Archive for the ‘Money’ Category

Southern Rail up to their old tricks again … misleading their customers. Text here of an email sent to me and thought I’d take advantage of this little prompt. I have just logged on to buy my ticket today with a start date of 2nd January at the old price.. which the text implies … and you’ve guessed it! … it’s at the higher price. So one has to assume ‘Southern Fail’ designate a “season ticket” as one for 12 months as opposed to ones for shorter periods which are described on my account as my “monthly SEASON ticket” …. Not only could it be perceived as a con, they couldn’t even make that small concession to lesser ‘season ticket’ holder customers paying highest train fares in Europe plus worst service.Southern Rail Tickets Renew

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Are we sure we’re going to have a good time?
Or just pretending in the hours of the light of day,
At night time when we’re alone and it’s quiet,
Where do some thoughts drift to?
To the bank account going into overdraft,
Or the credit limit reached on the card.

Concerns of how you’re judged by the festive fare you provide?
Then invite and enjoy with people you know who won’t care,
Yes, Christmas is a time for family,
But also for the good friends,
The sound, honest and reliable ones,
Those who’ve ‘had your back’ throughout the year.

And spare a thought for those away from their families,
Including the ones on standby and working to help, care or keep us safe,
And the ones who rely on a foodbank and donated children’s gift,
For too many the predicament has valid reasons and no fault of their own.

Try not to worry it has to be perfect,
Because it won’t as it is a microcosm of real life where nothing is.
So all you can do is your best,
And the responsibility is on others of gratitude and making it great,
With recognition of your hospitality and kindness,
You deserve nothing less.

Christmas isn’t just special in the way we should treat others,
But the hope it confirms what we’ve felt and how we’ve acted throughout the year,
No one is perfect and we make mistakes, bad decisions or upset others,
But if you can say at least you tried to put things right,
Or live as a better person because of something you can’t change,
Then you deserve the best festive season ever,
And may this continue into 2018 and remain.

Peter J. Lacey
© December 2017

 

Occasionally the House of Lords in the UK functions as a proper second line of defence against the excesses of government.

By the very nature of rejection the Article 50 Bill and sending it back to Parliament with an amendment to be debated for reasons that encompasses all that is decent and well meaning to others from all nations sends a strong message to many around the world.

In particular it sends a powerful message to the government’s and citizens of the European Union that there are many of us in the UK that are not the acronym of the word BREXIT I have arrived at.

Blindingly Rejoice Excessive Xenophobia Intolerant Thoughtlessness 

Britain’s rail franchise model ‘unfit for purpose’ say MPs

In this article from the Guardian Newspaper (link below) the following has been attributed and quoted by Paul Plummer, the chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents rail operators and Network Rail….

‘Passengers and taxpayers had benefited from the franchising system in which rail companies brought new ideas and innovation to Britain’s railways’

Plummer added: “Under franchising, the railway has gone from costing taxpayers £2bn a year in terms of day-to-day costs to now contributing £200m, money which helps to fund the major rail upgrades making journeys more comfortable and reliable.”

The above has to be regarded as an appraisal of a transport infrastructure which is staggering in its level of denial of what is happening in the real world of commuter travel.

It could be justified as assuming Mr Plummer travels so rarely on trains he obviously hasn’t noticed anything wrong … nor I presume looked up from the comfort of his 1st class seating at the commuters packed in tighter than it would be legal in live animal transportation.

No doubt he prefers the luxury of a car as opposed to the 35+ year old ex London underground/overground trains used on the Southern Rail coastal line where you have the joy of potentially two hour journey’s with no toilet facilities … and that’s assuming there are no extra delays!

How wonderful to know Mr Plummer lives in the bliss of ignorance where in the real commuter world people earning less than average wages are paying far in excess of 10℅ of their gross salary on rail fares.

What a joy to know he has a job that he hasn’t had his wages deducted every time he’s hasn’t been able to get to work due to the near year long industrial disputes with Southern Rail …. or indeed lost his job.

We must express our pleasure for Mr Plummer having not experienced the consequences of Network Rail infrastructure breakdowns … particularly more signal failures than an armless policeman directing traffic.

You carry on Mr Plummer with your propaganda and you never know, keep that up and perhaps you might get a job offer from President ‘Fart’  in the USA … the combination of your ‘Emporers New Clothes’ statement and what comes out from the Trump administration could then be classified as a ‘follow through’ 

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/feb/05/britain-rail-franchise-model-unfit-for-purpose-say-mps

Currently, this could be an improvement 

​It’s UK Brexit with attitude. Whatever the rights or wrongs of the US Presidential election results an individual feels, one cannot fail to recognise the the betrayal felt of US …. and in a UK Brexit sense …. the citizens who consider themselves unheard, ignored and the whipping posts of austerity. Coupled with the cost of the worst recent financial meltdown since the 1929 Wall Street Crash that all if us have paid a price, the ones least able to afford have endured a disproportionate burden of the austerity policies with at best were debatable … and at worst, an excuse for right wing dogma to be imposed on whom George Osborne when Chancellor has now been quoted as saying were worth being hit as they would never be property owners … and by definition, never Tory voters. 

In the USA the same has been felt on both sides of the political spectrum. Hence the dogged fight Hilary Clinton had against Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination.

President Elect Trump may have been bullet proof from the negative effects of his obnoxious character, views and alleged violations against women, but he spoke a language and struck a cord with enough of the electorate, however unpleasant that realisation may be.

In times of crisis, despair, implementation of policies and ignorance of their plight by the establishment … true or perceived … a leaning towards the far right or left is sometimes the reaction of those felt to be most acutely affected.

It’s happened here in the UK and now in the USA. On a historical point, it’s worth remembering, or looking up if you don’t know, the economic circumstances surrounding the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1930’s Germany. There are similarities in the context that is was the establishment of the Allied powers after WW1 to take revenge on Germany and make them pay vast sums in reparations. This in turn hindered that country’s ability to build its economic structure. 

This was further exasperated and the effect was more severe on Germany with the Wall Street Crash. 

Consequently when a politician rose with radical views … which by coincidence the the European elite and establishment also didn’t take seriously … the worst affected citizens rallied to his cause.

For Hitler it was the Jews. For Trump it’s the Mexicans and Arabs plus the trade deals he was able to convince were the reason for jobs leaving the US. This of course being the fault of big business striving to get the most profit at the expense of US workers, and an elite and government deaf to cries of their own people struggling to obtain and get by on the very basics for living.

What happens now is anybody’s guess but it’s a wake up call again of the social responsibility of governments and corporate business to ensure all sections of society benefit, whether that be in jobs and/or infrastructure/public service investment, irrespective if President Elect Trump or in our case Prime Minister May are or not the correct individuals to set this in motion

Apple ordered to pay up to €13bn after EU rules Ireland broke state aid laws

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/aug/30/apple-pay-back-taxes-eu-ruling-ireland-state-aid?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_WordP

We shouldn’t care about Apple bleating that it’s unfair and incorrect of the EU ruling they have effectively been subsidised via the back door by the Republic of Ireland’s successive governments. 

What is wrong and completely indefensible is apparently a massive corporation making vast profits from their hardware and social media empire paying a maximum of 1% corporation tax per year for the last 15 or so years. 
At least the EU are doing what British governments haven’t been, which is enforcing this type of legal tax manipulation, or with others outright evasion, with any political will because New Labour were a combination of scared plus ‘Pink Tories’ and the Conservatives reap the rewards in donations and support whilst at the same time inflicting ‘economic terrorism’ on those who can least afford it.