Friday, 29 February 2008

Smaller wine bottles
the guardian's got an article

Smaller wine bottles could cut alcohol consumption, says journal

Well clearly this is insane! What would stop someone having two bottles of wine instead?

Why aren't they blaming glass size too?

Are we worried about binge drinkers? Because a couple of glasses a wine doesn't feel like a binge. Is it that once you've started your lack of self control means you just drink the rest of it?
If so, then surely your problem is with yourself rather than the wine bottle size?


Manchester's been crying into it's beer (Not boddies as that's not made in Manchester any more) this week as it's been knocked back for the super casino.

This was the local authority that was SO not ready for winning that no TV crew was in the area, the council was going about its normal business and hadn't even called a press event to say how sad they were when Blackpool got it. So when they got it the TV crews had to rush back to Manchester.

I've seen some item on the TV about it and they were talking about how it'll stop the "regeneration of east manchester"

They were talking about the decline of the area years ago - they pointed out it was the loss of the jobs in the area that led to it's decline, so happily witter on about "regenerating" the area by building houses and completely missing the point that you need jobs in an area to make it work. How many jobs did the commonwealth games make? How many jobs at the stadium? Would the casino have bought a few jobs for local people?

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Plastic Bags

Today's news has this story featuring quite heavily. Marks and Spencer will charge food customers 5p for every plastic carrier bag they use, the chain announced today.
Stuart Rose is often on breakfast news and he was there today announcing these plans.

I think it's a great idea.

C'mon own up. You've got a cupboard in your house stuffed to the gills with carrier bags. Haven't you? If you haven't then you're one of the very few households in the UK that doesn't keep tons of bags stuffed away.

About a year ago I decided to stop using plastic bags. I'd sorted out a huge bag of them and folded them up and took them to the local charity shop where they could reuse them.

Most people reuse bags. Or think they do. What they mean is they put them in the bin. Ok, they've got other rubbish in them, but they still go in the bin!
This is NOT reusing plastic bags!

Reusing means using them again and again. Not just once.

Making a concious decision to stop collecting them hasn't been easy. But here are my basic hints on what I did.

I collected some bags for life. Hardwearing plastic bags that are bigger than carrier bags and will last for years. When we go grocery shopping we take one with us.

I carry a folded up reusable bag, and a carrier in my everyday bag. I use these when I shop.

When I shop in Oldham I make a concious effort not to accept carrier bags. It was hard to start with. Shop's till staff are used to putting items in the plastic bag. Not having one means they have to hand me the items to put in my bag. It can be quite difficult though and every now and again I'll come home with a couple of plastic carriers.

I do think it's important more so to get a receipt though when you don't come out with a carrier bag - so if you go bagless then make sure all the shops give you a receipt. You don't want to set off an alarm later on in a shop and then have nothing to prove you paid for the items in your bag!

Sometimes we pop to the shops and we buy too much to fit in the bags we've taken. In this case we just put the things in the boot of the car or carry them home as they are. Most things you buy already have a layer of plastic around them so don't need another.

So next time you use a carrier bag to line your rubbish bin, STOP!

How many bags do you use a week lining bins? 3? 4? 5? That's over 150 a year if you use 3 bags a week so just think how much landfill you're saving.

And all the ones you do bring home by accident. Make sure they're clean and intact and fold them nicely and take them to your local charity shop.
The tatty ones can go in the recycling bags bin most supermarkets now have.

You don't need to get irate about people charging you 5p for a bag. Ireland have a bag tax which has substantially reduced the amount of bags used.
Be prepared and carry your own bags!

Note: Today GB has said he wants to cut the use of carrier bags
Gordon Brown has warned retailers he will force them to cut down on plastic bag use if they do not act voluntarily

Has he spotted a source of tax revenue?

Wednesday, 27 February 2008


Yes bollards!

The council have spent £2000 (Source: Neighbour) on some bollards to stop people parking on the grass edges where we live. Our driveway road is used as a turning spot so they've put some bollards at the end ... they're not very near the corners though, so no danger of scratching your paint whilst you turn round.

We did think it was pretty bizarre to put them where they did, but outside a neighbours they've got them quite near the edge.
So a workvan has decided as he can't park on the road edge of the grass that he'd park on it anyhow he could. Yes he has blocked a neighbours drive way too - so she's just parked on our drive roadway and knocked on to ask if it was ok for ten minutes whilst she goes and tells off the workman's boss.
She said she's spoken to the woman at the council about it saying people would just do this sort of thing.

This is the road at the end of our driveway. It's shared between us and the neighbour the other side of it but as you can see from the mud the corners are regularly run over.

I've marked on this version of it where the kerbstones are

So you can see it's a right mud swamp. In fact when they put the bollards in on this side they couldn't be arsed trying to plant one very near this corner as the mud and water is about 1 ft deep.

It's this corner which suffers most so I don't imagine what they've done will help it much.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Poor parenting to blame

Materialism to blame for "damaged" children

90% agree childhood more materialistic
69% agree violent video games make children more aggressive
90% believe Christmas advertising puts pressure on parents to spend more than they can afford
60% believe there should be a government ban on junk food advertising

It isn't about government bans on this or that. It should be about teaching parents to parent. I saw a baby screaming in a supermarket trolley for a sweetie bar. It's mother was wavering about giving it, but she did in the end just to shut the child up. This is the short fix. It does immense harm. It rewards temper tantrums and the "I want, I get" nature which is behind so many of society's problems.

Children should be part of the community. This doesn't mean they get masses of money spent on them by local councils. It means they can take part in activities open to all of society. Some nights there'll be nothing happening in an organised way and this is when children should be able to do quiet things at home or at their friends homes. Every night isn't a party and every child should learn from an early age that being able to occupy yourself is a worthwhile thing to be encouraged.

