Milk, Milk, Milk!

Milk, Milk, Milk!

Opinion

Don't want to read my thoughts? Go straight to the synopsis/TL;DR

Ok, so Grandad is on his high horse again! This time it's about milk.

For several years now farmers have been paid a dwindling price for their milk. It is now at the point where up and down the country farmers are taking the situation into their own hands by taking all of the the milk from supermarket shelves.

There are 2 questions that we should be asking.

  1. Are we willing to pay more for our milk if it means keeping British dairy farmers in business?
    Please fill in the simple poll form to the right and we will see the general consensus together
  2. What can we do to help the farmers out

Are you willing to pay more?

Here's the £64,000 question: Are you willing to pay more for your milk if it supports UK farmers? Currently many of them are going out of business as they are paid less for their milk than it takes to produce it.

What can we do to help UK farmers?

I've tried, oh how I've tried

That's right: I've already tried to get more farmer friendly milk.

Attempts

Tweets: I have sent a number of tweets about this subject and I have to say that the Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers have been no help whatsoever.

Here are some examples

Research: I did a bit of research into how to get more “ethical” milk but there was hardly any information out there at all. All I could find were suggestions to visit Farmer's markets etc. This is all when and good when you aren't working every day but it's quite hard to fit in with a full work schedule and a family. We did try and we at least found our local farmer's market (which is awesome by the way). The problem is that they only had about 5 x (2L) bottles of milk at a time and we need that many per week.

The one thing I did discover is that Marks & Spencer pay the best price to the dairy farmers that they use. For this reason I bought our milk from M&S for several weeks until I stopped taking Rowan to school and then it was again inconvenient for me/us to get it from there. As this press release states:

An image of a glass with milk being poured into it

Just a glass of milk

“This increase will be welcomed by all M&S dairy producers. The M&S milk pricing model, Milk Pledge Plus, provides us with a transparent and fair price that reflects the cost pressures we face. It returns a market-leading milk price in exchange for market-leading farm production and health and welfare standards, and is a great example of a retailer working with producers in a mature way to deliver consumer benefits from a supply chain in a sustainable way.”

Milkman: My latest effort is to try and find a local milkman (or woman of course) who can deliver the milk to us. Whether that be delivering a job-lot weekly or daily.
I have emailed one milkman (with no reply) and I'll email more tomorrow.

Do you have any suggestions

How about you folks out there? Do you have any suggestions on how to get milk that will not bankrupt our National farmers?
I don't want to pay pittance for milk for high corporate supermarkets who drive their suppliers out of business. I saw in a BBC interview earlier an Asda spokesman say that it was the farmers own dairy that they owned that set the price. Whilst this may be correct it is big corporations like Asda who drive the price down with their massive buying power.

Synopsis TL;DR

The UK farmer's are being driven out of business because supermarkets use their “super” buying power in order to drive their purchase price down.

There is no-where near enough information out there about how to go about giving our farmers the business that they need. I have tried several methods of acquiring milk from more “ethical” sources but as yet I have not found a decent sustainable alternative for the working family.

I am too busy to travel miles and miles in order to pick up milk. I want to pay more so that I can give more value to the farmer's of this great Kingdom.

If you didn't read the rest of the article then I urge you to fill in the little poll on the right of this page in the sidebar. It will help us to find out what percentage of my readers would pay more.

Lastly: As I want as many participants in the poll as possible don't forget to share this post so that together we can get the widest possible coverage for the poll as possible.

Thanks; and once again it's over to you.

And Another Thing #5…Mo Farrah

Opinion

OK, Let’s get this straight: I consider the BBC's Panarama program to be “The Sun” of the television world. It puts out programs that scaremonger and offer little in the way of any type of evidence except circumstantial.

With this latest issue they have accused Alberto Salazar of doping along with one of his main athletes Galen Rupp.

Since they aired this episode one of Alberto's main athletes, Mo Farrah has been caught in the middle of these doping allegations. One can see in his interviews that he is very stressed and he has today said that the pressure on his 5 months pregnant wife is extremely painful.

