Monday, 30 July 2007


I think the new research on cannabis is very interesting. Does this mean that all the other research has been wrong over the past decade? The millions of users who recreationally use the drug are more or less likely to become subject to some form of mental illness than say alcohol?

What I don't understand is if the research is just about cannabis is it subdivided into different areas. Does Morrocan cause one effect over a long term and Ganga another or say does one partuicular strain become more likely to cause a mental illness?

Its not that the research into the usage I find shocking, but its isolation. It needs to be compared with other forms of taxable and non-taxable drugs, to be put in context. Surely the money for the research shouldn't be on the long term effects but on why young people find it necessary to indulge in a narcotic which makes then feel relaxed? Has there been any real research on why some areas of the population need drugs to get through the day.

We may be one the pivotal nations in the players on the world stage, but really does that matter if huge areas of the country cannot face the world without some form of a chemical crutch. What is progress if people are no better off inside themselves.

Car accidents used to be the main killer of young men between the ages of 15 and 25 now its suicide. We have a situation where young people can text in nano seconds but have nothing real to say; where girls are confusing their sex appeal with self esteem and school children know how to pass exams but not write a sentence. We seem to have lost our way and everything is seen in terms of profit.

Programmes on the television about houses used to be about making a home more comfortable, more family orientated but now it always ends with how much extra money they are worth. We seem to have forsaken the ideas of a good and healthy existence for a more wealthy one. When we discover that not everything can be valued in monetary terms but more about the quality of life then we may just understand why people commit slow suicide by taking narcotics.

However on a lighter note, if the research is absolutely correct and I have no doubt it is, then with the most recent revelations it must mean that some members of the house of commons, including the government contains people who are about to become mentally ill. Does this mean when they change their policies they can blame it on their other personality?

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Green Plastic

We are producing more rubbish than we can cope with, especially plastics. Anybody who has unpacked a childs toy knows exactly how much useless packaging there is, though strangely never any batteries. The benefit and pain of plastic is that you can't destr0y it, but you can mould it. So why cant we take the rubbish and either compress or mould it into building blocks for sea and river defences. It would be cheap and by the looks of it an everlasting supply. It would also be durable and easy to repair.

Adding to that why can't we build housing estates in the sea. If we can build complex harbours then why not housing estates. They can do two things; supply cheap housing without encroaching on the already dininishing green field sites, plus if they were built correctly then they could stop the erosion of the coastline by acting as a sea defence. All we would do is to take the idea that the Dutch had years ago and improve upon it.

We constantly overload land fill sites with rubbish that can never degrade, so here is the alternative.

On another point, why are new houses still not being built with energy saving equipment. Surely there should be a law, maybe there is but I can see plenty of houses being built without one sight of a solar panel or a wind turbine, so why is the law not being implemented.

But then again why is the government not giving hard tax bills to motor manufacturers that are still building cars with conventional fuels and why not give really good tax incentives to companies that only build cars with bio/hybrid fuels. The same would go for fuel suppliers.
By the way putting up taxes doesn't work, but tax incentives does. If high taxes worked then we wouldn't have one smoker left in the country, or one driver.If a manufacturer was going to save millions by following the party line or lose the same amount by not following it I think a shift in the paradigm might take place.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

The rise in interest rates.

