Stop reading the news?

Mark Pack has the article/book review on his web site – see link below:-

www.markpack.org.uk/160842/stop-reading-the-news-a-manifesto-for-a-happier-calmer-and-wise-life-rolf-dobelli/?goal=0_2483c81174-a2c24ee52a-312600781

Well firstly, I stopped reading national newspapers a long time ago. My only exception is 2 or 3 times a year, if I know I’m going to have a long time to kill for some reason, I will purchase a copy of the i.

I take the view that newspapers, whilst they can be informative, are quite often used to peddle the views and prejudices of their owners and if you read them for long enough those views and prejudices will more than likely become your own! I always take with a pinch of salt anyone starting a conversation with the phrase ‘I read it in the Daily Mail, The Express etc. etc. They may well ‘agree’ with whatever they read in their newspaper of choice but seem not to have realised that they have been fed a story, which fits with their prejudices but which may well be far away from reality.

I also hate news (and TV news comes into this as well) which tells me something but gives little or no background as to why and how it happened. Sound bite news I call it and it’s worse than useless.

Labour and Brexit – I despair I really do

Below is a cutting from Friday’s ‘I’ newspaper and the big question is, what on earth is Emily Thornberry on about?

We don’t have to leave the Customs Union at all and frankly it seems utter nonsense to do so. On that basis why is Labour’s policy seemingly (and I say seemingly as nothing is clear with Labour – or the Tories for that matter – when it comes to Brexit) to leave it and then try to re-negotiate something pretty much the same!

Why oh why can’t Labour do their job as the Official Opposition and try opposing the Tories over Brexit for once? It seems however that they want a hard Brexit to go through, despite knowing that it will make the poor poorer for example, all so that they can sit back and try to claim it was the Tories fault. What a mad position for a supposedly progressive party of the left to hold when Labour could make sure that our minority Tory Government is defeated by working with the SNP, Greens, Lib Dems and Welsh Nationalists.

Click on the newspaper cutting to enlarge it

Edgar Mitchell – A man who went to the moon

i100.independent.co.uk/article/one-incredible-quote-from-edgar-mitchell-the-6th-man-to-walk-on-the-moon–Zklu22ptj6e

A wonderful quote from a man who went to the moon that many of our politicians should ponder on:-

‘You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world, and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty.

You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’

The I – Green Belt article by Ian Birrell

Photo1210

The article above appeared in the Monday edition of the I and unsurprisingly I do not agree with Ian Birrell’s conclusions about releasing Green Belt for building houses.

The particular paragraph that gets my goat is the one that says ‘A majority of green belt is used for agriculture, often so intensive, industrialised and over-sprayed with pesticides that it has less biodiversity than is found in city gardens.’

Yes of course the majority of Green Belt is used for agricultural purposes and so it should be on an island that can’t grow enough food for us all. But what of intensive, industrialised and over-sprayed? That seems to me to be an argument for organic farming methods not one that leads to the conclusion that some of this land should be built upon.

Here in Sefton Borough our Green Belt is not only used for agriculture but the land happens to be some of the 2% best quality land in England. Build on it, as Labour-run Sefton Council wants to do? No, farm it and feed us!

Poorly performing railway companies and a poor experience at M&S Warrington.

Last Saturday Sheila said let’s go to that huge M&S next to IKEA so off we went. It was of course heaving but we wanted a coffee and a bite to eat.

In that particular M&S there are two cafes, one of the usual type which had a queue longer than you could shake a stick at, so that was a non-runner. The other named ‘Food on the Move’ was what must be the most inappropriately named café facility you could dream up. No big queue but the order took for ever and the staff looked very stressed to me – not a ‘food on the move’ experience more a ‘stay and wait a good while’. And this takes me to my related story about railway companies.

You see the wait was so long I went to buy a newspaper for something to do. It was the ‘I’ and because I am nuts about railways I found the Simon Calder article on page 41 very interesting if rather frustrating. Suffice to say it was all about a First Great Western service that got stuck going nowhere for a very long time with passengers (note I do not call them customers as they probably had little choice but to use the service) being seemingly treated poorly – lack of information and a far too slow reaction to the broken down train.

And the point of this little rant? Well in M&S you only have to be in the queue to pay for something for a couple of minutes and the person serving you will apologise to you for your wait (they must be told to be this) even if you have not noticeably had one! But no one apologised for our long wait in their café and I wonder if management realised that their staff seemed very stretched indeed. With railway companies, some have got quite good these days in explaining delays, break-downs etc. but others, it seems, just can’t get their heads around why keeping folks informed is so important. What a way to run a railway as someone once said.