The last two weeks have been the toughest of my life – with rumours and speculation about me that are completely false – and the impact this has had on my family and friends has left me angry, frustrated and upset. In particular, the media pressure on my young family and my wife, who is five months pregnant, is extremely painful, especially as I'm away training for some important races.

I would not be surprised, nor blame Mo if he decided to compete for Somalia. Although the British public are behind Mo the British “press” have done nothing but harass him. On tonight's BBC news at 22:00 they showed a clip of Mo being harassed by a “journalist” forcing him to drive in an unsafe manner with one arm covering his face. I am not linking to this video on purpose.

Whether or not this was a BBC employee or a freelance scumbag they should be ashamed of themselves. If it IS a BBC employee then serious questions need to be answered about their tactics and if it is a freelancer then the BBC should not be enabling and perpetuating this behaviour!

Had he driven over the journo's foot he (the scumbag journo) would be the first to be claiming compensation (well…the only one in-fact).

Have the British public learnt nothing?

Time and time again the press have harassed our public personalities and yet we (by whom I mean they) still buy the “news”papers even though they criticize both the techniques and results!

Rant Over!

How not to treat the person looking after your parents

Family Opinion Personal

A Family That Should Be Ashamed By The Treatment Of It's Own

Unfortunately last year my maternal nanan/grandmother died & since then my mum's quality of life has gone downhill… let me explain.

About 5 years ago my maternal grandparents were at a stage in their life when it wasn't really possible for them to live in their two-storey house by themselves any more. My mum and dad took the decision to put their live's on hold and move in with them. They gave up the flat that they rented, moved in with them and they began a new life in the conservatory and the small bedroom they now had.

This meant that my grandparents could carry on living in the house they moved into when they arrived in Barnsley over 50 years ago and they had both physical and emotional support.

It has to be said that it wasn't easy for my parents to give up their existing lives; put everything on hold and become full time carers. They now had many extra responsibilities and my grandparents could only be left on their own for very little (if any) time by themselves such was the support that they needed.

Quote about inheritence

So true!

After a period of time of being really bad my grandad/grandfather died on the 15th November, 2012, leaving my mum; dad and nanan. Things were ok for a while and then came the news that my mum and dad were splitting up after my dad admitted that he had been having an affair. This left just my mum and nanan but unfortunately this didn’t last long and my nanan died shortly after on the 20th June last year (2015).

What seems like as soon as my nanan passed the hassle began for my Mum over my nanan (and grandad)'s will. This stated that my mum could live in the house that was now her home for as long as she wanted rent free. A few of my mum's siblings have pressured my mum into selling the house as soon as possible no matter the price it brings. It has to be said that this pressure was applied in a passive-aggressive way and with no thought for my mum's feelings; financial situation or health and although many of the family are in the building trade there has been very little work done; even though only a small amount of work would increase the property value.

The situation has now gotten so bad that my mum just wants to get rid of the house and the stress is causing several ongoing health issues to get worse.

The pressure applied by several people to sell the house has changed my perception of them quite a bit. It was my parents and nobody else who offered to move in with them. If it had been up to a few others then my nanan and grandad would have had no support or had to live in a nursing home. It was my parents who moved and and the stress of putting their own lives on hold ultimately cost them their marriage. Despite this my mum has stayed strong and is being repaid by her own family with a total lack of gratitude for the sacrifices she has made.

I personally feel that the members of the family should be ashamed of how they have treated one who gave such a personal sacrifice to care for the major figure-heads of the family empire “for something as common as money” (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005).

Let me be clear: My family and I are not blameless in all of this! Although my mum knows that if ever she needs us we will be there for her, we don't spend anywhere near as much time with my mum as we should do. My wife and I work at least 60 hours each per week (including work at night at home and work at weekends) and by the time weekend comes we are shattered and we just want to spend time relaxing at home chilling out with our son. Most weeks we have very good intentions of visiting my mum but these never come to fruition for a variety of reasons. We have also been living on our own for many years and have learned to be very independent (as one is supposed to be when one has had a career in the army).

