Archive for the Letters to Newspapers Category

Solving the Housing Crises

Posted in economics, Policies, Uncategorized on October 4, 2016 by wagstaffe



Solving the Housing Crises

No one can argue that we have a housing crises. There are too few homes usually costing too much, often in the wrong places and often, of poor quality. Not to mention rural communities suffering with cost of housing soaring beyond their means or the beach side type, dead in winter, consumed as second homes. These are all symptoms of a much bigger problem, the paradox of the facilitators, the banks and house builders.
The paradox of this is two fold. On the one hand you are asking builders to build more houses for less money, on the other, you’re asking the banks to lend money on lower borrowing. More houses will reduce prices leading to lower borrowing. It’s not rocket science.

So how about an idea which would supply the demand, reduce the costs, in the right place and of the best quality. It would also generate, not cost, local councils extra income.
First you have a competition to design the best tech savvy eco friendly dwellings single, family and community types. Open to both Colleges and Universities using locally sourced products. Too often the Architects have to be clever on tight budgets using the cheapest materials with house builders using the cheapest labour.

Expand the remit of the Royal Engineers to build the new housing and creating the apprentices required for such an undertaking. There will be no rush to get things done, they would be done right by people with pride and not profit. That might be why it’s never been brought up. Who the hell would want that !
Local councils would publish the land that it owns and put it to each local village or town where these dwellings could be built. If there is a more suitable site privately owned a compulsory purchase order could be looked at.
These high quality builds would be offered to local people including young adults and the elderly on a low rent basis.

Looking at the current costs of housing benefit £25b and rising.
This could all be financed by our Government borrowing at 0.5% and achieving 5% return and splitting the return with the councils. When you take into account the extra council tax generated as well, the benefits are turned on its head. Every one benefits except the banks and house builders.

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Craig Hall


Sent from my iPad

Making the unemployed work

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 18, 2015 by wagstaffe

Unemployed set to work 30 hrs a week
Instead of heading backwards to the Victorian era of workhouses, I have a better suggestion.
Why not introduce national service instead of becoming tax payer funded cheap labour for big business.
They could train to build houses, upgrade the existing roads, rail and waterways. This could lead to a free public transport paid through taxation. We already subsidise the rail and bus companies to the tune of £6b a year. With a 1p increase in tax that would give us £12b to pay for it. At the moment it costs the poor more to travel. It would give more disposable income to those that need it most and just think what it could do for the tourism industry in this country on a hot sunny weekend.

Sowing the seeds for a better tomorrow

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on April 16, 2015 by wagstaffe

I have nothing but admiration for our teachers, particularly under the current circumstances. It’s the politicians who I would question. Why is it that we still have something resembling a glorified babysitting service.
Like the old proverb, “teach a man to fish” we should be equipping our kids to think, rather than what to think.
We still group our kids in classes by date of manufacture rather than by ability. A one size fits all mentality. Just imagine if our kids were coming home asking questions like, why do we have food banks for people when we are the 6th richest nation. Why do we have so many homeless people when we have over 50,000 churches in the UK lying empty for long periods dedicated to a man who cares for us all, maybe he enjoys irony.
Why do we develop drugs that save lives, but refuse to give them because they don’t have the money. Why would some people want to go to war just to make money?
How come, in a free market society, interest rates are rigged and oil prices are controlled. How come the politicians talk about austerity and the debt but nothing on who we actually owe all the money to.
To give our kids some chance of making things work a whole lot better, we should be introducing philosophy into primary schools and getting rid of exams and having far smaller class sizes. How on earth can a child fail, they are just kids. It’s the education system that fails them.
Having said that, the Politicians may have realised that if they did educate the kids properly, no one would be daft enough to vote for them.

More Capitalism, my arse

Posted in Independent, Uncategorized with tags , , , on February 21, 2013 by wagstaffe

Ian Birrell, what planet are you on(voices, 20/02). Why on earth would anyone want to be in our position. Your front page on the same day forecasts a period of darkness (“Energy dark age”) in the not too distant future. We have an ageing population with more and more pensioners being seen as economic liabilities. We are constantly cutting back and selling off public land and buildings. The NHS is being dismantled and farmed off and will eventually be paralysed with the debt of the PFI deals. Energy shortages, pension liabilities and failing health services, all ticking time bombs, whilst are leaders take time out for a spat over a royal.
Capitalism is inherently corrupt, no one asks where you got your money from. The sooner more people wake up and smell the coffee the better. 
I hope these “flourishing” nations learn from us and do things differently.
Ps. Can he point me in the direction of my prosperity and well being I should be experiencing by now or was he referring to the 1%

