Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Other Bad British Decisions

Brexit is being called the biggest mistake Britain has ever made but a quick glance through the history books show that when it comes to cock-ups, Britain has made more than it's fair share.
The most famous is the Charge of the Light Brigade where commanders sent the British Light Brigade down the wrong valley where Russian troops massed on the hills at the sides couldn't believe their luck and decimating half of the Brigade.
Then we had the Titanic which set sail on her maiden voyage across the North Atlantic with the decision that things such as safety regulations and adequate safety equipment such as life boats wasn't important due to it being unsinkable.
Thomas Farriner will be forever remembered for his decision to go to bed early and finish raking out his bakeries ovens in the morning therefore sparking the Great Fire of London and destroying 13,200 houses, 84 churches and left 100,000 people homeless.
The ultimate awful decision made by the Brits must be the decision made in 440 when Britain, then a defenceless island, paid the Anglo-Saxons to protect them from invasion from marauding tribes only for the Anglo-Saxons to arrive and realise just how defenceless the island was and invade it themselves.
All brilliant examples of how stupid the Brits can be at times and the decision to give the stamp of approval to the window shakingly bad decision by the majority of Brits to leave the EU just adds another chapter to a history of bad British decision making.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Triggering The Worst Decision In British History

The papers tomorrow all carry a picture of Theresa May signing easily the most important document in UK history for the last 40 years, a letter which will be hand-delivered to European council president at 12.30 tomorrow and signal the most bizarre and awful decision ever made by a British Prime Minister.
After thumbing her nose at 48% of the British population who voted to stay in the EU, Theresa May will make a call for all Brits to unite as she triggers article 50, beginning a two-year process that will see the UK leave the European Union.
Quite how Theresa May expects us all to unite behind her while her and her Government leads our country to ruin is a challenge, she can urge me to back this fiasco as much as she likes but i'm never going to and me, along with the rest of the 48%, will continue to point out the idiocy of this at any, and every, opportunity.
Two years is a long time and the hope is that Brexit could still be averted if May fails to hammer out a deal and then is defeated in a general election.
Legal experts have said the process is reversible, and Tony Blair seems to be on the case to do just that as Theresa May sets the sails of Great Britain into disarray because of the decision of a slim majority of the British Public, a decision based on ignorance, made for the wrong reasons and based on deceitful propaganda.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Government Looking At Henry VIII For Inspiration

Brexit will bring back lots of laws currently under the EU back to within British jurisdiction but when the Government are trying to pull regulations from the 16th Century to cover it you know they are not on the level.
The Henry VIII powers that would change EU laws as they are repatriated to Britain is named after the famous monarch who passed Royal Proclamations for whatever he fancied therefore bypassing Parliament and the Government are claiming the same applies to EU laws allowing them to altered or remove them without the need for full debates and votes by MPs.
The Government's argument is that it needs the power as a significant proportion of existing EU law will not work properly without changes being made and ministers must be given the ability to make these changes quickly so they do end up being tied up in the House of Commons as they will be coming back to us thick and fast.
When the Government is looking to use a 500 year old law from Tudor Times presented by someone as dictatorial as Henry VIII in order to rewrite today's laws that are introduced without proper discussion or scrutiny then you must wonder just what sort of a country will we be after March 2019.

Spending Our Tax Pounds

Anyone who pays tax directly through their wages will know the date April 6 is the start of the new tax year when we all get a shiny new tax code and an Annual Tax Summary which tells us how much tax we paid and what exactly it was spent on.
Due to recent publicity we know that for every £100 of tax we pay 0.70p (0.7%) of the tax we paid will go to Foreign Aid while £2.00 (2%) will go on defence.
Even if it was the other way around i would begrudge paying 70p for the military but we don't get a choice, the Government spends it on what it seems fit and it sees fit to spend tens of billions on equipment to kill people and destroy cities. 
As i am contributing towards the cost of maintaining the death and destruction, does that make me complicit in it as MP Ruth Cadbury states as she suggested a 'taxes for peace' bill which would allow taxpayers to refuse the tax they pay be used for others to kill on their behalf.
As the marches against the Iraq, Libyan, Syria and Afghanistan wars have shown, there are millions of British citizens who have made clear their opposition to war which is exactly why we won't ever be given that choice and why the Government will continue to be the ones who decide that £2 per £100 to kill against £0.70p per £100 to save life's is a fair cut of our tax pounds.

