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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

British households might be seeing something this morning that's been missing from what was a daily routine.. There might be post through the door for the first time in a week..
But it could be short lived.. a new round of rotating strikes has already been announced.. starting early next week, and continuing until there's some resolution of the differences between the Royal Mail and the TUC..
65 million pieces of mail awaited the workers who returned to their jobs this morning.. with the Union saying it will take some time to get through, but RM managers claim it amounts to not much more than one day's worth of backlog..
Regardless.. the effects of this strike have had downstream effects.. catastrophic effects in some cases.. Some businesses which do the bulk of their business over the internet and which rely on the mails for their deliveries, have simply found even this last strike too much, and have folded. Others, who find themselves close to the edge, are dreading the possibility of no mail over the Christmas season when they conduct a significant percentage of their business..
'Essential Services'..
Our politicians need to consider the option seriously..
We'll discuss this more, as the situation develops, and more figures are released which reflect the ripple effect throughout our economy..

Now.. this past summer has been touted as perhaps the wettest since records began being kept.. Floods throughout the Island have left insurance companies facing a bill which could amount to close to £3billion.. and the government has announced that it's only willing to throw some £600million into a relief fund for those towns, cities, and villages worst affected by the waters..
This has prompted an announcement from insurers this morning, that they'll not be offering 'flood cover' for homes built on flood plains.
Consider. The government has promised the construction of a million plus new homes throughout the country over the next two years.. and factoring in how many of those homes must be built on areas with the possibility of flooding should this summers weather repeat itself.. it means many of these new homes will not be offered coverage protecting them against what might euphamistically be called 'an act of God'..
It's undeniable we need more housing. It's inevidable they will be built.
But whether or not flood preparations on offer from the government will meet what's seen to be the minimum needed to be done to reduce the risk of property damage, is moot..
There will be a Parliamentary debate on the issue today, involving the Environment Agency and the plans they have come up with to contain the overflow should the rains return.. But if events unfold as they normally do, it will be a cost that's eventually and inevidably passed along to those looking for insurance.
Not a positive sign for either the housing industry, or those who're looking to get on to the property ladder.
Oddly enough, this past summer's flooding was forcast by the Environment agency back in 2004..
Again, this is an issue we'll be keeping a close eye on..

Now.. an issue which is of growing concern throughout British society..
A survey by the charity, the Howard League for Penal Reform, suggests that a full 50% of all schoolchildren have been thevictim of crime.. often right on school grounds.
This goes beyond the archtypical school bully taking lunch money from the weaker.. but has escallated to severe beatings.. theft of mobile phones, iPods, electronic notepads..
And what is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this trend, is that these items are not stolen to be sold, or kept for the use of the thief.. but are taken simply for the thrill.. the exercise of power so to speak.. with most of that being stolen destroyed in front of the victim..
There is little enough to distinguish humans from animals, without the disappearance of common values and ethics and manners..
It must be said that most of the blame must be laid at the feet of the parents of those who become delinquent..
It's far too easy to blame society as a whole, for the failure on a personal level of those who sire these 'yobs'..
There is still an argument to be made, for young offenders being removed from a parental environment which does not actively promote respect for others and their property. It might well be time to re-evaluate the penalties imposed upon those involved in anti-social behavior.. Compulsory national service, or a return to the Borstal system, begins to appear attractive..
This trend can likely be traced back to attitudes developed decades ago..
It was a mere 4 years ago, that Vergers at Sheffield Cathedral were sent on self-defence courses amid the rising tide of violence against church workers.
And figures published in March 2003 showed that since 1999 there had been a 33% surge in the number of violent crimes against vicars and other ministers..
During that period, 561 attacks were recorded, including two murders in 2002.
This past week.. Members of the clergy were advised to take off their dog collars when they are on their own, to reduce the risk of being attacked.
National Churchwatch, which provides personal safety advice, says vicars are attacked more often than professions such as GPs and probation officers.
The organisation's Nick Tolson said all clergy should consider the advice, including the Archbishop of Canterbury..
The group also produces security advice for all UK churches and churchworkers.
In the past decade, five vicars have been murdered.
A number that in itself, disappears when taken in context of those who've been victims of a violent death over the same period of time.. But certainly an indication of the loss of respect for those, who have traditionally been seen, as non-violent people, and those who represent a non-violent lifestyle..
In a survey of 90 London clergy carried out last year, nearly half said they had been attacked in the previous 12 months.
One vicar, from Willesden, north-west London, said his vicarage had been machine-gunned.. but still did not believe he had experienced violence.
Taken in the context of the random incidents of berserkers in the US, and the world in general recently.. one can admit that particular Vicar has a point..
Just another piece of the Puzzle..

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