Posts Tagged ‘Met Office’
Acording to the weathermen heavy snow was due at 11.00am, so we hurried our hen-cleaning with a view to avoiding being buried alive. The Met Office is seldom as precise as this, and by the time you read this you will know just how wise they were to be so on this occasion. Our problem is that we have reached the stage of believing absolutely nothing that we are told.
If we codgers are in anyway typical a state of cynicism stalks the land. It is hard to put the finger on the origins of this common mental state, but the Leveson Inquiry gave us some pointers. Day after day brought clear evidence of both newspapers and politicians having reached the point where pure invention is the norm. Even worse we realised that the links between sections of the press and politicians run deep, where the latter will jump through a thousand hoops to win support and the twisting of news to manipulate the public will.
The odds are that the perceived need to hold on to the support of Murdoch and the like is driving our dear leader and his colleagues to go to any lengths to ensure that Leveson’s recommendations are not implemented, and that the press barons will be left to exercise their own controls. One wonders if this was on the agenda just days before Christmas when Gorgeous George Osborne visited New York for a get-together with Robert Thomson, the new chief executive of the company that will control all Murdoch’s newspaper operations in Britain and the US. After a great deal of denial the Treasury spin-doctors have finally admitted that the meeting took place.
Meantime the press shows little sign of reform. Today’s Telegraph carries a four-page diatribe about the Swansea ball-boy who was booted by a Chelsea player on Wednesday evening. His parents climb from rags to riches, his own penchant for fast cars and daring emails are all investigated in minute detail. Invasion of privacy still seems to be the order of the day even amongst the so-called quality press. And the coverage of our dear leader’s promise of a referendum on Europe has had all the organs slanting the story to suit their own political agenda. Thus we ‘learn’ that Angela Merkel has welcomed ‘Dave’s ‘ plan to reform the EU. In reaity she said nothing of the sort, but favours must be repaid.
It is in regard to the dismantling of the NHS that the politicians and press alike are really having a field day in the lying stakes. Tomorrow will see thousands march through the streets of south-east London to protest aginst “ludicrous and highly dangerous” plans to close the A & E department at Lewisham Hospital. So intense is the anger that Millwall’s home match has been brought forward to tonight, and the club has made clear its view of the plan – “scandalous”.
The truth is that the closure is aimed at resolving the financial crisis at the neighbouring debt-mired South London Healthcare NHS Trust. The truth is that that hospital will not be able to care for the 125,000 patients of Lewisham. The truth is that ambulances face a one hour journey, and that local people seeking non-emergency medical help face the frightening prospect of having nowhere to turn to without first undertaking lengthy bus or car trips through congested traffic areas.
What we are being told is that this is all part of a plan to create bigger, and more technically efficient, crisis centres. South London isn’t that and there will be no local non blue-lights centre in Lewisham, something that the Department of Health claims is part and parcel of the move toward a new approach to emergency medicine. This pattern is set to be applied right across the country. It is based on an outright lie.
Unknown to most is the fact that the NHS ‘reforms’ are in the hands of management consultants who are rubbing their hands as the juicy contracts roll in. McKinsey is at the forefront of the plan to create a “commissioning market” and it pocketed the best part of £3million for last year alone. The work is led by Dr Penny Dash who was head of strategy at the DoH before movng on to the NHS competition regulator and promoter Monitor. Wheels within wheels, all well greased.
Come the election the NHS, not the EU, will be the major issue. There will be a new political party comprising clinical consultants. They will face a tough challenge as the politicians lie and their media friends oblige with tales doctored not by clinicians but those of the spin variety.
It is hard to know where all this will end, the country is in the last-chance saloon but has little awareness of the truth on any issue. Perhaps the only hope lies in the fact that today’s new generation do not read newspapers and have little respect for politicians.
Meantime we can console ourselves with the old adage that the truth will out. But when?
TODAYS QUOTES ARE ON MONEY! “In the midst of life we are in debt”…..Ethel Watts Mumford “Why is there so much month left at the end of the money?” …..John Barrymore “The difference between outlaws and in-laws is that the outlaws don’t promise to pay it back”…..Kin Hubbard “I once gave a waiter a tip – I told him never to step off a moving bus”…..Groucho Marx “My problem is how to reconcile my gross habits with my net income”….Errol Flynn “I gave him an unlimited budget and he exceeded it”…..Edward Williams “Saving is a fine thing – especially when your parents have done it for you”…..Winston Churchill “I’ve got all the money I need if I die by four o’clock”…..Henny Youngman “When a man tells you he got rich by hard work, ask him whose”…..George Bernard Shaw
If what we are experiencing on the allotments this ‘summer’ is any indication, we all have a good deal more to worry about than issues such as the reform of the Lords! Week after week of torrential rain have created a bog and a discernable sense of helplessness in the face of conditions quite new even to people of our venerable years. Without doubt the lack of sunshine is affecting the health of almost everyone and, even more worrying, appears to be affecting the crops.
