Life, The Universe and Small Things all covered in one friendly blog.
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26 June, 2008

Wind Turbines / Inflation - Points from the News.

Some days there is nothing exciting in the news and other days it is just brimming over with so much that I can't drag myself away from it. Today is one of those nothing news days but I can not resist comment on two items that filled the non-news.

First is the fact that Gordon Clown had announced that the government intends to build 7000 new wind turbines by 2020. Now assuming he doesn't mean by twenty past 8pm he still has to go some. I recon that he needs to build 1.7 new turbines every day of the year. Now I am no expert but I kind of think that is going some and that a turbine probably takes longer than a day to build. Still that's why he is PM and I am still in the land of reality.

The second piece of new is that the governor of the Bank of England says that he is confident that inflation will fall to the government target of 2%. Yes I am sure it will, in the world of pixies and goblins but again just maybe he should stop sucking up to the government and get real too.

Virgin Atlantic Frequent Flyer

A few years ago I had a holiday and flew with Virgin Atlantic, in the days they still cared about people. As a result I joined their loyalty scheme which gives points for flying and also from a credit card with their name.

Over the last couple of years I have amassed a huge number of these points and so decided to use them to up my carbon footprint (see blog entries below) and go back to Australia on holiday.

In the past it was a simple call to Virgin to book the upgrade seat and pay for another but now things have changed. "sorry there are no upgrade seats available" , "you can try calling back each morning between 8-9 (sounds like the local doctors) or you can keep checking the web site". OK, not a problem, "when are seats likely to be available?" "You would have to phone and keep checking".

So I got on the website, for 5 hours I tried, every possible combination of dates over a 3 month period as far ahead as you are allowed to book. Each time I had to put in all the details, tick the box, have the website fail, retry, input the details, you get the idea.

They have a very few upgrade reward seats available but they wont let you use the 24 hour trip you have to do a 38 hour trip. There are plenty of other upgrade seats for people but not under the loyalty reward scheme. It seems the loyalty scheme is to keep you loyal to the brand, its a one way thing.
I can not imagine traveling for 38 hours, 14 of which are sat in an airport waiting for a connecting flight.

But this is not the worst of their loyalty scheme. They also give "Free Companion Flights". Wow excellent! Well no actually. I have "earned" 4 of these so far but not used any. You see to take a companion along free you have to buy an expensive ticket for yourself. Then if you do manage to find a reward companion seat available on the flight you want (Unlikely in itself) you have to pay the taxes and surcharges for the free companions. This amounts to a higher cost for the two seats than to buy 2 tickets on the same plane in the same class. Their answer on this is "yes that can sometimes be the case", well actually tell me when it isn't the case.
I posted a message on a website specifically for Virgin flyer's and got several people telling me that I was being "a bit off" for expecting to use my loyalty points on a flight I wanted and to be happy that they all know loads of people who have flown other places, not Australia, using their airmiles.

Yes the lady on the phone told me that I could easily get to New York.

09 June, 2008

CO2 Car Tax Rip Off

How would you like to pay your income tax based on a guess of how much the government think you will earn?
The new car tax rules mean that we will be paying our car tax based on a guess of how much CO2 our vehicles produce. Your car (if you have on) is given a value of grammes of CO2 per Kilometre and it is probably totally wrong.
My car says its CO2 is 202g/km but working it out over several tanks of petrol the worst case is 179g/km but because it says 202 I will be paying £300 for my car tax next year but it should be £205.

Here is how to work it out:- Divide 2.3 (a litre of petrol produces 2.3kg of CO2 or use 2.7 if you have a diesel car) by the number of kilometres you get from a litre of petrol. That figure will be the .xxx is the number of grammes you produce per km.

Now check your vehicle registration document and decide if the government is going to be ripping you off.

The new tax rates are here

02 June, 2008

Police Survey.

The results of a telephone survey on the views of teenager to policing has been published and apparently 73% of them are happy with policing in their area. The trouble with surveys is that they are usually worded to get the replied the organisation wants. But at least a survey such as this shows someone is happy with policing.
Here is a transcript of one of the telephone survey conversations:-

Ring ring, ring ring, ring , ring
"yeah wot"
"Good evening I am calling on behalf of a police survey and need to obtain the views of people between the ages of 17 and 20 on policing in their area, are you between 17 and 20"
"yeah corse"
"Are you prepared to answer some questions for me please"
"First how old are you"
"18 corse, I go ID and everyfing"
"In the last 12 months have you had any dealing with the police"
"Like corse" (That's a tick for yes)
"What was the encounter"
"No it wern't at a counter it was in the field like, one of them like pdsa not real cops with like the grey band on the hat not like the real ones, he come over when we was having a spliff and said like you got a knife and I said sure wot you gona do an he like said ok and just like went cos me and Sam was there" (That's a tick for yes)
"Ok thank you, did you feel that the police dealt with you fairly"
"Well like yea cos, he pissed off like we wanted" (That's a tick for yes happy)
"Thinking of only the last 12 months have you had any other dealing with the police)
"Yeah right, like cos I just wana speak to them all the time" (Tick for more than one dealing)
"When you spoke to them did they resolve the problem for you"
"What you mean"
"Were you happy when the police left"
"Yeah corse man, like everyone always cool when they leave" (Tick for happy with police action)
"Do you see police patrolling in you area"
"Like always, yea right" (Tick for patrols seen at least once a day)
"Do you know the name of your local neighbourhood officers"
"Yeah right" (Tick for know local officers)
"Do you know where the closest police station to your home is that is open 24 hours a day"
"Yeah right lime Im gona need that man" (Tick for yes)

And so it went on. Which shows that no matter what you think of the youth of today they are at least good at helping the police image when it comes to a survey.