Archive for November, 2012

The Lost Spitfires Of Burma

Posted in Britain, England, Europe, Germany, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, UK, World War 2 with tags , , , , , on 29/11/2012 by floroy1942

Once in a while its nice to write about something positive, for as we all know, there are few opportunities for this today. While the world and its people are getting crazier by the minute it was refreshing to find a news story that piques the imagination and does not involve disaster, corruption, hunger or death. I refer to an amazing tale and one man’s quest to unearth buried Spitfires in the jungles of Burma.

David Cundall

There are few of these iconic aircraft flying these days so long after the end of the Second World War, but if luck is with David Cundall this may change. He is a farmer and aviation enthusiast who for sixteen years has been researching the events of the time, and in particular the area around Mingaladon in Burma where it is said that 36 of these aircraft were buried in the jungle sometime during 1945. He is sure that two other sites contain as many as another 24 aircraft.

Boxing A Spitfire – Burma 1945

They had arrived at an airfield in the region in crates and were never unpacked or assembled, and for some reason orders were handed down to bury them as they were, maybe to prevent them falling into Japanese hands although this is doubtful. The real reason may never be known but for Mr, Cundall there is evidence enough that they exist. He has over the past few years assembled a team that have been combing the jungle and interviewing anyone who might have had knowledge of the event, and with some success. He met with a local Burmese man who remembered how, as a 15-year-old, he and his father had transported timber used when the Spitfires were buried.

1940 – Attacking The Bomber Stream

To date, electro-magnetic surveys have uncovered  two areas of interest to the team, and it is expected that work to excavate them will begin in January. His greatest wish is to take them back to England and restore them to flying condition. He said he would love to see a squadron of Spitfires flying over London again, and that is a dream held by many, myself included. Being an aviator for 45 years, he said he would love the opportunity to fly one himself, and who can blame him.

Spitfire Prototype – 5 March 1936

The Supermarine Spitfire was the brainchild of R. J. Mitchell who was chief designer at the Supermarine Aviation Works which since 1928 had operated as a subsidiary of the Vickers Armstrong company. First test flown on March 6 1936 the Spitfire underwent several changes before entering into squadron service with 19 Squadron at RAF Duxford on the 4th August 1938. Throughout the duration of the war the aircraft served in Britain and on the Continent, the Middle East and the Far East, and many were crated and sent to the Russians for use on their front.

Heartbeat Of The Spitfire

The power plant of this superb aircraft was the Rolls Royce Merlin V-12 that was first developed in the early 1930’s and underwent successive changes until it was ready for the Spitfire. The Merlin was the most successful wartime engine in British aviation during the war years, being fitted not only to the Spitfire, but also the Avro Lancaster, the Handley Page Halifax, the De Havilland Mosquito and the Hawker Hurricane.

Heading For The Enemy

The successes of the Spitfire are unparalleled in aviation history, for although built as a fighter it also carried out the roles of photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber and carrier-based aircraft. This aircraft also claimed many speed and altitude records in its time. The Spitfire will always be associated with Battle of Britain, and although the Hawker Hurricane did as much sterling work as the Spitfire during those treacherous  months, it is always the Spitfire that immediately springs to people’s minds when that time in British history is mentioned. This fine veteran of war flew its last flight for the RAF on 9th June 1957 and although many remained airborne around the world, now, 67 years after the war, they are very scarce, so I wish David Cundall lots of luck in his quest to unearth what might be a ‘new generation’ of this venerable war machine.

Roy.

NHS In Self-Destruct Mode

Posted in Britain, Budget Cuts, England, Health, Immigrants, Modern World, UK with tags , , , , , on 24/11/2012 by floroy1942

It may not come as a surprise to many people that the British National Health Service (NHS) is steadily collapsing through mismanagement, poor patient care, poor nursing staff, and doctors. While there are many fine nurses and doctors in the system even today, ‘it ain’t what it used to be folks’!

