Tag Archives: london

STOP! Paying for MPs to get Pissed – let’s spend it on the#NHS

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Nothing insenses me more than when a group of experts are bullied into agreeing to something which they know is wrong by a government desparate to make good on a shoddy election promise – on paper rather than practice.

And so today we have a strike by junior doctors who are worried that the terms and conditions they thought they had signed up to when they started their careers – is being ripped up and replaced with a new contract which, in its heart, is about doing more with less, for less.

Having squeezed all the juice from the apple – Mr Hunt and David Cameron are now attempting to squeeze juice from the remaining pips! And it is an utter disgrace.

I have used the NHS alot lately and so understand that it is climbersome, slow and at its best when dealing with life or death emergencies. The rest of us – form an orderly and long queue please.

So, I am all for new ideas and reforms. But they must be sensible and reasoned and funded properly.

Watch Jeremy Hunt squirm as he listens to letters from junior doctors
Watch Jeremy Hunt squirm as he listens to letters from junior doctors

 

This is NOT what we are getting from Jeremy Hunt. His proposals are designed to spread what is currently done over 5 days over 7. Let me tell you – the NHS in some parts is struggling with 5 days – never mind 7.  WE MUST NOT make Doctors pay the price of over funded and bad management of NHS boards.

I am not saying I don’t disagree with the Conservative aspiration of a fully functioning 7 day health system. It is inevitable.

However, where I am very angry with Jermey Hunt is that he is trying to impose this new way of working – without fully resourcing the other bits required to make the new term and conditions feasible and the aspiration achievable.

On the Andrew Marr show on Sunday 7th February Mr Hunt refused to say that Doctors were not responsible for the 11,000 deaths which are supposedly down to the “weekend effect”.

This made me so angry and the reason is – because it is a total LIE. 11,000 people are NOT dying because everyone packs up at 5pm on a Friday evening in the NHS. In fact, it would appear that Wednesay stands accused of being statistically the worst day to be in hospital. Do we avoid getting hit by a Larry on Wednesay the?

The truth is – you find trends in any data which may not accurately reflect the situation – certainly not to allow you to then base a concrete finding upon eg: if we look at those who died on Wednesay – you might find a majortiy white, male, under 6ft, with blonde hair and green eyes. However if you fit that description- and get hit by a car – you are not MORE likely to survive because it’s Tuesday! It will depend on a variety of other factors directly relating to that incident.

But Jeremy Hunt and the Government are trying to skew the statistics to create fear and get the public on their side. That is shameful and unforgivable.

When I think about how much MPs earn and the fact that as well as everything else the tax payer funds them for – just remember – at any point – MPs are getting pissed in the House Of Commons bar – or some other little function and you are subsiding it or paying wholly for it.

Instead of paying for MPs to get pissed – why isn’t that money used to get more Doctors, Nurses and other NHS specialists?

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Learn How To Be A Fabulous Flirt

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We’ve all been there – an alarmingly attractive individual walks toward us in the street, you can see them giving you a look and you think, ‘Well, hello there!’. You feel a momentary flutter in your stomach as you anticipate a conversation and them asking for your number. And then the cold wind that follows in their wake hits you as they just keep on walking…

Were you reading the signals wrong? If not, what happened? Should you have gone up to him/her? But what on earth would you have said? Confusion reigns.

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Flirting expert, Jean Smith is hosting Fearless Flirting Tours of London. She will teach you how to flirt, and to approach anyone you want without fear, by arming you with top tips and techniques and a whole new way to view this flirting business.

New 1069 SFM Logo

Jean will join me on my 106.9 SFM Saturday breakfast show on 6th February 2016 at 08:10 so we can learn how to be a fabulous flirt!

Flirting tours run monthly in London. The next tour date is 11th Feb at 5:30pm and 7:45pm.

Tours begin at the National Portrait Gallery and cost £39.

For more information you can visit the website: flirtology.co.uk

Monday Matters 14 December 2015 Oscar Pistorius & Bonnie Britain

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As we creep closer to Christmas – Jason presents the Not Quite Christmas Show where every song that we play was in the charts on the 25th of December of the given release date.

