Sunday, 29 November 2009

The Sunday Section

Still raining, still cold. Still knackered. Bit of a change today, some ‘proper news’ and some not so proper.

If labour wins the next election they have a cunning plan to make all 16 to 18 year olds complete 50 hours of community work as part of its move to raise the school leaving age.

In the speech announcing the plan, which will be a Labour manifesto pledge, Gordon Brown specifically mentioned that teenagers would make a difference by "helping in an old people's home or tutoring younger pupils".

Sounds like a good idea, but:

Under the Government's strict new vetting regime, anyone over the age of 16 working with children or vulnerable adults will have to start registering with the new Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) from November next year.

Which means that half a million teenagers will be forced to undergo CRB checks, so not only will they be forced to do “community work” which I still think is a good idea but they will be forcibly added to the growing Gov database, what next; will we all have to be chipped like pets?

Bit of a look at the surreal side of life, and they don’t come more surreal than Berlusconi who wants to strangle people who write books or made films about the mafia.

'If I find out who is the maker of the nine seasons of The Octopus and who has written books on the mafia, which give such a bad image to Italy across the world, I swear that I will strangle them,' he said.

Mr Berlusconi has a nice stable personality I see.

Also from the land of pizza: More than 100 helpers broke the world record when they produced the biggest drink of orange juice on the planet.

The record breakers, in Palagiano, Italy, crushed more than 5,000 lbs of oranges to produce 700 litres of juice.

One organiser told the Austrian Times: "We had 5,000 spectators who all got a glass of very freshly squeezed orange juice when we'd finished."

The drink smashed the previous record attempts and broke the new Guinness World Record in just one hour.

So much for the world food shortage then.

Edinburgh has a new tourist attraction, a “cosy post”: a thick woolly jumper is currently adorning a signpost in Edinburgh's Bristo Square.

The entire pole has been wrapped in multi-coloured knitted squares, creating a bright "signpost cosy" that's stopping passers-by in their tracks.

The jumper first appeared last Wednesday, and while no-one has yet taken responsibility,
Anna MacQuarrie, President of Edinburgh University's Knitting Society, bumped into its creators.

"I was on my way to our weekly KnitSoc meeting when I saw them," she said. "It was part of a project they were working on and having filmed. There are lots of things like this going on in the knitting world at the moment."

An Edinburgh University security guard working in Bristo Square said: "It's been there for a while now, I don't really understand it. It looks like a tea cosy. Maybe people were just trying to keep the signpost warm.

Makes you feel all cosy doesn’t it.

Last but not least:

The BBC may cut digital and radio services after the analogue switch-off in 2012, according to the director general, Mark Thompson.

The size and scope of the BBC has come under increasing scrutiny at the same time as other media organisations have been hit by declining advertising revenues.

Mr Thompson said that the future of BBC's operations would have to include “reductions in some kinds of programmes and content" and an examination of the scope of its websites.

He said: “Expect to see reductions in some kinds of programmes and content - a look for example at the current scope of our website - and a close examination of the future of our service portfolios once switchover has been achieved”.

Earlier this month, Jeremy Hunt, the shadow culture secretary, said the public broadcaster could be dramatically slimmed down under a Tory government.

Mr Hunt expressed scepticism about the value of the niche television channels BBC Three and BBC Four, (costing £114m and £71m) as well as digital radio stations such as 1Xtra, 6 Music and Radio 7. Collectively these new ventures cost hundreds of millions of pounds out of a total BBC budget of £4.6 billion.

On the BBC website, Mr Thompson said it was important to make sure that the "many millions of pages that are up there need to be there". "Is it sufficiently up to date, is it relevant?" he asked.

The corporation was criticised over executive pay after it disclosed that it was paying the 100 most senior staff £20 million a year.

Mr Thompson defended the salaries saying that many senior staff had taken a “considerable” pay cut by working at the BBC. He revealed he had taken a 58 per cent cut when he moved from the private sector.

According to a poll conducted for BBC Newsnight, seventy per cent of people questioned said the salaries and expenses of BBC senior managers should be made public and 64 per cent said stars earning over a certain amount should face a similar move, and 59 per cent said the pay of all presenters should be made public.

The BBC has refused to reveal stars' pay saying it is commercially sensitive and could trigger an exodus.

So we get our services cut while Mr Thompson continues to receive his £800,000 plus salary, good plan Mark.

That’s it for now.




Angus Dei politico


James Higham said...

the growing Gov database, what next; will we all have to be chipped like pets?

Well on the way, I'd say.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Well, we're not short of oranges over here, it's true, Angus. As for slippery Silvio, nothing he says surprises anyone here any more! Love the "cosy" story - makes you proud to be British and as long as the BBC don't cut "The Archers", I'm all right!