Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Monday, 10 March 2014
If the flight path were over a grim 1960s housing estate or a new town, then that would be all right, of course.
From The Evening Standard:
Boris Johnson’s mother-in-law has joined furious residents protesting against the “unbearable” effects of plans for a new Gatwick flight path over their picturesque village.
Three weeks ago the tranquillity of the quintessentially English village of Warnham, West Sussex, was shattered without warning when aircraft taking off from Gatwick began thundering overhead – part of a six-month trial by Gatwick and air traffic control service NATS.
The £1,000 a year bung should soften the blow a bit, eh?
LVT will sort all this out. If the noise from the new flight path reduces the enjoyment value of your house, then its rental value will fall £ for £, and hence your LVT bill come down £ for £.
The really strange thing is that house prices under the Heathrow flight paths are higher than elsewhere, all things being equal. So it is possible that in a bizarre sort of way, the rental value and selling price of the houses in Warnham will go up.
From the BBC:
A car has been found embedded in the wall of a primary school in Birmingham after a crash in the early hours.
The car crashed through two sets of railings at Springfield Primary School and into the school office, said Birmingham City Council.
The school is closed while the wreckage is cleaned-up and the damage assessed.
By cross-referencing Google Maps and the BBC's picture, it looks as if the car went straight across the roundabout.
And it's a mystery to me why they've closed the whole school just because one little office is temporarily unavailable, it's a huge great building. Any excuse, I suppose.
A chap got off the Tube this morning accompanied by a guide dog. The dog had a large notice attached to its harness bearing the message "Please do not touch or distract me. I am working."
After one awkward incident years ago*, I always leave them in peace to get on with it (I think that the chap was perfectly sighted and was training the dog rather than being blind himself, but the dog isn't supposed to know that) but I was sorely tempted to congratulate him for the most excellent sign.
* I was walking along the pavement towards a lady who was waiting patiently for her guide dog to make up its mind to cross a road. Only it wasn't a road, it was just somebody's driveway that was wide enough to look like a road.
"You'll be all right," I said helpfully, "It's not a road, it's just somebody's driveway."
The lady looked up at me and gave me a very black look. She was of course a sighted guide dog trainer and the last thing she wanted was for her careful training schedule to be ruined by well-meaning members of the public.
The responses to last week's Fun Online Poll were as follows:
Boris Johnson has said that Muslim children at risk of radicalisation should be taken into care:
That just shows his authoritarian streak - 38%
He's just being his usual provocative self - 25%
That sounds like a good idea - 13%
This would only exacerbate things - 11%
Other, please specify - 13%
With the benefit of hindsight, I think it would have been better to allow multiple selections as the categories overlap, but that looks like a big thumbs-down from us.
For a bit of light relief, let's do inconsiderate car drivers, starting with German marques.
Vote here or use the widget in the sidebar.
Sunday, 9 March 2014
Transcribed from part 2/3, originally broadcast on 9 September 2013.
Tesco had steadily been making progress through the '80s but it wasn't until after the recession of the early 1990s that it really surged ahead.
The company's marketing boss Terry Leahy understood what his customers wanted:
[Interview with Terry Leahy]: "It turned out that our customers were the most reliable guide. They said, 'Look, we've been in recession, we need you to offer us good value, erm, we need you to be more aware of the pressures we're having today'"
Tesco responded by going back to its low-price roots. First it launched its Value range and then came the marketing slogan 'Every Little Helps'.
Tesco was cutting prices to boost sales while in contrast Sainsbury's was protecting it profits. This was a return to the glory days of Slasher Jack [Tesco's founder Jack Cohen]. Perhaps value was in Tesco's DNA.
Tesco always had a keen eye for price when dealing with suppliers:
[Excerpt from a much earlier programme about Tesco]: "Because one thing a price-cutting company needs is sheer size. The power to place orders large enough to force bargains with even the biggest suppliers."
Now it could offer even lower prices because it was operating on a bigger scale, enabling it to buy in bulk and sell cheap.
This was due to another canny move by Tesco. It bought vast amounts of [cheap] property during the recession of the early 90s, acquiring sites for a new generation of out-of-town superstores:*
[Interview with former Tesco boss Lord Ian McLaurin]: "We were able to accelerate it through sort of '93, '94, '95 and that gave us the opportunity to leave the others cold. And I mean they… they didn't catch up then and they haven't caught up to this day."
The other huge contributor to Tesco's rise cam from Terry Leahy. He'd been pondering how to revive Slasher jack's retailing trick the loyalty scheme [Green Shield stamps]. What his team came up with was ClubCard…
By their own words etc.
So now we know why Tesco was racing ahead of the competition for ten years or so, muscling in on the land monopoly which it can use as a stick to beat suppliers and competition with, and also, despite what McLaurin says, why Tesco has been falling back again over the last five years or so. Land is incredibly expensive again, so it cannot repeat this "canny move".
* In my experience it wasn't just out-of-town, Tesco were actively in the market for any decent sized site, five acres and upwards, and if that was in a town centre, then so much the better, they'd happily open up there as well.
Rather splendid bit of investigation by a Brixton resident into a C4 news report on Brixton on Brixton Buzz:-
It turns out that the reporter, Jordan Jarrett-Bryan, merely interviewed a gaggle of his friends/colleagues, and passed this off as a reflection of the view of Brixton at large.
The correct way to do it is to interview lots of random people and only include the views you want to be played, dummy.
According to other sources, we will change to BST on 30 March 2014, i.e. in three weeks.
Saturday, 8 March 2014
… says Julia M who emailed in this from Newsshopper:
"Hush hush" proposals to put grazing cows in a popular park and golf course are complete and udder madness, users say.
The proposal to turn part of Beckenham Place Park, which lies between Downham and Beckenham, into 'parkland grazing' is one of four options put forward as part of a radical redesign being considered by Lewisham Council, which has responsibility for the space…
I'm not sure quite how hush-hush this public announcement was, but hey…
Controversially, the plan would do away with the park's famous golf course…
David Hansom from the Friends of Beckenham Place Park, who fought those plans, said: "If you look at all the pictures from the 18th century, they show the parkland was used for grazing animals which people could eat in big houses.
"But they can't really seriously consider that. The idea's ridiculous."
Yes, eating grazing animals in big houses. Ridiculous.
Judith Whitton, 63, of Burnt Ash Lane, regularly walks her dog Leah in the park - the borough's largest green space - and said an exhibition of the plans last month was kept under wraps.
She said: "They've kept it all hush hush but all these plans sound like pie in the sky to me. They should be more concerned with looking after it a bit better."
No, not "pie in the sky", this is a case of "pie ingredients in the park".
Friday, 7 March 2014
From the BBC:
The head teacher of a school for children with behavioural issues has defended her decision to permit pupils to smoke.
Students aged 14 to 16 at the Honeyhill Pupil Referral Unit in Peterborough are allowed two supervised off-site smoking breaks each day, with parental consent…
So far so good.
A spokesperson for anti-smoking group Action on Smoking and Health (Ash) said:
"If the unit does not allow alcohol or drugs, why would they allow smoking? It is totally out of kilter with current health advice and they should think seriously about reversing the policy."
a) allowing them to take drugs on the premises is almost certainly illegal under some law or other,
b) smoking might be a bit unhealthy but it certainly helps smokers concentrate better (i.e. on their lessons) as opposed to drinking alcohol which usually has the opposite effect (for which the school would presumably require some sort of licence anway, like those restaurants with a corking charge?), and
c) This is an educational establishment and not a health advice centre. That'd be like criticising a hospital for having a lending library for in-patients.