POSTINGS

12-Feb-2023

Bring Back Self Sufficiency

Despite almost 12 months of fighting Russia has not destroyed the heroic Ukrainian resistance. It has however lost huge numbers of personnel - some reports claiming over 700 soldiers lost in one day. And it has used up world war quantities of ammunition, vehicles and missiles partly because the most effective Ukrainian weapons have been supplied by NATO governments.

Rasputin_200Within the next few weeks there are predictions that Russia will throw even more troops, shells and missiles into an all-out assault in a renewed attempt by Putin to crush the nation and replace the population with Russians. The fact that a terminally-ill Putin is still in control being the black cloud hanging over all of eastern Europe. And the need for the Ukrainian edition of the Eurovision Song Contest to come from Liverpool shows what could become the norm if Putin wins.

If the sheer numbers on the Russian side do overwhelm the defenders - and Kyiv falls - then expect the conflict to spill over westwards. At first into former Soviet republics then into a full WW3. If this happens UK troops will be manning the front line and the British Isles a sitting target for long range missile attacks. At this point the years of cut-backs on defence spending and the reliance of overseas suppliers for both weapons and ammunition will come home to roost.

A clear lesson learnt on both world wars was that victory went to the side that could produce the most weapons. Something forgotten by today’s controllers of our defence budgets. You would have hoped that Putin’s attack last February was the wake-up call for boosting the manufacture of munitions. But no evidence has been seen of this happening.

It is right to help Ukraine by providing weapons ammunition and training. Most of their army is, after all, just normal civilians defending their homeland. But the lack of additional investment means that the UK is in danger of  being defenceless should escalation occur. And with politicians like Boris Johnson saying that ALL our fighter jets should go to Ukraine it’s not just the deranged Putin that we have to worry about.

Come the 13th of May the best situation would be for Ukraine to be celebrating and never needing to host any international events in exile again. And that the sovereignty of nations is respected world-wide.

tags: War, Europe, Russia, Mad Vlad, Kremlin, Death

 

27-Jan-2023

Don’t Start From Here - 2

It was 10 years ago that this blog raised concerns about the proposed London to Birmingham rail link - HS2. Concerns that were shared by many others. Then the project had a base level budget of 16,800 million for the initial London to Birmingham section of the line. Both the London and Birmingham ends having an interchange station as well a terminus.

At the northern end the interchange will be in Solihull and be a relatively simple design providing two double-sided island platforms. Current estimates are for this station to cost 370 million and be ready by 2026 - the year that the whole London-Birmingham line was supposed to open.

OldOakCommon1At the southern end the interchange will be at Old Oak Common - the site in the days of steam of the Great Western Railway’s main London locomotive deport.

This station is positioned amongst a network of rail lines the most important of which are the mainline to Bristol, Devon, Cornwall, South Wales and the new Crossrail line. At first politicians tried to kill off the station plans but engineering common sense eventually silenced the critics. Now the station is predicted to be one of the busiest and most important in the capital. The 14 platforms will form a new super-hub set to be the best-connected and largest new railway station ever built in the UK.

As the importance of Old Oak Common Interchange has increased so the cost-benefit figures for Euston have become much less appealing. The section from Euston to the interchange is a most complex and costly few miles. And since all the HS2 trains will stop at the interchange they won’t have chance to get up much speed relative to conventional trains or even the Underground. The time to get here from Euston via HS2 services will be little different to that from Paddington or the Central London stations via the Elizabeth Line

So why spend a large chunk of the overall budget on a section of track that will add little additional public access and slow down the high-speed services?

Terminating at Old Oak Common could cut a significant chunk out of the excessive and escalating project costs. It might even bring forward the completion date. Anyone who lives or works within walking distance of Euston (and commutes to / from Birmingham) will be disappointed - but this is supposed to be a national project.

HS2 will remain a loss-making burden on the UK tax payer for the whole of its projected 60 year lifespan - so let’s hope that politicians don’t make this misguided project even worse ....

tags: railway, hst, high speed, victorian, transport, big spender

 

22-Jan-2023

FlamesHell6

 

11-Jan-2023

Divorced From Reality

Today’s high profile story on the Express website shows that old and long-discredited story lines are still useable in 2023.

anchorman2023To quote ... UK snow forecast: -12C Polar blast to spark worst January deluge in a decade
Winter is about to roar back with a -12C Polar blast threatening one of the worst January snow deluges for more than a decade. By Nathan Rao 11:01, Wed, Jan 11, 2023 | UPDATED: 13:36, Wed, Jan 11, 2023

So let’s see how accurately this forecast matches to reality. Based on the past record of Nathan and his sources any degree of match-up will be down to sheer coincidence. [Update Sun 12 Feb 2023 - No snow on any day at Grandad Towers.]