Tonight after 9pm Jason talks to the author and blogger Lisa Wilson about the life and trial of a man who was at complete odds with his public image – Oscar Pistorius. Find out how Oscar shouldn’t of been at the Olympics at all – but he bullied his way on to the ticket.  Lisa met the family of Reeva Steenkamp and discusses the continuation of the work that Reeva was embarking by her mother June.

After 8pm it’s Jason’s Christmas December Disco – songs that were in the top 20 on the 25th of December and roving Reporter Bonnie Britain files her latest report of 2015 about a MoleculeArt event in London’s South Bank Oxo Tower – where she drank cocktails and sprayed all different types of paint on to canvas as part of an art exhibition.

 

 

MoleculArt at Oxo tower

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On Wednesday 9th December I was invited to the MoleculArt event with Bonnie Britain in the Bargehouse Oxo Tower Wharf, London.  As I was the +1 of Bonnie – I didn’t really know any more than there would be cocktails – and they would be free! Actually – that was as far as my interest ventured.

We climbed an array of barren brick walled stairs up to the 4th floor – into large dimly lit attic space with old heavy wooden floors and above them – metal air condition ducts that felt untouched by modern adornments – a space that was perfectly comforting in and of itself.

The first eye catcher was the cocktail lab – made up of old oil barrels and a plank of wood -minimal and moody -with bring pink, green and blue lights piercing the darkness from below and wrapping itself around the cocktail stand – which itself had implements resting upon it which wouldn’t look out of place in a science laboratory – as coloured puffs of smoke bellowed out of wide bottomed glass science beakers with a pretty lady pouring and fusing concoctions of green stuff into other stuff – to make stuff that looked like something one could throw down ones neck.

Beyond the scientific blending that was taking place in the popup lab – and at the far end of the attic – was a large floor to ceiling canvas – made up of 30 individual sheets of paper to combine into a whole – one piece out of many.

The canvas was lit by an image projected it on to it – later I learned that these were drug molecules. Laid out in front of the this display were numerous coloured paints, sprays and crayons.  All waiting to play their part in the making something different and unique.

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In between the cocktail lab and overside canvas was a good looking young DJ who kept the beats flowing rhythmically and gave the attic space the feeling of being in a club – all be it – right at the very beginning of the night.

To the sides were projections of still images upon the brickwork – which also turned out to be drug molecules – or maybe food, or maybe alcohol.  I wasn’t quite sure.  The lab cocktails started to work and after a couple an unquenchable thirst grew from with – to head down to the canvas and draw, paint, splash, mash or trash – although I’m guessing if we’d done the latter – we’d of been asked to sling our hook.

I’m not sure if gender plays a part in this.  But I was definitely a grab, splash and dash artist.  Bonnie on the other hand – and many of the girls (although this is in no way scientific) – seem to take more time and care over their contribution – following the molecule lines that were projected against it – trying to make it meaningful.  At one point I did consider pouring black paint over one section that a lady had spent a significant amount of time crafting. And then, when her anger and hatred of me got the better of her and she stormed over and challenged me as to why I would do such a thing – my answer was going to be – “your anger and hatred and the memory and despising you harness right at this moment will last longer than the crap swooshes and characters you just spent 20 minutes working on – which would of been forgotten.  That is MY ART”.

But alas, I wasn’t quite brave enough and anyway, her boyfriend or companion was over 6 foot tall, rugby play wide and looked like he worked in the city and would of made mince meat out of me for upsetting his girl – friend or not. That would of been HIS ART.  And I didn’t fancy that.

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We stood around and had yet another lab cocktail.  I read the invite again just to be sure what it was we were actually suppose to be doing.  It read:

“Drink a cocktail made by ABQ London, splash some paint on a massive canvas full of drug molecules with a few others and take home a piece of it.”

Ok, so more cocktails – more splashing and dashing.  By my 5th cocktail I was not only getting pissed – but creative.  Which was soon ruined when I tried to make the white paint run through the splash of red paint – which was left looking like a bit of a congealed mess.

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At times the canvas was full of creative types -men and women of all ages – either pre-post or with a lab cocktail in hand whilst styling and filing shapes and symbols onto the paper – which was what the event was all about – people adding their own creative dimension to a large piece – which would be taken down and made into individual smaller pieces.  These 30 individual squares would then be given to each person as sign of their involvement in the bigger picture.

