British Gas really off the boil!

There is nothing worse than paying alot of money for something and then getting completely crap service. Last week we decided to get the boiler serviced as the house is on the market and we thought it would be good to have it done.

We thought we’d take advantage of the British Gas service whereby you effectively pay a one off charge and you (apparently) get a British Gas engineer to come and look at your boiler.

I say apparently….. We initially had a booking for last Friday, 6 pm came and went so we called and they said they had a record of our call but no booking. After pointing out why would they have a record of a call if we hadn’t gone through a certain stage to ask for the booking. Anyway – as way of an apology they offered us £10 to say sorry for having to take a day off work and stop in, and also a 2 hour slot for our re-booked time which was between 2 and 4pm today.

Well it’s now 5:40pm and having called them, guess what – the appointment is apparently unscheduled? Now given a manager called back to apologise for the first booking going astray is it a case of all British Gas personnel being unable to actual put a booking into the system?

At this rate they will be paying me to come and service the boiler (if they do ever come!)


The BBC and The EU – Birds of a Feather?

There are two institutions I really don’t like very much. One is the British Broadcasting Company and the other in the European Union. If I weigh up the positives and negatives of each one, the latter always seems to outweigh the former and most interestingly, the reasons seem to be very similar.
Firstly there is the issue of choice. I’m forced to pay the £135.50 licence fee. If I don’t a big ugly man demands the right to enter my home looking for a TV. With the EU, I and every other person in the UK is forced to contribute billions of pounds towards the running of the EU in spite of the majority of us never voting to do so.
Then we have the issue of accountability. I don’t like the way for instance John Redwood is portrayed miming the Welsh National Anthem when he’s in the studio to talk about regulation relief. I wrote to the BBC and nothing. Not even the courtesy of a reply. Why should they? They know they’re going to get my money so why bother to listen to me. The same goes for the EU. It’s an old chestnut but the issue of selling in pounds and ounces has been around for years. Who can you complain to about this. MEP’s? We all know they have virtually zero power which is why many of them can’t wait to get into the UK Parliament.
Moreover, who’s running these organisations and who are they accountable to. The BBC is run by a Trust appointed by a quango and ministers. The EU run by unelected commissioners who are more often than not political failures at home. There’s no democracy. No say by those who are putting the money up.
What can we do about this. Selling one and withdrawing from another is the simple answer many people will give. However, the British public are a conservative bunch and wouldn’t swallow that. All we can hope is salami tactics of slice by slice might ignite the British Public into wanting this change.

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//–>With the EU, it’s vital that the referendum is held and the constitution defeated. The EU leaders might start to believe the game is up and a Conservative Government can look to grab powers back. With the BBC, the expansion of channels both on TV and Radio needs to be halted to stop any further damage to it’s commercial competitors who are operating in unfair markets. We can only hope that once this ball is rolling, there would be no stopping it, and we once again have accountability within our ruling institutions.

Upon Westminster Bridge

I’ve been in London for much of this week, which has meant writing for the website has taken something of  a back seat.

However one incident really deserves re-telling to a wider audience.

On Wednesday I had been to a meeting over near Waterloo station. I decided to wander back to Westminster over Westminster bridge – as the weather was nice but a bit cold. On the way I had already spotted loads of Schalke 04 fans who were doing a bit of sightseeing before their game with Chelsea.

On the way back however – two of them (male and femal) had decided to do something a bit more than sightseeing. As I approached the middle section of Westminster bridge there appeared to be a bit of a crowd on the pavement. I thought to myself in my usual grumpy way that it was probably tourists taking pictures of the clock tower, and blocking my way meaning that as usual I would have to take my life into my own hands and jump into the road to get back.

Oh no – how wrong was I – as I got closer I saw a woman laying with her back to the pavement – being passionately kissed by some bloke – who had his trousers round his ankles … as they… well lets say got to know each other quite well.

Now I am not sure what surprised me more – the fact that they seemed to be doing what they seemed to be doing in the cold on a bridge, or the fact that several people had their camera phones out, I assume to pass on the "incident" to their friends.