Minting Money

The new pound coin comes out tomorrow, all edgy and as anyone who was alive to hear the sound of a doddlebug will tell you, it looks exactly like the old threepenny piece.
According to the British Mint, there are approximatly 1,553 million £1 coins in circulation so i naively assumed that they will make 1,553 million of the new ones and phase them in as they phase the old round ones out but for some reason i am unable to fathom, they are unleashing 1.5 billion of the new ones.
Now i never said i was a mathematical genius or know anything about economics but if i am reading it right, they are taking out £1.5 million and putting back in £1.5 billion which seems a bit wrong to my mind.
If the government can just conjure up money out of nowhere and throw it into the financial system, why the decade long austerity cuts?
There can only be a certain amount of money available as that is how some people get rich by accumulating it and the only way of changing that would be to create more money out of thin air to spread amongst society.
There are more people in the UK now than there were 100 years ago and there seems to be more money too, so did the Government at some time just decide to physically make more of it and if they did, how did they decide it and why can't they just create even more money to make us all even wealthier?
When the Capitalist system goes all recessionary again, as it obviously will, and we need to bail out the banks with hundreds of billions of pounds again, why not just mint a couple of hundred billion of pound coins and use that instead?
There must be a reason why no one seems to have thought of it sooner but if we are just about to unleash over an extra billion pound into the system, someone must be benefiting from getting the extra money that wasn't there before tomorrow so why not us so we can end this awful Conservative Party led austerity drive?

Surveys For Cash

Students are traditionally without a pot to do their business in and over the years i have heard of some interesting ways that they raise the cash to fund their refuelling habits and a popular one that i have heard of recently is using their computers to fill out online surveys.
The same names of survey sites do seem to crop up, both the good and the bad, but before i pass on the info to other students who were after ways to fund the weekend binge drinking trip, i decided to sign up to as many as possible and try them out for myself so i was giving out the info from a position of experience.
Almost all the sites you had to earn a certain amount before they pay you, others pay out much quicker and some pay straight into your bank, via a PayPal account or with vouchers so i dismissed the voucher paying ones and concentrated on the Paypal and bank account ones because as far as i am aware, barmen won't accept a £10 Love2Shop vouchers for a round of drinks.
Another consideration was the sites that send the most surveys to complete and how much they paid per survey, how many times you were 'screened out' after you started as you didn't fulfil the criteria so after a couple of months these are the survey sites that i can honestly suggest the students sign up to.

1. Prolific. This is an academic survey site and the surveys are generally 5-10 minutes long and generally pay around £1 per survey and the surveys are on all different subjects and i received about 3-4 a week. You can cash out at £5 and it takes about 5 days to receive the funds into PayPal.

2. My Survey. Probably the site that send the most surveys and you get points for each survey and can cash out when you reach 1000 points. They sent a wide variety of survey subjects and most are worth 50-70 points and take about 15 mins each but 20 surveys is easily achievable each couple of weeks although i was screened out of about 25% after the initial 5 or 10 questions had been answered.  

3. Global Test Market. Run buy the same people who run MySurvey, a very similar site that run along the same points system and cash out comes at 1000 points. Many surveys each day, most 10-15 mins long with a wide variety of subjects and 50-70 points for each so again each fortnight you could be receiving at least £10 for your efforts. The screen outs are a little higher for this site, at least a third you will not get past the first few questions which can be annoying when you get a run of them.

Those are the main three and with minimum time and effort expended, you could expect to receive £30 each month for about 30 mins surveying if you signed up to all three.
There are others which i would recommend if you have the inclination or a bit more time to sit in front of your computer.

4. Opinion Outpost. Not so many surveys and you receive £2.50 for every 50 points with each survey ranging from 5-25 points and taking between 5-20 minutes each. A wide range of surveys and i was getting at least 2 per day to complete with a screen out rate of about 50% so not as reliable of an income as the three above which is why it is in the 'so-so' column. 

5. Survey Bods. You get the cash equivalent for the points at this site with a cashout at £15 but the surveys are very few and far between but each is worth about 75p when you do get them. Screen Outs are quite rare, about 10% i found, but with only 1 survey a week, the £15 cashout will take a few months to reach.  

6. One Poll. If you like your surveys quick and easy this is one you should sign to, each survey takes between 2 and 5 minutes but while each is worth between 10p-20p and the cashout is £40, you do get a lot of them, at least 5 per day. Like SurveyBods, this is one that you would do with an eye on harvesting the cash a few months down the line.     

7. PanelBase. This is near the bottom of the so-so column for a reason, many screen outs. Survey are mostly 10-20 minutes and you will get between 50p and 1.25 for each and can cash out at £10 but the screen out rate is high, as much as 60% so you will spend much time getting 5 or 10 questions in before being told you don't qualify so while you could get £10 a month, about two thirds of your time will be spent getting nowhere fast.

8. Mintvine. Love and hate this site, Love it because you get surveys galore and they can take between 2 and 20 minutes for between 5 and 100 points each but the screen out rate is ridiculously high, 80% is not an exaggeration and where the Hate enters the fold.
They do sometimes throw you a couple of points for screenouts but you could easily spend an hour either racking up points towards the 1000 you need to cash out or continually being told that you didn't qualify. If you can stand the frustration and you have the time to wade through the array of surveys they dish up, you could easily reach the £10 target each month but be prepared to waste
a lot of time being told you didn't qualify and to have a go at another one.  