Many of our friends, who maintain gardenng plots here, have traditionally produced vegatables by the lorry-load. This year things such as runner beans are showing enormous growth but very few flowers. All the signs are that the harvest will be a small one. No one pretends that every past summer has been a sun-feast, but somehow this year feels ominously different. Villages nearby have suffered flooding the like of which even the most ancient inhabitants have never seen. And across the country there have been unprecedented scenes of devastation.
One only has to watch a few news bulletins to realise that we are far from alone. This is not simply the result of a static jet stream, worrying though that in itself is. Right now there are horrendous floods in Russia, and over the past few weeks many continents have suffered similarly. Elsewhere there are droughts leading to equally appalling suffering.
Back in the UK Helen Chivers, of the Met Office, talks of the jet stream getting “bends in it”, a distortion which moves us into a “blocked pattern”. Hence the dry and mild weather of the winter…and the extreme wet weather we are seeing now. But what is causing the jet stream to become distorted? Hlen says that it could well be down to shifts in the Earth’s temperature, caused by global warming.
“A lot of work is being done into the decrease in Arctic sea ice,” says Chivers. “Essentially, if you warm the sea you change the temperature differential between the poles and the tropics and that in turn influences the jet stream”, she adds.
Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office, says that the recent bad weather could be ascribed to the natural variability of the weather. But he thinks not. ”Climate change could be making things worse”, he warns. “The globally warmer atmosphere now carries 4% more moisture over the oceans than in the 1970s and this could well be leading to increased rainfall in weather systems”.
Meantime leading scientists such as Dr David Scultz, at the centre for atmospheric science at Manchester University, says that it is hard to be sure that what is happening is entirely due to global warming. What is needed is more research. Clearly that is true but isn’t the clock ticking at a rather alarming rate?
One of the factors involved in global warming is light pollution. By coincidence today’s Telegraph carries huge pictures, from space, of the main areas of lighting. There is scarcely a spot to be seen in the night sky of the whole African continent. By contrast the UK and parts of Europe are ablaze. London and Paris are huge offenders. Scientist Felix Deschenes warns that unnecessary lighting is contributing to man-made climate change, adding that our “global thirst for energy is worrying”.
Meantime we learn that consumers in this country throw away two million tons of clothing each year, with half going to landfills. Councils are to be asked to step up efforts to organise recycling. Why? Because 14 tons of carbon dioxide are generated by each ton of clothing manufactured.
We would all prefer to ignore the global warming stuff. Scientists are still unsure and the rest of us would prefer to carry on as we are. But is this sensible? By the time we are sure, it may be too late.
Indeed if this extraordinary summer is any indication it is already much later than we think! World leaders will never agree to act in a united way, the only hope would seem to be individual offending countries tackling their own contribution. Perhaps yapping on for months about the Lords is not our top priority ?
TEARS ALL ROUND!
Had a man from the planet Zog landed at Wimbledon around six o’clock yesterday he would have assumed that calamity on a huge scale had befallen the human race. Everyone was crying.
Of course not all of the sobs were genuine. Our dear leader was showing the cameras the way he would appear should Iran trigger a nuclear explosion. But Andy Murray himself was clearly genuinely overcome. One cynic commented this morning that so would he be had he just missed out on £50 million. But I don’t buy into that.
He had just given his all in a great game aginst Roger Federer, still the best player on the planet. So why so many tears? In part, I suggest, because we Brits have no sense whatsoever when it comes to Wimbledon. As did Tim Henman before him, Murray has suffered immense pressure invented by us. Every newspaper featured him for days on its front page with headlines about Britain’s hour of destiny. Hordes of photographers have followed him everywhere and camped outside his house. And the TV pundits have gone completely mad.
The evening before the final John Innverdale ended his show by saying that in 13 hours and eighteen minutes Andy Murray will be the focus of every living being. This, he said, is his date with destiny. Absolute rubbish. In reality a talented youg player was due to play a final. The fact that our general standard is so low and that no one has managed to even reach the final for seventy plus years is not his responsibility or cross to bear.
I realise that we tend to do the same with our soccer and cricket teams but there the pressure is applied to squads of players, seldom less that 16 strong. In tennis it is down to one individual, and in the case of Britain we only have one player.
Some believe that nerves undermined Andy. If so we can only blame ourselves, not least the hordes of middle aged women sporting pictures of Andy with the words “We depend on you”. Instead of breaking down he should have told them to try doing it rather than getting hysterical about something they usually forget for the rest of the year.
