Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Volkswagen and Emissions

A lot has been said in the media about the "fiddling" of the emissions produced by the diesel engines in VW cars and of course how governments and the poor old public were badly misled. This is, as usual, followed by the flood of people who feel that they should get compensation.

I used to own a VW Bora Diesel, and it was a very nice car with amazing acceleration for a diesel. Before buying, I looked at quite a number of things, how it drove and its handling, comfort, space, availability of a local dealer, etc. I even considered its fuel consumption, although experience suggested that any manufacturers' mpg figures needed to be taken with a very large pinch of salt. However, one thing that I never looked at was its emission figures as they are pretty meaningless to anyone unless they have carefully studied the subject. How would I know without a lot of research whether a certain number of grammes of CO2 emissions per mile was good or bad?

So, out of curiosity, I spoke to a few friends and acquaintances and I was unable to find anyone who had actually considered a car's emissions before making a purchase. Most had looked at fuel consumption, and like me, had little belief in the manufacturers' figures. In general, they all thought it was a useful way of comparing different models, but otherwise not representative of the real world.

So where are all these people are who thought about emissions before buying a car? Where are all these people who are so traumatised by feeling that they have been deceived that they deserve huge amounts of compensation? It is suggested that the second hand value of such cars will plummet; my experience in selling my old cars suggests that the values could hardly plummet far without the owner having to pay someone to take it away! If you want to part-exchange a VW for a new one, I suspect VW will offer much the same as previously in order to secure a sale.

The only organisation which may have made a loss is probably the Treasury should the cars have been put in the wrong tax band and if so no doubt they will take action if they feel it is appropriate.
It is also interesting to speculate on what, if anything, will be found when the test results from other manufacturers are examined - have any others been fiddling their results?

If VW decide (or are forced) to offer any compensation, how long before we are inundated with TV and radio advertisements or text messages similar to those for PPI ?
I dread the thought of TV adverts, "Have you ever owned a VW within the past ten years, if so there is a pile of money which has been put aside waiting for you to claim, just text XXXX at once to stake your claim".

As an aside from the main issue, I have been wondering whether it is actually possible for a manufacturer to meet the emission limits required by the EU.  So many other EU targets have not been met because they are simply impractical, so are their required car emissions equally impractical?

Saturday, 26 September 2015

VW and Climate Change.

I thought that this cartoon was one of the best that I'd seen lately

Courtesy of the Bishop Hill Blog and Cartoons by Josh

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Just in case you missed it!

According to Breitbart, Labour MP Rachael Maskell, the Member of Parliament for York Central, declared:
“We need to shout so much more and say 20,000 is not enough, 30,000 is not enough. We will keep going until we hit our saturation point because what does it matter if we have to wait another week for a hospital visit?  Or if our class sizes are slightly bigger? Or if our city is slightly fuller? What does it matter if things are slightly more challenging? If we have to pay a little bit more into the system? Surely it is worth it to see those lives being restored again.”
At last a Labour MP has admitted that immigrants are increasing the time waiting for appointments and treatment at our hospitals, she has admitted that school class sizes increase (but no mention of falling standards because of the time taken with non-English speakers), she has admitted that cities are becoming overcrowded, and last but not least, she has admitted that we will have to pay more tax. What she doesn't mention is that many also carry diseases, with TB and polio which were once virtually eradicated from this country now making a come-back.

This is the reality of Corbyn's Labour party.

Saturday, 5 September 2015

One Dead Boy

Seventy migrants suffocate in the back of a lorry and everyone metaphorically shrugs their shoulders. One photograph of dead child on a beach and the whole of the EU changes its policy towards migrants.

This video from Nigel Farage is worth watching

The dead boy's family were quite safe in Turkey, a Muslim country, indeed one might even conclude that they were safe in Syria as they went back to bury their son. This shows me that they were economic migrants, nothing else, not refugees, as apparently they were not in danger in Syria.

Ask yourself, would a refugee, fleeing from Nazi Germany with his family return there to have buried a member of the family who got killed during the escape? That is the reality of real refugees from war or oppression, not someone who goes back, apparently quite freely,  to have a burial service.

It is also of interest that Breitbart is the only media outlet that I am aware of which refers to them as Kurds. The Kurdish controlled area of Syria is now relatively stable (if anything in the Middle East is stable), so one might ask why didn't they join their fellow countrymen and assist with the fight against ISIS?  Or were they from the Kurdish area which meant that they could return at will, but decided that it wasn't good enough for them?

However you look at it they were economic migrants, not asylum seekers fleeing for their lives. Even then, Turkey wasn't good enough for them so they decided to try to get to the Germany or, as they speak English, more likely to the UK.

If we are to take any Syrian refugees, they should be genuine refugees who are living in poor conditions in Lebanon or Jordan, not ones who are effectively trying to jump the queue by forcing themselves upon some unwilling country.

In any event, I take the view that it is wrong to rehouse large numbers away from their home country; hopefully ISIS will be beaten and in due course they will be able to return home. The right approach is what this country was doing, providing humanitarian aid to the adjoining countries which are housing them, Lebanon, Jordan and to a lesser extent Turkey. There they are with people of their own culture, speaking their own language, not having to try to live, in what to them, must be an alien environment.

We have accepted refugees in the past, but they were in relatively small numbers compared with the overall population, they were generally of our culture and were assimilated within a couple of generations. With their different outlook on life, I cannot see Muslims ever being assimilated into the native population.

