Monday, 21 November 2011

Life Insurance

Thirty eight years ago, in 1973, I was conned into buying a Life Insurance Policy. I was young and green and a sharp salesman signed me up to pay £10 a month.  As I write I am looking at the 'Investment Plan Proposal' which I was shown at the time.  It promised to turn my contributions (which came to £3,876.00 over the period of the policy) into  £38,130. 00. So how's it done? Well on paper not badly. The letter I received from Friends Provident the other day told me that the projected maturity value was £33,582.70.  But it has only done well 'on paper' because of course there is the little matter of inflation to consider. Sadly £33,582.70 in 2011 pounds is actually only the equivalent of around £2,000 of the 1973 variety such are the ravages of inflation.

In other words my investment has been a pretty much waste of time. Why has my nest egg not done better? Well at a guess it is partly because of costs incurred  and partly because of cretinous investment decisions by those paid shed loads not to make them.  Incidentally the great and the good who squeal for the imposition of a so called  Tobin Tax on all financial transactions, don't seem to understand that the transactions which bankers do are not done with 'bankers money,' because strangely they don't have much of their own, but with the money which belongs to millions of small savers like me.  In other words if there was to be such a tax yet another layer of costs would be added and our returns on our investments would be even more miserly than they are already.            

Sunday, 20 November 2011

health and safety

Years ago, after the War, there was a series of famous trials at Nuremberg when it was ordained that blind obedience to orders was not a defence against charges of inhumanity. So how come the two fire officers of Strathclyde Fire Service are able to hide behind 'obediance to health and safety rules' and continue in their jobs when they left a severely injured woman at the bottom of a mine shaft to die rather than breach ridiculous rules.  If you missed it, the rule they decided they couldn't break to save to use equipment to rescue her which they had only received training in  for the rescue of members of the emergency service and not the requisite training required to use the self same equipment to rescue a civilian.  You couldn't make it up.

Now when I was in the army we too had rules which were called Standard Operational Procedures or SOP's but there was one rule which transcended all others and that was:  'SOP's are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.'  What a pity nowadays that the so called emergency services now seemed to be officered by fools.  Although are we being too kind to call Group commander Paul Stuart of the Strathclyde Fire Service  a fool.  There is another word which springs too mind which I think is a more accurate reflection of his actions - cowardice.

And also what of the the rest of the firemen who meekly accepted the order to do nothing/  Why did none of them say -'fuck off - we are going to do it whatever you say.'  Why did they accept an imbecilic order from a fool and obey it? 


Friday, 4 November 2011

British Heart Foundation & Cancer Research Campaign behave appallingly

Most days there is something in my newspaper which makes me spit with rage but today I read an article which caused me to go off the Richter scale. In case you missed it here are the bare bones:  A old couple had been living together for fifteen years but were not married. One day the elder. a 92 year old woman. died. A week before she died she gve her partner, who had been her sole 'legal carer' for the last three years of her life, a cheque for £61,000.  After her death her will was read and in it she had left her house, her car, £ 28,000 in cash to her partner with anything left over to be split between The British Heart Foundation and the Cancer Research Campaign. well there was nothing left so you would have thought -wouldn't you - that that would be that.

Not these days though.  The two Charities decided to take her partner to court as they wanted to get their hands on the £61,000 which they thought, with a bit of luck, they could persuade a Judge had not been a 'gift' but rather a loan in which case, of course, it needed paying back to the deceased estate and then they could get their snouts in the trough and have their 'fair share' of the estate. The end result is that the charites have 'got lucky' and found a Judge who agrees with them, so the 72 year old disabled surviving partner will now  have to sell the house to pay the charites and his own legal bills and give them their thirty pieces of silver.

No one, neither the judge, or either of the two charities, seemd remotely bothered about what the dead womens actual 'wishes' were regardless of the detail of the law. But then who cares for stupid sentimental rubbish like that when there is money at stake. By their actions these two mega rich Charities have revealed themselves to be greedy and rapacious it is to be hoped that others read about their behaviour as well as me and that even now wills are being redrafted to cut them out. Certainly no one representing either Charity better ask me for any gift ever again.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

St. Pauls

The shambles outside and inside St Pauls Cathedral has caused me to recall the prophetic words of Archdeacon Grantley in Trollope's BarchesterTowers:

"It is not dissenters or papists we should fear but the set of low bred hypocrites who are wriggling their way in amongst us, men who have no fixed principles, no standard ideas of religious doctrine, but who take up some popular cry as this fellow has done....."

Sadly the leadership of the Church of England, if the bunch of hand wringing tortured souls who make up most of the Bishops and Archbishops could be called 'leaders' in any sense of the word, now are virtually all are of the type which the great Archdeacon was railing against over his breakfast.

Perhaps the sort of Church leader St Pauls needs now is more of the type of the Papal Legate to the Albigensian Crusaders in the 13th century who, when the Crusading army had finally breached the walls of Caracossone and were about to storm the City and put the inhabitants to the sword, was asked by one of the Crusader leaders the perfectly reasonable question ;  "My Lord how shall we tell which of the inhabitants are heretics and which are true believers?"   

To which he replied: " Kill them all - The Lord will know his own"