Friday, 13 November 2009

Social Engineering, Labour-Style.

A couple of weeks ago we had the revelation from an ex-number 10 aide that Labour deliberately opened our borders to immigrants in order to force multiculturalism in the UK. They would call it social engineering to enhance cultural diversity.
But was multiculturalism the real aim, or was it the importation of a mass of thankful Labour voters?

Over the past 12 years we've had new public financed call centres open up, predominantly in poorer northern areas in order to boost the economy. Labour would call that social engineering in order to bosst deprived economies.
But was helping deprived areas the real aim, or was it to keep core Labour voting areas onside and voting for Labour?

Labour have increased benefits introducing working tax credits, child tax credits and the like, Labour would say in order to help the poor and reduce child poverty.
But it hasn't decreased child poverty. All it has done is create more work for government departments. Departments created (again) in northern Labour areas.
If Labour really wanted to help the poor, why did they abolish the 10p tax rate?

Or, is it as I suspect that all Labour policy is really about is buying votes to keep Labour politicians in power and sat with their snouts in the trough?

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Gary McKinnon: MPs on the case at last?

An unspecified number of MPs want the extradition of Gary McKinnon halted. About bloody time we heard from our elected representatives. The cabinet and the home Office steadfastly refuse to accept the extradition treaty we have with the U.S. is unfair and unequal.

Now we need an MP or two to start raising hell about it in the House of Commons.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Why is it (2):

That when you get a job, you get more job offers than when you were unemployed.

Literally minutes after I took the job at Argos, I had a call from an agency about working in a warehouse.

Today I had a call about working in a callcentre, in a job more suited to my technical skills.

The problem in both cases though is the fact that they want staff with immediate effect.

For instance, the one today couldn't grasp the fact that I wasn't going to drop a job I've already (albeit part-time) on the speculative assumption I may get their full-time job after interview.
I'd love to take the job, but after 18 months of job-hunting I'm not going to give this part-time one up without a guarantee that the new job is mine obviously.

Such is the state of the current job market that employers and agencies have a tranche of skilled unemployed people they can phone and demand such immediate action. They have so many people on the books currently unemployed that they can be so uncompromising.

I see that the unemployment figures went up again this week.
The newspapers are spinning it as a success, because the figure wasn't as high as expected, so the line is unemployment is levelling out.

However, youth unemployment is at an all-time high, despite Gordon Brown's promise to reduce it. Just like child poverty, is there any Labour target that they have succeeded in attaining?

Why is It:

That delegates to a conference on climate change, fly there in huge carbon dioxide-producing aircraft?

Where is the sense in that?

Why don't they use technology like video-conferencing to reduce the amount of CO2?

If they're serious about climate change that is....

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A Brave Mother

I've listened to the recording of Gordon Brown's phone call to Jaqui Janes.

One thing she asks is why are Merlin helicopters still not in Afghanistan. I've blogged on this before and the reason is they're not fit for purpose. They are currently undergoing a huge refit programme to try and bring them up to standard, including as mentioned during the call the fitting of new rotor blades to enable them to fly in the hot and high climate of Afghanistan. I've heard the reports from the training exercises in the U.S. and to say that the Merlin operates "differently" in Afghani-like conditions is a coy euphamism.

Anyone that takes a look at this report on UK helicopter upgrades in Rotor & Wing Magazine will be struck by the huge costs being pumped into upgrading our ageing helicopters (Sea King, Puma and Lynx) and bringing our new ones (Merlin) up to a decent specification in order for them to operate in the hot and high conditions of Afghanistan. One should however, take note at the proposed in-service dates, which are ludicrously some years away. What we need are helicopters fit to fly in Afghanistan NOW, not in 2010, 2013 or beyond.

Its about time the government and the MoD had a healthy dose of realism and started to look at buying helicopters of the correct spec to fly in Afghanistan off the peg. Note the Apache doesn't have any operational problems in that theatre. Neither does the Black Hawk transport helicopter, the type we've been offered by the Americans a number of times but turned down.

What we don't need, is up-engined mongrels only just able to drag their sorry arses off the desert floor, never mind carry a decent payload. Neither do we want complex high-maintenance eurocopters that are never available because they are always breaking down. A failure rate that will only be exacerbated by continuously operating close to maximum payloads for the conditions.

What is clear from the helicopter debacle is that MoD procurement is lagging decades behind our current operational requirements. We have a complement of helicopters designed to operate in a cold war environment, in a temperate climate. We fought our first modern desert war in Iraq in 1990 and 1991 and it appears the MoD still don't have the procurement process tuned into the new battlefield environment almost 2 decades later.

I've said it before that there are plenty of helicopters available around the world with very little lead time that can be in service next year. We could be buying Black Hawks as mentioned, Bell 412s or even Rusian ones. Some battlefield lift capability no matter where it comes from, is better than none.