The Anonymous Widower

Fleet Street’s Darkest Hour

You’d think it would be now, but read this piece on the BBC web site.

Note that even George Orwell got in on the act.

July 8, 2011 Posted by | News | | Leave a comment

Roy Jenkins’s Lunch in Holloway Prison

Roy Jenkins is best known for being a prominent Labour politician of the 1960s and 1970s. I suspect he was someone who knew his food and drink, as many of those educated in one of our oldest Universities do.

In the early 1970s, C used to visit Holloway Prison as part of the Cameron Group.  She often described the group in the way the inmates did and that was “The Ladies in the Pink Hats”.  It probably applied to some of the group, but not to C.

One night she came home and told the story about the new Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins and his visit to the prison. He said that he wanted to go everywhere and this didn’t go down well with the governors and the guards.  But remember Roy’s father had been in jail because of a riot during the 1926 General strike, so quite rightly, he probably had strong views about how inmates should be treated. He certainly wasn’t a hanger and flogger.

After the tour, the governor suggested lunch and had probably prepared a lunch to impress the Home Secretary.  But Roy said he wanted to eat with the prisoners.

After a heated argument, he pulled rank and did so.

Halfway through his meal, he pushed it away muttering something like, “I wouldn’t give this to my dog.”

Being Home Secretary is not an easy job.

July 8, 2011 Posted by | World | , | 4 Comments

Popbitch Was Late This Week

Usually I get Popbitch on a Thursday, but this week’s edition turned up today.

It has an interesting piece on the News of the Screws, which if the story is true, gives a whole new meaning to phone hacking.

July 8, 2011 Posted by | News, World | , , | Leave a comment

Has Rebekah Brooks Been Sacked?

You can find out here.

July 8, 2011 Posted by | News | | 2 Comments

Another London Bus Route Goes Non-Bendy

This picture shows one of the new buses on route 25 at Stratford.

A Proper Bus on Route 25

It replaced one of the dreaded Spanish-built bendies.

Note that the bus is a Wright Eclipse Gemini 2, built in  Northern Ireland. Wrightbus is incidentally a family owned company. So hopefully not for them the problems of external shareholders, who want to paddle someone else’s canoe. The company is very much involved in developing the New Bus for London. We may worry about the demise of trainmaking, but do we have in Wrightbus a company that is going places in that much neglected and very unsexy part of transport; buses?

July 8, 2011 Posted by | Business, Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

From West Ham to Abbey Mills on the Greenway

The Greenway has now been reopened close to West Ham station and it is now possible to walk along it past Abbey Mills Pumping Station and on to Stratford again. 

Note the large bridge, which I suspect will be used to take those walking to the Olympic site over Stratford High Street.

It will be good when it is fully open again from Hackney Wick to West Ham and on to Beckton. It will be one of the best walks in London.

July 8, 2011 Posted by | Sport, Transport/Travel, World | , , | Leave a comment

Why All This Fuss About Harry Potter?

I’ve never read a Harry Potter book or seen any of the films! And don’t intend to either!

To me, the only good thing about the phenomenon is the jobs, money and tax revenue that it has created in the UK. I’m also interested in how J K Rowling wrote the book in a cafe in Edinburgh. It is the better story as it is all about getting yourself out of a hole by doing something creative.

July 8, 2011 Posted by | World | | 2 Comments

Santander Bring Their Call Centres Back To The UK

This story about Santander seems to be part of a trend, with more and more call centres returning to the UK. What surprises me is that Santander supposedly has 25,000,000 account holders in the UK and it is creating only hundreds and not thousands of jobs by moving the call centres back.

So just how often do we phone our banks? I have phoned my bank twice in the several years I’ve been with them and I’ve e-mailed once about a piece of trivia.  I also have phoned a credit card company once, as the card was damaged and I needed a new one.

So judging by the times I’ve called them, I’m fairly typical.

So Santander moving their call centres back to the UK, may be a cynical marketing ploy to try to improve their bad customer service image.  But it could really be just a way to reduce their call centre to the size required.

As with the Lloyds redundancies, it will be interesting to see what employee/turnover ratios for banks look like in a few years time.

My guess is that they’ll make huge profits with only a few employees.  But on the other hand, people will be very satisfied with customer support, although they’ll probably still complain about getting loans.  But then the sensible will borrow their money elsewhere.

July 8, 2011 Posted by | Business, Finance | | 2 Comments

Is The Public To Blame For The Antics of Tabloid Newspapers?

I don’t like the celebrity culture and to paraphrase the evil doctor, when I see any celebrity culture, I reach for my off switch or turn the other way.

About the only time I have anything to do with it, is when I hear some Z-lister being named in the media, I might search the Internet to see who they are.  But that is as far as it goes! I do read the obituaries in quality papers, as I’m interested in what makes people tick or worth remembering.

I will also admit to buying the Sun occasionally. Of the tabloids, with the exception of the Evening Standard, it is the only one with any sensible horse racing coverage.

But as to most of the dross they print, about celebrities, I have no interest, except where there is a serious side, like with superinjunctions and business practices, that may have cost us all dear as taxpayers.

To me the tabloids are summed up by this true story.

I was at the Ipswich Inter Milan match in the San Siro, when I found myself sitting next to a journalist, who worked for one of the more outrageous tabloids. We chatted about various topics concerning football and Ipswich in particular and I can’t remember how it came up, but we started discussing my coeliac disease.  I then said that the statistics indicated that there must be at least one footballer, who must be a coeliac. I suggested it might make a story, as it might help those with the disease. He then said that the readers of his rag wouldn’t be interested.  But if I knew a footballer who was gay, then that would be a very valuable story.

So do these crap newspapers exit because it’s what the general public wants.  Or at least what they think they want?

I’ll put in a true story from way back and incidentally from before anybody in the UK had heard of Rupert Murdoch.

During the enquiry into the Profumo Affair, which was held in public, only one newspaper printed the proceedings in full.  It was The Times and they printed it because they said they were a newspaper of record and it was their duty.

Sales soared!

July 8, 2011 Posted by | News | , | 1 Comment