As part of a long-standing tradition a number of the allotmenteers went along to the Rosemere Cancer Foundation Carol Concert last night. It is an excellent cause, the company was great and the mulled wine and mince pies likewise. There was just one difference this year, in my head at least I substituted wet for white in our favourite carol immortalised by Bing Crosby. Even at my advanced years I can’t recall many white Christmas mornings but I certainly can remember yearning for one. No longer! Over the past few weeks we have seen and shovelled enough snow to last a lifetime. Hate to be spoilsports but we animal carers would love to see torrential rain washing the last of the drifts away. It won’t happen, not least because under the pack snow are dozens of drains never cleared by the Council, but we should perhaps resist being downcast by the weather forecasters dire predictions since these are presumably the very people that promised us a BBQ summer as a result of which we didn’t build an ark.
But the Met Office is not the target for today’s dose of venom. I reserve that, not for the first time, for the politically correct brigade. I call them that because I am never sure as to who they are. Does the PR brigade comprise just three ladies with big hats all related to Mrs Bucket? Or are there zillions of them all working away as if at cracker jokes, each wracking his or her brain to come up with another wheeze aimed at offending anyone who has the timerity to claim that they have always lived here and quite like the customs.
What brought this on? A few days ago I went in search of Christmas cards. Being old fashioned I like the traditional nativity scenes but there were none to be had. One lady told me that her shop only received a small supply of the ‘Jesus’ ones, as she put it, and they sold very quickly. I found this curious and spoke to a pal who works for W H Smith. He estimated that only around 15 per cent of all cards stocked were of a ‘religious nature’. Apparently the wholesalers are nervous of giving offence to non-Christians. Have you ever heard such rubbish?
People are free to buy what they like and to ignore what they don’t like. In any case many of those who like the traditional Christmas story do not necessarily buy them for religious reasons. Whatever you actually believe there can surely be no denying that the story of the wise men , shepherds and all is the most beautiful story ever told.
But to me the greatest mystery is the identity of those who are supposed to be offended. A number of those who share our allotment life are of other faiths and all pour ridicule on the idea that traditions should be abandoned. Several of them love christmas and celebrate it vigourously in a secular way. The same goes for my newsagent who looks forward to the festival partly because it boosts his sales and partly because the big day is the only one of the year when he doesn’t have to sort newspapers at the crack of dawn. I asked him for his view of the PR boneheads. His reply was to the point; “they are bonkers”.
I happen to believe in that magical scene in that stable of long ago. But my self understanding reminds me that December 25th is not the correct date and I do realise that parts of the story have changed in the telling. I have no quarrel with those who believe otherwise and they should have none with my right to differ.
And those ladies in big hats should take a long walk off a short pier!
CAN’T TRUST CAMERON OR OSBORNE SAY LIB DEMS!
It seems that Uncle Vince was not alone in being gulled by reporters pertending to be constituents. Heidi Blake and Holly Watt also went along ( armed with tape recorders) to ensnare Lib Dem ministers Andrew Stunell, David Heath, Norman Baker and Paul Burstow.
Local Councils minister Stunell questioned Cameron’s sincerity. He remarked that he “didn’t know where to fit him on the sincerity monitor”. Commons Deputy Leader Heath believes that the coalition may prove to be a “disaster” for his party and comments that Osborne “gets up his nose and has no experience of how ordinary people live their lives”.Transport Minister believes that Nick Clegg has chosen to “handcuff himself to the prime minister”. He also said that the Tories were furious over Lib Dem attempts to thwart Rupert Murdoch, the Tory approach is to say “here you are Mr Murdoch, how much do you want?”. Care Minister Paul Burstow urged the ‘constituents’ “not to trust Cameron”.
And there is a whole lot more. Again it is difficult to believe that ministers were prepared to confide in total strangers. Of course even more amazing is what they said about their supposed partners. They were, Mr Baker said, “beyond the pale”, almost “akin to the South African apartheid government”.
What does Mr Cameron do now? If he repeats his public humiliation of Cable the whole coalition could collapse. If he does nothing his own backbenchers are going to create mayhem. Of course whatever he does will be supported by his stooge. In reality the LibDems need a new leader, one who will co-operate but maintain distance from Cameron. After all since so many Lib Dems seemingly distrust the prime minister the worst possible position for their leader is kneeling at the feet of the Old Etonian.
I wonder if the cabinet has held its Christmas party yet. If not it is likely to be a less than jolly affair!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. The Free French movement 2. Linus Pauling
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. What award was given to two Belfast women, Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams? 2. The comedian Sid James died in 1976. In which country was he born?
JOIN ME TOMORROW FOR THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS EVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!