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Why the French pay much less for their energy

Why the French pay much less for their energy

Energy costs so much more in the UK as compared with France

How Macron protected electricity consumers

“In France, President Emmanuel Macron’s government responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by imposing a tariff “shield” for consumers, limiting energy companies to a 4% rise in 2022 followed by 15% in 2023, keeping inflation lower than in other European countries.”   BBC report


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Where to cut government spending

Where to cut government spending

It’s easy to find half the money needed to plug the current government cash shortage. Cut that whopping increase in arms spending

November 2020   –   what happened

On 19th of November 2020 the government announced the largest military spending budget for 30 years, giving the UK the biggest defence/arms spending budget in Europe.

This amounted to a £16.5 billion increase above the Conservative manifesto commitment over four years.

On existing forecasts, this is an overall cash increase of £24.1 billion over four years compared to the previous year’s budget (2019).

Liz Truss’s proposed escalation

This is quite separate from the proposed further huge increase in arms spending proposed by Liz Truss. Her proposal was unbelievable and would have caused outrage if it had been pursued.

Her commitment was to spend 3% of GDP on defence by 2030. To do this Liz Truss’s government would have needed to increase defence spending by about 60% in real terms. This is equivalent to about £157 billion in additional spending.

Cut what?

But the 2020 commitment remains in place and is an obvious place to save money.

Just a starter

We have two new super aircraft carriers run at enormous cost. Great for use in the Second World War, but how can they be deployed to defend Britain!? These should be mothballed or sold.

This would enable us to stop the manufacture all the aircraft needed to equip these currently emasculated weapons/super-ships.

I’m sure the government does not need to exceed its manifesto commitment on defence spending.

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Military boom time


Boom in Military Spending


BRITISH PUBLIC might question vast increase in arms spending

Today, 20 October 2022, Liz Truss, UK Prime Minister, has resigned and the British Government is in a feverish condition following a couple of weeks of disastrous policy decisions and U-turns. The newly appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, has said that there will have to be painful cuts in the spending of government departments.

SO THERE WILL BE CUTS to public services – AND THE BRITISH PUBLIC WILL surely question why arms spending is continuing to increase rapidly.  Surely the public will not accept that arms manufacture would take precedence of over key departments such as the health service,  and education
The UK now has the biggest defence/arms spending budget in Europe. On 19th of November 2020 the government announced the largest military spending budget for 30 years.
This amounted to a £16.5 billion increase above the manifesto commitment over four years.
On existing forecasts, this is an overall cash increase of £24.1 billion over four years compared to the previous year’s budget.
The Royal United Services Institute said that the “additional cash represents a real-term increase of between 10 percent and 15 percent in the defence budget.”

But now the government is planning astronomic further increases.

Professor Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute web 2 Sep 2022 commented on the latest UK arms spending target:
“To deliver on its commitment to spend 3% of GDP on defence by 2030, Liz Truss’s government will need to increase defence spending by about 60% in real terms. This is equivalent to about £157 billion in additional spending over the next eight years, compared with current planning assumptions. By comparison, the 2020 Spending Review, and the associated Integrated Review, allocated an extra £16.5 billion over four years. This would be the biggest increase since the early 1950s.”

Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Royal United Services Institute website, 2 Sep 2022. TO PUBLIC SERVICES

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World Suicide Prevention Day

World Suicide Prevention Day

Suicide, not covid, is the biggest killer of under 35 year olds in the UK

Friday 10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day – an annual awareness day that highlights the important work that people, organisations and charities are undertaking globally, to prevent suicide.

PAPYRUS is one of these organisations which offers advice and help in the UK, not only to those with suicidal feelings,  but also to friends and relatives who may want advice about how to help someone they believe may be severely depressed or in danger of committing suicide.

For more info go to PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide

Papyrus runs Hopeline UK.

Please share this post.

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Where has the money gone? Aid budget cut funds arms spending

Where has the money gone? Aid budget cut funds arms spending

Cash shortage isn’t just because of covid.  – Biggest arms spending budget for 30 years

The UK now has the biggest defence/arms spending budget in Europe. On 19th of November 2020 the government announced the largest military spending budget for 30 years.

This amounted to a £16.5 billion increase above the manifesto commitment over four years.

On existing forecasts, this is an overall cash increase of £24.1 billion over four years compared to last year’s budget.

The Royal United Services Institute said that the “additional cash represents a real-term increase of between 10 percent and 15 percent in the defence budget.”

No threats of war

This cannot be because we are suddenly under greatly increased threat of invasion.

Lack of money for foreign aid, NHS, Education, Care of the Elderly etc

Surely it is not a coincidence that the foreign aid budget has been drastically cut. Not enough money to meet increased demands in the health service. But the media don’t talk about this huge increase in government arms spending at a time of critical, immediate needs.

David Roberts

30 July 2021

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I’ve just been censored by facebook

It’s surprising to find censorship from facebook when facebook is dedicated to the free expression of opinions. I suspect there are people in facebook who don’t want certain views and facts to be widely presented.


  • What I said that Facebook would not allow me to post
  • How The Times described the situation in Gaza and Israel
  • Extract from The New York Times, 21 May 2021 describing some of what Israeli forces did to the people of Gaza

  • Facebook’s explanation of why they censored me

  • Facebook’s statement of its commitment to free speech

What I wrote about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, though only the reader could decide on the actual subject of the comments

Too many people think there’s a struggle going on between equals because that’s the way our media present it most of the time. Really one side is one of the most heavily armed states in the world, helped by the US and UK and it’s pushing around (and stealing land from) almost totally unarmed civilians with house demolitions, demolition of apartment blocks, infrastructure demolitions and the killing of hundreds of civilians. There is no excuse for not taking sides. War criminals should be brought to justice. See posts on my blog for more information and emails to my MP.

