Saturday, 1 January 2011

Another year

It seems that my last post predicating the subject and date of the next was surprisingly accurate.

Have a super year.

Friday, 1 January 2010


The last post that I made was about a year ago wishing my then regular readers and passing visitors a happy 2009. If there is still anyone out there arriving here I'd like to wish you a happy and prosperous 2010 even though I don't really go for all of this new year stuff.

On current form the date and subject of my next post is probably predictable.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

A little late but

.... seasons greeting and best wishes for the new year for anyone passing this way.

That said I don't really hold much store by the whole 'New Year' concept as my post of last year made clear but a little general good cheer can't do anyone any harm at the moment.


Sunday, 21 December 2008

A personal rant.

I’m a bit annoyed.

I do spend quite a bit of time reading blogs. Lots of them are political ones and are pretty well known. Mike Smithson’s Political Betting is probably one of the best attracting comment contributors from all over the political spectrum. I do rather enjoy Guido and Iain Dale amongst quite a few others too. The main posts are always pretty good but as ever the comments left are where the fun really is. And where much of my aforementioned annoyance comes from.

Regular visitors (such as they are after my lack of blogging for the last few months) will know that I exist on just to the right of centre right on the political spectrum. The same tiny band will probably recall that I also work in a Hospital in a middle ranking Purchasing role.

And the odd thing is when reading blog comments it’s people on my ‘own side of the political fence’ with whom I get rather cross .

There seems to be the perception in much of the rightish blogosphere that workers in the Public Sector are brainless automatons who will shuffle into the polling booths at any given opportunity to vote Labour. Quite a few do. But quite a few don’t as well.

I do find it rather frustrating to read on a pretty regular basis that I as a member of a ‘client group’, will be in thrall to the monocular one. Actually I would suggest that I’m probably in a better position than many of them to discuss the waste of money and resources on consultancy services, non- jobs, government targets and the moral and motivations of my colleagues. Subjects of concern that get discussed by them on a fairly regular basis.

I know for example that a hospitals revenue budgets are constantly under pressure to be reduced and yet at the end of every year rules (and the law) have to bent to the extreme to spend capital money. Lots of ‘wish list’ kit gets purchased to spend capital money without any real thought to subsequent years supporting revenue expenditure. A new ‘machine that goes ping’ is a wonderful thing but you have to pay for its maintenance and in many cases consumables from the same departments revenue budget, a budget that is constantly under pressure to be met or reduced. And yet this isn’t a factor worthy of immediate consideration at the time.

‘Will you have the money to pay the running costs of this bit of kit?’

‘I’m not sure. But if not I’ll just have to be overspent again next year. Anyway it would be really embarrassing not to have spent my bit of the capital allocation. Questions would be asked so could you get on with things and place the order please!’

That’s ‘investment’ apparently.

I get to see the constant re-organisations that are a boon to the printers of letter headed paper and may look good as part of some sort of strategic plan but you know within a few years this will be reversed or revised, you’ll be back where you started.

I can see the waste of money and resources and yet I’m supposed by some to automatically support the government who by dint of policy condone this.

And I have to provide for my family on a barely average income. We do rely on the Byzantine tax credits system to make ends meet. I suppose that, in the eyes of some, pushes me even further into the embrace of the dark side. But I would rather have more of my own money left in my own pocket at the end of the month, not taken at source by the powers that be, than be sat supine with a begging bowl hoping that they haven’t miscalculated and soon will be demanding a refund.

I can see this and lots of my colleagues can too. There is as much grumbling about Gordon the Saviour of the World in my little patch of the Public Sector as there is outside in the productive economy too. There are supporters of the Dark One as one would reluctantly expect but to suggest that we are politically homogeneous unlike the rest of society is wrong. And the thing that annoys me more than anything else is the fact is that it’s my allies would think that.

It’s not quite as annoying as Brown essentially saying that the NHS is ‘their’ (ie Labours) NHS, but it runs a pretty close second.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Thanks to the way we are funded

One little vignette for the UK tax payers amongst you.

Along side buying goods and services for the NHS Acute trust for whom I work, my department (or to be a little less self aggrandizing the department of which I am a part) also provides a similar service for our County's Primary Care Trust. The organisation responsible for the provision of first stop health services (like GP surgeries and clinics) and importantly local strategic planning.

Imagine my surprise then at the request from the PCT that we initiate a tendering process to find a consultancy service to come up with a Strategic Health Plan for them. At an estimated cost of £60,000 a year.

I know that the once mighty pound is now worth little more than Monopoly money and slightly less than the chocolate coins that my children regularly binge on but that's still a reasonable amount of money to pay an external contractor to come up with the sort of stuff that they should be producing as a matter of course.

I'm glad the UK is in such a strong economic position. Otherwise the spending of £60k here and £100k there multiplied all over the country on pointless consultancy exercises might actually be taking scarce resources away from areas of health care that actually need the funding.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Not so much a break as....Part two

Following on from the last cryptic post. I had this idea about adopting the personna of a character in the widely loved childrens television programme 'In the Night Garden'.

Or from a parents perspective a programme widely loved by children if not themselves. Actually I'm rather fond of it to be honest although I know many peers whom it drives to distraction.

It's a programme lots of other characters that one could be a touch satirical with. For example the lead character Iggle Piggle is a large blue teddy bear with a moon face. One could argue a little like the current leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

There are loads of other characters you could have enormous fun with. Well until the lawyers from the production company came a calling. For example two families with eight children each living next door to each other. A vehicle to be censorious with if ever there was one. And it was the character of one of the fathers that I had toyed with the idea of ' becoming'.

