On this day a year ago
Well, I only scored the same as political journalist John Rentoul this week— 5/10. I did not know the answers to questions 4, 7, 8, and 9; in the back of my mind, I knew the answer to question 1, but could not bring it to mind, so counted that as a “did not know”.
From the newspapers
Yes, tweeter “@DevilsAdvo1971” certainly did shut up when confronted by not only facts but also evidence directly from one of the many people scammed by “Jack Monroe”. So many people are desperate to believe in something, or someone.
Yes. I recall talking about similar issues in 1976 with a couple with whom I was then friendly, a (supposedly ex-) getaway driver-turned-limousine service-owner, and his wife, both in their thirties (I was 19 at the time). The discussion was about the relative merits of the Western way of life as compared with the Soviet socialist system.
That fellow’s comment has stayed with me: “what matters to me is not the detail about how it works but what way of life comes out the other end.” Like many —more-or-less— “villains”, he was basically quite “Thatcherite” in his views (though this was three years before Margaret Thatcher actually became Prime Minister).
Indeed. In the late 1970s, the inefficiencies of the subsidized industries, and the (neo-Luddite) power of the trade unions, were the stuff of legend, but the “Thatcher Revolution” went far too far in various ways. All the same, people realized that some change was needed.
I have blogged previously about how the ~33-year cycle works. In 1989, old-style socialism died, but that did not happen overnight. In the UK, the change had been in preparation for many years, starting notionally with the Thatcher governments.
Telecoms policy illustrates the point. The State-owned British Telecom was privatized in 1984: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BT_Group. Even in the mid-1980s, it could take a long time for the average customer/consumer to be supplied with a telephone. It sounds ludicrous now, of course.
I knew someone from my schooldays who owned a couple of houses in South London, rented out by the room. He wanted the tenants to have a coin-operated telephone, and arranged with British Telecom to have one installed. After several months, he was getting angry that the telephone had not been installed. He was fobbed off with various reasons (excuses) until, finally so exasperated at the lack of action, about a year after he had asked for the installation, he called British Telecom to say that he was cancelling the order, only to be informed that the telephone was going to be installed a couple of days later. Which it was. Still, a whole year just to get a telephone!
That kind of rationing did not affect people equally. I remember being told, in the late 1980s, at dinner in Lincoln’s Inn, and by (now-deceased) Lord Justice Parker [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Parker_(judge)], that when he was first appointed a judge in, I think, 1969, that appointment had co-incided with his moving to a country house in a rather out-of-the-way part of Essex. There was no telephone.
Parker had then contacted the manager of the (then) GPO for the area to request installation of a telephone. He was told that it might take several months, if not longer. He then said that he needed a telephone for his work. The telephone manager had asked what work. “I have just been appointed a judge“. The manager then apologized, and said that a telephone would be installed that week. It was.
I imagine that the later Lord Justice of Appeal put his case quite forcefully. I certainly found him a rather unpleasant person, that one time that I spoke with him.
It sounds antediluvian now, when anyone can buy a basic mobile telephone for a small amount of money, and get it from a supermarket or other outlet in a matter of minutes.
The point is that the heavily-subsidized nationalized industries of 1945-1980s had become sluggish and a drag on economic efficiency. However, the privatization trend went too far in the late 1980s and 1990s. Now, the taxpayers fork out huge sums to notionally private enterprises, from railways and offshoots of the DWP and NHS, to the farming industry and others. We are getting neither proper service nor value for money.
The same is true of the “tax credits” payments put in place by Blair and Brown, and also the current “Universal Credit” low pay boondoggle. It subsidizes poor-paying employers out of public funds. That cannot be right.
To my mind, the loss is $30 cash plus the cost price of the goods minus the profit margin on the goods. I admit that I am no economist (or mathematician)…
More from the newspapers
“Put a beggar on a horse and he rides it to death” [German proverb].
“The number of hotels being used to house asylum seekers in the UK is about to reach 400 as migrants continue to cross the Channel in small boats, MailOnline can reveal.
Currently 395 hotels in the UK are understood to be being used to accommodate more than 51,000 people at a reported cost of £6.8million a day – but the number is constantly increasing as the Government battles to start moving some asylum seekers to Rwanda while their applications to stay in the UK are processed.“
The continuing cross-Channel migration-invasion will put the final nail in the Conservative Party coffin, even though Labour will be no better re. the problem.
The “democratic” pseudo-statesmen who feel the need to be heavily protected from those they claim to represent. Adolf Hitler never needed such measures, certainly not in the six years of peace 1933-1939.
What a contrast.
Just as one cannot see a single TV ad now in the UK, nor any drama series, even one set in 1950, and even one set in 1590 (!), that does not have numerous blacks in it.
It’s a start, no more.
Whatever happens in and around Bakhmut/Artyomovsk, the war in Ukraine has all but solidified. We see ever more detailed maps and reports about ever-smaller areas. Russia needs a massive gamechanger in order to retake the initiative on the large scale.
4 thoughts on “Diary Blog, 25 March 2023”
Regarding the photo of the gorgeous European Bee Eater, I suspect he is related or belongs to the family of humming birds. In our house we have a huge bougainvillea and in springtime many hummingbirds come to feed from its flowers. Is a wonderful sight.
That must be lovely. When I lived for a time on a small Caribbean island, my terrace (where I had breakfast at about 0700 hrs every morning) had a few flowering bushes, and one hummingbird used to be there every morning, only a few feet away from me.
Talking about hummingbirds…
Thank you. Very interesting.