We were however all prepared to offer my mum a place in our home if things came to the worst (I am not sure if we actually did or not): we had the housing arrangements all sorted and everything but mum wants to go back to being independent so there you go.

As always I would really like your thoughts: Do you agree with me that people should be ashamed or can you see an alternative viewpoint?

And Another Thing #4… Jeremy Clarkson

Opinion

What? Are you kidding me? With so much going on in the world at the moment why has Jeremy Clarkson got 2nd bill on the 10 o’clock news?

Ok. Let’s get started! Last week Jeremy Clarkson [allegedly] punched a producer and everybody including David Cameron is calling for him to be re-instated.

Let’s get this straight; if he is found guilty and then re-instated then he will be getting away with Gross misconduct and some sort of criminal assault. Because he is famous and brings in an estimated £50m for the BBC he is possibly to be allowed to get away with assault whilst already on a final warning. Be warned: If he gets away with it this time he will know that he is to be allowed to get away with whatever he likes.

Add to this over half of a million people signing to have him re-instated. Can you imagine of that many people got involved in a political debate or petition?

On to you. Do you want him re-instated? Do you think he should get away with it or do you just think it’s a big kerfuffal over nothing?

And Another Thing #3… MovieTube

Opinion

Today I came across a site called MovieTube (I am not going to provide a link as it will increase their SEO stats). It is billed as site that allows you to watch new films for free and most importantly LEGAL. I have searched on the internet for 20 minutes or so to see if this is actually legal or not and although I have found many answers such as

If a person steals fireworks and sets them off in the city centre is it illegal to watch them?

Which is a completely ludicrous analogy. I have not found an answer that I am comfortable with such as from a Lawyers site. The most definitive answer I have found was from the MoneySavingExpert site that is more in-line with my thinking.

It may very well be legal to watch these movies but there is one major obstacle stopping me from doing so…I have morals!

Think about it for a minute or two. Millions of pounds are spent on these Movies and the related marketing. Who cares how much the stars of the movie are on; the fact is that  they have worked legally for their income.

Somebody does the equivalent of taking a video recorder into a cinema (or pictures as I still call it) and recording a film them putting it on the internet. Just because the MovieTube site does not host the videos themselves does not make it right. This site was specifically set up in order to facilitate illegal activity.

Watching films from this site may very be legal but morally it is an outrageous thing to do!

Some of you may remember several years ago when people were sent notices because their IP address had been used to listen to pirated content that was supposed to be “legal”. The very same thing may happen to viewers of MovieTube once the lawyers catch up.

What do you think. Is it moral or immoral – why do you think it's moral or immoral?

And Another Thing #2… Speaking up

Opinion

Ok: so today’s complaint is about the state of humanity.

Today I saw  on the news footage of a man being denied entry to a train in France because he was black. The taunters were British football fans (Chelsea) and pushed him back out of the train when he tried to enter as well as singing racist songs.

Ok: that’s bad but what bothered me is that there are people stood around doing nothing about it. What could they do I hear you ask. well: they could have told the trouble makers that they were in the wrong; they could have stood side by side with the black man showing solidarity; they could have done anything except just standing there.

I have already told Rowan (my 5 year old son) on many times that if he sees something is wrong it is his duty to do something about it: whether it is helping somebody who is being picked on or telling somebody they have dropped their money. He has also seen me do this on several occasions and after each and every occasion I have reaffirmed our responsibility to help others in need.

If you want to watch the footage for yourself then here is the BBC news link. So what can you do if you see something wrong? I beg you! If you see something happening that you know to be wrong, please do something about it. Don’t just stand by and let society deteriorate into one were people don’t give a shit about each other.

