Working from Home
The Corona virus has forced people to work from home where possible and modern developments in communications have shown that, in many cases, it is quite possible to do this successfully. Some employers have reported a significant increase in productivity as a result. If it can be done successfully with the need for trips into the office greatly reduced, one can only regard it as a good thing. The government, however, is urging employers to get employees back into the offices, apparently to help the economy in the town and city centres. As one home worker wrote in a letter to the paper; “I have been working at home for several months, and it has been very successful. Now, it seems I am being urged to go back to commuting, which means a trip to the station, a wait on the cold platform for a train that may or may not come, standing in a crowded carriage with increased risk of infection with a virus, then walking in the rain to the office. An overall time of about an hour. There would be a similar journey in reverse, to get home. I am urged to do this just so that I can buy a coffee and a sandwich in the town”.
The virus might well have accelerated a change in lifestyle that was going to happen anyway. It could lead to less crowded trains, less pollution from cars and less congestion in the towns. Surely it can’t be bad. Perhaps the towns will have to adjust to a new normal.
The High Speed Train
I have never thought that the high-speed-train was worth the cost and disruption. The justification for it is being progressively diminished by the developments in communications and the increase in home working. More and more it is looking like a vanity project for the politicians. Of course, they are boasting that it will create twenty-thousand jobs, but these are jobs being paid for by the government i.e. the tax-payer. If we are going to spend that much to help employment, there must be far better ways.
A Level Results
What a shambles.
I felt rather sorry for the people at Ofqual. The government was worried about grade inflation, they knew that teachers were aware that their predicted results greatly influenced the offers of university places for their students and, not willing to spoil their students’ chances, they would err on the side of generosity. Ofqual were requested to produce a computer model for determining the results such that they were within 2% of previous years. I assume, they successfully produced a model that did just that.
Then came the howls of protest. Whilst the model produced the result requested it did not allow for individual variations. It appeared to put youngsters from deprived areas at a disadvantage. The model included allowance for the geographical area, based on previous results for that area, but this could be seen as somewhat arbitrary and automatically condemned students from poorer backgrounds, which was clearly unacceptable.
The government then had no choice but to accept the teachers’ predicted results. As a consequence, this year there has been a 25% increase in the numbers with higher grades, just what the government was afraid of, but really there was nothing else they could do.
Ofqual got a lot of stick for doing exactly what they were asked to do. It is quite likely, if it had been a normal year and the students had taken the exams, the overall result would have been close to what the model predicted. But when looking at individual results they could have been quite different
Brexit is back in the news again. As I have said before on these pages, the decision to leave the EU is a disastrous one. The damage to our economy could be ameliorated, to some extent, if we do a good deal. The way the negotiating is going, however, the possibility of leaving with no deal is beginning to look real. Is that what the Brexiteers want to see? Can they really be so stupid as to seriously damage our trade with the EU, which is more than 50% of all our overseas trade? The Europeans will suffer also, but to a lesser extent, they will blame the UK for the failure of the negotiations and will give no quarter in future deals. There is now a real danger that Boris and his Brexiteers may well bring about the break-up of the United Kingdom and the impoverishment of England. It is time to put a stop to this patriotic jingoism and look at the real world.
The lefties in the Labour Party are accusing Kier Starmer of being too ‘right-wing’, an ‘establishment stooge’, and they are doing what they can to undermine him. When will they learn that a very left-wing Labour Party does not win elections? There have been eight Labour victories since the second world war, seven of them were won by Tony Blair and Harold Wilson, the eighth was by Clem Attlee.
But before they stand a chance of winning an election, they have got to win back the Scots, and good luck with that.
Many of you will remember the mistakes made by Chris Grayling, possibly the best one was giving a shipping contract to a firm with no ships.
A new chairman was required for the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee. Boris wanted Chris Grayling for the job. Why? He had no prior knowledge or experience in the field of security and not a clue about intelligence. Perhaps it was because Boris felt able to manipulate him and thereby control the committee indirectly. Members of the committee were horrified. They were keen to see Dr Julian Lewis in the role, he had a wide experience of defence and security and had been a security adviser. They worked quietly with him, behind the scenes, to ensure that he would be elected chairman. Boris was so annoyed that he had the Whip withdrawn from Dr Lewis. Makes you wonder, does he want the best man for the job, or a puppet where he holds