So I would ask our politicians, don't make major decisions on the basis of one dead boy lying on a beach, but on the basis of common sense and rational logic.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Thrown in from the Telegraph

I haven't posted much lately because I've been very much "under the weather", but I couldn't resist this sub-heading from the Daily Telegraph.

 It shows what happens when you rely on a spell-checker!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

The General Election

As far as I'm concerned, the General election produced mixed emotions. The Tories won with an acceptable majority, keeping out Labour and its extra taxes on the rich which would be required to fund their promises. I've nothing particular for or against the rich, but if they are to spend their money rather than keep it in a bank vault, it must result in additional employment and jobs either directly as staff or indirectly on purchases. But apart from the so-called mansion tax, the other proposed Labour taxes would end up falling on the ordinary worker. A tax on banks would mean that the banks would seek to make more profit elsewhere, which could mean even lower interest rates (hitting pensioners in particular) or even the end of free banking, as has been mooted from time to time. A landlord tax would do much the same; landlords would either find some way of increasing the rent for any new tenant, or sell-up and pull out of the market. Either way, it is unlikely to be the landlord who would lose out. A tax on non-doms looks attractive, but Labour overlooks the fact that they could equally live in another country, Ireland having made it clear that they would be very welcome. But the big thing, as far as I'm concerned is that both Ed Balls and Vince Cable are out and that the LibDems won't be part of a coalition.

The big disappointment is that UKIP didn't get more seats. The fact that Nigel Farage didn't win in Thanet, I would suggest is due to the effort that the Tories put into the election with almost every Minister visiting the constituency, plus the activities of various left wing organisations who were not standing for election and thus could effectively run riot with false claims about UKIP.

However to my mind, the biggest scandal is our electoral system, which allows a party, which overall collected more votes in the coutry than both the SNP and the LibDems combined, to get only have one MP, whilst Queen Nicola claims the right to tell us all what to do.

It one thing comes out of this election, it should be some electoral reform which ensures the parliamentary representation more closely matches the actual votes cast. One assumes that Cameron will push through the Boundary Commission's report, which the LibDems failed to support in the last parliament, so ending the anomaly of a vote in many cities being worth two in the country. But more than that. Now that Scotland has its own Parliament, and Wales has its own Assembly, there is surely no longer a case for having a disproportionately large number of MPs from these regions. We should be aiming for the situation in a modern democracy like Australia or New Zealand where all constituencies by law must have an electorate within 5% of any other. New Zealand is proposing to do even better and get the figure within 3%.
Other reform must be to ensure that Scottish/Welsh MPs do not have any say on English matters where such matters have been devolved to Scotland/Wales. It is iniquitous that Scotish MPs can come to Westminster and support tuition fess at universities and charges for NHS prescriptions, whilst their fellow members in The Scottish Parliament vote to make them both free in Scotland.

To a cynic like me, Cameron's biggest problem with having an overall majority is that he will have to keep his promises. No longer will he be able to blame the LibDems for preventing him doing something that he had promised!

As for the SNP, I'm sure they will make a lot of noise and hope to be able to tell Cameron what to do. He could simply point out that Labour have more MPs than the SNP which illustrates the relative importance of the SNP in the Union as a whole. As Queen Nicola won't be at Westminster, I would hope that Cameron would have no problem dealing with Alex Salmond who expect to the the leader of the SNP in the Commons.

We could have an interesting time ahead.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Thank Goodness for the Royal Baby!

The birth of the, as yet unnamed, Princess of Cambridge at least brought relief from the incessant drone of politicians and political journalists on the TV news programmes. Not that the reports on the baby actually provided any real news, but it was a change to see cheering crowds rather than the usual rabble of demonstrators which seems to be the norm these days. The BBC, of course, managed to produce an anti-monarchist for interview who ranted on about the cost of the monarchy (but didn't feel it appropriate to mention the far higher costs of Presidents like Obama, along with the costs of all the ex-presidents) and who also seemed to believe that the birth had been timed as a political event to interfere with the general election. If interfering with the general election means getting politicians off the screen for a while, please carry on interfering!

Elsewhere in the political news, Guido shows us this picture of a Labour Party Public meeting in Birmingham.
I wonder what Harriet thinks about it!
To most English this is totally unacceptable in a public place, and it simply shows how subservient Labour is becoming to the diktats of Islam. If I'd been going to the meeting with my wife and we were asked to sit apart, we'd have simply walked out. I do hope all the non-Islamic voters in Birmingham see this picture.

Now to the "Greens".  Breitbart tells us that Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has said her party would consider allowing polygamous marriages and civil partnerships in the UK. This of course was the fear of many of those who opposed Gay Marriage; that one thing would lead to another and that it would lead to marriage being redefined in other ways, including allowing more than two people to enter into a union.

Which brings us back to Cameron and the Tories. Traditionally, political parties in power have only introduced legislation that they had proposed in their manifestos unless there was some overriding imperative that was not anticipated at the time of the previous election. Gay Marriage can hardly said to fall within that category; there was no reason for it not being included in the Party Manifesto for this election and brought forward by the Tories should they be in power. For that reason, if no other, I am not prepared to vote Conservative and have informed my sitting MP accordingly. Who knows what Cameron might do if he thought polygamy might increase his share of the Islamic vote.

Every day as I read the news, or watch it on TV, I become more than ever convinced that UKIP is the only party that genuinely represents the ordinary voter of British ancestry.