Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Stockton council believe that all you are not entitled to own property without them getting their cut. Got a death in the family and an estate to deal with? No more 6 months to sort it out, the parasites want their tithe immediately so they can hand it out to those they deem worthy. Doing somewhere up as an income for old age because you’re sick of governments raiding your pension to cover their inept financial policies? Think again, dare to leave a property empty for 2 years and not only do you pay council tax now, but you pay at 150% the rate.

You are like a battery in the matrix, there to be milked as often as possible to pay for their expenses and vanity projects. As Cllr Harrington, fresh from picking up his tax payer funded award, from a tax payer funded mutual self congratulation wank-fest shindig with drinks, nibbles and travel thrown in said

They will also generate additional income that will help to reduce our budget gap and support us in combating the financial pressures we face in delivering core services.

Nothing to do with fairness, equality, or right to your own wages and property. This is specifically designed to shore up council finances because of their mismanagement, corruption and buying the votes of the not so working class.

But there is one section of society that considers themselves above even the previous rate of council tax, they refused to pay up and had to be forced through threat of bailiffs to cough up. Like to guess who?

Hypocrit fucking councillors.

The same parasitic expense sinks that demand you pay every last penny you earn in tax, sit in their comfortable council offices pissing money away on vanity projects, redevelopments and initiatives that only seem to benefit their business buddies had to be dragged to court to make them pay some of the travel, special duties and associated expenses they claim back in council tax.

In one case it totalled more than £1,500.

So perhaps instead of avoiding democracy over council tax rises, refusing government grants to make petty political points, and continuing to piss taxes away they should look to themselves first to fill the financial hole they have dug for themselves before raiding what little capital people manage to cling to.

So we had a great Halloween, zombie walks in support of NSPCC and stuff. The one blemish on an otherwise great time was our booking for the Scream Factory 2012 extreme tour – essentially a horror walk in some woods late in the evening.

Now before we start, I’m sure it was a great event, lots of volunteers, all had a good time, huge success, and everyone who could get to it before it closed said it was great fun. But (you knew there was a but coming didn’t you) First of all after promoting online sales as cheaper than on the door tickets they dropped the price of door tickets to even cheaper, and offered no refund for the difference, then they cancelled the Friday and Weekend shows due to bad weather, despite the FAQ and the terms and conditions of tickets clearly stating it will operate in all weathers.

Anyway, no problem, stuff happens – we all appreciate that. Just give me a refund. Which they agreed to do both via facebook “due to unforseen circumstances today, we have had to close the doors. Tonight will be the last night. We will sort your refund out. All I can do is say we are really sorry and we are really upset our end as well” and via email. So I awaited my refund…

…After I had heard nothing for a few days I chased the refund. Only to be asked

“Please could you send me your account number sort code name of bank and name on card and i will sent [sic] the money soon as.”

I apologised but I refused to send my complete banking details to someone I do not know in an insecure email. (I’ve also turned down what seems like a nice Nigerian prince who keeps emailing and offering to transfer a millions dollars if I just send him my details!) I suggested either making the refund through the original booking website they promoted for advance bookings, or I suggested acceptable alternatives were via paypal, or send a cheque to my home address. I have even suggested a postal order.

Only to be told they do not have a cheque book, could not use paypal, and no longer had access to the booking website, but they did assure me me that they would delete all my banking details after they had used them!


Is that the best an events company can do?

Essentially – “Sorry we broke the T&C’s of the event and can you send us all your bank details?”. Sorry but that just ain’t gonna happen!

So with them already promoting their 2013 “Carnival of Carnage” I’m looking forward to much fun on twitter and Facebook as I will be sure to pass comment on their booking system, ticketing prices, all weather capabilities, communications and business payments. Although you never know, I might actually get my refund by next Halloween!

According to the local newspaper, the Gazette, the event was the brainchild of “flood restoration specialist Stephen Tate“, who can be found on LinkedIn here and runs his own company Restoration Force

You do have to wonder about a chap in the business continuity profession who doesn’t even have a reliable plan for coping when his event is weathered off don’t you? Hardly a glowing recommendation for their ability to cope with fairly predictable weather conditions in the North East in Winter. Nor is it a massive endorsement of their business practices that they need all your personal banking details to make a payment!

The email exchange is of course ongoing. Apparently a cheque is now possible, but only when the chequebook holder returns from abroad…

15 mins after posting this I received my payment via paypal…

How to deliver 10,000lb of diplomacy

Even now, when the memorial to the tens of thousands that died in Bomber Command finally battled through the apologist do-gooders barrage of politically correct AA, the Bomber Command Association have been left holding a bill which may see some of the 90 year old veterans who are trustees face losing their homes.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it had made an exception to contribute more than £1.5m. Big fucking deal. That’s less than £27 per man that gave his life. Thats less than 60% of the annual budget the MoD spends on full time union staff. For an organisation where the men and women in uniform who actually risk their lives cannot even be a member of a union by law.

