Posts Tagged ‘opinion’

It goes without saying that people are anxious to leave the less-than-sunny shores (in more ways than just the weather) of Great Britain lately. This blog has often pointed out the record stats of those flocking Down Under or departing for Dubai.

Close To Europe?!

Close To Europe?!

Now though, it seems some countries might be feeling left out of the population jumps and are advertising the pros of becoming a resident within them. A Brazilian tourist representative, keen to attract those moving abroad, has said of the Rio Grande Du Norte Francisco Cipriano de Paulo Segundo area (try getting that on your envelope) as having “a lot of good wonderful beaches, 410 km of beach with warm  water and we are very close to Europe. The Natal district is closer to Europe than all of Brazil.”

Given that the heart of Brazil is some 6,000 plus miles from the middle of Europe, even going edge-to-edge is still only going to carve a fraction off that. I don’t really think it’s fair to say that it’s close to Europe. It’s like saying the BNP are close to being the next government. Both a long way off.

Still, they’re pretty up there in the beach catergory though.

Meanwhile, there’s been an interesting claim recently that the Eurostar – a wonderful service, don’t get me wrong – has made international removals easier. The Times, infact, has noted that now it’s so easy to travel to areas of France, Germany and the Low Countries – thanks to connections with the TGV – has encouraged property buyers to look further afield.

In fact, Assetz Martin, an international property firm, even said that “Eurostar’s connection to the TGV has opened up areas of the south-west of France, which previously had been hard to get to.”

Of course it has, for holidaying. In fact, if you’re looking to visit Paris there really is no better, easier or cheaper way. However, connecting to the TGV and then trawling across France isn’t so cost-friendly as, say, a flight from Heathrow.

However, for international removals, unless you’re looking to move your entire life in the confines of a couple of suitcase, I really fail to see how the Eurostar is going to help. I recently assisted in an international move, from Paris to the UK. In a van, along the highways and across in a ferry. There’s no way the Eurostar could really have helped with that let alone if it were to Germany or the South.

And, trust me, having endured a hell-like weekend in doing so, I would thoroughly recommend getting the professionals in instead.

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Having travelled around the continent and spent a lot of time in Paris, I’m unfortunately aware of just how common horse meat is. Even donkey. However, now a new rule – aimed at continental Europe – will mean that even British owners will have to pledge not to eat their horses. horse burger

At the start of July, The Horse Identification Regulations will come into force to stop pets becomming people food. Over in continental Europe over 2 million horses are reportedly ending up on plates. If you don’t sign the regualtions you could face prison or an unlimited fine.

Of course, horse burgers aren’t exactly main meals here in the UK and it’s still a shocking thing. To me, the most shocking thing about this is the fuss that stable owners are kicking up. One of them has said “We don’t see our horses as cattle. The thought of them being eaten is utterly repulsive. Brussels is poking its nose in where it should not be.”

Of course we don’t see them of cattle. Yes it’s repulsive. So, if you’re not going to do it, why do have a problem signing a form saying so?

Nobody here goes through their local equestrian stables eyeing up horses while salivating and holding a knife and fork. The owners are always doting and caring so it really shouldn’t be such a hassle to you to agree not to send Mr Ed round to the back of Burger King?

The rule will also, oddly, apply to Zebras and other “exotic equines.” Once again, not seeing people wandering around the zoo with their cutlery at the ready.

Plus, given the ruccus over supermarkets not stocking ethical chicken, I really can’t see them getting away with selling horse here. Regardless as to whether the owners have signed anything.

If your education came from a private school, you’re likely to earn more than those who attended state schools. While it’s not too shocking, it’s perhaps frustrating to see it in black and white, right?

People are reported to earn up to 30% more if they’ve been to a private school. Kent University and the london School of Economics have today confirmed this but believe that higher grades achieeved at private school are still crucial.

The study revealed that of the 30% pay gap, 20% was down to better exam grades and 10% down to family background. Researchers analysed data from 10,000 people that went to schools in the 1960s, ’70s and 80s.

According to the report, private schools “provide benefits for some individuals above and beyond those that accrue through qualifications and access to good universities.”

Now, I’m curious about this. Mainly because the survey took into account the salaries of those that attended school at least 20 years ago. This may mean that they’ve merely measured the last of the “old guard” and the results may not apply to those in school now or those of us that graduated univesities post 2000.