The reasons given for the breakdown of the NHS are varied, mostly centred on budget restraints and a shortage of staff. But is this true? Firstly, like most government institutions, our NHS suffers from rampant over-expenditure on goods and services provided by private sources, i.e. paying way over the odds for drugs, equipment and other services that can be obtained cheaper elsewhere because the managers do not shop around for the best price. Its the old saying: ‘If you want to get rich quickly, get a government contract’! Secondly, A shortage of staff should not be countered by hiring foreign nationals with little or no credibility and a minimum of English, but make the profession attractive to our own young people.

1950 – Always A Nurse On Duty In The Ward

Looking back, I remember when the NHS was a shining example to the world of how a national health system should be run. As a patient you were guaranteed the best possible care with staff who would do their utmost to ensure your stay was as comfortable as possible, and the skilled surgeons did whatever was necessary to ensure your continued good health. So what the hell went wrong?

Are You Sure You Have The Right Patient?

Today it’s a daily occurrence for surgical instruments to be left inside the body when the patient is sewn back up after a procedure, people are left for hours in soiled beds and there are never staff around when a patient has an emergency. To top it all, patients have died because they were given medicine that was intended for others. You are extremely lucky these days if you go into hospital for surgery and come out without having contracted some other disease while in their tender care. Many of the nurses are extremely rude to patients, and this occasionally applies to doctors too, and you will be lucky if you have nurses on your ward who even speak English!

The number of complaints and claims against hospitals have gone through the roof in recent years and no-one seems capable of sorting out the mess. Last year officials logged a total of 760 so-called ‘serious untoward incidents’ in the NHS, and more than 4,000 patients required further treatment after doctors accidentally injured them during surgery.  But worse than that, a total of £310,000 was paid out in compensation to people who were operated on the wrong part of their body by surgeons because of name mix-up. Doesn’t give you much faith in the system does it? You go in for kidney stones and they take off your right leg!!!

Subjecting Yourself To Unknown Risk?

In addition to the above mentioned problems, in 2011 there were a total of 45 patients who suffered severe complications because instruments used during surgery had not been sterilized properly, and records show that more than 4,000 people required additional care because they suffered an accidental cut, puncture, perforation or internal bleeding while being treated for something else. Approximately 3,500 patients suffered severe complications because one or other medical device or piece of equipment failed to function correctly. It cost the NHS more than £2m last year in compensation claims from patients who had been revived after surgery only to find that something had been left inside them, which naturally required a second operation to remove it.

There is no possible excuse for the latter, for all operating staff should know you count the instruments before you start and count them again when you finish – a simple procedure that is highly effective and is designed to prevent such cock-ups.

Matron Knows Best

Fifty years ago we did not have all the fancy apparatus they have now, but by Heaven, the hospitals were a thousand times better than they are today for all the advancements made in the medical world. In those days there was never a spot of dirt anywhere in the wards or operating theaters because everything was supervised by Matrons with years of experience in their field and they ruled with a rod of iron. You never waited more than a couple of minutes before a competent nurse came to your bedside when you called. Everyone spoke English because they were English, not Caribbean, Muslim, Polish or Czechoslovakian etc. They were not even allowed on the wards until they were proven capable. Doctors were all British and were expert at what they did and relied on in-depth knowledge rather than a fancy machine to tell them what was wrong with their patient, and believe it or not, 99.99% of the time they were right!

I am sorry to say that today’s NHS is a complete and utter shambles and is more of a danger to the public than a rogue lion on the streets for you can shoot a lion!

I do feel very sorry for those doctors and nurses who do their work with pride and give their patients the kind of care they are entitled to, for their reputation has been tarnished by the lazy, rude, and downright incompetent idiots that abound today within the system.

Self Explanatory

When Tony Blair’s Labour Party started its massive recruitment of foreign nursing and doctor staff for the NHS they were not even bothered if the applicants spoke English or had proper training but just hired willy-nilly right left and centre and shipped them over to Britain, and this is why the system is failing so badly these days. Its the knock-on effect!

I rather think that within a very few short years the whole system will collapse in on itself unless someone takes it by the throat and shakes it, and then starts reorganizing it right from the top to the bottom. I am just glad I will never need its services for here in Spain they at least know which end of a scalpel you use to cut with.

Roy.