Much the same could be said about the headline-filling book out this week that claims to be non-fiction by Harry Windsor (formerly known as Prince). Grandad won’t be buying a copy - and given the number of reviews, quotes and interviews in circulation there seems little point - even if the hard back version is going at half-price.

Not only is the book hyped-up in the extreme but what Harry seems to have told his ghost-writer does not always align with the known facts. For example to claim that he was at Eton college when the Queen Mother died when he was in fact on a skiing holiday in Switzerland with Charles and William is very wide of the mark. Being alone at college rather than having fun in the snow with his father and brother may be a better fit to the intended storyline but it’s certainly fictional rather than factual.

But the growing list of dubious recollections cannot all be levelled at the ghost-writer. It has been Harry himself making statements to camera that are sometimes hard to believe. His various complaints about his cottage at Kensington Palace are typical. It was too small and lacked the status and facilities befitting a prince. The ceilings were too low - and he did not know who lived here before but if they were taller than him they would be banging their heads all the time. Given that the prior occupants were William and Kate the whinging distortions and selective amnesia of Harry call into question his grip on reality.

Any lack of accuracy has, however, not stopped the stories being very profitable for the renegade couple. Quite how long the millions keep arriving in sufficient quantities to fund their expensive lifestyle is anyone’s guess. But they have already been given far more the average citizen could dream of - even with a lottery win. One day life may take back what it has given them ...

tags: Lies, distortions, half-truths, invented, artificial, fame, privilege, media

 

2023NewYear1

30-Nov-2022

Russia Loosing The War

As we reach forty weeks of Russia’s brutal attacks on anything and everything in Ukraine the Kremin war criminals still cling to power.

Man1902All the talk of internal opposition or fatal illness to force changes have come to nothing - and Russia slides further towards political and financial suicide.

The invasion of an independent state by a military super-power on the deranged commands of their unhinged and psychopathic leader is an affront to the free world.

Yet Russia still retains its seat on the UN Security Council - and no one has the power or resolve to remove them. In fact some regimes are keen to do business with the aggressors - breaking sanctions and getting cheap energy in return.

But there can be no hiding the fact that Russia is loosing the war. And over these past forty weeks tens of thousands of the Russian military and their mercenaries have died as a result. But for what? The plan to remove Ukraine and its people from the map of Europe has failed - and can now never succeed.

The scale of death and destruction is vast - but Ukraine will, in the end, be victorious...

tags: War, Europe, Liar, Russia, Mad Vlad, Kremlin, Death

 

30-Oct-2022

Broke or Bust

It seems much longer but Rishi Sunak has only been in the job since last Monday - the job of British Prime Minister that is.

man4Certainly the style of management has moved on from the delusional growth plans of Truss or the gung-ho bluster of Johnson. Looking from the far-off isolation of Grandad Towers there seems a mood of much more detailed scrutiny of the nation’s finances - more even than in the days of Spreadsheet Phil (ex-Chancellor, Philip Hammond).

And the results do not make pleasant reading. According to reports from informed sources the spare 30,000 million or so that was projected when Sunak left No. 11 has all gone and now replaced by a black hole of around 50,000 million. Ouch!

All the money that Truss was going to use for tax-cuts and boosting growth has gone on higher interest rates, higher energy costs and inflation.

Now the Treasury, Chancellor Hunt and PM Sunak are faced with imposing tax hikes and spending cuts to avoid a total collapse of the economy. The effects of this will be unpopular with voters - but there are signs that the public would rather hear something nearer to the truth than endless spin-doctor speak or pie in the sky illusions ...

tags: boom, bust, recession, chaos

 

13-Oct-2022

All Trussed Up

It has been a common complaint for decades that politicians are often given senior government positions totally outside their areas of expertise.

TrussMe1-220But rarely have the effects of this disregard for common sense had such far reaching effects so quickly.

You would have hoped that Truss and Kwarteng had recognised their inexperience and sought advice for previous senior politicians, cabinet colleagues and even a couple of Bank of England governors. But it seems not ..