Does this mean that more people will consider sending their child to a private school? It’s the natural thing to want the best for one’s child and if the research points to private schools offering advantages, does that mean more will be looking to get their child in?

I, for one, thought such substantial levels of, well, snobbery, were a thing of the past. Perhaps I’m wrong and these figures do represent the last of the class-difference. Or is it still the case?

If you fancy it – read the whole story over at the BBC.

As I drove my beloved 159 into a certain supermarket petrol station yesterday evening I noticed that the price of petrol has lept up again since I last popped her full of fuel. The government’s Fuel Escalator has kicked in even though the price of crude oil is still only just above $51.petrol prices

So why are we watching the cost of petrol creep higher and higer as it edges toward £1 a litre again? Not only that but I’ve noticed more and more people squeezing every last inch of mileage out of it that they can. This doesn’t just apply to petrol either, the escalating costs of food also means that people are restricting their intake, especially those forced out of work. It is almost like we’re having to adopt rationing and coping methods from the last War. 

And, in a very true way, the whole world is at war again. While there is a common enemy it’s not other countries. It’s the ineptitude of major governments. Here, for example, we’re being led by an un-elected leader struggling to make us pay for mistakes he made as chancellor. The politicians so nobly announce that they won’t take the pay rise offered to them this year but still take expenses topping the £100k mark, then spend billions of pounds on an actual war effort we were lied to about from day one while industries across the nation fail as that money is being sorely missed.

Of course it’s not just us, we’re not alone. Every single country is facing a real struggle for the next year or so because of the ineptitude of a select group of politicians who then act like heroic lions when they announce they’ve come up with a trillion dollar plan to get us out of a mess  their own lack-of-foresightedness put us all in. But then, you don’t see any of them struggling to afford the rent. When was the last time Gordon Brown dipped into his pocket to fill his car? Of course not, he dips into ours.

Not one single politician seems to show any sign of personal sacrifice in a time when their measures have forced us all to make some. All these empty promises and now we’re at the point where I’m once again not filling my Alfa all the way up in the hope that next week the prices will drop again and I won’t have to face adding half as much again to the cost of a full tank. 

So yeah, we are at war. We’re at war with an economy out of control and a group of governments that fail to use anything resembling common sense and foresight then, as we all struggle to cope with escalating costs that mean it’s hard to find a loaf of bread under £1, go off spending OUR money on the kitchen on their second house or their husbands internet porn. 

If you want my vote next time the non-elected PM decides to hold an election all you need to do is three things: 

1) Show some common sense

2) Stop Lying to Us

3) Stop Robbing from Us

It’s not very often that I get into London. The only capital city I tend to visit on a regular basis is Paris which I’m able to consider my second home (I know, great huh?). 

buskingWhen I do get into London there’s often a lot of things that surprise me that I hadn’t seen there before. It’s the nature of a city that continually seems to be changing as opposed to Paris where new buildings simply don’t happen in the centre. One of the things that got me thinking following my last visit is the buskers.

In the past the buskers (to me) have gone relatively unnoticed. Scruffy guitars and scruffy ‘musicians’ playing murdered versions of Champagne Supernova while failing to hold a single note. Though now there’s been a change. Whether it can be attributed to talentless people like Lilly Allen getting signed through myspace but buskers seem to have evolved into more professional setups! 

The ones I saw had stacks of amplifiers and backing tracks, signs with their myspace pages and cds. Normally the sort of thing associated with bands playing in bars etc. Then, given the mass of commuters that pass through the footways of the underground on their way between trains, they are playing to volumes of people normally associated with arena figures. Albeit on a rotatating basis.

What’s next: promotional material for buskers? T-shirts and flyers sold from a nearby truss-table? Although if you head to Covent Garden you do often find that. My enjoyment of a classical troupe’s performance was ruined by what appeared to be one of their mothers moving through the crowd trying to flog their cds for £15. 

Of course, the main issue here is: just how much money are they making? As a fledgling musician myself I often wince at the price of amps and guitars that I want and I’m in full time employ. So in theory, they’ve got to be making a fair old whack to be able justify that kind of outlay. When you think about the number of people that pass through those tunnels and if, say, one in five throw in a quid or fifty pence… it soon tots up. It must do if they’re able to drop that much on gear and then spend money recording their ‘albums.’

I’m not even aware if they have to pay to play in the tunnels anymore. Anyone know?