If MP’s used less than 7% of the amount the greedy troughing bastard ingrates claimed as expenses in the last 12 months (£89,400,000) it would have paid for the memorial in its entirety (£6m), meaning the MoD would not have had to contribute at all.

If we used less than 23% of the money we pissed away in the socialist McCartney-fest of an olympics opening ceremony (£27,000,000) it would have shown we respected the 55,573 men who gave their lives as much as Harry Potter.

These men were forgotten for over 50 years. Their sacrifice deemed unworthy in the post war hand-wringing by intelligentsia and do-gooders. Their families without a memorial to their loved ones. Make no mistake. Without them we would not have beaten tyranny. But unlike so many other services, their memories were swept under carpets, quietly ignored, and made to be a source of embarrassment instead of pride.

So instead of a few extra pints and a kebab that you intended to leave on the pavement over the weekend, how about helping 92 year old RAF Bomber Command veteran Gordon Mellor and his few surviving friends keep their homes now the bastards have dumped the bill on him?

I donated here. RAF Bomber Command Memorial Fund

Tricky one isn’t it?

Just how much do you value your body? It appears that it is wildly different depending on your employer. If you are in the public sector, and especially local authorities I am afraid, it is a cultural right to “get your claim in”. It was one of the thing I despised about the entitlement culture in Local Authorities that gives any benefits office a run for its money An example is a trip and a groin strain… how much do you reckon? £9,128. I am sure there are contributing factors but really? Ten grand for a groin strain?

In another case heavy metal music fan is suing Newport Council for £25,000 compensation after slipping in a puddle of vomit at a whitesanke concert (imagine that vomit at a rock gig!)No actual injury but needed disinfecting (washing down to you and me).

By comparison what can you expect for combat injuries in the forces? Their website gives this as an example

Injury Tariff Level Tariff Amount % Amount Payable
Bilateral open heel fractures 11 £17,500* 100 £17,500
Open fracture of left femur 12 £11,000* 80 £8,800
Dislocation of left talus 12 £10,000 60 £6,000
Fracture of left fibula 13 £6,000 40 £2,400
Fracture of right fibula 14 £3,000 20 £600
Wound to left arm 14 £3,000 20 £600
Wound to right foot 14 £3,000 20 £600
*Including Supplementary award of £1,000 for each open fracture
Total Lump Sum Award payable                                                                                                                      £36,500

Not much for getting legs and arms blown to bits is it?
Guess we know the pen pushers priorities.

Happy New Year!

So the end is upon us. 2011 fades into the rose tinted archive of nostalgia and we face the impending wrath of 2012.

Round ups and resolutions seem to be the order of business, so what did 2011 deposit upon us? On the large scale it seemed to be the historical equivalent of the vomit the cat left on the stairs carpet for you to tread in. On balance it appears that the end should be in site for the continual financial cataclysms and foreign conflicts, but with the arab revolutions generally leading to opportunities for religious fanatics to grab power, the death of European democracy as puppet dictators are installed to ensure idealogical statism persists against the will of the people, and a fresh oil conflict looms on the horizon with the added excitement of nukes, I think it is safe to predict a year of greater turmoil, uncertainty, and a general backwards slide into corruption, conflict and chaos.

So is it all doom and gloom?

Of course not. And I do not just mean the glorious tax burden of the Olympics that I expect to be bored with hearing about by the end of January.

The really important things are still there. Friends and family (well, the ones you like anyway). The advent of ever more inventive methods of communication allow us to stay in touch or reconnect with friends we would otherwise lose. Instead of worrying about inflation stopping us buying yet more tat, cancel the shopping trip and spend it talking to a friend.

Go try something you never would have considered, ignore that nagging voice that stops you with the threat of embarrassment or failure and just give it a go. If nothing else, you’ll have a good story for when you see your friends.

In essence become more childlike. How many over Christmas have seen a small child ignore the big expensive present to become full of joy at a small insignificant thing that when combined with their imagination opened a new world of play.

Their ability to simply enjoy life is something we all had. We either cast it aside or lost it somewhere along the path to careers, mortgages, and council tax demands. I suspect it’s still there somewhere, so if I have to have a new years resolution, it’s that. So I hope to become more childish. I shall try to enjoy life more and not let the pointless rubbish get to me as much.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend !
And give us a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.

A quick thought now the 24 hour news machine has gone into meltdown speculating as to the cost of the LimpDems will extract to sell their souls to one side or another. They’re likely to demand electoral reform such as a referendum on proportional representation. I wonder if they’ve thougth through the consequences?

As of 1300 the BBC shows 28,775,468 votes cast with the oh so evilllll tories getting 36.2%, labour 29.2%, LimpDems on 22.9%, so they’d get 235, 189 and 149 seats respectively. Obviously a massive boost for the LimpDems and probably ensuring we never ever get a working majority in Parliament, leaving us at the mercy of the small parties as they decide which coalitions and votes will pass and which will fail. For those that reckon coalitions are more democratic and produce less excesses just look at modern Italian political history.

