Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Todays Budget Theme: Divide and Conquer.

It seems todays budget was one very much along the line of swapping the plain deckchair for the striped one, to make the deck look brighter as it sinks beneath the waves.

One theme very much in force was the rule "divide and conquer". i.e. hitting one set of voters hard while missing a related group.

So we get beer and wine drinkers let off relatively lightly with a 2% increase in duty, but Cider drinkers hit with a whopping 10% duty rise. Cider drinkers are persecuted so that others will be thankful to their beneficent Labour government...

The same goes for stamp duty: its abolished (only for 2 years mind) for houses under £250,000, but for those posh nobs buying houses over £1m, it gets increased to 5%.

I'm sure there's more examples, but as always, the detail comes after the waffle of today.

One scary bit is the fact that public sector net debt will reach 54% of gross domestic product this year and increase to a whopping 75% by 2014-15.

One "might as well not have bothered" bit is the £385m earmarked for the roads. I mean, its such a paltry sum why bother, really. Instead, why can't we have all the fucking money we stump up in road tax spent on the roads eh badger bonce?

The zombie that is global warming refuses to die, with a £2bn planned investment in offshore wind and the like.

Finally one thing that did make me chuckle: new tax agreements with Belize, Grenada and Dominica. Lord Ascroft, the "Baron of Belize" will be pleased. Maybe it'll eventually be worthwhile him setting in the UK after all.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Radio, Old Skool Style

Since I decided not to spend so much time blogging and sitting at the computer on't'internet I've resurrected an old hobby of mine from my pre-computer days: Amateur (Ham) Radio.

I made my first transatlantic contact in decades this weekend, a distance of over 3000 miles. In these days of mobile phones, thats probably not so special, until you consider the amount of technology it takes to get your phone signal from point A to point B. Your phone radio signal is picked up by a network of base stations, then routed through the telephone network across the Atlantic over fibre optic cable, then routed by yet another telephone network to another mobile phone base station network and then finishes its journey as a radio signal picked up by our American cousin's mobile handset. All staggeringly complex.

In contrast, my transatlantic contact was old skool style: From point A to point B, from a little transmitter and antenna in my car, whooshing out over the Atlantic, skipping off the upper atmosphere's cocktail of ionised particles and back down to a chap somewhere in Virginia. Later on I even got as far as Brazil.

To put it into context, I was using the same amount of power as a couple of car headlights. Try shining them as far as Brazil!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Why is it That:

When there are crashes on the road, the Police close the road for hours causing untold misery?

Just when did every accident warrant such a thorough investigation? Who sanctions all that extra expense?

I'm sure their answer would be to investigate and see if any criminal charges can be brought. But to be honest, all that happens is someone loses some points on their licence and gets a fine. A fine which in no way compensates for the cost of the investigation and loss of time of those caught up in the traffic jams created.

Note to the Police: Its an accident, get over it. Unless someone was killed, stop looking for someone to blame so you can massage your stats. Just clear the mess and open the road FFS!