Archive for June, 2009

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Leave Mark Thompson alone…

June 26, 2009

IMHO the expenses row has now gone too far.

So following the MP’s expenses scandal, and in the spirit of openness and transparency, Mark Thompson the BBC director general has published the expenses of the most senior 100 executives at the BBC including himself.

News story here.

Does he get praise for this? Like hell he does. I was unhappy to see the normally balanced and sensible Kirsty Wark on Newsnight last night implying that claiming for air fares to fly his family home from their disrupted holiday was unreasonable… and there was a vox pop on the BBC 10 o’clock news with people saying that this claim was “disgusting”.

No it’s not.

Sure there are some cheeky and unreasonable claims among those published, but let’s get the facts about Mark Thompson’s flights home straight:

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Stop flying RyanAir, it only encourages them!

June 25, 2009

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the low-cost airline model itself. Indeed I regularly fly on easyJet and Denmark’s equivalent Cimber (formerly Sterling, and before that Maersk). But RyanAir, and in particular Michael O’Leary, have taken it too far.

This post is prompted by their recent announcement that following the removal of check-in desks, so you have to check in online, print your boarding card and take any checked baggage to bag drop, they are then going to do away with the bag drop. So if you really want to take checked baggage then you’re going to have to take it through airport security and carry it to the ‘plane yourself – and pay for the privilege.

But my relationship, or lack of it, goes back much further than that.

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Why MPs’ expenses are good for the economy

June 21, 2009

I think the current ongoing fuss about MPs’ expenses is good for the economic recovery of the UK.

What fuels the economy?

Well economic health is all about confidence. Traders, especially on the stock market, behave generally as a herd – if the herd takes fright they all run. So stories about economic failure, increasing unemployment, shops closing, firms going bankrupt and the size of the national debt all fuel the fear, both among traders and the general public. This fear breeds more fear, so people stop spending, firms stop investing, banks stop lending and it all heads for the cliff.

So how does MPs fiddling their expenses help?

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Walking the Ridgeway

June 20, 2009

I’ve had some time on my hands recently, so I decided to do something I’ve had on my “must do” list for a while, and that’s to walk the Ridgeway Path. This is an 87-mile trail from Ivinghoe Beacon in the Chiltern Hills in Buckinghamshire, to Overton Hill near Avebury in Wiltshire (or the other way if you want), largely off road.

I’m not going to say much about the Ridgeway since Read the rest of this entry ?

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How I lost weight – eating three meals a day.

June 19, 2009

Having been 15st (210lb, 95.5kg) for many years,  a couple of months ago I returned from a skiing holiday having gained a further 3lb and decided it was time to lose some weight.

Do I need to lose weight?

Well I’m 6’2″, actually I used to be that, but now I’m in my mid 50’s I’ve shrunk a bit. I’m still over 6’1″, but 15st 3lb (213lb, 96.8kg) gives me a body mass index (BMI) of around 27.9 which is towards the obese end of “Overweight”. “Healthy” is between 18.5 and 25. I have my own doubts about the use of BMI and its classifications, but that can wait for another post.

I’m a fairly big sort of chap and I’ve been fairly fit and athletic all my life; but at 15st 3lb I felt a bit flabby round the middle. And both my wife and my doctor have been encouraging me to lose a bit of weight. Finally, however, it was catching sight of myself side-on in a mirror and realising that the most outstanding feature of my body shape was my tummy, that made me decide to do something about it.

This morning, two months later, the scales said Read the rest of this entry ?