So now we have both friendly and unfriendly fire coming from media vultures, upset politicians, the BoE and international investors amongst others. This is descending into a political civil war. All resulting in higher interest rates, declining national ratings and falling sterling exchange rates.

The prediction made some time ago by the discredited Dominic Cummings that PM Truss would be a ‘human hand grenade’ with a short career could turn out to be very near to reality ...

15-Oct-2022
Just 48 hours on and Kwarteng has already gone.
Q. What’s your guess on how much experience in government finance has replacement Chancellor - Jeremy Hunt - actually got?
A. Zero.
Correct ... SNATU [Situation Normal All Trussed Up]

16-Oct-2022
Another 24 hours pass and Liz Truss is left in an untenable position- with Jeremy Hunt junking virtually every one of the Truss-Kwarteng financial promises made oh so recently. And he is supposed to be on the same side! Her choices are reduced to resignation or dismissal ... We were warned. Now a general election cannot be far away.

19-Oct-2022
After all the policy reversals - de-facto Prime Minister Jeremy Hunt starts the cull of Truss supporters as if she had already left office. And it was Truss that appointed him. Her biggest mistake? It’s all going to end in tears ...

20-Oct-2022
As with the BoJo bus we can all see the wheels falling off the Truss bus when it too hits those pot-holed streets of broken promises. At least the lottery-winning scale of our payments to ex-prime ministers is a major consolation and should ease her short-term discomfort. Having a Public Duty Cost Allowance of almost 10,000 per month for life for a few months in post is too good a deal to miss. But perhaps it’s time to cap or withdraw such boundless generosity - especially when various PMs have caused so much unjustified expense to the average British family .... More - Truss resignation announced and a new PM to be selected within a week.
 

tags: boom, bust, recession, chaos

 

26-Sep-2022

Boom or Bust

Truss and Kwarteng have jumped in with both feet within days of taking up their posts. Last Friday saw them announce a raft of changes that will impact just about every person in the UK - and cost billions.

man4Given the scale and extent of the many changes and the very short time frame involved then it not surprising that they are not supported by any detailed analysis. They are in effect fiscal policies that could sink or swim. If they are brilliant steps that will make for boom times ahead then everyone will be happy.

However Gradad’s business analyst training says that it is more like chancing all on the spin of the roulette wheel than the result of any careful strategic planning. And the worry is that Truss and Kwarteng have relied on their previously published works to draw up these far-reaching changes. Works that were dismissed as .. barely sixth form level immature rubbish.

We in the cheap seats can only look on as the effects of the new policies affect the nation - and of course pay the price for any failures imposed on us by our political leaders.

And our new leaders are certainly different to Johnson and Sunak - and keen to make policy changes at an exceptional pace. But there is a suggestion that they will keep on making changes at short notice resulting in the chaos that some opponents predicted.

But it will be interesting to see if Prime Minster Truss delivers on the promise made just last week to keep one of the north’s key airports - Doncaster/Sheffield - afloat. Since its closure was announced earlier today ...

Update 3-Oct-2022
Just one week on and we have the first short notice u-turn for our new PM with the reversal of a key tax announcement made just days ago. Not a smart decision initially and compounded by saying it was completely wrong so soon after.

Plus there have been no apparent government actions to avoid the closure of Doncaster/Sheffield airport. The closure looks certain to happen given that the wind-down starts in four weeks time. This failure to act will not do much to create public trust in any promises made.

The Truss-Kwarteng leadership are already guilty of naivity and broken promises. They will need to make some major improvements pronto or face a short stay at 10 and 11 Downing Street.

tags: boom, bust, sink, swim, recession, chaos, northern, powerhouse, closure

 

8-Sep-2022

Black Balmoral

Close family members being flown in, private messages delivered to political leaders, media mobilisation and close medical supervision suggest that all is not well with our Queen. We hope for the best but must prepare ourselves for the worst.

20-Sep-2022
Millions of people around the world will know what happened next ... so now it’s simply Adieu Your Majesty

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24-Aug-2022

Crisis. What Crisis?

Returning after a welcome break it seems we have a mixture of old and new in the crisis department.

In UK politics Boris Johnson is still in office (some of the time) despite resigning at the beginning of July. Sunak and Truss are still preaching to the converted - most of whom must have made their choice for next Prime Minister weeks ago. And worryingly it seems very likely that Ms Truss will be moving into number 10 - with Rishi moving out of number 11.

