The other day I was reminded of a meeting at which I said to a friend  there would be cuts, tremendous cuts to public services in the not too distant future. It was the closing down of a community project which embraced many communities and where individuals of many areas of the urban sprawl and the world came together to talk and discuss the needs of society. A friend from an Asian group told me not to worry and things were not that bad. I got looks of displeasure from one or two politicians present, while other individuals just laughed. I think the reason at that time for the project was another restructuring. It seems that the idea of waste and the Lean philosophy go hand in hand with restructuring.

I looked up the term Lean and found its foundation was in car manufacturing. the term itself then being restructured to include ideas on cutting out waste and establishing like minded people in positions to push ideas on waste. This then being the business idea of the century and attached to mainstream economic policies everywhere. Put the term Lean in a search engine and it is associated with many aspects of modern life from Call Centres to hospitals.

Perhaps it would seem to anyone looking down from another planet, the truth is out there anything that costs a lot needs to have its costs reduced and if this means cuts to projects and services, well it is the waste which is the problem.  Lottery money can always give a grant to a good cause. Public services can go into the market place and old industries too.

seal sands painting

Seal Sands-?

 

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I watched the documentary about Peter the Great and the Tsars the other day. To the surprise of those around me, I was telling the story before the historian on the screen. I had spent my youth reading about the history of Russia and the history of France and the Napoleonic Wars and lots more, I still do. Maybe it was because I don’t look the type to have such knowledge. Image is the thing.

I enjoyed reading about European History for O’ Level.GCSE, a topic few people liked, but I loved. You find out where we have been and where we are going via a sense of perspective-history is not bunk.

For instance, the TV production of “War and Peace” looks lovely, but the representation of Napoleon looked not quite what all the pictures and descriptions I have read indicated of that person. Here I am not being Lean. Perhaps history books written recently give more up to date descriptions?decmarch2010 292

Picture-Lighting the Roman Wall

Around here the great tourist attraction is the Roman Wall. History is making money nowadays everywhere. A big industry has grown where there were once, ships and factories.

The picture shows people dressed as Romans lighting the way along the Wall via  propane gas during the big “Lighting the Wall” event a few years ago.

 

It is easy to subscribe to many organisations via the local council website or just search the web. For instance, Highways England, or even Notification  of Infectious Diseases which gives lists of diseases and their numbers for the past two years can be obtained from the Gov.UK website, or go to the Parliament website where there are lists of committees a person can submit evidence in regard to lots of consultations.  Then there a person will  find a lot of updates in the inbox on a very regular basis.

Saw one person submitting evidence to a Parliamentary Select Committee on the TV news. An example of democracy in practise. A person commenting on their experience of the floods in Keswick during the Christmas Holidays. A real person getting involved in giving government a taste of real life and its problems.

The details in regard to getting involved and giving a voice to local and national problems are all their on the website. The internet can be used for the good of all. It has been mentioned in many places that online voting is the target in the future, and online use regarding health and the NHS is being pushed. A balance is perhaps needed since there are some people who do not use computers, and others who use then just to shop.

The use of the internet  and TV to illustrate how people can voice their views was good to see tonight-the start of the new year and perhaps the start of more involvement in this manner. Though the floods were a topic no one would want to happen again. The psychological anguish for many people will last for years -it is an economic conflict in more ways than one too.

It usual for snow to be the main threat this time of year. With the turn of the year people wonder when the cold will cause the heating to be turned up( and the costs of fuel bills increasedDSC03898) and two or three sweaters need to be worn. The frost makes everything white early morning and any water can freeze. Sure enough this will happen, but this early in this new year everyone is concerned about rain.

Good old fashioned rain, is the talk on everyone’s lips. Not the rain we are used to, but the rain which caused many beautiful country towns and some urban cities to be overcome at the time of year when families come together to celebrate.  Millions of pounds are talked about, yet these people who are now in wellington boots armed with brushes and shovels need much more than money.(But it must be given). The insecurity of mind all the flooding must cause is not considered.

