my money back.
Jan-Feb - Signed on, various excuses and hold up's from DWP meant I only got 2 weeks JSA and no housing benefit.
Feb-April - Working in what should have been a life changing job with decent money, but company decided that I couldn't manage the 94 mile round trip every day despite the fact I managed it every day for my 6 week trial period. Job given to less qualified local (ex colleague of the manager) :(
April - Now - Signed on again, initially given Job seekers allowance but stopped after 2 weeks, reason given that my disabled wife with Muscular Dystrophy is not signing on as well, I have supplied letters from her neurologist and GP to state she is incapable of working without me (or a carer) being there to look after her.
But evidentally I am not allowed to claim job seekers allowance on my own as I am married? and that both of us despite handicaps should be out looking for work.
No housing benefit paid at all in either of the periods due to me not providing evidence of my son's wages despite the fact he does not live with us and I've not claimed for him? and them not accepting the proof of rent being paid from the council, even though it's the council that are asking the question?

Applied for another job yesterday working in the same industry as the one I was working in at Kent in February/April, same job description except the wages are only 55% of the other :(
The joys of trying to work in the minimum wage wasteland of Essex.

Was having a chat over the phone to a guy from the DWP trying to get some sense of why I've had no benefits for 6 weeks and he gave me a new perspective on "minimum wage".
I have always believed it was a good thing, but as he said "in the past companies would have to offer competitive wages to attract workers, but now they are only obliged to offer minimum wage and if all the companies stick together you really have no option" he agreed with me that wages in the semi/non skilled market have actually dropped in the last 20 years. I know this from experience in that I could quite easily walked into any job in the mid 90's and earnt at least £7 per hour, now those same jobs are paying £6.50 an hour, and you can't tell me that the cost of living has dropped in the last 20 years.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Friday, 1 May 2015

Refined

I know I swear a lot during conversations, but the language reflects the situation.
I rarely swear when talking to the wife or family, but find myself swearing to extreme in chats with workmates.
A good test is what expletive you comes out with when you hurt yourself, I have found that when I bang my little toe or hammer my finger, I usually manage to reel off the entire list of swear words in my vocabulary while hopping about or shaking my injured part :)
But I have surprised myself this week, twice in the matter of a few days I have been driving in the afternoon when one of the school run brigade have pulled out straight in front of me.
Both times I have anchored on the brakes and skidded to a stop (no ABS) before actually hitting them and without thinking shouted "Prat"?
Not the most offensive word in the world but obviously my subconcious brain thinks it's appropriate for the moment :)
When I've had a few seconds to think, the real offensive language takes over but by then the moment has passed.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Job Search

Back in 1997 a company called Orr**ge took over my contract at the power station and cut my hourly rate from £8.50 to £7.50 with the message of "if you don't like it, there are others who will take your place", I swallowed it as jobs were hard to come by and I had a family to support.
Luckily they were replaced a couple of years later and things got a little better although it took another couple of years to get back to wages I had been on in 97.

While still waiting to hear from the job I want, I have been trawling around the job sites for something else and I came across the same company requiring workers.
Now 18 years later they are offering £6.50 per hour on a zero hours contract.
I struggled back then now it's 18 years of inflation rises later.
The job itself is not at a fixed address so you have to travel around the country.
You get paid a petrol allowance and lodging only if it can't be done in a day, but that's it.
So you could be working in the Midlands and be expected to leave in the early hours and not get home till very late, and you only get paid for the hours spent on the actual job.
So an 8 hour shift might take 16 hours all for £52 less tax and NI, the petrol allowance does not cover the full cost and nothing extra is given for wear and tear on your vehicle or parking charges.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Election 2015