By the way, for the people who say that I shouldn’t be calling a black man such a thing and instead should call him coloured or something similar then I say get a life. In my mind it doesn’t matter what you call people it is the intent behind it. It is similar to the situation when Prince Harry called his army friend his “Little Packi Friend”. I can see why some people would take offense to this but the point is that his “Little Packi Friend” didn’t take offense to it, it was and probably still is a term of endearment. Should be stop calling old people old because some take offense? I don’t bloody know I’ll let you all decide that, after all I have digressed from the original subject.

As always your comments are always welcome.

And another thing #1… HSBC, Daily Mirror

Opinion

OK, so what is it with big business and getting away with it.

When I listen to big business and the likes talking about things they have been caught doing I’m reminded of one of my favourite 80s song by Electronic where it says “I’ve been getting away with it all my life”.

If anybody is caught then it’s as if they can say “We have changed our ways” and expect to get away with it. I wrote this post with HSBC in mind and regarding the recent tax evasion issues. However listening to the BBC ten o clock news tonight I hear about the Daily Mirror saying that it is sorry for tapping into peoples phones and it has not changed it’s ways…what’s that you say: “turn that music down”, ok, 2 seconds…

I’ve been getting away with it all my life…all my life

Ok, the music’s off, now back to the discussion. What sort of government lets these people…wait: people is such a sort word…let’s call them Bastards, yeah. What sort of government lets these bastards get away with this corruption.

If I didn’t pay my tax bill I would have my arse thrown in jail so fast I wouldn’t have time to say “…but I’ve changed my ways”

…rant over: please carry on with your normal business!

Why the West should hang it’s head in shame

Opinion War

After watching the news today I find myself yet again watching news articles on countries such as Ukraine.

This is only a short post so that I can vent my anger and frustration but here’s why I’m writing this.

Lets’ take Ukraine for example. We (the west) stand by day after day while many hundreds/thousands of civilians lose their lives. We are in a position where we are too scared to take action against President Putin despite the amount of evidence that Russia is involved in the conflict.

All we can do is penalise Russia with “sanctions”.

It has got to the point where President Obama is debating whether to arm the Ukraine side of the conflict. However if he does it will just give President Putin legitimacy in his actions. All he will do is say “If you are arming the Ukraine side of the conflict I have to arm the side of the conflict that is trying to gain autonomy” and will then send his troops in carrying their heavy artillery only for the troops never to return back to Russian territory.

If the rebels get their way they will have the borders re-drawn and then the conflict will move further up the country so that Putin can start the fight all over again taking more chunks of Ukraine away from them time after time: all the time the West standing by and saying “If you don’t stop this then we will ask you to stop it again”!

These are just my thoughts on Ukraine, never mind my thoughts on Syria!

Can You Blame Cops After They Shoot Someone

Can You Blame Cops After They Shoot Someone

Death News Opinion War

After catching a post about an American Police Officer shooting dead a 12 year old boy who had a “toy gun” I thought it about time I made my thoughts know on this and subjects like this.

Nearly every comment on the post was very critical of the Police Officer who shot the 12 year old & obviously there were questions such as:

  • Why didn’t he wait more than 2 seconds?
  • Why couldn’t he see it was a fake gun?
  • Why didn’t he ask questions first & shoot later?

…and so on.

Put your self in the cops shoes

You are now that Police Officer

Ok, are you ready? Let’s go!

You’re in your patrol car when it comes through on the radio that a member of the public has reported there is someone in a park with a gun. When you get to the scene you see a boy (well a 12 year old) with a gun & he immediately points it at you. You haven’t had a chance to examine the weapon yet so you don’t know the state of it. Now the 12 year old is no longer a boy: he is pointing a deadly weapon at you & is now a threat to your very life. Your training kicks in & you fire two shots in to the suspect to neutralise the threat.

Wow. It all happened so quick – but what options did you have really?

A sign saying 'possibilities' on numerous arrows

Lets take a look at some of your options.

Let’s get the ludicrous one out of the way. When the call comes through on the radio you think “I’m not going to see to that, are you mad!”. Obviously that would [hopefully] never happen. If it did you would last a week as a Law Enforcement officer at the most.