My recommendation would be to definitely sign up for the top three and maybe a few of the second five and you can expect to see about £50 go into PayPal every month for about an hours work each evening which won't make you rich but should sustain you through a college year and those weekend mornings where you wake up in a neighbours front garden, cuddling a traffic bollard and wondering whose sick is on your shoes.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Space Pollution

On of the major drawbacks of anywhere hosting humans is that we do tend to pollute the place, whether it is the land, sea or space, we leave our rubbish there.
We have land that is uninhabitable for the next 10,000 years, a 270,000 square mile wide rubbish patch swilling around in the Atlantic Ocean and above our heads thousands of bits of Space debris whizzing around like bullets. 
The International Space Station is constantly manoeuvring to avoid a potentially catastrophic collision with space junk ranging in size from millimetres to two buses but the world of business are growing increasingly concerned that one of their satellites will take a direct hit.
Of greater concern to us is if a communication satellite got taken out and the Sat Nav, mobile phone or TV pictures go missing.
The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs have been working with NASA and the European Space Agency and have developed a set of guidelines on space debris mitigation where when an orbital mission is planned, it must include a strategy to remove the spacecraft from the orbit within 25 years by either propelling it out into space or dragging it down to be burnt up in the atmosphere.
Humans eh? We have land, oceans and rivers that we continue to pollute until they become almost unusable and now we are doing exactly the same with space.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Disappointing The Right Wing As Terrorist Was A Brit

The terrorist responsible for the attack in Westminster yesterday has been named as 52 year old Khalid Masood, born and raised in Britain but that hasn't stopped the right wing trying to shoehorn the attack into their own agenda.
Marine Le Pen said the attack underlined the importance of countries being able to protect their borders, Poland’s prime minister, Beata Szydło, said it vindicated Warsaw’s refusal to take in refugees, UKIP donor Arron Banks blamed Theresa May for allowing over a million illegals into Britain, Nigel Farage appeared on US television arguing that the London attacks proved Donald Trump’s hardline immigration and anti-Muslim policies were correct.
In the world of Trump and Brexit, Muslim stirring hate was spewed within minutes of the attack and the usual suspects were spewing their predictable bile.
The right wing haters have been waiting for something like this, revelling that the opportunity had arrived for their imaginary fears to become solid.
Disappointingly for them, the bad guy turned out to be a home grown Brit with a history of violence and not an immigrant turned by religious fervour but they won't let that stop them, this is their chance to drive home the falsehood that immigration and multiculturalism is to blame and the facts can go hang. 

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Bill Clinton To Attend McGuinness Funeral

Not the best timing as Former US President Bill Clinton announces that he will be arriving for funeral of former IRA commander Martin McGuinness just as the capital suffers fatalities from a terror attack.
Clinton was roundly condemned in Britain at the time for shaking hands with IRA politician Gerry Adams in 1995 while he was on a fund raising trip for the IRA, especially after the then Prime Minister John Major requested Mr. Adams was not given a warm welcome by the American President.
Mr Clinton was in office at the time of the and the then US president was involved in the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement which brought to an end the 30 years of sectarian conflict in Northern Ireland.
A battle is going on at the moment to declare McGuiness as a violent terrorist who oversaw the death of countless victims or an architect of peace who saved the life of many by ending the Troubles.
I would argue that while his second career in politics should be acknowledged, it is the first choice of career that he should be remembered for as ending a war is a poor second when you have been so active in stocking and driving up the death toll in the first place.
As he was so active in the peace process it is probably right that Bill Clinton is at his funeral but please spare us the gushing nonsense that he was anything other than a murderous thug who brought untold misery to many, many families and who directly caused such scenes in the 70s, 80s and 90s that we see today in Westminster. 

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

McGuinness: Murderer Or Saviour?

If Bin Laden had decided to give up his terrorist ways and instead put his efforts towards peace in Afghanistan then i doubt many would change their minds that he was suddenly anything less of a murderer so i fail to see why the case with Martin McGuinness is any different.
Some are pointing towards his efforts in the Northern Ireland peace process but they seem to be overlooking the death and destruction that he was directly involved in which made Northern Ireland such an unstable place in the first place.
As a member of the IRA's ruling 'army council', he was part of the decision making process for its overall strategy and tactics, and approved operational policy and been a key figure within the IRA for almost all of the Troubles.
McGuinness spent a decade in the power sharing role with the Democratic Unionists which helped to end 30 years of conflict in the country, helping to negotiate the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement and securing IRA arms decommissioning in 2005.
While history will show that McGuinness changed his course to create change through politics, he died peacefully at 66, a luxury so many of his victims were never afforded in his original role as terrorist and commander in the IRA.