Friday, 25 March 2011

The Sun: "baby you can drive your car, beep beep yeah yeah"

Give me strength.

On Wednesday, George Osborne delivered the budget statement, which has been received by the right as very good and by the left with degrees of scepticism and even "there's no fooling us" type thinking.

The Sun were quick as usually to evidence itself for the Newspaper for frankly, idiots. Front paged with "Britain you can drive your car, beep beep yeah yeah yeah". As well as being a horrific play on a classic Beatles number, the observation at the 1p DELAY not cut, but DELAY in full duty rise is meant to be the reason for cheer from the Budget.

As Ed Milliband rightly pointed out, a 1p delay, following a rise of 3p because of the recent VAT increase under Osborne....

The fuel duty delay however is countered by increases in tax burdens for Oil Companies.

Aside from this, The Budget, as usual seems to benefit the working class, but the for the lucky rich there bear the brunt of various adjustments in Taxation.

Cooperation tax has also been cut, typically a Tory manoeuvre satisfying the middle England business executives.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, the announcement of 21 new enterprise zones, with decreased restrictions on councils as where best to build them. A fantastic idea.

The Daily Express led with the cheery sensation that the potholes will be repaired! Damage done of course was done there by Labour, not cold weather causing the road to crack as moisture freezes.

While the right wing press will argue the budget is what is needed, as a huge boost to the economy, being a Lefty i have to agree that the budget is a safe one.

What the budget failed to recognise, as indeed what the right wing press failed to realise is that of course, the budget follows the biggest cuts ever seen in Westminster, as the Tory's attempt the impossible in removing the deficit in this Parliament.

While the budget wont leave us that much worse off, what will occur is a decrease in living standards. What we will see is 500,000 job cuts in the public sector, a sector made up of 75% women who will then have to compete in the private sector, majority of course are men.

Emergency Services will see huge cuts. There is a huge risk that advancements in the NHS, reducing waiting times from 18 Months for example to just 18 days maximum under Labour.

Rising youth unemployment, as University's increase tuition fee's. £9,000 a year may well be acceptable at the top institutions, however as we have seen, it's a game of hide and seek, as each University breaks from cover, another does announcing they will charge the maximum. The less recognised Essex and Surry will be charging the maximum, as well as most other top 15 announced so far. Kids will end up thinking twice before going to Uni, and may well end up unemployed as a result.

What we're seeing is not in fact a hero in Osborne, as the right wing press depicted him, in fact a bit of a crook. The go into the Commons and fail to mention declining growth, and to fail to mention the Cuts, and still try and claim we're on the route to a prosperous Britain, is most certainly pulling the wool over our eyes.

Be warned folks, this is going to be a horrid era.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A good Tory idea.

Newspapers and a bike ride gave me inspiration to write this blog.

Reading a lot of written press as usual, one of the proposals from George Osborne and Local Government minister Eric Pickles is to remove red tape and planning restrictions around building, notably so for public authorities, handing back power to regions, local councils in order to best provide and best distribute funding.

Reading this, naturally i was sceptical, being of Center Left. This scepticism is a bit of naivety on my i think, because having visited the regenerated areas of Hull, i can fully endorse the idea of allowing local Government, giving them the reigns, in order to allocate construction budgets.

It was a beautiful day today, and perhaps this somewhat maybe added to the serenity of it all, but i can confirm that i can picture fewer places of the Hull seafront on a day like today. And there as we looked out into the Humber, we discuss the regeneration of Hull. A local guy said that years ago Hull was branded as the worst City in the UK, and the local residents and council thought to do something about it.

And here and now, 2010, Hull is a pleasant place to be. The seafront of Hull has seen the best of the regeneration, where i had the pleasure of cycling around today, along the trans penine path which accompanies the humber river, down to sheffield and then onto Liverpool. There is a lot of good work down there, new houses, offices, marina and regenerated roads, adds to not just monetary value, but as Osborne mentioned today in the Budget, something more than just economic measures - happiness. It is a happy place to be.

This leads me to believe, that actually, local government might just know best when it comes to allocation of resources. Under Labour government did return to Westminster, perhaps part of a backlash that was Thatcher's government.

Reading today in The Guardian, we have a story about Middlesborough where there is discussion of redevloping the now derelict wastelands of Boro's steel and chemical industries of the past. The point here is local authorities do know what is needed, increasing land value, through regeneration, moving forward into a 21st century town, as noted in Hull, where because of the regeneration, all industries, but the fishing industry has pretty much gone, now we see much more office space than warehousing or industrial sites.

In Hull train station, there is a large sign, Welcome to the New Hull. I saw that today, and it really made my day. With these new provisions allowing more money to go into industry deprived areas, hopefully we'll see a wave of evolving towns and cities in the next 10 years.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

New F1 Season

I'd like to write about Formula One, i know this may not be to everyone's cup of tea, but hopefully it may be an interesting read for you.

