News

A Case for Intelligence

The recent death of a ‘spy’ in London reminded us of the secretive and shadowy world of the intelligence services, and the dangers for the people involved. Our memories were refreshed by the media with some of the acronyms of the intelligence services – SIS (Secret Intelligence Service, MI6) and GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters).

Bias

 This month, it was intriguing to read of Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, conceding that the Corporation was guilty of a “massive bias to the Left” in the past.  Many politicians on the right would agree with this assessment and might suggest that the bias sometimes continues today.  An internal report from 2007 added to the evidence in saying that the Corporation had to make greater efforts to avoid liberal bias.  This is all rather disturbing for a publicly-funded body.

Trust in Pensions

 In the not too distant past, many people were obliged to literally work until they dropped to try and maintain an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families. Some of us have been fortunate enough to live in relatively civilised and enlightened societies which have enshrined the right to retire and provided an income to support that choice. This is the basic philosophy behind providing a state pension.

Pensions

 In the not too distant past, many people were obliged to literally work until they dropped to maintain an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families.  Some of us have been fortunate enough to live in relatively civilised and enlightened societies which have enshrined the right to retire and provided an income to support that choice.  This is the basic philosophy behind providing a state pension.

Memoirs

 This Wednesday sees the publication of Tony Blair’s memoirs.  Apparently they have taken three years to write which is understandable given that the man was prime minister for 10 years.  Amongst prime ministers assuming office in the twentieth century, only Margaret Thatcher’s term of office was longer.

Seventieth Anniversary

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain where the German Luftwaffe attempted to gain air superiority over southern England.

The Audit Commission

 In 1983, the Audit Commission was set up by the Conservatives.  At one point in the 1990s, the Labour Party was pledged to abolish the organisation and the Conservatives opposed this idea.  Now the coalition government is to scrap the Audit Commission.  Viewpoints can certainly change and switch between the different political parties.

Savings to deliver a Stronger Future

 As we approach the autumn spending review, there is increasing media speculation about the level of savings to be made and where they will occur.  Whoever formed the government in May 2010 would have had to reduce public spending.  Labour were planning cuts of twenty per cent.  It is just that they never told us where these savings would be made.  What they might see as wisdom would better be described as cynicism.

Heritage

 It is really pleasing that Crawley has again received the coveted Green Flag award for three of its green spaces –TilgatePark,GoffsParkandMemorialGardens.  The Green Flag Award scheme is the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces inEnglandandWales.  For an award to be made, a park has to meet a range of criteria in the assessment.  These areas include maintenance, sustainability, conservation and heritage.

Staycation

 We are in the middle of the two peak weeks of the great British summer holiday.  In recent years, and during the economic crisis, the term ‘staycation’ has become part of the English language.  Last year foreign visits were down by 15 per cent as more of us stayed at home.  There were a number of contributory factors including employment status, less disposable income and the weakness of the pound.