A Lesson For Young Smart Asses About ‘Going Green’

Posted in America, Britain, Environment, Europe, Insanity, Modern World, Parenting, Senior Citizen, Teens with tags , , , on 23/11/2012 by floroy1942

Some young people today seem to think they know it all when it comes to saving the planet. Many blame the old folks for not taking greater care of our environment, but just to set them straight here is something I received through the e-mail that should open their eyes, so show it to your kids or send it on to any smart-asses you know.

Being Green

Checking out at the  store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman, that she should bring  her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized  and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk  responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to  save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our  generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned  milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them  back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use  the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the  green thing back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged  our groceries in brown paper bags, that we reused for numerous things, most  memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as  book covers for our schoolbooks. This was to ensure that public property, (the  books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings.  Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn’t  do the green thing back then.

We walked up stairs,  because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We  walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine  every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We  didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed  the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throwaway kind. We dried clothes  on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and  solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got  hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new  clothing.

But that young lady is  right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one  TV, or radio, in the house – not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small  screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of  the state of Montana or Province of Ontario . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because  we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.. When we packaged a  fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion  it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an  engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran  on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health  club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we  didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a  fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every  time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of  buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of  throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the  green thing back then.

Back then, people took  the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead  of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical  outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from  satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger  joint.

But isn’t it sad the  current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we  didn’t have the green thing back then?

Roy.

Just For Fun – But With More Than A Grain Of Truth!

Posted in America, Benefits, Britain, England, Equality, Government, Government Spending, Immigrants, Modern World, UK with tags , on 20/11/2012 by floroy1942

This came to me over the e-mail today and it is such an apt description of the times Britain lives in I just has to pass it on. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this snap-shot of Britain today!

Roy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=wq_lhlIn1e0

Gaza Erupts Once Again – But Who Is To Blame?

Posted in America, Britain, Germany, Iran, Israel, Palestine, UK, United Nations, USA with tags , , , , on 17/11/2012 by floroy1942

Once again trouble has flared up between the Palestinians in Gaza and Israel, and who is getting all the blame – Israel naturally. But are the Israeli’s really to blame? Sorry, but I don’t think so. As in many times in the past the Israeli government reacted to provocation by the Palestinian insurgents in the only way they could without a full scale invasion.

A Palestinian Casualty – So Loved By The Media

The newsreel pictures of injured women and children so loved by the media have once again played into the hands of the militants in this propaganda war, which as usual is turning people’s hatred against Israel. I heard on EuroNews yesterday how they made meat of the fact that two of the victims from one Israeli air attack were a child and a pregnant woman – trumpet fanfare please!!!! On most news channels there is no more than a split-second mention of the Israeli dead and injured and the videos are all about Palestinian casualties. It’s all part of the Hamas propaganda war and millions of people are swallowing it ‘hook line and sinker’.

Target Austin, Düsseldorf or Newcastle?

So let me put this to you – If you are an American citizen, would you applaud or decry a military response if Mexican militants fired rockets on San Antonio, Corpus Christi or Austin in Texas? If you lived in England how would you feel if Scottish nationalists started raining missiles down on Newcastle? If you lived in France, Holland or Germany would you allow a missile attack on one of your cities or towns from across the border? I am fairly sure that the answer to all these questions would be a resounding NO! So why do so many people think that Palestine is justified in showering missiles on Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and other towns and villages in Israel? Does Israel not have the right to self-defence against attack, or do you think they should just shrug their shoulders and say ‘its just another day in paradise?’ Perhaps you imagine they should just bury their dead and forget the whole thing!

An Israeli Woman Is Helped From The Wreckage Of Her Home

To be honest, I am sick of these mealy-mouthed idiots who’s ears are closed to all but the propaganda initiated by Hamas and perpetuated by the Press, and blame Israel for their response to these attacks when they don’t have a clue of what is really going on but just see ‘mighty’ Israel stamping on the ‘poor Palestinians’ yet again! Most of them don’t have half the brain they were born with and are totally incapable of logical thought. They just listen to the news and read the headlines to see that another woman or child has either died or been injured in an Israeli attack and immediately get on their ‘high horse’ and spout nonsense to justify their ‘superior’ attitude.