The new season is only a few days away now, and as always for me it could shape up to be an exciting season. Every year i say this, and to be honest it is mostly unfounded, unproven, high expectation. I remember in 2009 i described the championship as to be the most open yet! As hard as he makes it out to be, Jenson Button led the Championship from start to finish.

Regardless, this is looking like a prospectively good season.

Why is this? Well, there is the return of KERs, an energy retention system that stores energy from braking, allowing it to be reused as a boost of power in order to overtake. It featured originally in 2009, when i was all for the idea. However it did filter out of everyones good books gradually, the main problem being that for many teams, the power output was not justified by the extra weight of the system. Hopefully this time KERs will have been revised and updated in order to maximise the idea's potential.

Next, there is a new feature to the rear wings of the cars. Again brought in to try and give the cars more of an edge when trying to overtake, as with the KERs boost button. A button on the steering wheel, allows for part of the rear wing providing downforce to be rendered almost negligible in how much drag it produces. If used wisely, this will mean high grip in the corners and max speed on the straight.

Further more there has been a change in tyre supplier, from Bridgestone to Pirelli. Last year, with refuelling banned, teams often would have only one pitstop, going for long stints. The new tryes have been designed to be varied in how long they can last and how much grip they can provide. ranging from Hard to super soft the aim is to get teams pitting more and varying their strategy in order to maximise excitement: Endurance strategy or speed strategy for example. I find this idea to be a step in the right direction, however with all cars required to be fuelled until the end of the race, it seems daft that the FIA have rather made half a step into making F1 more strategical, i would like to see refuelling allowed again so teams have the choice of how much fuel they put in the car, i.e. how much weight they will carry.

What does this all mean? Well, it may be all a bit scientific, but to a Formula One fan it is a good step for the Championship. The last few years in my opinon we have seen a rise in the excitement of Formula One, with the exception of 2009 where it was something of a 2 horse race, both horses from the same breeder.

Melbourne on Sunday morning will be exciting, the circuit itself is part road, part race track which, with short run of areas, plenty of sweeping straights and tight corners, amidst the setting sun in Australia, will hopefully all add up to an electrifying first Grand Prix. I hope you'll give it a watch.

Who will win is a tough one. All the teams playing there cards a bit close to their chest at the moment. i would be surprised to see Mclaren start slow and pick up in the mid season. Red Bull are going to be the team to beat, and in all honesty at the moment they seem to be in the best position to win races.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The strumpets that are England Captains.

Football blog. Sorry.

In the footballing world this week we can see further developments in the England captain saga. Let's not beat around the bush, because i have very strong views about this.

1. John Terry should never have been relieved of his duties as captain. By far and away the best choice, one of the fittest players in the England squad and a good leader.

2. Why single out Terry? JT, while nothing was actually proven (if anything denied) was rumoured to have cheated with another players then ex girlfriend. While circumstances may have been a bit different [team mates ex], i'd like to pose the point that many players do it.

To then give it to Rio seemed a choice, at the time my sentiments i remember were "He has only played half this season? why him?" "He failed to attend a drugs test, and was banned from football, surely this is just as bad a message as cheating?" "He is not as good as terry, he might lose his place if King suddenly gets fit?"

Now, while some may know that i dislike the England football team. Have for a while, things just seem so wrong with that set up. This probably stems back to Steve Mclaren, dropping Beckham and then failing to qualify for the 2008 Euros.

But what happened in the last friendly match against Denmark was simply nothing beyond a joke. Lampard started as captain, gave all the pre match interviews etc, etc, which is fine, he is Vice Captain at Chelsea and not a bad leader/player.

He then played half the match, before the armband was passed to Ashley Cole and Garath Barry. Two players that have never captained club. Cole is also well publicised as having been a bit naughty when with Cheryl Tweedy!

Now we come full circle and Capello may well just give the armband back to Terry. Why, well it's a bye gones be bye gones thing, as well as Rio Ferdinand some what taking the mickey and remaining unfit. Capello doesn't want to keep handing the armband round like a hot potato.

Im not sure where i stand on the matter. Terry, has stood strong in the whole saga. I might have turned my back on England having been fired as captain, been boo'd by the fans for many games after being dropped as captain, and then having to be part of the farce that was England vs Denmark. To do this somehow means he might deserve it back.

On the other hand, for Capello to do so might indeed remove all my faith in the man. To give it back to Terry seems almost a sign of weakness, of fear, even lack of confidence of other players. I imagine the moment, if it happens, in the dressing room will be something like when Jonothan Ross returned to the BBC for the first time after his ban, just an awkward experience for everyone.

We'll see next week against Ghana.