But technicalities started to get in the way. My blooming blog log and the wrong avatar appearing on sites visited and all sorts of other complications that I hadn't considered when trying to be two characters on the same blogger account. Having messed around I seem to have now lost the monster avatar appearing on MBL and I'm stuck with the dull grey smiley face appearing when I visit anyone else.

This is probably more to do with me being technically inept rather than a real impediment as I'm sure you may be quick to point out.

But for the time being I will have to return to being an 'armless monster and the adoption of stop motion characteristics may have to wait.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Not so much a break....

... as starting a completely different blog with a different persona as a short term experiment. The bane of Dane will be back.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Friday Night is Music Night.

Back to the musical stuff. I suspect that this, along with the science posts, was the one regular feature i was running prior to the hiatus that generated a degree of interest out there.

In the last post I ended up in Prussia so I thought I would travel south to its contemporary, Imperial Austria and the march conducted by Strauss (Snr) in tribute to the Hero of the Battle of Novara Joseph Radetzky von Radetz.

So Hapsburg Eagles a soaring and Yellow and Black a fluttering.... You'll be humming this one for days.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Empty Wessels

Thank you all for your kind comments in reply to my previous post. Mutley wondered whether I had been anywhere and actually no. Life had just carried on as normal just minus a few hours hunched in front of a monitor hoping that the muse of the blog would touch me with a piece of inspiration.

I have spent quite a bit of my time off blogging doing quite a bit of reading. Just revisiting a few of my favourite books that I hadn't read in years.

One such was Shirer's 'Rise and fall of the Third Reich'. If you don't know the work (which I'm sure you probably will) the title pretty much gives away the content. As I ploughed through the bit about the 1920's I came across the reference to Horst Wessel the SA street thug who, although killed like so many others on the streets of Germany at the time became posthumously famous for his marching song "Die Fahne hoch" which is also known as the 'Horst Wessel Lied'. The song which became the second German national anthem between 1933 and1945.

It occurred to me that I had never knowingly heard the piece so with nothing other than minor curiosity searched on YouTube to see if it was posted on there.

Of course this was a bit of a mistake. Still being a touch naive about the interweb I had of course forgotten that YOUTube is not a repository of fascinating audio and visual information posted for general interest but is rather a showcase for the bizarre and a vehicle for the self aggrandising.

I did indeed find several versions of Horst's rather dull and repetitive little tune. What I also discovered was that in the introduction to the videos I was implored to raise my right arm and sing along to with the lyrics which had thoughtfully been added to the video.

What was even more amusing was the standard of the comments left which in a condensed form seemed to run a long the lines of.

'Hey man - Hitler was the greatest - Nazi's are coming back!'.

'No F**k you, he was a one balled monster'

'Hey F**k you man, yo gonna get yours Muther F**ker - Seig Heil'.

An interesting perspective and insightful historical analysis.

What was also interesting is where the related videos took one.

I discovered a group calling themselves the British Fascist Society (I think) who had posted a video outlining their programme. Not that a member of the British Fascist was to be seen. rather they had used an animated character, not dissimilar to those in Second Life to explain the benefits of the introduction of Councils of Corporations, Re-education, public works and strong centralised authority. Benito would have been proud! Naturally they weren't racist, heaven forfend, you could be any racial descent as long as you adhered to the plan. I was mightily relieved.

I'd love to know where these people come from and how they so spectacularly missed the point of much of the suffering in the last century.

On the up side though some of the links led of towards a variety of national anthems. Some current, many no longer used or of states no longer in existence. Now that's the kind of stuff I do find interesting. In particular and in a way in keeping with the earlier part of the post I found the old national anthem of Prussia which Otto the real Iron Chancellor must have a tapped his toes to many a time.

Pretty similar to the current national anthem of Lichtenstein and oft used in other European states. I'll post a link to this one. If you want to look at the other stuff you'll have to find it for yourself. You will only have yourself to blame.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

On the horizon

I thought I had decided to give up this blogging lark. No bridges irreparably burnt of course but the whole thing had really become a bit of a burden. But I haven't really spent much less time closeted away on the computer since my 'departure', still been lurking here and there on the odd occasion and somehow feeling that this time spent had less of a reward, less interactivity and fundamentally less fun.

So perhaps it might be time to re-emerge and end this hiatus. Ideas are beginning to coalesce again and perhaps this son of Cain might just about be ready to emerge once again from the swamp blinking in the harsh light of the blogosphere.

Perhaps the initial failing was a self imposed obligation to post to a regular schedule. I'm a Purchasing Manager not a Journalist. So I might go with once a week ranging to a once a month thing.

I never had any particular reason for blogging in the first place, no real mission, no cause but I just got drawn into a sense that it was necessary to post on an almost daily basis. Trying to keep up with folks who could do this stuff instinctively. But I suspect in doing that I allowed all the fun to be sucked out of the whole thing.

Not doing that again. I don't have the time or the inclination to be drawn back to the 'Tyranny' of blogging.

But you know what? It might just be about time to venture a few opinions, post a few music vids and re-engage again. There's enough to comment on at the moment to even keep a dilettante like me in material for ages.

The swamp isn't open for business. But the weeds are being rearranged and the clutter cleared with the intent of welcoming visitors again soon.