Saturday, 18 May 2013
The "gay propaganda" in question is material produced by Stonewall to encourage children not to bully those other children who are thought by the bullies to be gay. It beggars belief that a spokeswoman for an organisation that calls itself Safe at School could possibly oppose the use of such material in the education of our nation's children.
I myself was subjected to such "propaganda" when the headteacher of my junior school gathered the pupils together and asked us to please stop using "spastic" as a term of playground abuse, given what the word "spastic" actually means. Would Safe at School have opposed that as well?
In asserting so vigorously what parents apparently expect, Safe at School's spokeswoman lays claim to an impressive degree of empathy. I suggest to her that she also tries to empathise with the child who is being bullied because s/he is or appears to be gay, or to be black, or to be Jewish, or to be a Christian, or to be a Muslim, or to be a 'spastic', or to have a parent who professes deeply illiberal views on efforts to oppose homophobic bullying.
Is she really saying that she opposes efforts to end all types of bullying? Does she really believe that Stonewall's efforts to minimise the bullying of children who might be gay amount to no more than "gay propaganda"? Is she saying that there are two sides to every question and that pupils must therefore be exposed not only to arguments against homophobic bullying, but also to arguments in its favour?! Her definition of "Safe at School" appears to be a little different from mine.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
As a kid in the 80s, I certainly thought that she had made the wrong judgement in opposing sanctions, with her attitude summed up in a comment about "not (being) in favour of trade sanctions partly because, even if fully effective, they would harm the people we are most concerned about - the Africans and those white South Africans who are having to maintain some standard of decency there."
Except that comment wasn't made by Margaret Thatcher, it was made by the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, soon after his government had reneged on its full-throated support for sanctions upon taking office in 1964.
The same happened again when Labour governed from 1974 to 1979, when it did absolutely nothing to bring in sanctions against South Africa.
Of course, the very minute Labour entered opposition in 1979, it started campaigning romantically for the same sanctions that it had itself just spent five years not-introducing; throughout the 80s Labour adopted a principled posture that, while it enraptured a generation of teenagers, sat ill with the reality of a Labour government whose leading lights (Denis Healey, Michael Foot, Tony Benn) had themselves done nothing to impose sanctions on South Africa.
Labour's myth is that it heroically fought apartheid while the wicked Tories didn't, and its record in government shows that it is just that, a myth. If Margaret Thatcher was wrong to oppose sanctions, then so was Labour, but don't expect Labour to admit that today.
But then what else does one expect of a party that, in 1968, stripped thousands of British citizens of their citizenship (http://www.runnymedetrust.org/histories/race-equality/38/commonwealth-immigration-act-1968.html)? Reminds me again why I'm Liberal, not Labour...
Sunday, 24 March 2013
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Saturday, 9 March 2013
Thanks you for contacting Live Chat support about the line rental charge.
I have listened to the call dated 04/02/2013 and I found my colleague said they there is notes on the account you would not incur cancellation charge I have spoke to the refund team removed the cancellation charge. you can keep this email as confirmation.
Thursday, 28 February 2013
Friday, 22 February 2013
Perhaps Mr Blair or Mr Brown could speak on my behalf to an audience of executives at British Gas, who frankly would benefit from a good talking to. I'd do it myself, if only British Gas could rustle up a sum resembling the £60,375.83 paid to Mr Brown's charitable foundation to speak in Yalta to the Victor Pinchuk Foundation, Mr Pinchuk being a Ukrainian steel magnate. Although I have to say that Mr Pinchuk has been had, as I would have spoken to his foundation in Yalta for only £60,375 and would not have asked for that annoying extra 85p that, like a small cover charge in a restaurant, always makes one feel a little bit over-charged.
Indeed, given that my political significance is, I fear, no more than 0.1% of that of Mr Gordon Brown, I would have spoken to the Crimean hordes (presumably over the telephone) for a mere £60.38, an amount that would come in handy for the payment of £69.67 that I am becoming ever-more-likely to soon disburse to the Gas Board (http://matthewfharris.blogspot.com/2013/02/dancing-hokey-cokey-with-british-gas_16.html?m=1).
British Gas emailed me yesterday to say that they "have reviewed (my)electricity account", a piece of news that thoroughly intrigued me, as I have never had a British Gas electricity account and this is about my gas account. Does your heart sing with confidence at the level of attention to detail displayed by a company that, in an email about one's gas bill, refers obliquely (oh, so very bleakly) to one's non-existent electricity account?
British Gas's latest declamation does, in fact, go into such detail about my bill(s) as to demonstrate quite convincingly that I might indeed owe them sixty-nine pounds and sixty-seven pence, and I have thanked them for that (and will presumably soon be remitting them the sum in question). But - but, I tell you, but - the previous bill appeared to me to demonstrate equally convincingly that they owed me £80.92; I must, however, be mistaken, as the email below explains what has happened in simple terms, displaying as it does the acuity, clarity, fluency and accuracy-in-written-English that one would hope for in an email from British Gas about one's disputed gas bill:
Dear Mr Harris
I'm sorry that you have to contact us again enquiring about your final bill and the payments and also for the delay in my reply.
I have reviewed your electricity account and I see that your previous invoice issued on 13 February 2013 was reversed due to the returned payments on 13 February and 15 February 2013. It shows on the bill that the payment has been included but once your bank has informed us, your previous bill was cancelled a new bill was issued adjusting the payment of £150.59 and £153.02 which you can see as an adjustment of £303.61. The current balance for your electricity account is £69.67 in debit.
Below is the calculation for the previous gas bill issued on 13 February 2012 and was reversed due to return on the payments on 13 February 2013 and 15 February 2013.
Gas bill calculation:
Bill date: 13 February 2013
Bill period: 20 September 2012 to 31 January 2013.
Amount brought forward: £339.85 (debit)
Payment received: £768.61 (credit)
Adjustment: £153.00 (this payment is the one which we have requested on 13 February 2013 which is included in the credit balance, the other payment of £150.59 is also included in the credit balance but not included in the adjustment column of your bill because it was requested on 15 February 2013 and this bill was issued on 13 February 2013.)
Balance carried forward: £275.74 (£339.85 +£153.02 - £768.61)
Gas used: £185.55 + VAT: £9.27
Closing balance: £80.92
However, both these payments was returned, therefore we cancelled the previous bill and issued a new bill.
If you're not satisfied your enquiry has been resolved, please get in touch with me and I'll be more than happy to help you further.
However, if you're happy with what I've done you don't need to do anything and I'll close your enquiry on 7 March 2013.
If you would like to review our Complaint Handling Procedure please visit our website or alternatively, reply to my email and I will arrange to send you a copy free of charge through the post.
Thank you for contacting British Gas.