Archive for April, 2014

DWP in a shambles yet again!

the void

Unlike Help To Work, the new Keep Volunteering Voluntary campaign has already been a huge success. Unlike Help To Work, the new Keep Volunteering Voluntary campaign has already been a huge success.

Despite wildly optimistic claims from the DWP, today’s launch of mass workfare seems to be in chaos behind the scenes.  With barely any information yet available on the scheme it appears that the flagship Help To Work programme has no-one actually running it, no guidance for companies involved and no real plan to deal with the huge influx of claimants to Jobcentres from daily signing.

According to the BBC a mere 70 so-called charities have signed up to provide placements on the scheme which will involve forcing unemployed people to carry out 780 hours of unpaid work.  For ‘Help To Work to be successful, these charities will need to accept hundreds, or possibly thousands of placements each.  Predictably the DWP are not saying who the charities are.  So far the only voluntary sector organisation…

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The price of fame

When I was young, most of my peers wanted to go on to do very ordinary jobs. Some wanted to be teachers, some considered working in computing, and many others would have no idea until they were in college or university. However, all of us wanted to do something that was grounded and I honestly don’t remember anyone saying they wanted to be famous. Having said that, Gerard Butler who was in the year above me, has since carved out a nice career as a Hollywood actor.

It seems that things have changed a lot in 25 years though, as I hear more and more people saying that they want to be “famous”. It’s true that many people have achieved fame through their jobs, or for a service they have performed, but that’s not the kind of fame we’re talking about here. This fame is the one which comes from having no talent, skill or desire to improve humanity, it’s the kind of fame that comes from being part of a meticulously designed and completely disposable form of entertainment. Everybody wants to be one of life’s first class passengers, instead of being the person who keeps the engines running and the parts clean. The rise of the reality TV show has allowed ordinary people access to the kind of fame reserved for actors or musicians, without actually having any talent whatsoever. The worst offender is Big Brother, whose simple premises is to confine a group of disparate nobodies in a house for several months and film them. If it’s all a bit quiet, add alcohol or a particularly annoying ‘house mate’ to stir things up and make it interesting for the viewers. Somehow, people from this vile programme have become famous simply by being loud, obnoxious and fake!

So here we have Josie Cunningham, a woman who has already caused controversy by having NHS treatment to provide breast implants. Now although that seems morally repugnant and a waste of money, there might well have been a medical condition behind it and/or a psychological issue which needed to be addressed. Whatever the reason, if someone in the same area was refused medical treatment for a serious illness because of costs, then nobody should be getting cosmetic surgery at teh same hospital! Josie attempted to become a glamour model after her surgery but she failed, so rather than get an ordinary job like us mere mortals, she is going to shoot for fame by appearing on Big Brother. However, the cost of this attempt at fame won’t be counted in NHS funds, the cost will be the abortion of her unborn child. Apparently being pregnant is going to be an insurmountable obstacle for Josie’s quest for fame, so she is prepared to kill the foetus to realise her dream.

Video: Josie Cunningham abortion plans

When Andy Warhol said everyone would have their “fifteen minutes” of fame, I wonder if he could have seen the depths to which some people would go for that fleeting moment? Will Josie realise that a life is more important than a career, or in years to come if she has other children, will she have to confess to them that she aborted their sibling to be famous? I think there are other considerations here behind her motives, because despite becoming a pariah on social media she doesn’t seem to realise that her attempts are doomed to failure. She is so despised by most people that even if she does appear on BB, she will be vilified further by a public who will never allow her to be anything other than cast out and forgotten. She appears to be deluded, if not a little detached from reality. It’s also very apparent that she has self-esteem issues regarding her physical appearance, as well as a need to be liked, if not loved. She sees the adulation of fans for celebrities as a replacement for real feelings like love or respect, failing to notice that only a small amount of celebrities carry that kind of adulation with them forever.

Whatever the outcome, I don’t see a happy ending for this woman. If she has the child, she’ll forever resent it and at some point, will also have to admit that he/she was the result of her time as an escort. Her family dynamic will more than likely pay for a psycho-therapist’s car, holidays and new home! If she doesn’t have the child and gets on BB she will be famous for sure, but famous for all the wrong reasons util she is hounded back out of the limelight. I can’t imagine her getting an ‘ordinary’ job, or that employers would really want her in the first place, so it wouldn’t surprise me if she went back to escorting until what little appeal she has finally disappears and she has nothing.

There’s your price of fame!

So according to the front page of The Times tomorrow (April 3rd), David Cameron is facing pressure from ‘Senior Conservatives’ to ban Scots from voting in the 2015 general election if we vote for Independence.

David Cameron under pressure tot ban Scots from 2015 election vote if Independence voted for.

Now as a Scot you might think I’d be upset about this, but if we vote for Independence as of September 18th then why would we need to vote in UK elections?

Here’s a thought thought: What if those ‘Senior Conservatives’ were persuaded to publicly back independence with a currency union? Why would they do that? They know that the Scots will never vote for the Conservatives, so they lose the Scottish SNP and Labour voters who could make the difference between an outright Tory win and another coalition government. Fair swap?

Come on English Conservative voters, convince your MP’s to join the YES campaign and everybody wins!


Dined here on March 29th with my family to celebrate my Dad’s 70th birthday. The table was next to a window, so it was a well lit and bright spot. The staff, particularly our waitress (wish I got her name) were very attentive without being overbearing and extremely friendly. We had two toddlers with us and the restaurant, very thoughtfully, provided crayons and paper along with high chairs for the kids. I thought the crayons were a very nice touch. The music over the PA was at a level which was audible, without the need to shout to be heard . Although that might seem an odd thing to comment on, I find music can kill a mood quickly and was happy that wasn’t the case.

Drinks order was taken shortly after we were seated, and we were given ample time to choose our wine, starter and main courses. After a short while the food arrived and my choice of Duck Spring Rolls was lovely, with the crispy shell cooked perfectly and the duck tender. The Hoi Sin sauce to accompany it was rich and thick.

My main course was a Rump Steak and Hand Cut Chips, which I opted to have without vegetables. My medium steak was not quite cooked to medium fully, BUT it was a juicy an tasty cut and it would have been petty to make an issue out of it. The chips were served on the plate inside a mini chip pan grill, which I thought was a nice touch. They were crispy outside and soft inside, just as they should be. The meat was a very decent size and I found the serving of chips to be just right, so you won’t be left dissatisfied with the portions.

Our very attentive waitress was always on hand to make sure everything was OK, or to ask if we needed anything else. This is where some restaurants let themselves down often, but not Grill on the Corner. We opted to have a dessert course and I chose ice cream, which was vanilla, chocolate and pistachio with a sprinkling of almonds on top. It was lovely and the perfect way to end a very nice meal.

We used the loyalty discount of 40%, so the overall bill including the service charge was very reasonable. Yes, there are perhaps some elements of the menu which some people said were ‘overpriced’, but equally, I think you can find something to suit most budgets. It’s worth remembering that cost is relative, so what one might consider expensive, someone else will not. All in all, we pay for pleasant surroundings, comfort, heat, light, etc as well as food and drink. As this restaurant provides excellent service and amenities, I would still have dined there without the discount and will do so again.

Grill on the Corner, Bothwell Street, Glasgow