Thursday 17 September 2009

Posts, or rather the lack of them!

I have a big project going on at the moment. Blogging will resume ASAP.

Thursday 10 September 2009

Airport traffic

Once again, Edinburgh airport is beating Glasgow:
Passenger numbers at Edinburgh airport increased by 4.8% in August, one of the few airports which recorded growth.

The figures from airport operator BAA showed that Glasgow had the sharpest decrease in traffic with a fall of 13.4%

Unlike some residents of the capital I am a fan of Glasgow. Scotland needs a prosperous Glasgow. Clearly Edinburgh's benefited from the Festival, which seemed to be busier than ever this year, and Glasgow depends on outward holiday traffic to greater extent than Edinburgh.

I fear that the SNP administration is making the same mistakes as its Labour predecessor. This remains typical of the Scottish government's mindset:

Mr Swinney questioned the drinks firm's claim that the rescue package was not viable.

"There's two points of basic economics at stake in this," he said.

"The first point is the fact that the Kilmarnock economy will be devastated and the Scottish Government and the UK Government will have to pick up the pieces, at a cost we estimate at £14m a year.

"The second point of basic economics is that when you come to a proposal with a financial gap of let's say £3 to £4m, and a company is making profits of £2bn, I don't think it's an unreasonable proposition to say to the company you have a corporate social responsibility to protect communities that have served you well."

The Kilmarnock economy will only be "devastated" to the extent that new entrepreneurs fail to make up for the lost Diageo jobs. Instead of government "picking up the pieces" why not remove the barriers to entrepreneurship? That's what will make the west of Scotland prosperous and help Glasgow airport boom again. And Prestwick of course.

Richard Russell speaks

Great quote on Jim Puplava's site this week:
Let me get this straight.

Obama's healthcare plan will be written by a committee whose head says he doesn't understand it, passed by a congress that hasn't read it and whose members are exempt from it, signed by a President who smokes in secret, funded by a Treasury Secretary who does not pay his taxes, overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese, and financed by a country that is broke.

Wednesday 2 September 2009

I hate Aviva

I've got a couple of pension policies that I'm drawing from Aviva (Norwich Union in the good old days). One is at a fixed annual rate and the other is RPI linked.

Today I received a letter from Aviva that said:

Your payments are changing because the gross amount from policy number xxxxxx has been reduced and this will affect how much we pay you.

Do I need to do anything?

No, I've written this letter for your information only. You don't need to take any action. Your payments will be made in the normal way.

Unbelievable. Wouldn't I like to know by just how much this pension has been reduced? Of course I would. Why didn't they tell me? How do they know that I don't have to take any action on spending? I phoned Aviva ("You may be charged from calls from this mobile") and after being kept on hold by the operative I was told that they had no record of the letter. They'll get back to me tomorrow. Hopefully.

I guess the RPI reduction will be quite small and I may well have earned enough this morning to cover the annual reduction. But for goodness sake - writing to folk saying that their pension is to be cut surely requires telling them by how much, does it not?

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Let's vote

There's been quite a bit of anger at the news of bonuses paid to Scotland's top policeman:
MSPs have reacted angrily to revelations that the chief constable of Scotland's largest police force was awarded almost £65,000 of perks on top of his £170,000 salary.

Stephen House, of Strathclyde Police, received a bonus, a housing allowance and even a council tax subsidy last year. The taxpayer also footed the tax bill for his private use of a car.

Here is a response from a member of the public.

Is the chief worth all this money? How can we tell when he's in the public sector? The best way is to have police chiefs stand for election. That way they'd have to spend their time providing the sort of service wanted by the public instead of lording over us as the para-military wing of the Labour party.