Here we are again, less than 2 weeks till the country decides which bunch of crooks it wants to put up with for the next 5 years :(
Although I have a lot of opinions on politics, this time I really have lost interest.
Same old crap trotted out by all the major parties, all saying pretty much the same thing to win over voters when you know if any of them get in they will forget most of it.
One thing seems different this time is that there seems to be an increasing number of people like myself who aren't falling for any of it.
In previous elections you always have to put up with many people that you know, just repeating whatever the Tory press have been saying and repeating all the lies, but it seems that more and more people are actually questioning what they are telling us.
That being said I still mix with a lot of people (family and friends) who have jumped on the UKIP bandwagon? which at least gives me an opportunity to discuss politics with them and put them right on some of the bullshit :)
I don't get the chance at home because the wife can't stand anything to do with politics or any of the leaders, which might be a good thing? as I'm sure my ranting would end up with me sleeping on the settee :)
Her view of political leaders - Cameron "snob", Milliband "more cheese grommit", Farage "looks like a frog", Clegg "looks lost", Sturgeon "didn't she used to be in Rab C Nesbitt?", Wood "who?", Bennett "her voice is annoying".

Who will I vote for? probably end up with Labour as I always vote Labour because it's who I've supported throughout my life even though they are just watered down Tories nowadays :(
I would probably vote for TUSC if they had a candidate in my area but they don't, and at the end of the day my vote will be wasted as I will end up with Roy Cropper lookalike David Amess.
The tragedy of living in the South East is that even though you never meet anyone who admits to voting Tory they always get in with a healthy majority :(

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Removed

That was annoying.
A "friend" posted that old picture on Facebook of the Daily Mail headline about Pensioners only getting £6.000 a year while illegal immigrants get £29.000 a year plus a £2 million pound house.
Several replies of the usual type "kick them out" being a milder one, so I pointed out it was a hoax that I had seen here about 5 years ago and it had been adapted from one that has been around in America for over 10 years.
Got a couple of replies back along the lines of "it might be a hoax but it was pretty close to the truth" and the usual "so you'll only be happy when we're all speaking Muslim"? :)
OK I like to wind people up, and can't be bothered going with the flow if I don't agree.
So I composed this little rant ...
"The pension part is almost correct and that is a disgrace, especially as our wonderful Tory government tax them on it :(  and I've no doubt there are thousands of immigrants and illegals screwing the system, helped by our government cutting the numbers in our police and fraud departments to unmanageable levels.
But it sticks in the throat when the Tory newspapers print stuff like this as a smokescreen while the owners are a bunch of tax dodging shysters who couldn't give a f*** about Britain, just about how much money they can screw out of each and every one of us.
Just check out Rothermere, the Barclay bros, Murdoch and all the other "businessman" crooks who just because they are Tory party donors avoid criticism, but drain this country a thousand times more than all the scapegoats they use to deflect attention."


Oddly within seconds of posting this the main post was removed?
Guess I've lost another friend :)

Friday, 17 April 2015

What A Year

So I was made redundant on the 31st December, so technically unemployed from the 1st January.
No redundancy pay forthcoming.
After a lot of promises about jobs being available back at the Power station as soon as my contract company were out of the picture, nothing actually happened.
Finally applied for Jobseekers near the end of January, then attended an interview with a suitable employer down in Kent which went well.
Went through the demeaning process of signing on with the usual "look down your nose" JSA person, who gives you rubbish information while following whatever the new government guidelines are.
Had a second interview at the Kent job which again went well, they promised a decision within a week (mid February), waited and waited while nothing came through.
Spent a day going through all the jobs available on a multitude of jobs agencies then made a couple of calls to people I have worked with.
Months later I'm still waiting for any replies from any of the jobs advertised on job sites, but did get a couple of interviews through the leads offered by friends.
By the 18th February I had been offered 2 jobs, but I was still hanging on for the Kent job.
Contacted them again and laid out the position, have you made a decision as I'm going to start a new job on Monday but would prefer to work at your job.
They came back with an offer of a 6 week trial, so they could look at me and I could look at them which I agreed to.
Did my 6 weeks working on average 60 hours per week, the travel was reasonable considering it is a 94 mile round trip, with only a few nightmare trips on the homeward journey.
Most of the people I was actually working with assumed I had been employed on a permanent basis and didn't see any reason that I wouldn't be.
At the end of the 6 weeks I arranged yet another interview with the management who informed me that they still hadn't made a decision? but would let me know in the next week.
Two weeks later and despite contacting them no decision has yet been made, so it was back to the job centre to go through that whole routine again.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Back On The Dole

After a run of five and a half years I sit here today out of work again :(
This wasn't unexpected (as explained in the previous post) but it still feels like a kick in the teeth.

