Friday, 10 July 2009

I Hate Social Workers - Part II

Had the meeting between the lady from the home, the Guinness guys and my son's social worker.

The Social Worker earned the disgust of the rest of those present by consistently trying to find a way out of having to provide support. Luckily, the other professionals present were able to steer clear of that minefield (the lady from the home being quite cuttingly sarcastic to the Social Worker at one point: I like her already!).

Anyway, hopefully things will move ahead, but there are hurdles to overcome. The home is the other side of a boundary that has just been redrawn. I would suggest cynically that the home has been successful in housing those in need thanks to a pro-active team and the local council have redrawn the boundary just to make the home someone else's resource drain. Quite how Denmead doesn't come under Havant and instead has been moved to Winchester miles away I fail to understand. Especially as other boundaries for health etc. haven't been redrawn. Sounds quite arbitrary to me.

The Social Worker's final attempt to offload my son was to point out that housing might take a few weeks to set up, where was he going to stay in the meantime? We'd prepared for this trap and so said thats your problem Mr Social Worker. We already knew that as we're moving across a boundary, if we took him with us (not that we have any space anyway), the social worker would wash his hands and my son would go right back to the start again. So we were hard-nosed and refused to give ground.
So he disappeared into the garden on his mobile to arrange emergency housing for my son. For a week. But, my son will be in the system at that point, so everything will continue from that point.

Here's hoping.


Went to see the emergency accommodation today. It was fine. So all systems go for the next week.

Blogging will have a short hiatus, as I sort my internet access.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Blogging May Be Rare In Future: Virgin Media Arseholes.

I just phoned Virgin Media with a view to moving services across to the new house. It came as rather a shock that I couldn't just move everything across as it currently stands: 2Mb broadband and phone.

Oh, no, the "customer service" rep explained. The "deal" that I'm now on will expire as soon as I move onto my new 12 month contract. At that point, the cost of my services will go up from £18.50 a month, to £25 a month. Seeing as that takes most of whats paid into my account each month, obviously I was a bit reluctant.

I re-itereated that I just want to move services, I didn't particularly want to start a 12 month contract all over again, that I was unemployed and couldn't afford 25 quid a month plus call charges. I'm getting pretty tired of this fucking "new n months contract" malarky too. I'm just moving a mile down the road, why the fuck do I need a new contract if I'm already a customer of theirs? The "customer service" rep (Suprisingly in the UK, but ultimately not interested in keeping me as a customer, nor continuing to use their service) was stroppy and adamant and I had to like it or lump it and that no, I couldn't talk to a supervisor.

Well Virgin, it looks like you've lost a customer of almost 10 years loyalty if thats your fucking attitude. I am not a cash cow. Fuck you Richard Branson!

So, I'm in the market for the cheapest broadband and phone available. Any suggestions people?

This also brings to mind a few things:

1. Customer Service (Something I'd thought Virgin were good at) is now as shit as everyone else in the UK.

2. Gordon Brown's pledge to have broadband in every home is a lie. With ever-increasing tariffs, how are the unemployed and the retired supposed to afford it? Is the government going to nationalise the internet? Are they going to give everyone 30 quid a month?

3. If I want cheap 2Mb broadband, why the fuck can't I have it?

4. It looks like my main source of job info, the internet will soon be out of reach for me. Another backwards step.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Defence Debate Rumbles on.

The BBC has an article about the new Royal Navy Carriers and the debate surrounding whether the UK needs them or not.

In my mind, we very definately do need them, as Aircraft Carriers provide the ultimate flexible tool for the Navy. Whether its humanitarian aid, a full-on air-strike, anti-submarine Patrols, anti Piracy Patrols, an aircraft carrier can equip itself flexibly with a complement of aircraft to deal with the task in hand.

Compare that with Trident, that has only one mission, role and purpose.

Now compare the cost of each weapons system. I think the carrier has the edge in cost and role flexibility.

What we definately don't need is the cost and complexity of the Trident missile system. When a cash-strapped country of the likes of North Korea can develop a ballistic missile system from scratch, whilst simultaneously developing nuclear weapons, I think it could be in our interests to go it alone. We really don't need a complex delivery system with masses of warheads, we just need a simple nuclear deterrent system.

Our enemies have changed and rather than deliver lots of warheads against a large country, we can now downsize to a system that delivers a small number of warheads. After all, I doubt we'd ever go to war against Russia unilaterally, so there's no need to have the capacity to deliver a huge number of warheads. All we need is to have a threat to do a moderate amount of damage to a large enemy and a large amount of damage to a smaller one. It can still be submarine based for stealth and security, but just with a lower capability.

The need for time for the overkill of "Mutual Assured Destruction" is long passed. There needs to be large scale investment in real-world conventional warfare, tailored to the real-life needs of our forces. We need better, more secure battlefield transport, we need better battlefield communications and information dispersal, we need better and more reliable kit for the grunts on the ground and we need better logistics in place to deliver the kit to where its needed, when its needed.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Blogging Will be Light for a While

Two weeks to pack and do a house move, harrangue social services and the local council to house my son. Not a lot of time really, so blogging will be light for a while.

The Political Theme in the MSM for the next few days/weeks will be public expenditure, national debt and cuts to public services. Mervyn King has already spoken out, but for some reason was ignored by the media John Major has been on TV this morning and has calmly explained the unprecedented situation the country finds itself in and how unsustainable it is. He says its worse than teh late seventies and I believe him. Just to add credence to that view, Alastair Darling adds some authentic seventies rhetoric. John Hutton has called for the government to be honest about public spending.

The longer the lunatic Brown stays drunk on power and pisses our money away, the bigger the headache will be for us when we finally get our election. Burning Our Money has a few words on the subject. He calculates (as I've blogged about in the past) massive cuts in order to balance the books.

Whoever gets into power next needs as their first priority to evaluate and quantify the level of liabilities nutter Brown has saddled the country with and then to make that information public. Yes, it might risk Gordon Brown and his cabinet being lynched by angry mobs, but I'm convinced such a reaction would be proportionate.

I did say 2010 would be a historic year. Its looking more and more likely. People are already discussing direct action. From public sector workers, to just disgruntled people like me, people from all walks of life are saying the same thing: we need to take our country back from the shysters in Parliament.

As a footnote, in PMQs someone really should be taking Gordon Brown to task on the level of borrowing. When he says he's spending money on public services, what he should be pulled up on is that he's not spending taxpayers money: its money he's borrowed that will have to be payed back by the taxpayer with interest, making the cost of those unecessary public services even higher. He's spending £20bn a month he hasn't got, which we have to repay with interest, just so he can say he's spending his way out of the current crisis.

Except he isn't: public services by themselves do not generate wealth. They are (or should be) a maintenance function. Spending money on public services will not generate wealth, nor enable the private sector to generate it either. To say such is a downright lie.

Its been an interesting weekend. Its set up the theme for the next week or more.