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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Free market?

I have mixed views over "the free market".  In many ways I think too much competition is a bad thing, leading to silly prices e.g. for milk here in the UK. I still feel competition in essential services like transport and energy is daft. Yes, I know, competition is in some ways good, but why should shareholders make profits? Surely, we the taxpayers should be the shareholders? I know this very left wing, but to me it seems "right".

On the other hand, competition can bring overpriced goods down to reasonable levels. There has been a recent example where an overpriced Japanese radio transceiver has already dropped from £1299 to £991 as a result of competition. Dealers were not passing on the recent improvements in the exchange rate.  Each was happy to cream off profits, at the expense of the consumer, until competition encouraged the price to fall. I think a price war is inevitable.


They are busy re-tarring the sides of "our" windmill next door. It looks good. The colour is black which makes the white sails and cap stand out. Currently they have a problem with the cogs that mean the sails cannot be rotated by the wind to grind corn.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Late swallows

Today we went for a walk around Wicken Fen and afterwards we ate at the "Maid's Head" in Wicken village. We went all around the boardwalk route and got back in the car when we saw 4 swallows overhead and quite close. This, I think, is the latest time I've seen swallows up here in East Anglia. I have seen them much later in Devon, but most have gone south by now.

As I get older I keep thinking this might be the last time I ever see a swallow in my lifetime. With luck, I shall see them return again in the spring and for many more springs yet to come, but there is something comforting in this cycle of life that will continue long after I return to dust. Many do a 12000 mile round trip and often return to the very same site to nest. Remarkable. My heart sings when I see the first bird migrants back in the spring. I am sure my ancient ancestors, now long dead, watched in amazement just the same.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Trident Nuclear Subs

Although I suspect Jeremy Corbyn will result in Labour not winning the next UK General Election, I agree with him 110% over Trident. What a total waste of money this is! The total cost of replacing Trident is estimated as £100 billion. Would we be any safer than, say, Denmark or Italy? No, of course not.  Much better to use this money to make defences against 21st century threats such as terrorism, cyber crime and the like. No Trident is a stupid, stupid waste of money! My opinion and proud to hold it.

Friday, 25 September 2015


The world of soccer is in turmoil. Now we hear Sepp Blatter is being investigated. I have no idea if he is guilty or innocent (he claims he is an honest man) but FIFA seems to be another word for "corruption".  Recent decisions on World Cup venues have been controversial.  The sooner FIFA is able to make a fresh start the better.

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Saudi Hajj deaths

With 717 reported dead after the Saudi Hajj stampede, there are lots of unanswered questions. There were about 2 million people there so the authorities will have had a job keeping order. Nonetheless, this is a real tragedy.

FTSE 100 up on the day

The UK stock index, the FTSE 100, ended 2.47% higher today. So far this year has fallen around 10% but, barring a real meltdown in China and a resurfacing of the Greek issue, I suspect it will regain some of the lost ground later in the year. Nothing is certain though. Basically, the UK economy is recovering after the crash and traders are "willing" it higher.