I as a child had a dream which frightened me a lot and still remains vivid. It was of a torren of water racing up the street where I was born. I told this to a friend of the family, and they tried to reassure me saying, the river is dredged, in a slight gorge, and no way could get to our door. When flooding occurs anywhere I think of that dream. Once it was rare, now it is more often, and even my place of birth might, just might seen some.

What happened to cause this fear and problem for so many people. Some say its climate change, which obviously might have a lot of impact, but there is dredging of rivers for which there seems to be regulations which are causing problems. Then there are the statistic which seem to prove there are more trees now than since the first world war.  Trees help the uplands hold more water and prevent excessive flows down river. Then there are the comments from some people on the use of grouse moors. There seems to be a lot of brown patches on hills in many places where trees once stood. Some places look like battlefields, and there are some villages which have changed their topography completely since the felling of surrounding woodlands. Perhaps the statistics on this topic need further discussion. People and the environment need protection from floods and the economic consequences.

 

The shops say they are having sales. Walking down the aisles of goods before Christmas was very similar to walking down the aisles before the New Year. Strange lots of people don’t notice perhaps in the rush of daily life.  Reading the papers also seems to decline during the holiday season. I once thought that the holiday season was in the Summer, but not so, many people seem to see Christmas in, go to support their football club on Boxing Day and the day after are up and away to some hot holiday spot for the New Year.

I ponder these things since watching the stories on the programme on the Christmas Season in previous decades. Much of it seemed not quite what I remember. Some of the styles shown of the clothes and the households were a mixture too. Dressing the set as they say. Researchers  perhaps?

This season’s big story is of course The Floods. How much of this will be repeated during the year to come. Pollution of all kinds is everywhere, we need scrutiny to protect everyone, from floods, air pollution and pollution of ideas which leads to a less equality in society everywhere.

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civic centre

 

Outsourcing is now a way of life for most organisations. Lots of public services are now outsourced too. The Government is estimated by the National Audit Office to have outsourced some £187bn contacts in 2013 and the Financial Times indicated the amount of outsourcing by the Government has nearly doubled since 2010. Transparency was encouraged by agreement to many of the topics in the Open Government National Action Plan, which hoped to help the UK  in maintaining its world leadership status in topic.

One can read the book “Theories of the Democratic State” in which  outsourcing is part of a set economic structure. In many parts of the book examples of  transparency show how it  is vital to help maintain public confidence. Question Time in the House of Commons is another example -entertaining but necessary to give a public show and illustrate the public the human face of government. Even if one wants to shout at the TV at times,which maybe true in a few weeks time when the Autumn Statement is made.

A few weeks ago I commented on Twitter about the production of “Cider with Rosie” on BBC TV. Someone from BBC Radio Twitter back asking if I would like to comment on a radio show.  I agreed.  This resulted in my expressing my opinion to the man from the radio about the new production of the book on TV.  I was told if I was picked they would phone at about 3.30pm. So I waited-nothing happened. I put the radio on at the time of the programme and heard someone other than me commenting on the production. The comments were not quite my view, but the interviewer did then use a few of my expressions to give another viewpoint, proving at least that I had been speaking to a real person working for the BBC.

I write this to illustrate how easy it is to be conned, and the examples in the press make people frightened by telephone calls which are scams. A sad view on society that this kind of thing happens. Someone said the other day in a conversation overhead in a shop-“society seems less honest everyone wants to make money for nothing and without caring.”

I like listening to “From our own Correspondent” on Radio 4.  It is a programme where Correspondents based in many parts of the world give small insights into the society in which they are based. They are well made and illustrate how people live and how they adapted to life in the 21st century. Often the insight into life and events in these stories gives a better picture than an expensive news item on TV News. An example was the town in the Baltic which once manufactured drain covers, and with the introduction of a new form of economy, this ceased due to none investment and high costs of production. Now the town it was said, is reduced in size, there are few young people and no new buildings, and it looks sad. History repeats itself in so many places and its the people who suffer in the same way.

The name of the makers of the drain covers-no one now knows the famous name of the town where they were manufactured. Often the people in the stories ask what is the point of making things whether they are made of iron or wool. A small girl gave an answer-food.