Option 1: “He looks like my boy!”

You pull up at the scene and get out your car in order to assess the situation. You see a 12 year old boy immediately raise what looks like a weapon to face you. Your a father of a 12 year old yourself & you think “he looks the same age as my little boy. This can’t be right”.

Outcome

The 12 year old who looks like your little boy pulls the trigger & kills you.

Option Conclusion

As a professional Law Enforcement officer you are paid to make quick decisions & tough choices in very little time. Maybe that wasn’t a real gun that he had but you are paid to protect your own life as well as the lives of others. If you wait to make the decision to fire you are putting your life & the lives of others at risk.

Option 2: You jump out of the way

You pull up at the scene & get out of your car in order to assess the situation. You see a 12 year old boy immediately raise what looks like a weapon to face you. You would like to talk to him & ask him some questions. You decide that it would be wrong to shoot without asking the right questions so you dive behind your car & try to talk to the boy.

Outcome

He sees a lone female walking by & shoots her instead.

Option Conclusion

Now that an innocent member of the public has been shot because of your inaction everybody is pointing out that a 12 year old has exactly the same potential to fire a weapon as an adult. Everybody is pointing to examples such as the Columbine high school massacre & a family no longer have their Mother; Wife & Daughter.


The above examples are just that… examples & of course they are worse case scenarios. However; If a member of the public is believed to be in danger, a Police Officer’s duty is to:

  1. make split second decisions
  2. formulate an immediate plan of action with the best information available at the time

If you would like to know my experience of these situations then read about my experiences below

Put yourself in their place for a change.

Tell me: what would you do in this situation? Would you do any of the options above or would you have done something different?

What are Police Officers paid for?

Police Officers are paid to protect the public: that includes everybody from themselves to people who try to kill them. It is of course best to diffuse situations before taking permanent action such as discharging firearms, however, there are situations where their lives & the lives of others are under immediate threat. In these situations their job is to preserve life.

We have to put our trust in someone

Who exactly do you want to protect us and keep us safe at night? I will assume that as a responsible law abiding citizen you want the Police Department to protect you & keep you safe when you’re in bed at night.

Should the Police even carry firearms?

If you live in the United States of America or indeed many other countries then Police Officers are armed as standard & it's a way of life. Whether this is right or not is not for this post but consider this. In a country where guns are so easy to get hold of is it right that you ask the Police Officers protecting you not to carry them?

In the United Kingdom & many other countries we do not have armed Police Officers as standard but this debate does crop up from time to time.

Airsoft guns are not toy guns

Image of a toy gun that looks very real

Can you tell if this is a toy gun?

A lot has been made in the comments of the mentioned post that this was a toy gun. Let’s get this right: an airsoft gun is not a toy gun. It has the facility to fire projectiles. People are hurt every day because others think that air guns are safe. My own cat lost its eye after being shot with an air gun.

Air guns still kill

Last year in my very own local City a man was killed with an air rifle

…& what about bank staff?

Staff who work in financial institutions such as banks & post offices aren’t trained to spot air guns. A member of staff who has an air gun thrust into their face may have the same nightmares as one who has a real gun thrust into their face.

Are Body Cameras An Ideal Solution?

In the UK some Police Forces have started experimenting with body-cameras. Although freedom activists aren’t too happy with this they have to ask themselves what they prefer. I however believe that this is an ideal solution and would stop many complaints from members of the public.

My Own Experiences

As a former soldier in the British Army there have been occasions when I have had make rough decisions. I can say from personal experience that although I was fully aware that an individual was someone’s Son, Husband & Father that completely changed when that individual became an immediate threat to either myself or anybody else. I could have asked questions first & shot later on several occasions but that was not an option. Failure to act on my part could have meant that someone else could have been killed.