But anyway, if we’re going to be this scrupulously fair with full proportional representation and with a seat requiring 1/650 of the vote, then the seats would have looked something like…

  • Conservative 235
  • Labour 189
  • Liberal Democrat 149
  • Democratic Unionist Party 4
  • Scottish National Party 11
  • Sinn Fein 3
  • Plaid Cymru 4
  • Social Democratic & Labour Party 2
  • Green 6
  • Alliance Party 1
  • UK Independence Party 20
  • British National Party 12
  • Ulster Conservatives and Unionists – New Force 2
  • English Democrats 1
  • So between the BNP & UKIP they could muster 32 MPs. (Hell the BNP would outnumber the cuddly greens by 2:1) Nearly double the nationalist parties combined. Are we really ready to hand double the influence of the SNP, SinnFein and Plaid Cymru to the BNP and UKIP?

    Be careful what you wish for. You might just get it.

    Brilliantly written article in the Independant by Johann Hari. Well worth 2 minutes of your time so in case you’ve missed it…

    It has been put to me that my somewhat vigorous promotion of atheism is tantamount to a religion. It’s well worth consideration as a proposition. Certainly it helps shape my view of the world, universe and my personal moral framework. But is it a religion?

    Well, first up what is a religion? The font of all knowledge, the internet courtesy of defines it as:

    1. A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, esp. when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
    2. A specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
    3. The body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.

    That word belief crops up every time. It doesn’t really matter what you believe as long as you have a belief it appears. So, now we get to my dirty little secret. I would love to be religious, to be able to whole heartedly and sincerely believe something without any requirement of evidence or proof.

    Just think for a moment, even most of those who claim to have a religion have doubts, so include yourself here and for a moment ponder. How nice would it be to be absolutely certain that everything turns out ok in the end? That you get your just rewards in the afterlife (or at least get another go!) that evil is punished, inequalities righted, and anyone appearing on x-factor condemned to everlasting agony… It must be great, that great big psychological comfort blanket to help you go on. Never having to wonder why stuff happens, never having to be content with admitting there’s stuff we simply don’t understand because we’re not clever enough or haven’t evolved (emotive word I know) enough yet. It would be fantastic. Of course, that doesn’t make any of it any more likely to be true, which is where I have the problem.

    I want to know the truth. I don’t want to believe, I want to know. I want to be able to replace “I don’t know” with “because”.

    It is argued that whilst leaving aside the colossal damage, injustice, terrorism, prejudice, war and general inhumanity religions have perpetrated religion has beneficial results. Maybe, I am certain people carry out acts of kindness because of their religion. But, (and this is the important bit) it doesn’t make it true, nor does it provide any evidence for it at all. Neither does the fact that it comforts people in times of stress make it any more true, nor that it raises cash for charity, or occasionally provides shelter for the homeless, or in fact any of the things people argue in its favour for.

    My personal conclusion is that there is no evidence for any sort of God. That religion is a psychological extension of not wanting to admit our ignorance. I find that I cannot justify “God did it” when what I would really mean is “I don’t know”, and however painful it is I prefer the cold hard truth to a rose tinted story that soothes the psyche.

    So in answer, no, I can’t have a religion because I don’t have any beliefs. I have ideas that are formulated from conclusions based on evidence.

    To quote the esteemed Sir Terry Pratchett “Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn’t believing. It’s where belief stops, because it isn’t needed any more.” Pyramids

    A review! Something else to fill the ether with…

    I tried out the comedy club at the ARC in Stockton last night, accompanied by some friends and wife and I must admit to being surprised.

    I was happily surprised by the acts. Seymour Mace (Lately basking in the considerable reflected glow of Johnny Vegas) was great. Quite disturbing in parts, I think he would make an excellent rapist/stalker (see the act, you’ll understand) if he hasn’t already done so, and it’s hard to believe this man didn’t back Gladys Knight with his display of deft dance floor moves. But for me the undoubted star of the evening was the MC Jason Cook.

    Now I’m usually a grumpy bugger about comedy and those who make me truly laugh are rare comic geniuses (Eric Morcambe, Andy Hamilton, Bill Bailey, Ade Edmonson) but JC was great, suitably obscene for my tastes, courageous with his admission of women’s underwear wearing (which he then went on to prove, good man) and relentless with his delivery, especially when it came to hecklers – which leads me to my second surprise.

    Now I’m a somewhat of a pessimist about our species. The average Joe Public (obviously not you, kind discerning reader) is illiterate, uninformed, uncouth scum. But it eludes me as to why someone would pay for the pleasure of sitting in a comedy gig, shout out unfunny – and at times unintelligible – drivel in order to try and spoil the show for everyone else when they know what’s going to happen? Now don’t get me wrong. A good heckle can make a show. But for the Boro troglodytes who manage to knuckle their way down the A66 for the evening, do me a favour next time and stick to your usual white lightning fuelled, puerile, drug addled, binge drinking night fighting amongst yourselves over whose biffer of a moose looked at who.

    The rest of us can enjoy the comedy…

    Top one Jason, see you next month.