Tell your child no. Teach them that no means no. Do this from an early age. Teach your child to respect other people and their property. Teach them how to read quietly, how to do quiet hobbies, how to interact with other people in a social way.

Do not ask the government to implement rules to make up for your poor parenting.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Wrights road name change

Article about changing name of the road steve wright the killer lived on

Possible needs doing because of the number of times it's mentioned in that article.

Plus I've not seen Soham's most infamous address written down before so it's one of those articles that exists to annoy.

Noisy neighbours

Normally my neighbours are really quiet. The odd door slamming is all we normally hear. Last night they seemed to be having a party - or one of the daughters did. Loud music and then lots of bumps. As a one off we'll let it go. If it happens again soon then there'll be words said.

Politicians expenses

I'm pretty shocked at the levels of money MPs can claim towards running a home that has no morgage. £17k sounds quite a lot of money to cover bills on a second house. So why do we allow them to claim so much in expenses?

And why don't we throw some bunk beds in the cellars at the houses of parliament (an immensely protected building) and let the MPs live together there to save us the expense of paying rents and mortgages on properties in London.

One MP couple paid off their mortgage, put the property in a trust fund to save it for their kids without inheritance tax, and then charged us the maximum rent allowance possible for it!!!!!! How appalling is that?

Friday, 22 February 2008


Want to snitch on someone? Don't get mad, get even. If you know someone is up to no good there is an amazing array of ways of reporting them - this is the benefit fraud reporting site - this is the tax evasion hotline

Crimestoppers will let you report crimes to them and you can even get a reward anonymously...

Report a car without road tax -

Report an abandoned car

Customs Confidential - ready and waiting to take your call about all types of smuggling, particularly in respect of drugs, illegal alcohol or tobacco sales or tax fraud for which the Department is responsible for.

Sometimes we hear things we think are shady and they cost tax payers money. You should report people for these things otherwise you're just paying tax to support their crimes.

Sick post guilty verdict media coverage

This bloke who's been found guilty in Ipswich of killing 5 women has had some strange coverage post verdict.
They've been in his house - this was ITV I was watching. I don't see why they went in. It doesn't help at all apart from being quite sleazy as they showed the bedroom where he may have taken the girls.
If it'd been children he'd killed would they be quite so sleazy about the post guilty footage? I don't think they would. These women, despite their jobs, were still daughters, sisters, members of families. Why do we need to see the place where they were killed?
We don't. It's part of the sleazy media circus surrounding him. He's guilty. So lock him up. No need to show inside his house.

They also showed a huge bit of footage about other investigations and the fact he knew from the QE2 Suzy Lamplugh

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Common sense solution for litter dropping

I'm impressed to say my local authority - Oldham Council is the first in Greater Manchester to introduce the "reparation" scheme whereby you clear up the type of problem you've caused! They've made the news for punishing a litterbug by making him clean the streets

It also applies to people who have sprayed graffiti or allowed their dogs to foul the streets.

Amazing! It's a clever idea and helps solve the problems people cause.

There's so much litter dropped by young people though, will these also be included in the scheme?

And I'll tell you know if I could catch these litterdroppers or graffiti artists on camera I would!

Oldham's really hot on allowing people to report litter - you can report it via Tidy Oldham
or become a litterwatcher and get a free phone card for reporting litter!

How to rant about everything

I love to have a rant!

Is Britain stupid? Have we dubbed down education to the point of no return? On breakfast news this morning there was a bloke who'd dropped out of medical school after two years to persue a career in the music industry and a bloke who runs courses to make children more ready for university.
They were saying that there were too many students (1/5) dropping out and not finishing their courses and that the government was spending a fortune trying to get them to stay.

One viewer had got in touch to say there are too many people going to university and that we don't need all these people with mickey mouse degrees.

The bloke who ran the courses says children are not prepared for life at university and are not able to do independent learning.

Following a recent report that oral language tests are being abolished at GCSE level because they're too stressful, it should come as a surprise to no one that kids are not ready for university.

A teacher at schoool told us that O levels were the most stressful exams we'd have to take, that they were challenging us to prepare us for adult life. We were told that A levels were hard work but we would have to be prepared for Uni by working more independently and doing some background reading for subjests to help us.
This prepared us for life outside school. Real life is stressful, job interviews are stressful and going to Uni and having to work much more independently is essential. Why are these skills not taught now? Why is there so much reliance on coursework which can be completed at your leisure and even re-done if it's not right?

What we need to do is put the stress back into exams and get children working properly, so they have essays to write, lab reports to complete at home, and ensure they learn the basic note taking skills they'll need to take with them for lectures.

Course work does not measure learning. It measure the ability to cut and paste. Exams, without computers, books or outside help are the only real way of measuring your academic ability.

If you want to measure your practical ability in a subject then you do need to monitor this, but this can also be done in exam format. Basic O level biology practical involved a stint in a lad carrying out basic experiments, writing results and showing that you've learnt what the results meant and can do basic tasks without needing prompts or books to help.

Maybe we shouldn't be sending so many kids to university. We need to ensure that everyone has a choice and is given the help in finding the right career and not just insisting that 50% of people go away to University just because we think that's a good number.

What percentage of jobs require a degree? The man on the news this morning said about universities having to teach maths to engineers because they are so poorly equiped to so basic stuff. Surely this is a major flaw with the educational system if people can get to university on a course requiring good maths skills but lacking basic core skills.

Perhaps the fact that people do leave school unable to read and write shouldn't come as a shock to us. What should be shocking is that these are people encouraged to go to university.

Keeping children behind a year until they've mastered basic skills would be a good idea. What age would you do this at though? From the very beginning? So that no secondary school child is unable to read or write?
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