Friday, 23 September 2011

The English should be pleased that a massive gas find has been reported near Blackpool. Apparently there is thought to be sufficient gas to keep the country supplied for many dozens of years. The bad news is that it is shale gas which can only be obtained by drilling into the shale and creating thousands of tiny explosions. These explosions are thought to have been the cause of last year’s earthquake tremor in Lancashire. Let’s hope the issue can be resolved. Scotland has sufficient gas to last for many years, if England can supply its own.

According to Tesco, 80% of the population is having some difficulty in “putting food on the table”. It is worst, says Richard Brasher, their chief executive, for pensioners, who are having to ration food, heating and light. That’s a proud boast for a country running two wars which are nothing to do with it. Well, Munguin’s Republic has been saying that for at least a year. Inflation may be 5%+ (or using the government’s preferred measure 4.5%), but it is far more for the poor. And even as this is happening the Westminster government is taking away £100 in straight cash from the oldest pensioners. Anyway, Mr Brasher (every little bit hurts... no helps, sorry) is going to cut more prices and start a supermarket war. He wants to replace a philosophy of “charging as much as you can get away with” to one of charging “as little as you can”. Well, good on him and them. Obviously all other supermarkets will follow. But in case you feel too sorry for them, I remember reading that British supermarkets aim for a 5% profit, where continental ones make do with 2% and American/Australian ones with 1%. I don’t know if it’s exactly true, but it would explain the difference in prices on a great number of items. So, they can afford it. Let the war commence!

Is it a condition of employment that Dundee’s National Express drivers be rude, surly, bad tempered and possess appalling driving skills?

France has raised its annual inflation forecast from 1.8% to 2.1%. The difference between their inflation and the UK’s is doubtless that whilst Electricité de France plans to raise prices by 4.5% for Electricity and 15.4% for gas in the UK, and that this will be the second rise within a year. Whilst in France gas price rises have been cancelled and Electricité de France is allowed a rise of only 1.7% on orders of the President. A pity the Queen wouldn’t do the same thing here.


  1. "Massive gas find reported near Blackpool" - Labour party conference?

  2. To be extracted by fracking involving chemicals so Purcell will feel at home.

  3. Hey John... that may be a gas explosion methinks!

  4. Crivvens CH, don't tell me Glasgow council has it's fingers in that pie too?

  5. Tris

    Talking about Mr Purcell.

    I wonder if he will be treated the same as some wee jacky from "The Scheme"

  6. Yeah right Dubs... If he serves any time at all, it will be short.

  7. Just a question Tris, what do you think about the difference between 'relative' and 'absolute' poverty?

    It is at the back of my mind when reading about profits and hardship that in western Europe we are all too-ready to think in terms of the former and not the latter type of poverty.

    Which is wrong, we must always remind ourselves, and each other that in every issue like the ones you raise, to talk about relative poverty is entirely and incredibly Bourgeois.

  8. Tris has e-mailed me to say that thanks to BT his internet is currently down and he can't answer comments. But will as soon as the situation is sorted out.

  9. tris

    According to Tesco, 80% of the population is having some difficulty in “putting food on the table”

    yeah ! right then you have the snp with their(and only theirs) First Fat Man of Scotland taxing the stores who sell food to the peoples of scotland.
    who then are forced by the snp to raise the price of food

    causing many low waged scots to starve meanwhile the snp give a tax cut via a council tax freeze to the most wealthy in Scottish society.

    and then you(and Brownlie) give all that guff about the snp being for the ordinary scot do leave it out..


    'incredibly Bourgeois'

    I'd like to slap you silly been at the Das kapital have you

  10. mungy

    tris cant answer back the great just tell him he is a KNob head twit etc ..........

    ha ha ha

  11. I can't believe we had to pay for Dean's EUology degree course. Poor guy hasn't got a scoobie what he's talking about and has been new Right Rompeyised. He'll be flipping burgers when his beloved EU dies. From £100K non job to £10K useful job.
    My BT total broadband died for a few hours as well but seems ok now........

  12. Well Dean, clearly I'm referring in Scotland (largely) to relative poverty. Absolute poverty can be found in Somalia, for example. But whilst relative poverty is clearly not as awful as absolute poverty, it is still wrong to have people buying £700 bottles of wine, while others dine on Tesco's beans at 17p a tin.

  13. Niko. Tesco and their like make billions in profit. For heaven's sake surely they can afford to make a bit more of a contribution.

    Will they put prices up? (To use the Nick Clegg system of replying to questions) I doubt it. There's going to be a price war and the big supermarkets are going to be at each others' throats. No one will want to be left out. otherwise people will start buying their groceries on Amazon!

    The tax that John Swinney has proposed is not, by any standards, huge. And money has to be found for the social policies the government wants to bring in.

    It's disingenuous of you to talk about giving council tax freeze to the richest people in Scotland and not mentioning that they are given to the poorest too... And there is its much appreciated.

    I've just heard that only about 25% of the population think that labour in the UK is credible. Hmmm. That's a bad figure after a year of David Cameron, isn't it Niko?

  14. Erm Niko... I just read what you wrote about me when you thought I couldn't answer back.

    I'd double lock your doors tonight if I were you. Revenge will be swift and severe!!!!