Any one for free public transport

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on February 20, 2013 by wagstaffe

In the UK we spend £6 billion on subsidies to the train and bus companies. If we add 1p on income tax we could raise a further £5 billion giving us a grand total of £11 billion a year to spend on infrastructure and transport and provide free public transport.
Not only would it create real jobs and growth, but it would eleviate congestion leading to cleaner air. Reduce road traffic accidents. The UK tourist industry would have a much needed boost every time we had a sunny weekend. It would increase disposable income to the poorest who pay proportionately more. We are being taxed to get to work and back so it would be a win win.

We are heading for gridlock and no mainstream political party has any policy on reducing cars & carbon emissions on our roads.

The low carbon economy con

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 30, 2013 by wagstaffe

Our Parliament introduced a Climate Change Act (2008) setting out a target and some guidance in how to reduce our carbon emissions, 80% reduction of our 1990 levels and the need to make radical changes to the way we do things.
A Low Carbon Economy, like all well sounding policies, is more about the spin and nothing to do with substance. On one side of the argument, there is no crisis with our climate, it is simply a justification for an increase in our taxes. On the other side they argue that we are doing irrepairable damage to our planet and we need to act fast.
Imagine there was a way in which there was a solution to satisfy both parties, something that would reduce our emissions significantly and putting more money in our pockets. Our current strategy is akin to supplying cheap ashtrays on motorbikes with a windbreak thrown in.
We currently subsidise the private train and bus companies to the tune of £6 billion a year. The trains and buses are cramped and expensive and buying tickets for journeys is more of a krypton factor than a straightforward excersise. With an additional 1p on taxes and using the money for subsidies we could have a free public transport system. The free scheme for our pensioners proved how popular the move could be, providing much needed jobs and allowing people to have more money in their pockets.
Unfortunately our politicians are advised by representatives of big business sponsored lobby groups. A donation by Stagecoach to the SNP only a few years ago put paid to any ground breaking free transport ideas. Surely our politicians should be developing policies to benefit all of us rather than the few.

Ian Whalley(Bod) – A Eulogy

Posted in Uncategorized on August 4, 2012 by wagstaffe

Ian Whalley

A son,…………….A Husband
A Father to Matt & Damian
A Brother……An Uncle…………A Friend

*And sometimes a BIG GIRLS BLOUSE

*Ian was very competitive…………..He didn’t like losing to anyone……….. Especially to me
On holiday together in Benidorm 1986
Me & Ian had a competition to see who could swim the furthest from the shore.
We didn’t know a great deal about currents back then …………….and how strong they could be or how quickly they could take you out. There was no internet back then
Any way about a mile and a half out…….Ian decided to turn back
“COME ON CRAIG….Your being stupid”
That was Ian being Sensible
He was still tutting and shaking his head at me 12 hrs later

*I think his mischievous side was triggered quite early on…….when Eric & the family lived in a garden fronted terrace on Lomax St.
The garden didn’t have any flowers in it just a large patch of hard soil.
My dad and a couple of others manage to forge a letter from the local council

*Dear sir
We recently carried out a garden survey in your area and you’re garden did not meet the required standard.
You have 7 days to remedy the situation or we will come and do the work ourselves and bill you accordingly
Yours sincerely

*Cllr.G. Slynne
Dept of parks and gardens

*The following day Ian, Alison and Paul were seen digging up the hard soil and planting a few bulbs.

*Ian had some really creative ideas…………especially when he was drunk.

On one of my rare appearances, around 1988 there’d been a pram race that same day.
After last orders in the Weavers, Smix spoke of the Suzuki van Bongo and a few others had used
Now there was a idea

*After pushing the van out onto the road, ****** driving and Ian sat in the front we set off down Blackburn road to the junction with Queen St, down the hill and back up around Clayton St.
With no engine and 17 drunken lads pushing… …….we got round quite quickly.
Back down Queen St. Ian signalled with his left arm
Just as we had turned up Water St…..someone shouted Police ………so we scarpered
Now the police were only interested in the driver ….so as me and Ian ran down past the fire station two coppers followed us
Ian ran towards Windsor Rd taking a left and I went right heading for St. Hubert’s St. Church
I managed to get away but Ian was caught and spent the night at her majesty’s pleasure
Ian could not recall the name of the driver and was let off in the morning with a caution.
According to Ian, he was only caught because the copper was a former Lancashire constabulary 100m champion
You couldn’t make it up

