Monday, April 27, 2015

Free Councillors

Underpaid Councillors

Heard a local councillor on the TV saying that he would not be standing for election again as he could not afford it. Couldn't follow his point very well as Councillors in most councils get close to £10,000 a year and committee chairpersons get considerably more.  surely this is sufficient to cover any loss of earnings for attending a few daytime meetings.

Once upon a time public spirited folk stood for election in order to serve their local communities, not for payment or perks.

When my Dad was on the council of the Metropolitan Borough council of Stepney in 1928 there were no payments of any kind.  Councillors, which included Clem Attlee  as well as my dad, did their day jobs and attended council meetings in the evenings, quite often until late.

When I was a councillor and later Alderman of the Borough of Lewisham in the 1950s there were still no payments for being a councillor.  During my term legislation was introduced to allow the payment of travelling expenses. . To attend committee and council meetings   I would drive to the town hall, pay parking fees but was only able to claim bus fares, despite the fact that there often no buses running by the time extended meetings finished.  I did not claim my expenses at any time as I refused to be part of such an insulting system.

When I had a term as Deputy Mayor I was even further out of pocket. We had an official car to take Jean and I to various functions that the Mayor could not attend, but there was no provision for paying for a babysitter whilst we were away from home.

There is no reason why anyone should be out of pocket by being an elected representative of the people, but I doubt very much back then, that anyone was ever deterred from standing for election because there were no payment for actually doing the job.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Suffering from GOMS

I am sick.  I am suffering from GOMS (Grumpy Old Man Syndrome).  I have had this for some time and have done my best to cope with it, but now I realise that there is no cure. I know that there are many people like me who are suffering with this business of being sick of the way that the world is today. 

Sick of politicians who have had no experience of life as lived by the majority of people.
Sick of Doctors who dont want to see patients.
Sick of  "attitude" being regarded as normal
Sick of 20 year olds being referred to as "kids" and being treated like it.
Sick of overpriced tat in the shops
Sick having to buy "two for the price of one" when you only want one and it should be half the price of anyway
Sick of not being able to go into a shopping centre without having to listen to background "music" of moaning boys or screaming girls.
Sick of half hour news programmes which are fifteen minutes of sport.
Sick of having to hang around at airports because of unnecessarily rigourous "security" regimes.
Sick of having my Old age pension that I paid in for called a "benefit"
Sick of not being able to find a programme on the TV which is not food, lifestyle, "celebrities "travelling on foreign railways, talentless talent shows.........

Sick sick sick.

I am lucky I suppose that I am not physically sick of all this otherwise I wouldnt be able to go out.  I have not yet reached the stage of "Stop the world I want to get off" (For the under 50s that was a stage show back in 1961 written by Anthony Newley, and if you dont know Anthony Newley either, youtube him and listen to some proper music!)

The ageing process is not a sickness, just bits and pieces wearing out.  So why GOMS?
As things change over the years, it should be easy for anyone to accept the changes as they happen if it is a gradual process, but somehow for many of us the changes in recent times have been much more rapid than can be easily assimilated.  The new things are quite easy to handle, no big deal about accepting mobile phones, computers laptops and so on, but its the disappearance of familiar things that is more complicated.  Not being able to find a public phone box for instance when you have no signal on your mobile.  Even if you find one that works you need a lot of coins to use it!
And why is the spring so late this year!!!

I could go on and on and on but I wont I will save some of my other grumps for another time.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Never trust an adult

Never trust an adult

As a schoolboy, like many, I used have a little collection of odds and ends which were MINE.  In a large family this is quite difficult to keep as being really personal.  I had acquired a small sandalwood box, about 8 inches by 10 which had a sliding lid in which I kept my treasures.  I had a hidey hole for this under a loose floorboard in the bedroom. My other hiding place was in the hollow post of the iron bedstead which had a brass knob on, which unscrewed, but this was only large enough for smaller items.  The box had to go under the floorboards.

One time one of my older brothers Tom was home on leave from the RAF. He saw me with the box and asked if he could have it, to which agreed assuming that I would get it back when he went back to his unit.  Tom had a great interest in photography, this being the days of films in cameras which needed to be developed with special chemicals and then printed in a darkroom(bathroom).

I had other things to do so when he showed what he had made with my lovely box I screamed and carried on like a banshee.

He had cut a round hole in the end and fixed a light bulb inside and then had cut an oblong  hole in the sliding lid, fixed a piece of glass over the hole and he had a contact printer for his photos. Being very pleased with his effort he couldn't understand what the fuss was all about ,
He didn't know how important that box was to a ten year old, and in any case he thought I had agreed to him having it.

I tried to learn a lesson from that, never let adults see what you have.  I should have known better because I had experienced adult insensitivity before.  When only a tot, as part of the Christmas stocking  I was given a chocolate policeman.

Childlike I offered it to my father to have a taste.  Now when this happens grown ups are supposed to pretend to take a bit, go "yum yum" and give it back. Not my dad. He bit the head off and was surprised when I yelled and screamed.

So. Don't trust adults to understand what is going on and be ready to yell and scream when they dont.