Hamas Rocket Firing Surrounded By Dwellings

Naturally we mourn for these people and feel sorry for their plight because many casualties are innocent civilians, but then you should ask, why do the insurgents always fire their rockets from the middle of inhabited areas? The answer is simple, they want to maximise the civilian casualties for propaganda purposes, and as usual the media take the bait. Instead the media should be asking Hamas why they insist on firing missiles from inhabited areas, and please, don’t bleat to me that there are no uninhabited areas close to the border!

There is no way the civilian population can be called totally innocent in the true sense of the word, for they voted the terrorist organization Hamas into power in free elections, and if you vote for a terrorist organization you have to accept the consequences. Nothing Hamas has done since they came to power has convinced me, and many level-headed people, that they are prepared to negotiate for peace with Israel, for they have flat-out refused every time they were invited.

The Israeli’s Too Have Their Casualties But They Seldom Appear In The News

Their transparent tactic is to call for a cease-fire when their supply of rockets has been exhausted, during which they re-arm themselves with more rockets, provided by Iran free of charge I might add. Iran doesn’t give a damn about the Palestinian people but see them merely as a tool in their ongoing hatred of Israel. Do you ever hear of ‘caring’ Iranians entering Gaza to help the poor people trapped there? Do you hell! Does Iran have aid organizations inside Palestine like western nations? Do they hell! You  can bet your life Hamas doesn’t have to pay for the rockets they get from Iran. In my view, anyone who doesn’t recognise these facts is blind.

Rockets Rain Down On An Israeli Town – Should Israel Ignore This?

The UN and many national governments are trying to get Israel to stop its attacks on Palestine but most forget what their own reaction would be if a foreign country started raining missiles down on their citizens. Hamas has fired more than 600 rockets at Israeli territory in this latest spat, with more than 150 fired last friday alone. If you lived within range of these rockets, and were subject to such action in your hometown no matter which country you were in, how would you feel? Would you or would you not want your military to put an end to it. Judging by the rhetoric of those who blame Israel for her response, they would perhaps shrug their shoulders and sleep in an air-raid shelter for the rest of their days?

Uninformed Hatred Against A Nation Defending Itself Against Terror

In conclusion let me just say that I am neither Jewish nor a Jew lover, but merely an individual who sees the injustice of a situation that has no end. I am tired of hearing the ‘holy’ and ‘righteous’ among us shouting their collective heads off about something they have not an iota of understanding. It is time to look past the propaganda and examine the real facts.

Roy.

Update Sunday 18/11/12: Interesting to note that on the news programmes today, governments, the UN, and the Arab League are all telling Israel to cease their attacks on Gaza, but I haven’t heard a single report of anyone saying Hamas must stop firing their rockets on Israel. How one-sided can you get!!!

Ending Aid To India – About Damn Time!

Posted in Britain, Children, David Cameron, England, Government Spending, UK with tags , , , on 10/11/2012 by floroy1942

I read yesterday with some joy that at last the UK government is to end financial aid to India. In my opinion, this should have happened soon after they began creating a nuclear arsenal and a space programme. I am well aware that children are dying of hunger in the poor areas of the country but pumping in millions of pounds over the last few decades seems to have done little to improve their plight.

The sad thing is, India has received an average of £272m a year from the UK over many years which was originally intended to help those in desperate need, but sad to say, most of it has disappeared in the wrong direction. Corruption is rife in the land, and there is no doubt that many people have become very rich by siphoning off much of the money into their own accounts.

India's Population Growth

India’s Population Growth

To its credit, India has made some progress in feeding the country’s poor but it’s not enough. The population has trebled since 1960 and currently stands at around 1.25b. As the second most populated country in the world after China it’s perhaps time the government started doing something to curb the rampant birthrate, for the current situation is getting them nowhere.