*He had initiative…..and he was quick thinking………as Kang could testify
Simmy’s 21st ride off…..April 1985 a ride off to Skipton

We only stopped for a quick one at the Swan in Whalley
And by the time we crossed the border into Yorkshire the police had already been informed of our visit and stopped the coach to warn us of our conduct on their patch..and they would kick us out of the County if there was any trouble
I’m not right sure how many could hear him at the back of the coach…………….
I think it was 9pm when were escorted out of Skipton back to the border.
On return we were greeted on the town gate by the Accrington constabularies finest

*The Sergeant warned everyone to stop on the coach……..he may as well as said how fast can you get off a coach
Everyone got off the coach and scattered.
A few of us were chased by a Baton wielding copper through two parks, it was like an 1500m relay but no one wanted to pick up the baton.
We eventually made it to the Indian in Rishton along with about another 15 others comparing tales
Apparently Ian was apprehended on the Town Gate car park by an officer……Ian had decided to walk rather than run like everyone else…….he had a plan.

“Officer I haven’t been with these people, I’ve just walked my Girlfriend home, what about him?”
As Kang ran past
So the copper grabbed Kang and arrested him…………….. Ian ended up at the Indian

*With so many of us, 45, typically, on a Sunday night in two minibuses, it would take 5mins to unload, there was always a 21st do to go on.
Ian’s 21st ride off was to Manchester.
What a good do
I reckon it would have been even better had he TURNED UP…… the bloody sulker.

*He was also musical
On the 6th floor balcony of Hotel Orange, in Benidorm in the early evening
Ian broke out into an impromptu whaling operatic voice
People gathered below looking up to where the singing was coming from

Soon quite large crowd was drawn to Ian’s shenanigans along with families eating out at the restaurant behind the crowd.

At this point Ian thought it would be a good idea to disappear and reappear with his bright white arse over the balcony doing a full moon………………………you had to be there to appreciate just how funny that was.

*He was Funny………..that laugh of his
I’d turned up with a date at the pictures in Blackburn
Ian & Roy with a few others were also there.
I didn’t know what kind of film it was at first, it was a new one.
Now picture Ian and his infectious laugh, with a cinema audience……………watching
Planes…..Trains and Automobiles
I don’t think anyone in that cinema that night had ever laughed as much he brought the house down.
*Always the competitor, Golf was the most frustrating; Ian was quite popular at the local golf shops replacing the odd iron, ………2 trolleys, a towel and 3 umbrellas. Better off with a helmet than a cap when he was in that type of form.
*We also had a Cricket Team ………..Ian was captain of the Church St All Stars and bringing with him some of the Australian pro’s, including Ian Harvey who went on to play for the Aussies.

As you’d expect competition was fierce fighting for a place in the side with the likes of
Ste “the Bat” wall ………..not because he was good with the bat…..he was blind as a bat.
Kevin Bucket Bridges pronounced bouquet………………..because he’d need a bucket to catch the ball.
Ian would be in a bad mood all weekend if we got beat particularly if you’d dropped catches.
See Ste and Kev about that.

*Ian was a keen fisherman…………and by all accounts a good fisherman at that.
So imagine the horror
Me & Ian off fishing at Morecambe in his boat
We always had a bet. Only a quid…………it’s the winning that counts.
Waigy 4 = crab………1 = fish
Ian 7 = crab………..0 fish
I know I rubbed it in a bit……………He didn’t invite me fishing again

*He could get a bit cranky sometimes or sulk a bit…………but we loved him for it that was Ian
The distinctive laugh……………….the mischievous smile……………….
The dead pan face with the twinkle in his eye…………………….you know he was up to something
Ian crammed a lot into his life
*I was only a small part of his life and looking round he’s managed to provide a lot of fun and laughter to a lot of people.
I could’ve mentioned the Psychodelic night
The smoke bombs in hotels
The pedollo and the machine gun
The stockings and suspenders………………………………………………
As we get older and we all go our separate ways, marriage, moving house, new interests, we don’t see each other as often………….
But when we do………….we always pick up where we left off.
*I didn’t see Ian and Julie very often, but when I did, they always looked happy
Like me he was an acquired taste…………but he was lucky to find someone like Julie
And we were lucky to know someone like Ian.