Thursday, 31 January 2013

Gratuitous Insults

As you know, I don't stoop to using candid photos of people with momentarily-silly expressions in order to poke fun at them.  To do so is puerile and silly.  It lowers the tone, and is wholly unnecessary.

So I definitely won't be posting this photo of poor Wallace:

No, certainly not.  Poor Wallace, all on his own without Gromit to look after his best interests and keep him out of trouble.

Oh - wait, no, my mistake.  Gromit is there after all:

Saturday, 26 January 2013

A Thought

Our Parliament has been around for over 300 years now (if you date it back to the Act of Union 1707).  No-one actually knows how many laws have been passed in that time, but a decent guess is  3,679 since 1801.  Whatever the actual number is, it is a lot - and the rate of new laws seems to be increasing rather than decreasing.

So why isn't the UK perfect now?

Surely, if politicians sitting in the House of Commons passing laws was the answer to social problems, we would have it sorted out by now?  Granted, new laws are needed to cope with new things like (say) cars - pre-existing laws could not cope with that, and a Road Traffic Act or the like would be needed in order to regulate them.  As we gained in experience, we would also need to go back to the Road Traffic Act once or twice in order to amend it as needed in the light of that experience.  But that doesn't explain the sheer volume of legislation that issues from Westminster and Brussels.  That doesn't explain 3,679 laws and counting.

The logical conclusion, therefore, is that politicians don't achieve much social good.  Politicians, in short, don't work.  Perhaps we should pass a law to ban them?

Times change

When I was little, I would be made to feel guilty if I didn't finish my plate at dinner. "Think of the starving Africans", I'd be told. Now, I'm made to feel guilty if I do finish my plate. "Think of your waistline". Ah well.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Points of View

There is a lot in Cameron's speech about Europe that I like, although I am still working my way through it so will have to hold final judgement for now.  One snippet has however jumped out at me, and not in a nice way.

While discussing the importance of the Single Market, he notes:
And I would ask: when the competitiveness of the Single Market is so important, why is there an environment council, a transport council, an education council but not a single market council?
I see the question in a diametrically opposite manner.  To me, the question is, given that the Single Market works well enough, why do we need an environment council, a transport council, and an education council at all? Why not just close them and return the budget to taxpayers?

Friday, 11 January 2013

We've had a note from Little Miss P's school, as follows:
[The company running the school bus service] has contacted us regarding the predicted cold spell and the potential impact on transport to and from school, for students who use County contracted bus / taxi services.  This is copied below for your information.

Please emphasise to your daughter the procedures relating to safe conduct which apply if there is a breakdown of any kind, or in the event of inclement weather as follows:

“Where such events occur, it is most important that pupils follow the instructions given by the driver and do not attempt to make their own way home on foot, especially in situations where the driver is able to confirm directly to pupils that alternative transport has been arranged and is on its way.”

Thank you for your support and co-operation.
This is a secondary Grammar school.  All the girls on the bus have passed the 11+ exam and are aged between 11 and 18.  Therefore, the attitude shared by the school, the bus company, and the local authority is that an intelligent 18-year-old girl who knows where her home is is unable to make the decision for herself as to whether to get off and walk.  Instead, she should wait for god-knows-how-long until a replacement bus arrives.

Equally, the somewhat-younger Little Miss P is likewise not to alight, even if (presumably) she can see our road!  Her bus journey actually goes past the end of our street and then on to the bus stop, so it is quite possible that the bus could be broken down nearer to home than her stop.  Nevertheless, she must wait on the bus until a replacement bus is available to take her further away from home so that she can walk back from the officially-designated place.

Madness.  She will be told that if the bus fails, she is to call us and discuss the problem.  If the bus driver then believes he can overrule her father's decision, he can expect to see a Land Rover appear in his rear view mirror.