Arise, Mr. Philips.

As the umpteenth derogatory comment is printed on the business acumen (or not) as well as the moral stance (or not) of both Sir Philip Green and his Lady wife, allied to the collapse of the BHS stores into bankruptcy and liquidation, I am rather puzzled.

The Select Committee who questioned both the senior executives of the old BHS bunch, the failed bankrupt who bought the BHS business for £1.00, and Sir Philip himself, delivered a ‘coruscating report’ on the various failings of the former owner, the senior bankers and advisors who ‘rubber-stamped’ the sale; but didn’t seem able to point towards any actual actions available to the Liquidators and the Pension Regulators.

Has Sir Philip actually done anything illegal? Nope. Questionable? Certainly: but anything which he can be brought before a Court, held up by his ankles and had the loot shaken out of his roomy pockets? Nope. Everything done by Sir Philip, along with his wife, will be seen to be: you can bet the kitchen sink, as being rigorously according to Company Law.

So why are the MPs so annoyed with the Greens, who are pictured smiling as they lounge on their outrageously-expensive floating gin-palaces? Is it because they know that this pair of slickers have got away with the loot: managed to carefully, and of course completely legally, to avoid pushing just over half-a-billion quid into the tattered BHS pension fund?

Why don’t the MPs, along with all their fancy advisors and hangers-on, announce that a root-and-branch reform of all these business and pension-funding loopholes will take place, with an equally firm promise that reform of all these practices will be announced within a reformed Business Bill, which will be fast-tracked through both Houses. Somehow to take away the Knighthood seems a little bit petty, as it won’t get any cash back, and the Greens will just have to print new stationery, which is a bit inconvenient; but when you have £3.5 billion, I suppose you can afford it!

Rudder to Starboard: No, to Port: No, Starboard……Dammit!

The Panama Canal will be turned over to the government of Pa

PANAMA – SEPTEMBER 17: The Panama Canal will be turned over to the government of Panama at the end of this year. A mule, an electric locomotive used to pull ships through the canal, makes its way down the Miraflores lock to await its next burden. Six of the locamotives pull each ship through. (Photo by Harry Hamburg/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

When the Panama Canal was first opened, the only way that the ships passed through the lock system at both ends of the Canal was to be pulled by powerful electric locomotives; which kept the ships centred within the locks as they traversed, and the ship’s engines were, in fact, shut down during the lock passage. Only when in the Canal proper were the ships allowed to use their own engine power, but the electric ‘mules’ dominated the passage through both main sets of locks. From the earliest management of the Canal, the men who drove the ‘Mules’ have always won in every labour confrontation with the management, mainly because the drivers Union is the strongest in Panama.

So when the new locks were being designed, the Canal management decided that they would give the work to the tugboat skippers, along with ‘judicious use’ of the ships’ propulsion screws, and let the ‘Mule’ drivers rant and rave at the sheer ‘unfairness’ of it all. The Canal guys stated that the tugs could do the job, and the Mules would not be needed.

panama1

Somehow, I reckon that the Canal company is going to have to eat its words, as the tugs are just not cutting the mustard. Picture shows damage to the side of the third ship which has collided with the lock wall, and the bloody new locks have only been opened for about a fortnight!

The only good thing to come out of this mini-problem is the fact that the concrete used to construct the lock walls is tough enough!

Scots, wha hae wi’ Wallace bled,

As my blogging mate wrote way back in the mists of time; (well, okay February 2015), the proposal was to introduce the Named Persons Act in Scotland; bringing Orwell’s ideas completely up to date.

With the Supreme Court’s ruling just delivered, the Law has been left in tatters, with such excoriating detailed opinions given within the ruling stating:-

The Court’s ruling has underlined the importance of family privacy. It has been known for some time that health and education professionals in Scotland have been sharing  personal data, with scant regard for the privacy of parents and children, in the belief that the relevant part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 would be brought into force on 31 August 2016.  Now that the data sharing provisions have been found to be incompatible with the right to a private and family life, many parents will want to know whether their  family’s data has been processed unlawfully. They should make Subject Access Requests to ascertain how their data has been processed. It is possible that this will lead to further litigation.