VictorCar1Why is Ms Truss being PM a worry? I don’t have any definitive knowledge and so gut-feelings are leading; but .. If you look up Liz online some surprising facts jump out.

First Liz Truss is her stage name. Her conventional name became Mary Elizabeth O'Leary when she married over 20 years ago - 10 years before she became a member of parliament in 2010.

Soon after that she appears as Elizabeth Truss co-author of After the Coalition and again in 2012 as co-author of Britannia Unchained: Global Lessons for Growth and Prosperity. But neither of these works has made it to Grandad’s extensive library - thank goodness.

Now the co-authors of both publications are Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Elizabeth Truss- all of whom became cabinet members afterwards. A silent coup?

But the book reviews were scathing - for example What utter drivel and It surprises me that the publishers consider this fit to publish. The author have done minimal research and based on that reached absurd conclusions. This Is clearly a book written to advance the authors political ambitions - no wonder Mr Cameron distanced himself from it. And there are plenty more - Comes across as barely sixth form level immature rubbish, the content itself is meaningless tripe. One truly wonders whether the authors have any intellectual ability or are simply ambitious yet untalented clowns.

And this negative feedback dates from before Liz Truss became the prime candidate for the top political job. The prospect of becoming Prime Minister Truss has generated more noise from opponents - On what planet could a nonentity like Liz Truss be hot favourite for PM? This is a woman who until a year ago did not seem to have a policy on anything. Another reports that she once played Maggie Thatcher in a school play and it has clearly gone to her head, because this week she boasted: “Labour fears me. I’m their worst nightmare.” Now, that level of self-delusion is disturbing.

However Ms Truss has not really helped herself by telling the press that her two teenage daughters were managing (really?) her social media campaign And that her success had been with the help of her daughters Frances, 16, and Liberty, 13. Ms Truss said: 'My oldest daughter's working on the digital team. She's done a computing GCSE so she's helping out on that. And my younger daughter was there as well, giving general political advice (really?).'

Now if the world was in a calmer, more friendly and stable position having a nonentity in power in the UK could be worked around. But we are told repeatedly of one crisis after another - climate change, water shortage, cost of food / energy, overloaded healthcare, Russian & Chinese invasions / financial collapse, breakup of the UK, crime, strikes, etc, etc.

And even after removing the hype there are some true crises here that UK leadership will have to - at least partially - contribute to solving. With a reputation for causing chaos and NOT getting things done Prime Minister Liz could be worse than having a nonentity in charge ...

tags: War, Russia, China, crisis, political unrest

 

6-Jul-2022

Surely Not Still Here?

It’s hard to believe but psychopathic war criminal Mad Vlad has survived another month despite declining health, growing casualties and military losses in Ukraine, financial collapse and escalating political unrest in Russia.

Ever since the start of the illegal invasion the conflict has been a duel between Putin and Zelensky. And despite Russia claiming to be a world super-power the odds favour a fit 44 year old over a sick and declining 69 year old. The worry is that Mad Vlad will become even more irrational and ignorant of pointless fatalities.

DodoBird1wMeanwhile UK politics is in turmoil as the accumulation of gaffes and poor decisions by Dodo Bojo becomes just too much for key cabinet members and ministers. Predications of Mr Johnson’s fall from power have been frequent - and wrong - before but this time even the greased piglet may be out of office very soon.

And now one problem that Grandad thought was passed is back. Covid cases continue to climb towards historically high levels leading to increasing hospital admissions. This health issue disappeared from the headlines months ago along with all sense of urgency and government vaccination targets. Our local walk-in Covid vaccination centre was still open a week or so ago but with very few actual patients. The media may have dropped their coverage too soon as the prospect of more NHS pressure raises its ugly head.

But at least the metric v. imperial issue disappeared from view just as quickly as it first appeared ...

Update 7-Jul-2022
Just 24 hours later and Boris Johnson has resigned. So now the media turn to who will become the 4th UK Prime Minister since the clear-cut Brexit vote? And how many Johnson policies will soon be forgotten or reversed? What we need now is for someone or something to remove Putin from power ...

tags: War, Europe, Liar, Russia, political unrest

 

Earlier postings ...

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FOOTNOTES

1. We don’t claim copyright on any of this stuff. We won’t hassle you if you reuse it. If you don’t like it here then just move on. We don’t use cookies because we never track your actions. Some of this stuff may link to other sites. What they do is their responsibility. We used to have have links that promised to pay us for any traffic generated but the amounts were peanuts. So these are now being cleared out.

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