We never did get our individual piece. However, I enjoyed the event, the painting, the splashing and the dashing (back to the cocktail bar for another hit).

Here is how we got on…

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Battersea Dogs & Cats Home

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One of the newly arrived kittens.  Many kittens and puppies come to Battersea because breeders have been unable to find homes for them.

Situated in South London, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is the oldest and most famous home for dogs and cats in the United Kingdom.

Since it was founded, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats – none of which would be possible without its team of over 1000 volunteers who help at Battersea’s three centres, in roles including dog and cat socialising, gardening, admin support and giving talks in the community.

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Bonnie on our meet and greet!

And so it was on a cold November morning that I met up with Monday Matters reporter Bonnie Britain for a coffee and light breakfast with the Battersea team.

Bonnie first spoke to the Operations Manager Carly Whyborn about how they cope at this time of year with the influx of unwanted pets and Carly spoke of the need for foster families.  To foster a cat or dog means helping to prepare them for their permanent homes by getting them used to a domestic lifestyle and handling by humans or monitoring their recovery following treatment by their Clinic team.  You can find out more information about being a battersea foster family by visiting either the dog foster page or cat foster page.

There were just so many wonderful animals at the rescue centre that both myself and Bonnie could have taken one or all of them home.

Battersea used to have a policy of not rehoming any animals just before Christmas, as families would often want one for their kids – but upon getting it realised the dog or cat needed more attention than they could offer – or was more expensive than they thought.

However, this has been changed as it was deemed unfair to the animals and their potential owners – just because it’s Christmas.  Plus, there are a lot of people who may be older or single who don’t have a family who live nearby and would love to re-home a pet – just in time for Christmas.

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Jason asks Hooch – the Dogue de Bordeaux, how he’s finding not having a proper home at the moment  – he said he was finding it “rough”.

The rescue and rehoming centre has recently launched a campaign in which they are asking crafty supporters of the home to make and donate dog bandanas so that these scents can be sprayed on the bandanas and the soothing smells can linger with the dogs as they move around their kennels.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier Tyson has spent over 100 days at Battersea Old Windsor and is one of the many dogs in Battersea’s care who would benefit from a comforting bandana. The fun and excitable four year old loves to be outside exploring but 12246693_10153260915193443_8376998241883413331_n.jpgbecomes stressed when returned to his kennel.

Bandanas for small, medium and large dogs would be gladly received, in any colour and print material, so dogs like Tyson can remain happy and calm while they wait for their new forever home to be found.

Sewers are invited to use the pattern available.

Whilst at Battersea myself & Bonnie heard how over the past year, they have seen 21 dogs come through its doors that have been used for breeding then abandoned.  We were told how Battersea is urging people not to buy puppies from breeders.

Many dogs are sold through well-known classified adverts – online and print, so unsuspecting buyers have to just take the sellers word for what they’re getting. They may think they’re buying a Shih Tzu, but more often than not, that cute fluffy puppy, turns into something completely different.

12291197_10153100450076230_8151491576403214176_o.jpgThe majority of the 21 ex breeding bitches dumped at Battersea’s gates were bull breeds and the average cost of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier puppy is £300-500. So if their puppies were sold for that amount their unscrupulous owners could have pocketed as much as £126,000 between them, and £6000 each.

After spending time with the dogs, our guide Francesca Vitale took us to the Cattery which was opened 5 years ago by the Duchess of Cornwall and cost £5 million. Something that I was unaware of, but Battersea has been rehoming not only dogs but cats of all ages and sizes since 1883 and have found homes for more than 200,000 felines. A great achievement for the charity.

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Rehomer Ros Davies with Matilda – an elderly cat who has been waiting to be rehomed

Bonnie spoke to full-time member of staff and rehomer Ros Davies about her work and met some of the cats waiting for a new home.  Ros said that in the run-up to Christmas rehoming slows down but they get a large number of cats through their doors.

Please help support Battersea by visiting their online shop.


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Saturday Breakfast Radio Show Kent

Saturday Breakfast Radio Show Sittingbourne Kent England

Jason McCrossan’s Saturday Breakfast show includes Who Is The Voice from 7am; Play Your Celebrity Cards Right from 8am and our I’m A Celebrity Update.

