Friday 30 December 2011

Old Jews Telling Jokes.

The Memsahib was out last night, so I settled down in front of the television. I was entertained by a series of programs. Earthflight, Mastermind, Have I Got News For You, QI, and Great Expectations were amongst the fare available. Just before going to bed for the night I chanced on Old Jews Telling Jokes on BBC 4. Of American origin the programs features a series of old Jews telling their favourite joke. Strong language and reflective of the Jewish community and its sense of humour. The first program was followed by a second helping and so I was much later to bed than normal.  Available for the next seven days check them out on BBCi. Watch out for the Jewish lady and the joke about Broccoli, she is brilliant.

I'm back once more to looking for a 3kw diesel generator for Rosie. We attempted to purchase a brand new one on eBay. I checked out the sellers history, quite a few satisfied customers with sales of similar generator items. Did the usual Paypal payment and sat back waiting for delivery. After a week, I emailed the seller - no reply. Tried a second time - no reply. Then I noticed that bad feedback was starting to pile up on the sellers profile. Cut a long story short, Paypal restored the money into our account. I have just found a similar generator for sale at a business a couple of miles up the road. This time it will be Cash on Collection.

Each year, government papers are released under the 30 year rule, which give some insight into what our political leaders were thinking at the time. Back in 1981 Thatcher 'considered arming police' and  was also urged to abandon Liverpool. Sir Geoffrey Howe argued for a secret policy of 'managed decline' in Liverpool. Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Heseltine the cabinet papers note: "Mr Heseltine considered the behaviour of the police in Liverpool to be quite horrifying. They were not acting in a racialist fashion. They treated all suspects in a brutal and arrogant manner." 

One letter, written by then Chancellor Geoffrey Howe, gloomily predicts the general election will see the Conservatives faced with the prospect of "doing something which has not been done before - winning an election despite not being able to offer the electorate much in the way of material improvement". It is tempting to draw parallels with Cameron's coalition government.

Thatchers attention was also drawn to the Sports Council quango after she received a letter from the Duke of Edinburgh about the unelected make-up of the body. In a memo sent to to No 10, it said  "Apart from his general dislike of bureaucracy and his support for voluntary effort, his particular interest stems from his being President of the Central Council of Physical Recreation, a capacity in which he conducts a running battle with the Sports Council." Later Iain Sproat, the Conservative sports minister, outlined proposals to replace the Sports Council with the UK Sports Council for elite athletes.

A White Paper report in 1980 recommended that 246 quangos should be abolished saving £11.6m and costing 3,700 jobs. The current government announced in October that 192 public bodies would be axed, while a further 118 will be merged. In David Cameron’s plans for the “bonfire of the quangos”, designed to save the taxpayer billions of pounds. British Waterways would be given charitable status.

I have a feeling of Déjà vu, some things never change.


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