  15. Mine wouldn't come back, Monty. I had to phone a nice lady in India who sorted it perfectly.

    But I couldn't help noticing when I phoned (and gave up) last night, that they were busy and I would have had to wait... then the same thing this morning, twice...

    It might be an idea to get some more staff, I thought.

    Once through though, I can't fault the service. The girl who helped me was superb.

  16. tris.
    They used to have a Scottish call centre for faults. Must have outsourced.
    Do you find your connection drops out occasionally despite the hub seeming to be working normally ?
    Wouldn't switch from BT now though. After trying a few others that are worse lol

  17. Yes I do, Monty. It's relatively rare, thank goodness.

    I agree with you about the fact that although BT is expensive and a nightmare to get in touch with, it's a case of the devil you know syndrome.

    I once before changed, not long after I got a computer, and had to change back because the service was so very very very bad.

    I hear Virgin is not bad though...

    I remember having to phone about a telephone line on one occasion and I got a Scottish call centre. I could understand everything they said but were they rude... I got some cheeky little bitch who needed a damned good slapping to teach her some manners and that the customer is always right, even when he's wrong.

    The trouble with UK call centres is that they are often staffed by people who hate the job, and are only doing it till something else comes along, whereas in India, it's a relatively prestigious and quite reasonably paid job. One people want to keep!

    I wish they would use Scottish call centres, but I'd rather have good service.

    Of course there is the accent, but you just have to persevere, I reckon. After all I've had call centres in Newcastle and Belfast for other companies, and couldn't understand a word they said either... :)

    I reckon I'd be stuck with a Aberdeen one too!

  18. I've worked at various call centres ( inc BT ) and found the 'great british public' to be mostly rude and foul mouthed. Opened my eyes anyway lol
    BT were the best run and regulated so I'm surprised you got a rude advisor. All their calls are taped so you would have no problems complaining.
    Turnover is high because most call centre workers are doing degrees so move on when they graduate.
    Most of the folk I worked with didn't hate the job. They learnt a lot about patience and thinking on their feet. How to talk customers around from Mr Angry to quiet as a church mouse is a useful tool to learn.

  19. Hey, Niko, speaking up for the capitalist, typical of NewLabour.

    Tesco would never dream of pricing their goods as high as they can get away with out of the goodness of their hearts and out of consideration for the poorest in society. That's probably why they reached an agreement with HMRC (Head honcho Darling - the scourge of the supermarkets) to avoid paying taxes on profits?

    There was a plea from Labour to exempt Sainsburys on the grounds that their main backer would lose .00000003% (approximately) of his pocket-money if this tax was implemented.

    Far better to have adopted Labour's plan of a revaluation of council tax, as in Wales, to bring the poorest into equality with the richest and then increase the council tax by 160% (approximately) which was NewLabour's original intention prior to their u-turn when desperately looking for votes..

    Do you think the poor such as Lords Foulkes, Martin, Reid, Browne, Robertson, McConnell, Watson etc etc etc etc, and all the others who made Scotland a paradise on earth,will have any difficulty paying a bit extra at supermarkets?

  20. Incidentally, Tris, as usual, ahem, made an extremely valid point regarding supermarket prices and competition.

    In my nearest town, Stornoway, the Co-op was the only supermarket until Tesco arrived. Almost immediately prices were lowered in line with the competition. If Lidl or some-one similar come along then prices will, no doubt, fall further.

  21. Yes Monty. I would agree that a proportion of the British public is rude and foul mouthed. And I wish they weren't. (The psychologist in me thinks that that probably comes from an underlying unhappiness and dissatisfaction with their lives, but that's another post.)

    I know that many of the staff are working to pay their living costs at university (and in England their fees too). That's what I was saying. They don't care much about the job. They won't be doing this in a year. They'll be teaching history or taking out tonsils. I used to send some of my clients to the Riverside call centre in Dundee. There was a permanent recruitment going on and they really didn't employ that many people. (I have to say it was much the same with Tesco.)

    I can assure you though, that I received very rude treatment from the staff at BT. And I'm not in the least rude myself until I'm severely provoked... and which point I become extremely NASTY.

  22. Yes John, you're bang on with these comments. Labour did nothing for the very poor. Unless you include giving them the opportunity to pay something towards this great country of ours by increasing their income tax, by doubling the bottom rate.

    They have no room whatsoever to speak about poverty reduction. In their time in London and Edinburgh the gap between rich and poor got bigger. Well done. After 18 years of Tory rule you' have thought Labour would have set about reducing that gap, but no. They set about increasing it. Bravo!

    And this week's conference isn't about the poor. It's about the squeezed middle. The people who will have to forego their third holiday; their new decking; the jacuzzi, or upgrading the car every year. word about the dirt poor pensioner. Did I hear Mr Miliband say that he would immediately restore the pensioners' benefits? No. Did I hear him mock Mr Cameron for his "liar" accusations at Labour on that subject? No.

    Ed is doing his best to live down the Red tag, so he'll be concentrating on the rich rather than the poor.

    I heard about the co-op and Tesco. It is true that REAL competition does bring down prices. The trouble with Mrs Thatcher's mantra was that her idea of competition was monopoly in the hands of profiteers rather than state enterprise.