I totally sympathise with any Police Officer who has to do this terrible act. With regards the incident in Ferguson, Missouri I totally understand when Office Wilson says that his conscience is clear. When you do your job properly & you fire your weapon as a last resort you DO have a clear conscience. There is nothing else you could do & like I said before… a lack of action could easily mean that you or other die.

Conclusion

The Police Officers who are charged with your protection have much training & they are paid for their work. If you do not like the Police Force or the way that they are doing things it is your responsibility to write to your MP (In the UK)/Congress person (in the US) or other elected representative. If you live in a country without elected officials then you’re basically out of luck… sorry!

The next time this happens you should stop and think not only of the conciquences of any lack of action but about what options an individual had before taking a life. You should ask yourself who you want protecting our streets. On one hand do you want a body of weak Police Officers who let themselves be walked over all of the time? This would be the outcome of a Police Force that gives people the benefit of the doubt all the time.

On the other hand do you want to get rid of the Police Force and have a gang of Vigilantes patrolling your neighbourhood. I don’t know about you but that IS NOT OK with me.

What do you think? I’m keen to know what you think & maybe what you would have done in the example above.

Black Friday Blues

Black Friday Blues

Opinion

Today many retailers in the UK adopted an American tradition: Black Friday. In what may have been a coordinated campaign several major supermarket chains had sales that were so silly they were irresponsible. Police had to be called to various locations & there were many fights & acts of violence.

So why has an American tradition turned into an opportunity for decent British citizens to be ashamed of their fellow countrymen/countrywomen?

A brief history of Black Friday

There are rumours (which I believe started on Facebook) that Black Friday is a term from the days of slavery when slave traders used to try & sell off their remaining slaves before the winter.

The truth is that the term “Black Friday” was’t used in general terms until around the 1950s; a full century after slavery was abolished.

Since then it has many meanings ranging from:

  • A term used by Philadelphia Police to describe the sales on the day after Thanksgiving.
  • A day when people would call in sick in order to get a “shopping&rduo; day off of work.

For quite a few facts that you never knew on Black Friday Visit the Snopes.com page on Black Friday.

Was there a Black Friday in the UK last year?

Actually: Amazon.co.uk were the first in the UK to offer Black discounts as they started offering discounts in 2010

It looks like Black Friday is here to stay. Let's just hope that the health & Safety Executive take a look at the practices used by retailers such as Tesco & Asda this year & conclude that next year there must be systems in place that will keep the shoppers safe. My suggestion would be security guards/stewards & barriers. More realistically there could be a ticketing system similar to the one used in many Argos stores.

Hopefully this is not a sign of things to come and we won’t see Black Friday in the UK again.

Irresponsible retailers

This year there have been several scenes that the major retailers should have anticipated. By not having enough staff on to deal with their sudden increase in traffic these retailers have broken a basic rule of business: keep your customers safe.

I feel for the people who were attacked today simply for purchasing a TV. It would not surprise me (in this age of litigation) if these retailers didn’t see any legal action against them for a range of claims.

Ashamed to be British

Scenes like this…

 

…make me ashamed to be British. What happened to queueing, remember that? It’s the art of waiting in line until those before you have finished fulfilling their requirements & needs.

Upon viewing scenes like this my immediate reaction was to feel disgusted that fellow Human Beings could act in such a way. Were they trying to buy discounted food in order to feed their family on a very tight budget? No…they were trying to get their hands of cheap underwear; TVs & the like.

A 72” TV for a 5 year old’s bedroom anyone?

Yesterday whilst I was waiting for my son’s school to open it’s I overheard a “parent” telling her friend that Asda was to be selling off 72” TVs & she was thinking of getting one for her child.

Her child is in my son’s class & so is only 5 or 6. Our 5 year old son doesn’t even have a basic TV in his bedroom. If he did he would fall asleep watching TV every night. Instead he has books and toys in there.

I mean, come on! Who on Earth buys their 5/6 year old a 72” TV for their bedroom? No doubt it is to go with their consoles & all their bloody killing/war games.

Rant over: carry on!