I remember when I interviewed Ken Livingstone a few years ago and told him that congestion charge was just a tax raising exercise because cows passing wind did more damage to the ozone layer that vehicle exhaust fumes – he said that’s why he’s become a vegetarian!
As the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) - £12.50 a day - is introduced into London, scientists in Britain are breeding low emission cows into herds! Yes, honest! Almost 15% of the greenhouse emissions come from livestock as opposed to 14% from vehicles. Methane is 28 times more damaging than carbon dioxide.
Great news, but ULEZ is just a tax raising scheme, it won’t change the emissions or people using their cars and what about the folk who live in the zone? It is a 24/7 tax and whilst they have an initial exemption that will be reduced and phased out. It is the ordinary resident that will be affected. They will have older cars, but I have a 4-year-old car that is only £30 a year road tax but has to pay ULEZ. The answer is to take my highly toxic Triumph Stag into London, over 40 years old and exempt!
Like me, you are probably amazed that this wasn’t already happening. From July, online porn users will have to prove their age. Kids currently have unhindered access. About time, but not sure how it will work. It is well known that many sites on the internet are not safe and that people are stealing data and personal details. I’d have penny to a pound that the porn sites had a greater percentage of ‘thieves’ than say, BBC Food’s Recipe page! No idea how age will be checked, but is anybody really going to put, say, their passport details into a site when we already know that data theft is ripe and sophisticated on the net.
Great news that some effort is being made on this front… but I’d say to mums and dads, make sure your ID is safe. How will whatever is put in be checked??
UNICEF tells us that half a million kids in this country didn’t get the measles jab between 2010 and 2017. As a post war kid, one of the great advancements of my generation was vaccination. All sorts of diseases were wiped out or controlled, but measles, which in extreme cases can be a killer, is still found in outbreaks across Europe and cases in the UK have now quadrupled in one year.
Why? Myths, complacency, misinformation and laziness. Yes, I really do believe that laziness is part of it, people simply cannot be bothered to have their kids vaccinated.
I wrote last week about Sir Philip Green, but not about gagging orders, the non-disclosure agreements which we are told he uses regularly. Well, he’s not alone, which of course we knew, but it appears that universities have shelled out £87m in the last two years, an average of £22,000 per case (do the maths) to gag victims. Victims of what you ask? Sexual misconduct, bullying, racial discrimination, sexual discrimination and more. And who is responsible for the need to pay folk off? It’s the staff. Are they sacked? After all, if money is paid to hush up the charges, it has to be assumed that they were valid.
Ironically of course, universities don’t have any money. It’s given to them by the taxpayer and the students to provide education, so students are directly contributing to these pay offs. And several universities are in a perilous financial state. I’ve got an idea… have the charges brought into the open and let the courts decide with power to make the offender, if guilty, pay compensation if appropriate; not have it covered up at our expense. But that might bring discredit to the university, and so it should! This is mad as well as bad, but it is very, very bad and goes to the core of so much that it so rotten in life today. This isn’t directly the unacceptable face of capitalism, this is institutional.
Initially, I had this as a bad, which it is! But as I wrote about it, it just became more and more obvious that it is totally mad! Killing ourselves with food… one in six deaths is caused by the food choices we make - pure madness!
We have never had access to as much quality and variety of cheap food as we do now. When I was a kid we were almost force-fed bread, for one thing it filled you up, but we now eat twice as much meat as bread. I went to Tottenham Court Road recently because I wanted a bit of techno kit and knew there was an abundance of little techie shops there and I’d be sure to get it, but I’d not been for years. All knocked down and replaced with a smart new building with very nice shops on the ground floor and offices above. Almost all were food shops, mainly fast food. Now that’s different from when I was kid! If you walk for 10/15 minutes from the station in any town, you’ll be buzzed by fast food delivery bikes or even vans roaring past you!
Yes, we are told that one in six deaths is caused by the food choices we make. Um, I wonder, is the burger I ate at midnight at Victoria station as I caught the last train going to kill me? Of course not, but there are people who live on them, out and at home. I was on the south coast recently and going to look at a new washing machine on a retail park with a drive-in MacDonald’s. It was about 3.45pm and school was out. The queues from the drive-in jammed the roundabout 300 yards away! We’re eating too much food, and although it often tastes good, it isn’t nourishing us.
Maybe we need to bring back Billy Cotton’s Sunday lunchtime radio show, “Wakey, wakey!”
Not sure this is really mad, but couldn’t resist including it!
Research coming out of Georgia, which I’m told is the world’s oldest wine making country, says that Mars is an ideal place to grow white wine grapes! It may be the red planet, but it’ll be white wine!
There are still experiments to conduct and tests to do but there are 525 types of grape in Georgia and one of them, rkatsiteli, is thought to be resistant to ultraviolet radiation!
Can’t help but wonder if the Trade Descriptions Act will be needed when Mars starts exporting white wine to Earth and we see a surge of new wine bars… Mars Bars!