India's Nuclear Weapons

India’s Nuclear Weapons

It is a great shame that the Indian government find it more important to have a nuclear arsenal and a space programme, than use the money to feed their people, give them an education and a reasonable standard of living. From the latest report, India spends £70bn on its social welfare budget, compared with £2.2bn on defence and £780m on space exploration. These figures may seem to be in the right proportion but you have to ask, why does this country need a nuclear deterrent and a space programme? I understand their wanting to protect themselves from Pakistan which also has a nuclear arsenal, but there the same problem exists, people are starving while the government rattles its missiles. As for the space programme, that in my opinion is a waste of space – forgive the pun!

A Starving Child

In these times of hardship in the UK I have to applaud the actions of David Cameron and his Liberal partners in making this decision. The money can far better be used to help the people in dire need in our own country, rather than make a select few in India richer every year.

Aid will not stop completely for India, but the British government has finally decided that they should concentrate more on technical aid and not financial. The heartening fact about that is it is harder to siphon off technical knowledge and machinery than hard cash!

India is fast becoming one of the major powerhouses in the world alongside China, but in my opinion, a land as wealthy as India should look closer to home when deciding how to spend the nation’s wealth.

Roy.

China’s Involvement In Western Unemployment

Posted in America, Britain, Europe, Immigrants, Modern World, UK, USA with tags , , , , , on 02/11/2012 by floroy1942

Just take a look at the label on things you buy these days, anything from a coffee machine to designer clothes, and almost 90% of the time it will say, ‘Made In China’. There can be little doubt that the Chinese manufacturing sector is booming thanks to western companies, and has been for at least the last ten years. In the meantime unemployment rates in most western countries are climbing to an almost unsustainable level, and anyone with half a brain must see there is a link there somewhere.

Apple Production Line China

Apple Production Line China

I took a look at the box for my new iPhone 4S today and sure enough, it was assembled in China. Clothes my wife buys in well-known designer shops all carry a label saying made in China, and sometimes Taiwan, Malaysia and even Thailand.

While this may be good for company profits, it does nothing for the living standards of those who slave away day after day in the Chinese factories.

In many western countries people are beginning to blame the influx of immigrants for taking away national jobs, and naturally this is a factor, but by comparison to China’s contribution it is minimal. But before anyone starts waving the big stick at China we must analyze why manufacturing for western companies has moved to this communist country. The simple answer is economics! But to be honest, you have to dig much deeper to find the real reason, and those responsible. The short answer to that is we are ourselves to blame.

During the seventies and eighties trade unions were the strongest they have ever been, and never a year went by without some union or other going on strike for more pay, less working hours etc. etc. I admit freely that in some situations their demands were quite legitimate, but most were highly out of order. It is true that in many cases the union demands were based on high profits being made by the employing companies, but high profits generate growth and more employment whereas the reverse is true when profits are low. A look at history will show clearly that this incessant demand for higher and higher wages in the western manufacturing sector has generated the need of companies to examine their options for cheaper labour costs.

Designer Clothes Made In China

Designer Clothes Made In China

For manufacturers it is a “Catch 22” situation whereby if they raise their prices to cover the extra labour costs the items became too expensive, the market slumps and down go the profits needed for investment. Also, if prices went up the unions would be back demanding more money and it became a self-defeating exercise in futility. So to a certain extent it was our own fault that companies started looking overseas for a cheaper manufacturing process.

When you consider that the average wage paid by western companies to Chinese workers is something like a dollar a day, whereas in the west that would be a fraction of the hourly payment for a worker, you can see how it makes economic sense to  move your manufacturing base to such countries. Even adding on the extra shipping costs of the raw materials and the finished product it still comes out far cheaper than our own labour.

Unemployment Lines In Spain

Unemployment Lines In Spain

It is inevitable that as American and European manufacturing costs rise, more and more companies will see the sense in turning over their manufacturing processes to Far Eastern countries like China where goods can be either made, or as in Apple’s case assembled, in any country on the other side of the globe at a tiny fraction of the cost.

This will inevitably result in even more job losses in the future and with it will come increased unrest, but when push comes to shove, we will have no-one to blame but ourselves. It is all a sad fact of life that workers today must face up to, even though the truth may hurt.

Roy.

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