I am amazed that the Bank of England is allowed to put up interest rates, to curb inflation while the railways are allowed to put up their fares by 30% above inflation. Lets us not forget that the railways for all their blustering are still subsidised by the tax payer, so in fact we pay twice. Where does this money go, as I thought that the whole point of privatisation was the need to raise investment, to lower the prices and make the service more efficient. I understand that the trains are slower now than a hundred years ago. So much for the price of progress. Surely the time has come to reevaluate the idea of a privatised service. Either one thing or the other. Either a completely privatised service without the subsidies so letting the market dictate the price of the tickets or a nationalised service. In a time when we are all supposed to be more aware of our carbon footprint and doing less driving in our cars, putting up the fares smacks of a severe lack of common sense.
The other question therefore that arises from the interest rate rise is why? We already have the highest rates in Europe, so much so that the tourists we were hoping for this summer can't come here,and why would they want to, with badly managed hotels, a n idea of customer service that stems not from some of the greats but from the charm school of a 1950's seaside landlady, with really bad weather and high prices as well.
The question that has been worrying me is where does the extra money go. It will cost me an extra 16 GBP on my mortgage each month but where does it go? Does it go to the Building society? Why should I pay them extra for something I have already negotiated. Does it go to the government, if so what do they do with it? The NHS or Education perhaps? If so then why are both in a state of neglect. Why do we have to pay extra for it. Surely with all the new economists coming out of universities across the globe someone must have worked out how to curb inflation by now. If its to curb borrowing then why isn't it just put on new borrowers not on the already established borrowers who already have their loans and mortgages. If its a choice of 2pence extra on a can of beans and 16 pounds every month on my house so putting me under stress and worry of the possibility of losing my house, then what do you think is going to be my answer. I can do without the beans.
This leads to another point, why do I have to pay an interest rate of double figures for a credit card when the bank rate is so low? Why should their be a variable rate according to status. This discriminates those who already have problems getting a loan because of their credit rating so making those in financial hardship worse off so actually subsidising the rich. Surely there should be a standard rate, and if there is concern about payback then a small insurence policy to cover the loan should cover that problem, so allowing the worse off to maybe invest in their own future instead of being hampered by a credit system that is the worst in Europe. Only now are we getting what the Europeans have had for years, 25 year fixed mortgages. No wonder the amount we owe is the largest in Europe.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Parental responsibility

Why is it when discussing the youth of today no-one ever asks why parents haven't brought their children up to be decent human beings or assisted their children to find alternative hobbies and interests to aleviate the 'boredom' that leads to bad behaviour. There are plenty of youth clubs, drama groups, dance groups, scout groups and other activities available, but they require time, money (though often very little) and motivation.

Having children is a huge responsibility which many seem unaware of, unprepared for or unable to cope with. To what extent should the state intervene? Many of those who decry involvement and claim that they know best how to bring up their children are the same ones who heap responsibility for moulding their children on the school system.

Schools should have a wide educational remit, though it is stifled by paperwork and national initiatives, but children need to reach school already understanding the difference between right and wrong, accepting authority and understanding the need for boundaries. They MUST be able to put themselves in the position of others to be able to develop empathy. This is the responsibility of parents. Frankly if they can't manage this, then they really shouldn't have children in the first place.

Saturday, 7 July 2007

The Government is to spend an extra £14m in school teaching kids how to be polite and cope with disappointment. I'm guessing that this money is going to be spent in secondary schools.

Firstly, surely the people responsible for teaching kids manners, and how to deal with disappointment from day one are parents. Clearly many parents are not fulfilling their duty to their children to bring them up as responsible citizens. Most of this should be in kids before they get to school and school should simply reinforce it.

We could leave it up to parents but their seem to be a generation out there who either don't know how or don't want to bring their children up to be morally responsible citizens. How could a Government affect this? Well, the obvious thing is influence them with incentives. It should be possible to ring fence child allowance for under 5s so that it can only be spent on product relating to the care of children of that age. This could be done in the form of vouchers. Extra tax relief could then be offered to parenst who take and pass a course in parenting. This could cover both practical parenting and issues such as moral responsibility. Clearly parents who don't take, or don't pass such a course would then be registered with social services as being potentially at risk. Notice the word is potentially. Clearly some parents may make a fantastic job of brining up their children pre-school and these people should receive an assessment that entitles them to claim the money they would have received as a lump sum.

Far too many people bleat on about the nanny state, yet these are the same people who are outraged at the increase in teenage violence. For a Government to influence a generation it must have access to them during their formative years. The breakdon of family, the influence of the church (I am not religious) and of communities has lead to a situation where people seem isolated. We all live in a thing called 'soiety'. We are all affected by the actions of others. To not get involved seems to be an invitation to anarchy.