Pick of The Number One Pops is after 9 including the years 1968; 1978; 1988 & 1998

Kyra is looking after your texts, calls and emails.

UK National Geographic Traveller wins Best Consumer Award

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Rannoch Moor, Scotland.  Image: Alastair Jolly

 

National Geographic Traveller (UK) has once again won the Best Consumer Holiday Magazine category at the British Travel Awards gala dinner held at Battersea Evolution, London.

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Callejón de Hamel. Image: Getty

Pat Riddell, editor, said: “Winning this award last year was a fantastic achievement, but to win it again in 2015 is even better, especially as there’s been no let up in the levels of competition. It’s been another very busy year for the magazine, so it’s really satisfying to know that we’re doing something right.”

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Nature cruise on board the MY Tucano, Amazon, Brazil. Image: Emma Gregg

Anthony Leyens, chief executive of APL Media, the publishers of National Geographic Traveller, said: “Thank you to all those who voted and congratulations to our hardworking and dedicated team of professionals who I’m enormously proud of.

“We’re so delighted to receive this award because it recognises the quality of the content we’ve been producing across all media platforms — and what makes it even more special is that, with a record number of UK travellers voting this year, we’ve won this based on a consumer vote.”

Tenerife. Image: Alamy
Tenerife. Image: Alamy

British Travel Awards’ chief executive Lorraine Barnes Burton said: “More than a quarter of a million consumers voted this year to determine the winners of the 2015 British Travel Awards – it’s the largest awards programme in the UK and to win is a clear statement that companies are providing excellence in travel to the discerning consumer. The travelling public regard the British Travel Awards winners logo as the benchmark for excellence when it comes to finding out who are the best travel companies and National Geographic Traveller is to be congratulated on their achievement.”

 

Image: Jack Southan
Image: Jack Southan

The award further cements its position as a leading title in the consumer travel market. The 180-page magazine celebrates compelling storytelling featuring award-winning writers, you-are-there-photography and inspiring narratives.

Syria: The Complexities Of Bombing

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We are in the middle of a heated debate in the UK as to whether we should or should not use our armed forces to bomb Syria.  Whether we do or wether we do not will be decided by a vote of our MPs on Wednesday.

Let’s be clear.  If Paris had been London – the discourse would be very different and it is important that we take this opportunity to be thankful that we make such decisions with a cool head and not as a reaction to horrific events.  That said – we need to realise the real dangers we face as British citizens – like the horrors that we saw on a beach in Tunisia – or that of in France.  The Russian flight that was blown up over Egypt’s Sinai desert could well of been a British flight.  Wether we like it or not – we are targets – wether or not we bomb in Syria.

There are those who are totally opposed to bombing.  I understand their concerns.  However, the truth is that bombing HAS worked.  It decimated their high command; helped halt their advance and in many cases pushed them back;  spreads fear and dread throughout the ranks of Daesh who worry that every time they step outside or jump into a vehicle – they could be killed or maimed.  That in turn helps disrupt their mobility and ability to hold gatherings outside of their strong hold and if they need to communicate over long distances – they take a chance with their lives or use technology which can be intercepted and used against them.

 

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Bombing Has Limitations

That said, bombing has limitations.  We know already that there is a complex network of tunnels and command centres placed underneath the houses and hospitals of innocent Syrian people.  The extremists use these dug outs knowing that if and when they get bombed – they survive but the innocent men, women and children above ground die; their deaths then captured and edited into slick horror videos distributed to easily suggestible men and women around the world who do not comprehend the context of how they actually died.

The real question for MP’s to ask of the Government on Wednesday is not just whether we should bomb Syria.  Whether we do or do not will not make much of a difference. This fact we know. We also know Daesh will be defeated in Syria and Iraq.  Maybe not next week, next month or next year. But they will.  And we know this because – they are a death cult. They are only interested in death.  And before they die they want to ensure they subjugate, kill, terrorise  and torture anyone under their control. This is not something desired by the masses – no matter how deep rooted they are to a religion.  Daesh has limited appeal.

 

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Even the use of the word “defeat” is a simplification.  Like defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan!

