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27 September 2007


How typical of Russia and China to block moves by the UN Security Council to condemn the evil Burmese military regime! What kind of message are they trying to disseminate? In refusing to do anything (even say anything) about a brutal dictatorship - that employs military force against its own people, suppresses all forms of democracy, and utilises forced labour for the construction of its projects - the Russian and Chinese authorities merely confirm that their relatively recent apparent conversion to the notion of a more open society and free trade is no more than a veneer - a facade - concealing an inbuilt disregard for democracy as we understand it.

Since they refuse to impose sanctions against the Burmah Junta it is my opinion that it falls to us, the people of the Western democracies, to impose our own sanctions against Russia and China. I realise of course that refusing to buy Chinese made goods is extremely difficult because it seems that every other thing you pick up in the shops these days has been made in China. But I for one will make the effort.

17 September 2007

At last - Some Competition on the East Coast Main Line

With the ill-fated GNER being replaced by National Express in December on the London-Scotland main line, I was pleased to learn that there will soon be some competition on at least part of the route. A new train company called Grand Central will later this month be commencing a high-speed service between Sunderland and London, via York.

If it lives up to the promises on its Website the service will be worth a try. Time will tell, but I wish them well.

09 September 2007


Marmite .. "Love it or hate it" they say. Well for me it's "Love it .. hate the pot".


Just at the time we are all talking more and more about reducing waste and doing our best to recycle our garbage, food producers seem to be marching in the opposite direction and selling us stuff that we cannot recycle.

Sauces, condiments, drinks, etc. used to come in glass bottles and jars that could be recycled. Now they are coming in plastic bottles. And now Marmite has joined the Sqeezy Brigade.

Let's face it - it's not the consumer causing the mountains of environmentally unfriendly waste; it's the food producers and retailers. Why do vegetables have to be wrapped in cling-film?

It's not just the food producers: why does a new computer USB flash drive (or "memory stick") have to be encapsulated in an inpenetrable plastic casing ten times the size of the actual product?

We will not start making inroads into proper recycling and a reduction in waste until the manufacturers, producers and retailer play their part. This is where government pressure should be applied instead of constantly nagging the poor old consumer, i.e., you and me. We're doing our best but "progress" keeps knocking us back!

01 September 2007

Blog-free Zone

This is a blog-free zone for the next week - I'm off to Wales, clearing my throat and carrying a spitoon ready for all those unpronouncable place names. For the benefit of blogging burglars my house is fully occupied for the duration.