Posts

Showing posts from August, 2009

Deep Blue

Image
The last Bank Holiday of the summer and the weather looks to be a little unpredictable for the work I have ahead. Among the flying jobs between Thanet and the Isle of Wight, I have two marriage proposals, one wedding and happily no funerals!

If this blustery wind persists overnight, then two nervous suitors with big plans are going to be very disappointed and I'm doing my best to manage their expectations in view of the weather forecast.

I've always had an unfortunate tendency to pick interests which are weather dependent. in the early 1990's I ran Submariner Consulting Ltd and had an interesting time contributing to the development of the early industry surrounding mixed-gas deep diving; writing extensively for several specialist publications such as aquaCorps.

The picture on the left was taken on a dive on the cruiser Wilkes-Barre, which lies off the Florida Keys in over 250 feet of water and some other equally interesting adventures included visiting Comex in Marseilles f…

Something Faustian

Image
Reportedly "A black day" and "A gentleman's agreement" now join many others in the growing list of prohibited and/or politically incorrect expressions, identified at enormous public expense by quangos, tirelessly working day and night for a better and more equal society. Am I surprised? Of course not.

I'm not yet sure of the status of "White collar worker" or indeed "Black humour" but perhaps one of my readers has the answer?

As most of us know, our great nation totters on the edge of bankruptcy but Treasury statistics revealed by The Sunday Times, show that the UK's net contribution to the European Union will increase from £4.1 billion this year to £6.4 billion in the next financial year (2010-2011).

Can we afford it, certainly not. Would the public support it? Of course not and it's now only a matter of weeks before the Irish Republic are forced to vote again on the 'Lisbon Treaty' they only recently rejected. This time ar…

Miller Time

Image
I'm told the 'Blogosphere' has been busy today but in such glorious weather, I've been above it all, at a scorching Cranfield for much of the day.

After close to three years of unrelenting study, flying and fourteen written technical exams, today, I finally succeeded in obtaining the CAA's instrument rating to add to my commercial pilot's license and so in principle at least, I could perhaps apply for a job tomorrow flying tourists to Malaga; unlikely though as I'm getting on a bit now and there's a recession in the airline industry, as the anti-Manston group like to remind us.

No doubt, I'll discover elsewhere in the Blog comments that this too exists only in my imagination but the unrelenting stress of the practical flight test exam at least will stay with me for ever. I certainly don't want to experience anything like it ever again.

Time then to break out a very cold beer and catch up with all the paperwork I now have to complete and fees I have…

Crystal Ball Gazing

Image
If you want living proof that forecasting the future is best left to the experts, such as Nostradamus, then read my predictions for the Britain of 2010 in The Observer newspaper in January of 2001.

Gazing deeply into my 400mhz crystal ball, I rather lavishly forecast "This country is poised for a wealthy new era as the Venice of the information age" but never counted on the presence of Gordon Brown or the arrival of the worst global recession since the 1930's either.

As I was working with the Office of the e-Envoy at the time and if memory serves, had just returned from a mission to a bitterly cold South Korea the previous week, you can almost smell the optimism that still surrounded the arrival of the internet, that particular bubble still having a year to run before it burst!

One thing though hasn't changed and it's as true here in the outlying villages of Thanet as it was in 2001:

"Bandwidth is, he believes, a critical issue: 'We need to ensure that peop…

A Cut Above

Image
The expression that springs directly to mind is ‘SmartGov’ and for me at least, it describes what is going to be a very difficult time for local government in the years ahead.

I was fortunate to be present at the very beginning of the eGovernment revolution which changed the face of public services. Generous investment, the internet and the arrival of new technologies, gave the public unprecedented access to local government and streamlined, processes, such as planning and benefits, which had once been Byzantine and impenetrable.

In 2009 one might argue that local government now finds itself at the wrong end of two financial cycles. The first involves the growing costs of a ‘technology refresh’ and the second, the more serious implications that now surround the public sector financial crisis; the worst since the end of the Second World War.

Councils are now struggling to cope with the fallout from the recession and are facing the prospect of as much as a 30% cut in their central Governme…