So, when we say “defeat” what we actually mean is turn them from a group which controls large swathes of a country and its population – into a small group of bandits and guerrillas who still hold the same ideology but terrorise on a much smaller scale and are dealt with at a local level before eventually being replaced with some other ideology and becoming a footnote in history.

The real question for MP’s to ask of the Government on Wednesday is: What do you think Syria will look like in 1, 3 & 5 years time and what do you base this on?  (as apposed to what do you want it to look like). What is our end game?   When Daesh is defeated – what could fill the vacuum?  Who are they? What are their aims? How far are you prepared to go militarily – understanding that bombing has its limits?  Weapons? Training? Our soldiers?

The West is adamantly opposed to Russian backed President Bashar al-Assad – yet backs the free Syrian army – which is adamantly apposed by Russia and President Bashar al-Assad.  In order to root out Daesh we may need to work with Russia and Assad – how do we feel about this?  Will  we need to adjust our policy to Assad – what about the thousands and millions killed or made refugees by his Government – what are our “lines to take” when answering their questions?  Can we feasibly have two opposing policies operating at one time?  With Assad – but against? With Russia, but against?

 

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Prime Minister David Cameron speaking about the Paris attacks in the House of Commons (PA) – flanked by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond.

And when Daesh are finally sent scurrying off into the desert – who will replace them?  Do we know? Do we think we know? Have we post-Daesh plans?  What do we do if Assad tries to reclaim control of the country? If we commit to side fully with the free Syrian army and this group of 70,000 militants ready to rout out Daesh from places such as Raqqa – what happens if they are then bombed by Assad or Russia?  What if we find ourselves backing an army which finds itself fighting against Assad and Russia.  Where are the lines drawn? When do we STOP?

So, whether we bomb or do not bomb Syria will probably turn out to be of less importance than wether we are or are not prepared for the end of Daesh control in the region and whether we finally find the stomach to square up to President Putin – when he tries to exert control in the region.

Let us not forget the lessons from history.

 

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Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife leaving the town hall in Sarajevo moments before they were assassinated – which in part, led to the start of WW1.

 

 

 

 

The London Gazette – 350 year anniversary

The London Gazette

Today The London Gazette celebrates its 350 year anniversary as the oldest surviving English newspaper, and the oldest continuously published newspaper in the UK.

The Gazette’s archives are free and easily accessible online, broken down by sector to help users quickly find what they are looking for. The content of The Gazette attracts a variety of different audiences, one of which is the genealogist and historian market. The Gazette is frequently used by those researching their family history, through military records and despatches from the front, as well as insolvency or deceased estates notices.

The London Gazette

A resource created for The Gazette’s anniversary is a timeline detailing just a fraction of the type of events documented in its 350 year history. These memorable events in British history range from The Great Fire of London and the Bank of England being founded, to more recent events, such as the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the birth of Princess Charlotte.

Following the outbreak of the plague in England in 1665, Charles II was forced to move his court out of London to Oxford. To allow the court to report the facts of the day, The Oxford Gazette was born, and when the court moved back to London, it became The London Gazette, and more recently The Gazette, incorporating both the Belfast and Edinburgh Gazette. As the first official journal of record and the newspaper to the Crown, The London Gazette became the authoritative source of news.

Edinburgh Gazette

The Edinburgh Gazette was first produced in 1699 and was printed continuously after 1793. The Belfast Gazette has been in production since 1920 (its forerunner was The Dublin Gazette, which was in print from 1706).

The Gazette is also the official home of The Queen’s Birthday and New Year honours, as well as the weekly Ministry of Defence notifications, Company Law notices, statutory notices and legislation. Specific content is created for each sector and is available for all users to access. Specialists in their fields are also commissioned to write content, which is then accessible online and via social media.

Janine Eves, Business and Operations Director for The Gazette said: ‘There’s a vast range of history in The Gazette’s archive just waiting to be discovered. Since completing the digital transformation last year, finding information about individuals or historical events is easier than ever – and it’s free to access. I encourage you to take a look for yourself and see what you can discover.’

As the official public record, The Gazette will continue to record history, publishing online and for all to freely search and read.

The London Gazette from 3 September 1666
The London Gazette from 3 September 1666