TV No Longer Free.

This was the title of two blog posts I wrote almost 2 years ago.   ( You can see them by clicking on October 2018 in the Archive).

The difference was that the title was followed with a question mark,  because at that time they were just thinking about it.
The honest truth is they wanted to do it, but didn’t have the brass neck to face the public with their real intention.      So they pretended to consult them , even though they never intended to take any notice of the result.     The consultation was done with the veiled threat that without a charge for the licence fee, they would have to close BBC2, BBC3 and BBC4.     Unfortunately many elderly people didn’t even realise that they had BBC3 and BBC4 😀, nor did they watch BBC2 that much.

Now two years on, under the cover of Coronapop, the BEEB have quietly announced that they will have to charge the over 75’s to watch TV.    Politicians are equally quietly keeping their heads down, so that they can stay silent on the subject.     Even though they really wanted to do this themselves.

So from the start of August,  if your over 75 you will receive a threatening letter through the post demanding £157.50.    It will have a simple 16 page letter explaining why it is so absolutely critical to keep all channels of BBC communication open at this time of crisis.     Behind it are threats of sending in the “heavys” if you don’t cough up.        If that doesn’t work, there is always prison.

This is the new kind, caring Auntie.

I’d say :-   “DON’T GIVE IN TO BULLYING TACTICS.   STUFF YOUR BBC LICENCE !”

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LLLP INVESTIGATES EDUCATION

This is the third Government department investigation by the LLLP  on behalf of Prime Minister Bodj.   All in a effort to get a grip on Government finances in the wake of Coronapop.

The Department of Education review should be straight forward because teachers have to be good about explaining things.     We had to use the 2018/19 Annual Accounts,  because they were late handing in there home work for last year !   Worse still they seem to have copied a lot of the report from other Departments.   Their’s is also full of “world beating” and “cross-cutting” language.   This is not a very good start.

THE FACTS   :-   Total spend was around £ 107 billion.

  • total employees ????? Is nowhere to be found
  • 3.3 million pupils in secondary school,  4.7 million in primaries.
  • 452,000 teachers.  That’s about 16 pupils per teacher which is a lot lower than l thought.     So there must be something wrong with the teachers counting.
  • £45 billion is core funding for schools.  So where’s all the rest gone.  Perhaps the are not very good at arithmetic at the Department of Education.

LLLP PREJUDICES  :-

  • All pupils should be able to read, write and do basic maths before the leave school,  also they need basic IT skills.
  • Education standards have fallen over the years
  • Educational bureaucracy is tying down teachers
  • Teachers should be free to teach and inspire, and be fired if they don’t.
  • Universities are full of overpaid part time lecturers and vices chancellors
  • Trade Apprenticeships should be grant funded and made equivalent to degrees.

So here is the LLLP script for Bodj’s first TV quiz:-

After an extensive review of their work, I still don’t know what my Department of Education does.     So my question for tonight is :-  “Should I abolish the central Government body altogether and use the money to employ more teachers, give IPads to every pupil and pay down the Coronapop debt ?”

BBC ELECTION FORECAST RESULTS :-

Keep them   —- 5%

Sack them    —— 95%

Projected Coronapop Saving   £ 107 billion.

Thats the end of tonight’s programme, we would like to thank the Secretary of State  — Gavin Williamson —for resigning so quickly🤡e

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LLLP INVESTIGATION…. continues

Saving Britain from bankruptcy is now an urgent task for Prime Minister Bodj.    His squabble of the rabble of Cabinet Ministers, who have proved poor support for Bodj continues.    So now he has turned to the Last Laugh Looney Party to dig him out of the Coronapop financial hole they have got him into.
He will sit back and WAIT for the LLLP to come up with some ideas to get him re-elected as Saviour President of all the UK … forever and ever.

     Endlessly looking through Government Annual Reports will not inform you of very much, it will just wear you down.    Government information is anything but informing.   Even the Office of National Statisticssays as much.
So the LAST LAUGH LOONEY PARTY will adopt a different approach.