It is now up to Nicola’s bunch in Edinburgh to decide if they wish to input new passages which comply with ‘Rights’ Legislation, or forget the whole caboodle, and pay up the damages to the parents who will be suing!

Well done to the Christian Institute, and well done to the Supreme Court!

My life, my joy, my food, my all the world!

As readers might know, I am a father, and a grandfather; so it can be assumed I know a moderate amount about the privileges and responsibilities of raising children. Gazing as I do at the ranged photos of my grandsons on the mantel, I can recall when my own kids, now obviously all adults themselves, were of a similar age as those photos represent. They were noisy, but mannered; lively, but respectful: and my wife and I ensured that they were loved, and cared for always.

When out together, either shopping or relaxing, we knew where they were at all times; they knew enough about the way that I felt that they would never, ever give us any worry as to their whereabouts, but that did not stop us from adopting the attitude which stated, even in the healthy society which was South Africa, where deviants had a very, very short life span; that no-one would cast an avaricious eye upon the treasures of our lives!

So readers might well understand when I state that I just cannot fathom the mindset which states‘Lynsey Dunn, 28, and step-father Paul Smith, 35, were believed to have lost track of Charlie as they packed up their car to head home after a day at the park’. Bullshit, in ‘effing spades! What parent ‘loses track’ of their child? What man or woman who call themselves ‘parents’ can be so far adrift from reality as to claim to ‘lose track’ of their most precious possession; the fruit, certainly, of the mother’s womb; and the accepted responsibility of the step-father?

P.S. Again with all the stuffed toys and teddy bears: and Interflora shares rocketing once again!

Don’t go near (or swim in, or drink) the Water!

I worked for quite a few years on projects associated with Sewage and Clean Water Projects. Not many people in this modern world realise that the true birth of modern cities and towns, namely the ability to live free from dread disease and plague whilst living in crowded urban conurbations was brought about by the work and investigation of a single London vicar named Dr. John Snow, allied to the genius of an Engineer named Joseph Bazalgette.

Snow deduced that a large number of cholera deaths on the immediate vicinity of the Broad Street public pump could be directly associated with the use of the water from that pump. He wondered why certain men, and their families, seemed to be immune from the dread disease, whilst living next door to those who had died from cholera. Once he deduced that all the men worked for the same company, which brewed beer; he then realised that the men and their families drank water which came from a different source; which had also been boiled. It took a huge battle to make the authorities understand that the pump had been contaminated with human sewage, but once the pump was padlocked, the cholera ceased to spread. Water treatment has come a long way from the efforts of Dr. Snow, but he was the one man who figured out where death was lurking.

Bazalgette accepted the challenge of removing and controlling the huge amounts of sewage, formerly dumped straight in the open sewers and streams which fed into the Thames; thus creating the ‘big stink’. This genius built huge sewage tunnels right along the banks of the Thames, covering them with rocks and bricks; when the new sub-sewage channels were connected to the main tunnels, and the resulting mess of toxic effluent was pumped towards the Estuary and there treated before being pumped into the Thames, the ‘stink’ subsided, Londoners could once more breathe, and Bazalgette gratefully bowed before his Sovereign as he was knighted.

From initiation, through hydraulic analysis, planning and construction, a Main Sewage Treatment works complex, suitable for a city, can take six-seven years to complete; can cost a lump of cash, but is worth the effort. I have been involved in the planning, construction and commissioning processes, and it can be complex, but: it is worth the effort!

So I do wonder why the Brazilians, despite having seven years to plan, develop and build the much-needed sewage complexes necessary to clean up the bays, the beaches and the waters, have done virtually nothing to protect the sailors, the swimmers and the tourists who will, very shortly, be engulfing the crowded facilities of Rio, the possibly plague-born Olympic City?