The last three years have been back at the power station where I previously worked for twelve years during the Nineties and 2000's, this has been the most enjoyable period of my working career.
The main problem with this job was always the fact that despite being an important cog in the whole machine, the power station insisted in employing me through agencies and contract companies rather than employing me direct?
The reasons for this I've never really understood, why would you pay a fortune to an outsider "for supplying labour" when you already had the worker in place? Back in 1995 I got a call from a friend to apply for the job at the power station, I went for the interview and impressed them and they told me the job was mine, I asked the relevant questions about wages, holidays etc and was told I needed to discuss this with "my agency?", I told them that I didn't have an agency and they said I should sign up with a specific one they were using for other staff.
I was glad of the job so accepted the situation, the initial agency weren't too bad to work for and only took 10% of the money the power station were paying for me, the hourly rates and overtime rate was good and they paid premiums for night shifts and working 12 hour shifts.
During this period the same agency was responsible for about 60% of the workforce, with the rest (vital staff) employed direct through the power station. After a couple of  years a decision was made to start employing people direct through the power station (electricians, instrument techs, mechanics, engineers and secretaries?) but my department was left on the agency?
Then they decided to dump the agency and me and my department were told if we wanted to continue working there we would have to join a contract company they had chosen to run things.
I still cannot understand this choice as the contract company run by an "Arthur Daley" style character had no experience of the industry and were charging over 50% more for each of us than the previous agency, but we were told that our hourly rates would be dropping by a £1 an hour and night shift and 12 hour shift bonus would be dropped :(
This should have been the point I walked out, but with a young family and mortgage to support and high unemployment around I swallowed it and carried on.
The contract company had virtually no input in the daily running of the job, so were just sitting there getting paid the equivalent of my wages and the wages of my co-workers wages for spending a couple of hours doing the wages (with hand written pay slips).
The situation came to a head in 2006 when the power station finally decided to offer one of us a chance to become supervisor / team leader, a position that hadn't existed but which I had been doing for a number of years.
I was told to apply as the job was mine if I did, but obviously seeing an opportunity to grab another "nice little earner" the decision was made to appoint an outsider "specialist supervisor" and I was told that I didn't have the relevant supervisory experience despite doing the job well for several years?
So in came a guy who had no experience of the industry to supervise me and my co-workers, over the next couple of years he proved to be out of his depth and they sacked him. This made no difference to me as I had "thrown my toys out of the pram" and left the power station, which for a couple of years seemed to be a good choice until I ran out of money and options and had to take a lower paid job just to survive.
About 3 years ago “Arthur’s” contract company came calling asking if I would like to go back, their new supervisor was long gone and with others leaving they had ended up with a handful of employees who were just glad of a job but had little experience. I’m guessing the power station had been less than impressed with some of the staff he had been employing? The supervisor’s job had been given to one of the remaining workers (a guy I had trained up seven years earlier) so obviously the "supervisory experience" requirement had been dropped.
As I was in a good but lower paid job I bit the bullet and went back, as it turned out it was a good decision as despite the power station now struggling to survive due to government policies, there was a better atmosphere around the place.
There had been a large redundancy before I went back getting rid of a few good guys plus most of the "middle management types" who as in most companies are a problem, people who have no real work skills but can talk their way into senior positions by screwing over others, then feel the need to justify their positions by coming up with new ways of doing established jobs which never improve anything and by holding lots of pointless meetings?
So after a couple of years enjoyable employment getting my department running efficiently again after years of having the place staffed by guys who have just been dragged off the street to keep “Arthur’s” gravy train running it has finally come to an end.

So know it has been “kick in the teeth time”
As well as my contract being terminated before the power station actually closed (probably due to the power station paying Arthur double what I am actually paid), my contract company (Arthur’s) has now decided to close it’s business as it won’t be getting any more money from the Power station.
Meaning that he is claiming to be penniless and will not be able to pay me or my ex co-workers the redundancy pay and owed holiday pay he is liable for.
During the 18 year period he has been supplying the workers for the power station he would have earned between 2 and 3 million pounds after paying the wages, I know some of this would have gone on training, insurance and employers National insurance but still a very large chunk of that would have gone straight in Arthur’s pocket., which is not bad considering he must only spend about an hour a week doing anything related to our employment.