Every Friday night Prime Minister Bodj will host a TV programme, which will consult the people on how a Government Department should spend or not spend their (the peoples) money.     Voting will be done live in town halls,  village halls, theatres, pubs, bingo halls and sports stadiums all over the UK.       Everyone will have to be socially distanced or there will  be another surge of Coronapop.     However masks will nor be worn so that voters can be identified.
The results will be feedback instantly and the decisions will  be effective immediately.    Any Departmental redundancies will be handed out in the following week.
The LLLP does not recommend the use of on-line voting because of concerns of Russian or Chinese hacking.    Civil servants will be banned from voting on their own departments expenditure.   Politicians will also be banned from voting on anything, because they have had their chance and failed🤡

Questions for the programmes will be devised by the LLLP after a quick scan though the Depart Annual Reports.   If this leads to any misconceptions, the civil servants will wish they had written clearer reports🤡      There seem to be 18 Departments, although nobody is quite sure.    It is possible that some have got lost in a Cabinet reshuffle.      That means the TV series will last about for four or five months and then we may move to a second series unless the football starts again with spectators instead of cardboard cut-outs.

The first Department to face the Inquisition will be selected by a class of five year olds who are fed up not being at school.     They arbitrarily picked ……THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.

                         See the first episode in the next post.

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LLLP INVESTIGATES DEFENCE SPENDING

As a country we have been spending too much money for far too long.   We are living beyond our means.   The additional debt we have run up to pay for Coronapop now makes it imperative that we get a grip on our finances.  So  Prime Minister Bodj who is currently in hiding, has renamed his Chancellor —- Rushi Hasnomoney.    This heralds a new era of realism.

The Last Laugh Looney Party has been asked to review each Government Department’s expenditure and make some common sense changes.    Oh! and save money and have fun doing it.    Normally an investigation like this could take years, but the LLLP will do it in weeks, without the aid of lawyers or politicians.

We will start with the Ministry of Defence because we all want to stay safe.   So for a start, we will start no more wars like we did in Iraq or Afghanistan or Libya.

LLLP  Guiding principles :-

  • Don’t mess with the S A S .
  • Aircraft carriers need planes.
  • Generally there are too many Generals.
  • Real armed forces are armed and on the ground, in the air or at sea.
  • Not in offices in Whitehall overspending budgets by £billions.
  • We should look after veterans and their families, we owe them a debt for doing our fighting for us.

NOW LETS SEE IF WE CAN FIND SOME FACTS  from an MOD Annual Report :-

This is the command structure, which is quite simple really.

Before you start, you have to understand acronyms.   The report is crammed full of them and they are really well paid for having letters after their names :-

  1. CDS. —- Chief of Defence Staff💂‍♂️
  2. TLB   —-Top Level Budget Holders  💂‍♀️💂‍♀️💂‍♀️💂‍♀️+  💂‍♀️DIO 💂‍♀️DNO💂‍♀️HOCS
  3. ALB. —- Arms Length Bodies 👩‍✈️DECA  💂‍♂️DE&S 💂‍♂️Dsel 💂‍♀️OPA 👩‍✈️SDA 💂‍♀️UKHO 👴 Uncle Tom Cobbley
  4. Managed by the 👨🏻‍⚕️DBS, the 🧑‍🎓DIO, the 👨🏻‍⚕️ISS, and the 👮‍♀️MDP
  5. Regulated by the 👮‍♀️DSA and the🧑‍🚒SSRO

     HOW DID WE EVER WIN A WAR WITH THIS LOT .????

I did eventually find some figures albeit only for 2018/19  :-

  • the total budget was £ 350 billion —— roughly a quarter spent on people, a quarter on equipment, about 30% on capital and the rest ( just around £15,ooo,ooo, ooo) on bits and bobs.
  • the remaining 250 pages of coded acronyms and incredibly long sentences that say nothing, are not worth the paper they are printed on.

Between the lines you can see a long tale of programme overruns lasting for years and budget overspends running into £billions.

The Last Laugh Looney Party says 

                   ” WE ARE ARMSLESS AND HARMLESS ! “

So the LLLP recommendation is to bring all our serving troops home and send the Generals with their Whitehall advisers to Syria and Afghanistan to  negotiate a peaceful settlement.   Of course this might take years, but they will be fully equipped with pencils and pens.

So far the LLLP have done a lot of investigating, but not yet saved any money.   Getting to grips with Government Departments is not easy .   The fact is they like spending our money, but they don’t want us to know how they completely fail to control it.

FORECAST :-   Without all  the pen pushers in Whitehall we should be able to save half the budget £ 175 BILLION.

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LLLP INVESTIGATION

The LAST  LAUGH LOONEY PARTY has started an investigation into Government expenditure, in order to advise Prime Minister Bodj how to get out of the Over half a trillion pound financial hole that his  Chancellor Rushi Havesomemoney has got us into.
This can’t take too long, because there could be a second wave of both Coronapop and seasonal flue .     Then on the advice of Dominic CummingsandGoings the whole Government will have to move to Durham.     Perhaps this is what they mention when they kept referring to the Northern Powerhouse ?

