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Archive for March, 2009

Tales from the Battlefront

As I sit here first thing on Tuesday morning in my hotel in Victoria, London, I can’t help get the feeling we’re in for a rough ride. The G20 summit is soon upon us and already the mood is grim. According to the papers, the Met have cancelled all police leave this week and in the single biggest operation to date, they’re planning to deploy more than 10,000 officers, many armed with 50kv Taser guns – at a cost of £7.2 million.

Demonstrations are expected to bring London to a grinding halt later in the week though my taxi driver figures we’ll be ok around Victoria area as “London’s a big place”. Others are not so sure.

According to one finance worker “We’re not going to wear our Rolexes next week – and we’ll put ‘down with capitalism’ T-shirts to fit in”.

I’ve been running small businesses all my life and to be fair I think the press are keen to differentiate us from the big boys – but I can see where large groups of people faced with constant simultaneous reports of redundancies on the one hand and massive payouts to the super-rich on the other hand, would be thinking someone’s just taking the mick.  Perhaps it IS time to rethink the role of large businesses in this world..  If a company does great because of one individual I can see where monetary rewards are justified but it seems all so one-sided – when things go bad the rich never seem to pay for mistakes. 

Watch this space for significant updates as the week goes by.

FSB Conference 2009

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I can’t believe it’s that time again… this year the annual conference for the Federation of Small Businesses was held at the Celtic Manor resort in Wales. It started on Thursday 19th March and ran through Saturday night.

The product of a year’s planning and several trips back and forth, this was for me the best venue so far with 600+ delegates present. Weather was great and this was a wonderful location in the middle of a golfing resort. Even with poor weather the main building is modern, massive and houses a gym, several restaurants and a really first class reception area.

tmp375I got off to a flying start, a bust Vodafone dongle, then the phone packed in (whatever I said about the HTC Diamond Touch earlier – I apologise – it’s a heap of rubbish – there is some audio fault that they simply cannot fathom resulting in this being my THIRD phone this year). One more time and they’re getting it back and I want something else. Then on Saturday my working PC packed in – and I mean PACKED IN -dead. I have a habit of keeping everything on the D: drive so that if I have to reformat, I simply reformat C: and at least my data is intact. Of course I’d forgotten that I’d renamed the disks – so guess which one I formatted. Yup, the data disk!

Oh, the photo above – the sunset.. took that at Bristol airport last night.

The two big changes this year: I discovered BLIP.TV and Google’s Picasa – not that special on it’s own except that it is REMARKABLY quick at tarting up lots of photos – but then add that to Google’s Web album software which lets you store up to a GIG of photos for free on their servers….. and you have a pretty good package – look to see this being used advantageously on the FSB’s conference site… www.fsb.org.uk/conference2009

Control of Diseases

I was watching TV recently with interest. In Japanese airports they now have infra-red cameras which spot people with elevated temperatures – so they can single them out and check if they have some kind of infectious disease as they enter the country – I’m assuming they’re looking for bird flu or whatever.

This reminds me of a trip not that many years ago, when the foot and mouth crisis was in it’s peak in the UK, Maureen and I travelled to the states and when we got to Chicago airport they had a sign asking people from foot and mouth areas to go down a separate line – this we did and they wanted to sterilise our shoes.

I remember at the time thinking what a bunch of pillocks they were – because by this time we’d spent several hours wandering around a plane – and if we HAD a disease on our shoes would surely by now have infected the shoes of the OTHER passengers and the people at any intermediate airports etc.

And now I’m thinking the same about the Japs. Would it not be a LOT more sensible to check people BEFORE they get on the plane?

Control of Diseases

I was watching TV yesterday with interest. In Japanese airports they now have infra-red cameras which spot people with elevated temperatures – so they can single them out and check if they have some kind of infectious disease as they enter the country – I’m assuming they’re looking for bird flu or whatever.

This reminds me of a trip not that many years ago, when the foot and mouth crisis was in it’s peak in the UK, Maureen and I travelled to the states and when we got to Chicago airport they had a sign asking people from foot and mouth areas to go down a separate line – this we did and they wanted to sterlise our shoes.

I remember at the time thinking what a bunch of pillocks they were – because by this time we’d spent several hours wandering around a plane – and if we HAD a disease on our shoes would surely by now have infected the shoes of the OTHER passengers and the people at any intermediate airports etc.

And now I’m thinking the same about the Japs. Would it not be a LOT more sensible to check people BEFORE they get on the plane?

Brownian Motion

Is this REALLY the best that Gordon Brown could muster (speech)? In his speech to congress, the only people who seem to have been impressed were our own press – and they would…. but even then the infatuation quickly died… here are some extracts from the press…

Despite Mr Brown’s glowing summary of the "special relationship" between America and the UK Dana Milburn (Washington post sketch-writer) described Obama’s treatment of Gordon as "a surprisingly cool reception for an ally".

Conclusion? "He’s just not that into you" said the British press eventually. Time magazine dubbed the British media’s obsession with how the UK is viewed in the USA as "kid of pathetic".

Not content with screwing this country, returning to a time of strikes and discontent we’ve not seen since the 70’s, Brown has now managed to screw up a major opportunity to tighten bonds with the USA.

When will the people of this country WAKE UP and get rid of this utter and complete shower. Labour could not operate a brewery visit.