Whenever I say I hate flying people assume I have a phobia about being in the air. This is not so, I love being up in planes. Its great to look at the earth below, laid out like a map. Flying into London at night once I was lucky enough to be in a window seat on the right of the aircraft and could see the lights of docklands and the West End. The sight was beautiful. Going over mountain peaks such as those of the Alps or Pyrenees is unforgettable . The approach to Stockholm Arlanda over the archipelago offers a spectacle that could never be seen from the ground and flying into New York is just incredible. Being up in the air is a wonderful experience, and even more exciting in small aircraft. Its having to negotiate airports that makes flying shite.
It was no surprise then to hear the airport experience coming in for some heavy criticism. The problem is the profit motive. I first flew in the 1960s, before terrorism, cheap flights and profiteering spoiled everything. There were duty free shops but not on anything like the same scale, no fashion outlets or luxury goods stores, the restaurants were either mediocre or excellent depending on ones means and the purpose of the airport was to process people through the formalities of crossing national borders and on or off the aircraft with minimum fuss. Airports were usually owned or regulated by municipalities or national government. Their function was to facilitate travel not to part travellers from as much cash as possible. The safety, comfort and convenience of passengers was paramount.
Now of course, in this era of market economics, the passenger experience, while much talked about in PR presentations must always take a back seat to the profit motive.
We live in dangerous times and some inconvenience for the sake of security is acceptable. What is not acceptable is the inconvenience and delay due to airports trying to cope with far more passengers than they are equipped to handle or just deliberately keep passengers hanging around so they will spend more money.
Put airports back under the control of municipal authorities or national governments and things will change.
The closet Maggie Thatcher fans will be at my throat for saying that of course, but the results of passenger surveys comparing customer satisfaction at Manchester (council owned) and Heathrow ( private enterprise) settles the case. And Manchester is far from perfect. And on a personal note, Sweden may be a land of loony socialists as far as the Maggie brigade are concerned but the airport at Stockholm (owned by the city) is absolutely wonderful.
Until the profit motive is brought under control I shall keep remining myself there is far more that is worth seeing in places reachable by car ferry or tunnel than one could ever see in a single lifetime.
Manchester Cathedral is not as old as Ely or Durham, nor in such a spectacular setting as York or Salisbury but it is beautiful, loved and ours.
There are no religious sensibilities at play in my sense of outrage that Sony have used images of the fifteenth century cathedral in their latest zap the alien computer game but I have visited the building several times to admire the architectural features and the ornate wood carvings in the interior. Like all Cathedrals it is more than just religious memorabilia, it is a work of art containing many subsidiary works of art.
People have many reasons for using Cathedrals of course, to pray or take part in communal worship, to soak up that atmosphere of peace and calm generated within (its a trick of light and proportion, youre not really in the presence of a higher being sorry folks,) to admire the architecture and craftsmanship, to grab a bit of quiet solitude. Such buildings are expensive to keep up and most people who go in are happy to contribute what they can afford either by dropping a few coins in the box or buying an overpriced souvenir guide. After all we are preserving part of our history.
I am not saying the image of the buildings interior should not be used, what gets up my nose is the sheer bad manners. Sony should have offered a royalty or flat payment at least but what really grates with me is that they did not even ask permission.
Can you imagine the reaction if anybody used in a profit making venture an image belonging to Sony without making a deal to cut them a share of the revenue?
Big Business should be taught this lesson: SAME RULES APPLY.
The prescience of the boggart blog / machiavelli editorial team was demonstrated again earlier this week when Boggart Blog reported on an alleged phone call made by alleged organised crime boss Lord Mafiosi to Downing Street shortly before the Supercasino project was awarded to Manchester, in which the Crime Lord made it clear he expected a return of more than just some faggoty title and a bit of bling for his investment.
A Sunday paper has now revealed that one of the people involved in the Manchester bid has in fact been involved in making “loans” to the Labour Party.
Remember, if you want to read the news that hasn’t happened yet stick with Little Nicky Machiavelli and Boggart Blog. Even when we are joiking we are more truthful than the government ever will be.
Ayoop readers, oop ‘ere in ‘t north there used to be a saying “what Manchester ( / Liverpool / Leeds / Bradford etc.) does today London will do tomorrow.
Though I am as convinced as any good Lancastrian of the superiority of all things north of Birmingham I sincerely hope this is no longer true.
The area health authority responsible for Greater Manchester has in its infinite wisdom decided to consolidate the vast conurbation’s five specialised Children’s Hospitals into one. The current locations are dotted around the cities major centres (remember that as well as Manchester itself, Greater Manchester contains Bolton, Wigan, Stockport, Oldham and Salford, all big towns in their own right,) so that the families of sick children can easily visit.
The plan is a fraud, the cash crisis being blamed for these closure threats is manufactured by stupid accounting methods. And as you might have guessed there is a huge Private Finance Initiative project to replace the hospitals with one centralised unit lurking in the wings.
In future when the scheme is implemented everybody will have to travel to the same central location. The five current hospitals are delivering the first class care all sick children need and making possible that other necessity, family support. Adults may be able to rationalise a scarcity of visits with the fact that specialist services cannot be provided in all local hospitals but children need to be reassured they have not been abandoned to their illness. Modern children may come across as arrogant little gobshites but in reality but underneath they are probably more insecure and emotionally fragile than my generation were fifty years ago. And so children in hospital need a lot of support from parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, friends and the whole extended network.
Unfortunately and inconveniently for the government bean counters behind this cost cutting scam, being ill is not confined to children from affluent, double – income families. Kids from single parent homes or of disabled, unemployed or just plain poorly paid parents are as likely, probably more likely to get sick.
Parents in such situations can ill afford frequent difficult and expensive trips across the city and so their children will suffer. No matter what we think of the parents, workshy skivers, drunken no-marks, trollops who don’t know how to keep their knickers on, it is not the children’s fault; they did not choose their parents.
As usual with this shoddy and dishonest government, deception, bureaucracy and bean counting take precedence over humane considerations.
Now the headline said children will suffer as a result. It will be difficult to link any deaths to this policy so we will have to save that for the threatened A & E closures (commented on here several weeks ago – as usual Little Nicky Machiavelli was ahead of the game) but children will suffer physical stress and parents will suffer emotional trauma as a result of the insane accounting methods this LABOUR government has imposed on the NHS in order, we believe, to prepare the health service for full privatisation based on the American model.
Read the NEWS STORY here
Little Nicky will expose the bogus accounting methods in the next few days. You know folks, when it comes to cooking the books our Government make the guys behind Enron and Worldcom look like effing amateurs