The LLLP investigation started with my previous post on the Department for InterNational Development which is over-ambitiously  charged with solving poverty throughout the world.    Having looked at its Annual Report it doesn’t seem to be doing that, but it is spending loads of our money.   So the LLLP in a radically different approach, has put their ideas for future project work to the people in a survey.      Now we just have to await their verdict.

What the first LLLP investigation also revealed was that Government Annual Reports  are all written to a standard civil service formula.     They are full of praise about how well they are doing, or possibly it is just bull——.       They claim to be transparent, but by providing endless irrelevant details, they are just confusing.   The implication is that their work is too complicated for the average member of the general public who pays for all this to understand.

The LLLP thinks that is nonsense and will find increasingly novel ways to  challenge both the politicians and the civil service machine.   A bit like Dominic 😀

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LLLP INVESTIGATES OVERSEAS AID

Bodj and his Cabinet Ministers have made a real dogs dinner of handling the Coronapop crisis.     A second wave is coming, but this time it is not just the virus back again, it’s a financial tidal wave.    Rushi Havesomemoney has had no trouble giving our money away, now he has got to claw it all back.    Where on earth is he going to get it from?
Time for some bold, radical solutions.   Time for the Last Laugh Looney Party to think the unthinkable.

We will start with a small Government Department  —- the DFiD—- the Department of International Development.     Something which I have some doubts about.    Evidently so does the Daily Mail, which has a big front page spread on it this week.

The DFiD spends 0.7% of GDP each year.   Is that a lot or a little?     How do you make a judgment?   My prejudice is that it a heck of a lot because Governments always spend a lot.

In fact in 2019/20 their budget was £13.4 billion. 

Here are some more of my other prejudices:-

  • we still think we are a super-power saviour of the world, but we are not any more.
  • politicians like trips abroad and playing  benefactor with our money.
  • we have a lot of problems at home, especially in the aftermath of Coronapop.
  • nonetheless we should help with third world poverty.

The DFiD’s  mission is to “eliminate world poverty”, which seems rather ambitious, and “ to promote sustainable development”, which could mean just about anything.     No wonder they a struggling.   In the last year they have got through five Secretary’s of State and now they are being merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

They need to focus on a few issues and make a big and lasting impact.  Rather than throwing our money around like confetti.  Countries with big economies should look after themselves.

LET’S START WITH SOME FACTS.    From the 2019 /20 DFiD annual report.  This should make everything clear, especially when one of their proudly stated aims is “transparency “.    So all I have to do is read 179 pages about what they have been doing with £13.4 billion in the last twelve months :-

  • The first clutch pages are introductory waffle, full of glowing testament to how well they are doing.
  • Then we have colourful infographics, which are more confusing than helpful.
  •  Next we have 10 strategic goals and 6 additional cross-cutting goals.   I hope your still with me.     “Cross-cutting”  sounds like an important word“. It certainly confuses things even more.   
  • I am already losing the will to live and I haven’t found out anything useful yet.
  • I expect there will be an executive summary soon, because I doubt the general public, whose money they are spending, will have time to read all 179 page.
  • Still on we go with the structure of Departments; tables and tables of figures;  more words about wonderful deeds; by country, by region, by policy and by every conceivable sub-division.
  • Then the real meat!   How much paper they used; how much water they consumed; how much waste they created and how it was disposed of.   Unbelievably valuable information.   You could be forgiven for thinking they are trying to confuse us.
  • It is page 156 before I find any relatively straightforward tables of expenditure by country and by policy.  Even then you have no idea of exactly what the money has been spent on and what has been achieved.
  • The DFiD has 3,500 staff all on high salaries and gold plated pensions.  In stark contrast to the people they are supposed to be helping.

I give the report a ZERO for transparency, which is what I suspect they are trying to achieve.    So far the LLLP  has come up with no savings !

I searched around a few other websites and found that very few countries meet the United Nations target of contributing 0.7%  of their GDP.  The European average is about 0.3%.     So how can we be so generous, now that Coronapop has us almost  bankrupt ?

So here’s a Last Laugh Looney Party script for a Bodj BBC broadcast introducing a new proposal for the DDiF :-

We will immediately start a review of all DFiD projects  using the electorate, not the politicians.    Each DFiD project leader, and there are a lot of them, must produce  “a one page justification” of why we should keep spending our money on their project.    The general  public will have one month to vote on which projects they wish to continue to pay for.     After that project funding will cease on projects that received  less than 50% support.
Budget savings will be used to support poverty in the UK and to pay down the Coronapop debt mountain.

