Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Children need boundaries
Letters like these are normally carved into the stonework at a higher level, but these ones are about an inch off the pavement. They often confuse tourists to Bath - even some residents have wondered what they are there for, if they ever notice them.
The vertical line between the first P and S marks the parish boundary. To the left is Walcot Parish, and to the right is St Michael's Parish. St Michael's Without is the church you may have seen here before, with a Peregrine Falcon perched on the spire.
The dark circle on the pavement to the right is where a street-cleaner has parked his machine for a while. These giant broom-vacuum-cleaners have one bad design fault - you cannot turn off the rotating brushes whilst the engine is on, so they score a filthy mark into the surface of the abrasive stones. Maybe you can turn them off, but nobody seems to bother.
Parish boundaries mean almost nothing to anyone these days, because all the rates charged on all the buildings within them are no longer given to the Church, but end up in a giant coffer somewhere in Keynsham before going off to an even bigger one in London.
Talking of money, I often wondered why, when banks commit financial atrocities on people who can ill afford them, they always include a little brochure on how to contact your banking ombudsman if you don't agree with their final decision on holding you upside-down and shaking you until the last penny has fallen from your trouser pockets. Well now I know.
It is now years since the banking world disgraced itself into obtaining yet more of other people's money with bail-outs, and their behaviour has not changed in the slightest. If anything, it has become even worse, and there is a good, financially sound reason for this.
The handful of toothless ombudsmen have been screaming that they just cannot cope with the deluge of complaints about rogue banks, and the banks know this. So what better tactic for making even more money for your board and shareholders than to perpetrate as many impositions of over-charging of your smallest customers as your branch can issue on a daily basis, knowing that the ombudsmen will never have the time or resources to deal with them?
The banks have steadfastly refused to help small businesses by lending them the money which was supposed to be exactly for that purpose, and there is a good reason why they can get away with that as well.
Local councils are not interested in small businesses, because they don't produce anywhere near the revenue that a multi-national company does when parked on the high street, and London demands this revenue by setting the business-rates for local councils before making them apply for a tiny amount back to keep the pavements clean in front of the multi-national stores in their own towns.
Small businesses just cannot afford to operate in towns, and are being pushed out of existence by huge companies who pay their taxes to Luxembourg, if they pay any any more than 2% on turnovers of millions. The banks have quite a lot to do with this as well.
The big, British companies who are seated in the middle of our towns are the supermarkets, and the supermarkets are in the middle of a price-war as a result of a couple of Austrian ones who have undercut their prices by operating on a much less greedy profit margin.
The first thing the supermarkets do is lower the price of milk by refusing to pay dairy-farmers any more than a few pence per litre, on a 'take it or leave it' basis, knowing that all those cows have to be milked every day, or they will die. They would rather see the milk being poured down a drain than pay a penny more to the farmers.
Why are we being controlled by a bunch of naughty children? How did this ever happen, and what happened to ethical standards of public behaviour?