Now as well as having to go through the long winded process of signing on, I also face several months of form filling and phone calls trying to get at least some of the money that is owed to me from a government fund that is available for screwed workers like myself.

Happy new year

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Power Off

I walked into the power station where I work today and was greeted with the news that we are closing down for good, the National grid decided we were not needed to supply electricity over this winter, and didn't need to be available for emergencies, which means no cash coming in while still having to pay over £500,000 a month in business rates plus staffing costs.
Most of the workers will be gone within weeks, (as I work through a contract company I might survive until the end of the year?).
The demolition crews are already being briefed, and our disconnection from the gas supplies are being arranged as I write
So a 20 year old clean modern gas fired power station which can produce 1000 MW of power is deemed to be surplus to requirements?

Imagine my surprise that the first news story I heard today was that there was a risk of blackouts this winter due to a lack of available generating capacity (see picture).


Seems almost comical if it wasn't such bad news for me and my workmates.
So I'm going to have listen to all manner of "experts" on the news tonight, telling us that we would all have to start turning off our lights to save energy.
Others will be saying we need to start building new power stations to cope with demand, or we should all have windmills and solar panels in our back gardens.
No doubt it will be an excuse for the energy companies to put up the prices again.

Meanwhile there are many power stations all over the country just sitting there doing nothing hoping for the occasional call to generate in the hope of making enough money to at least pay part of their huge business rates.
In reality there is already more than enough capacity available in this country, many stations are sitting moth-balled due to lack of demand but could be back online in a few weeks, a lot of the available wind power is not being used at the moment for financial reasons, also we have the back up of importing through the continental inter-connectors.

The energy companies would like us all to believe we just don't have the resources.
The reasons for this I'm sure you can hazard a guess?



Thursday, 16 October 2014

Blogging

Do you ever click that link at the top called "Next Blog"?
Makes you realise just how many thousands or possibly millions of blogs there are out there, and the majority haven't been updated in years (much like 90% of the ones I have started).
I started this one about 2007 when I had time on my hands, a ton of ideas and not too many other distractions.
Nowadays Social media like Facebook, Twitter etc, plus catch up TV fills a large chunk of that valuable free time meaning blogging time is limited, which is a shame.

I went through about 10 "next blogs"and most haven't been posted on in the last few years, but I guess all these bloggers had the same idea as me of posting daily and building up a following of loyal readers who were interested in everything you wrote, but then coming to the conclusion that you were only likely to get the occasional visitor, and even less occasional comment which would usually be some troll type giving you abuse, causing the initial excitement to wane.
Also making you realise that your writings were on the whole only interesting to yourself :)

But here it is, so if anyone ever stumbles on this blog just say hello :)

Friday, 4 May 2012

Old

Kate Bush and Annie Nightingale were two lovely ladies who I considered really hot in my teenage years, now they both look like my granny!!
It really sucks getting old :(

I still think I look good for my age but I must be starting to look like my Grandad to anyone under 30, aagh.... kill me now... sob

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Bargain?

I think I've mentioned this before but here we go again :)
So I go into Tesco's last night to get a few essentials like bread, butter and coffee and as always I'm drawn to the "offers", luckily the brand of Coffee I drink is on a half price offer at £2.34 which is reasonable compared to other brands except the price last week was £4.28 so surely half price should be £2.14?
A large tub of stain remover the wife asked me to get was also on the half price offer at £6 but I had never seen the product priced above £8.50 in any previous visit?
The silliest one was a pack of Kellogs fruit and fibre clearly labelled half price with the £2 crossed out and for sale at .... £1.24? surely even primary school kids can work out 2 divided by 2.
So I got some bargains but still ended up feeling ripped off!!

Friday, 22 April 2011

Irony


Anyone else think it's a bit ironic that the the police blamed "drunken behaviour" for the mini riot that smashed an unwanted Tesco branch in Bristol yesterday.
I wonder if they'd got their booze from Tesco before it was attacked?