  I will  try some other Government Department next and use the same approach with them.

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Packaging Puzzle?

I started writing about excess packaging way back in 2010 and it has been something of an irritant ever since.  ( You can see my earlier posts by clicking on Packaging in the TagCloud)    My rants haven’t changed much.   If anything there is more wrapping than ever.     But here is another aspect of the subject , which is designed to keep the shoppers guessing.  

I wonder what we all did before they had “sell by” dates.    Come to that, who invented the idea in the first place ….   and why?     It certainly wasn’t the retailers, because that puts them under pressure to get things sold before the goods are not so good.   That’s why their shelf stackers spend hours hiding the newest goods behind all the earlier sell by dates.     But, neither can it be the purchasers because they have to scrabble about usually at the very back of the shelves to find the most up to date sell by date.

The latest retailer game is to find ever more obscure places to put the date.    It used to be on the top of the tin or box, but once the customers rumbled that, the retailers quickly switched to other less convenient locations.   The back of the box surrounded by masses of other information,  or the side of the bottle top.     Other tactics include using very small print,  or printing the date in yellow on a white background.    Or how about mixing up the date with a lot of other numbers just to be a bit more confusing.
It is only a matter of time before they start to use invisible ink, or maybe write the dates in Roman numerals.

Anyone would think that retailers are not sold on the idea of “ sell by “ dates.

 

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Decisive Indecision !

BODJ IS IN A QUANDARY

He has been for a while

He doesn’t know,

whether to laugh to laugh or cry.

 

He was much more decisive about Brexit,

And “got it done”

Except not yet.

 

After that triumph,

Coronapop came along to spoil it all,

Bodj said “we can beat it.“

But not yet,

 

We have enough PPE,

But not yet.

 

We are going to have a world beating track and trace system

But not yet.

 

We are going to develop a vaccine.

But not yet.

 

READY.       STEADY.        WAIT

It’s not that Bodj is indecisive ,

He just can’t make up his mind !

 

 

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New World not yet?

We have been in “lockdown” in the UK for FIFTEEN weeks or more.

I am losing track of time, but is that so bad?

What have we got to go back to ?

Many people are straining at the leash.

Let me out, let me out !

 

Even the Government wants us to get back to work.

But will there be jobs to go back to ?

Building houses that nobody can afford.

Constructing new offices now everyone is working from home.

Or a high-speed train, when nobody is in a rush.

Or how about a flight to nowhere.

 

IT’S A NEW WORLD OUT THERE.

Coronapop is not done with us yet.

We may have locked it down,

But it will be back with a vengeance,

if we get out of our beds and lift our heads.

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Coronapop Conversion.

Right from the outset of  Coronapop the country has been faced with a challenge as big as anything we have seen  in most peoples lifetime.     The Government was and still is slow to react in a rapidly changing situation.     No doubt this will continue for months to come.
The lockdown has changed most peoples way of life and there may be no going back.   Similarly many businesses and institutions have had to adapt to new ways of working.

Some people are already taking advantage of the excuse of Coronapop to push for changes they have been advocating for some time :-

  • Banks have all but shut down on the High Street, on-line banking is what they really want us all to move to.
  • Retailers have also switched to cashless payments, take it or leave it, that’s health and safety.
  • All Government information  and forms  are on-line, if you can find them.
  • GP’s have gone to ground, without too much of a sound.
  • Hospital A &E departments have emptied now that the pubs are closed and the roads are free of traffic.

We do not need to go back to where we were before.    Rather we need to adapt to the changes that have been forced upon us, to better accommodate everyone :-

  • Banks have made themselves redundant by paying no interest to savers, and offering little help to lenders.
  • Retail shops will have to offer a whole new experience in shopping to compete with on-line sellers.   They have said it before, but they didn’t do it.    How about tea, coffee an easy chair and a personal shopper who fetches and gift-wraps your goods.   Some thing they already do in luxury shops and Japan.
  • Government communication needs to be simple clear and honest.      Only localised,  face to face delivery will  make this possible, supported by instant technology delivery systems.   If Amazon can do it, why can’t the Government?
  • GP’s have deserted the front line of health care with group surgery’s, locum doctors and deputising services.   They need to get back in touch with patients and be the face of preventative medicine and the gatekeepers of acute care.   Bring back the trusted family practitioner.

Hospital A&E  should only be free for emergencies.    Anyone else turning up should be charged.

THAT IS A START.

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