Either way – I did the typically British thing, and tutted and walked on by as if there was nothing to see. I will now have a comepletely different mental image that I used to whenever I hear the words Upon Westminster Bridge!

Another terrible policy bites the dust (hopefully)

Across the whole political spectrum, public servants who waste taxpayers’ hard-earned money are rarely popular.  In fact, the majority of voters and politicians would be happy for individuals who squander public funds to be punished in some way.  One might also be tempted into thinking that people who spend public funds wisely would be rewarded in some way.  Ooops, what a mistake.
Earlier this week, the government announced plans for local councils to take back any money from schools that they haven’t spent.  Far from encouraging prudence and sensible financial planning, the government has evidently decided to penalise Headteachers and their manangement teams for running within their budgets.  Bearing in mind that many schools find it hard to make ends meet, this has got to be one of the most ridiculous policies aired by the government for quite some time (and that’s saying something).
David Cameron is challenging the government’s plan and is likely to receive considerable support for doing so.  He is quoted as saying "Why do you think you know best how to spend this money, rather than the head teachers?" and it is hard to argue with him.

PMQs 24 October 2007

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The latest Prime Minister’s Questions is now available to listen to as a podcast.

You can aither click the download button, or listen to it in our media player at the top of the website. So did Brown use un-parliamentary language? Well why not listen to find out!


Taper relief – what small business people think

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One of the effects of Gordon Brown’s recent PBS was to hit small businesses (again) with a hike in the tax rate for when the business is finally sold.

There is already a facebook group for Entrepreneurs against the abolition of taper relief, and one of the members has kindly recorded his view on the recent move by Gordon Brown for Tory Radio. Listen to what he thinks to changes in Capital Gains Tax by downloading the podcast directly above, or listening to it in our media player at the top of the website.

If you have a comment or opinion either leave it below or call 0845 257 0 427 and record your message after the tone. (Your comments may be used in a podcast).

Is Gordon Brown a Jonah?

Well what a week for English sport. Lose to Russia through a dodgy penalty which could well knock us out of Euro 2008, lose the Rugby World Cup final due to a foot touching the line (Still don’t understand the rules properly even though I played for my school) and the Lewis Hamilton’s engine cuts out losing him the World Championship. Add in floods and foot and mouth, and it seems like the nations luck has turned since Mr Brown took up residence in Number 10.   
The purpose of my article was to be on Brown’s nauseating attempts to play politics to survive this job. His first 100 days have consisted of playing political games. Announcements of policies which are unlikely to happen on Housing, The NHS and British jobs for British workers. Alongside this there were stunts like Iraq, inviting Baroness Thatcher for tea and the early election cock up.
On Saturday though he managed to combine both of these traits. With the chorus of boos he received when England played Germany at Wembley a few weeks ago, you would have thought that would have been enough to put him off trying to make himself popular through sport, but then on Saturday there he was again at the Rugby World Cup final. The sight of a very nationalist Scottish leader sitting in the stands supporting England was pretty bad, but then it got worse.
Alongside head of States, the head of Government took his place in the trophy presentation party. Looking like a spare part hanger on at a wedding, he took on a duty I would have thought a member of the Royal Family should be doing. As a piece of PR, it looks like another cringeworthy failure from someone who can’t fake sincerity.
So back to the main point. Is Gordon becoming a Jonah. Well since he became Prime Minister, I can’t think of much he’s associated himself with that can be described as a success. The budget, The NHS with its recent troubles, The EU constitution and Ed Balls. He’d better hope his luck picks up soon because it won’t be his courage that sees him through.


close but no cigar

Just finished watching the Rugby World Cup Final. Well the team certainly didn’t disgrace themselves and whilst it is disppointing to go down at the final hurdle I certainly didn’t expect to be watching England in the final when the competition started.

They often say no one remembers the loser in a final – but the team certainly deserve alot of credit – unfortunately this time it was close but no cigar.


Bet that question wasn't in his briefing notes

PMQs 17th October

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The latest cut and thrust of Prime Minister’s Questions is now available to download. You can either click the download button above, or listen to it in our media player at the top of the website.

Michael Crick scored last week’s performance as a 5-0 win to Cameron and this week a 2-1 victory. What do you think?