Extract from The Times editorial 22nd of May 2021

This item tells us something about the  behaviour of Israel in its attempt to live alongside and with Palestinians.

“With the approval of the Trump administration, an emboldened Israel has stepped up the pace of settlements, demolitions and evictions of Palestinians in both East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
A nation state law passed in 2018 eroding the rights of Israeli Palestinians, along with chronic underfunding, property discrimination and bad policing, stoked a sense of growing grievance among the Arabs that make up 20% of Israel’s population. The tensions that ultimately exploded with rocket fire from Gaza began in East Jerusalem over the proposed evictions of Palestinians in favour of Jewish settlers, spawning a social media campaign named #saveSheikhJarrah that brought together Israeli Palestinians with those in West Bank and Jerusalem.
Far from solving the conflict, the man known as Mr Security may have helped open up a new front which no military operation can resolve, especially with Iranian backed Hamas in the ascendancy. Resolution can only come from the inside out.”

My note: “settlements” is another word for land-theft, evicting Palestinian owners to make way for Israelis to live in Palestinian property.

Extract from The New York Times, 21 May 2021 describing some of what Israeli forces did to the people of Gaza

NY Times online 21 May 2021 
“In addition to killing more than 230 Palestinians in Gaza, including 65 children, the Israeli airstrikes have devastated civilian infrastructure, wrecked sewage systems and water pipes, damaged at least 17 hospitals and clinics, severely damaged or destroyed about 1,000 buildings and suspended operations at Gaza’s only coronavirus testing laboratory.”

What facebook said to explain their censorship

“Your comment goes against our community standards so only you can see it. Facebook.
We have these standards to prevent things such as false advertising, fraud and security breaches.

We don’t allow people to get likes, follows, shares or video views in a way that’s misleading to others.
We define spam as things such as:
• Repeating the same comment
• Getting fake likes, follows, shares or video views
• Coordinating likes and shares to mislead others about the popularity of something

Your comment goes against our Community Standards on spam, so no one else can see it.”

I ticked a box to say I disagreed with their decision.

Facebook continued

“You disagreed with the decision
We usually offer the chance to request a review, and follow up if we’ve gotten decisions wrong.
We have fewer reviewers available at the moment because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We’re trying hard to prioritise reviewing content with the most potential for harm.
This means that we may not be able to follow up with you, though your feedback helps us do better in the future.
Thank you for understanding”


The goal of our Community Standards has always been to create a place for expression and give people a voice. This has not and will not change. Building community and bringing the world closer together depends on people’s ability to share diverse views, experiences, ideas and information. We want people to be able to talk openly about the issues that matter to them, even if some may disagree or find them objectionable.

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Rocketing arms spending leaves little for nurses

Rocketing arms spending leaves little for nurses’ pay

The UK will have the biggest defence budget in Europe

On 19th of November last year the UK government announced the largest military spending budget for 30 years. This amounted to a £16.5 billion increase above the manifesto commitment over four years.
On existing forecasts, this is an overall cash increase of £24.1 billion over four years compared to last year’s budget.
The Royal United Services Institute said that the “additional cash represents a real-term increase of between 10 percent and 15 percent in the defence budget.
The National Audit Office, the government’s financial watchdog, said, even before this announcement that the 10-year equipment plan was unaffordable,being too costly by as much as £13 billion. The current annual defense budget is about £40 billion.

Who benefits from vastly increased defence spending?

This cannot be about the defence of Britain. We are not under military threat from any country or likely to be so so within the next decade or two. Can the government name a single country that might want to invade or attack Britain? The government is funding military equipment some of which cannot be positioned or used to defend Britain, for example two huge aircraft carriers which were ordered by Tony Blair and his government. These currently lack aircraft so there is is a big aircraft building programme. There is also the hugely costly and illegal Trident weapons of mass destruction programme. See my post on this topic.

So what’s behind all this spending?

  1. First there is the doctrinaire belief that we must remain best and most supportive friend of America and support America in its military actions whatever they may be. (We have seen to our cost for example, Afghanistan and Iraq that the open cheque has cost huge number of lives, created thousands of refugees, and cost a great deal of money as well.)
  2. From the government’s point of view this spending will maintain or create very large numbers of jobs, especially in parts of the country where it feels a great need to maintain popularity. In Scotland there is a desire by many for independence so assuring jobs there may be a political move. Some of this spending will pay for the building of thirteen frigates which are currently under construction in Scotland. Britain also has plans for the creation of a Space Command capable of launching a rocket from a site in Scotland by 2022.

Boris Johnson’s explanation to parliament

“These projects are expected to create up to 10,000 thousand jobs annually across the UK. These will reflect the expertise and ingenuity of British people both inside and outside our Armed Forces, harnessing the UK’s skills in construction and science and reinvigorating those industries in the coming decades.”

What can we do?

First we need to be specific about what we want. We might then focus on petitions for which we work to gain support.

For example,

  1. We might demand the cutting of the planned increases in the defence budget immediately in order to raise the pay of nurses and give more funds to the NHS.
  2. We might demand a halving of the defence budget before the end of the current parliament.
  3. We might demand the scrapping of the Trident weapons of mass destruction programme and the nuclear powered submarines which carry them.
  4. We might demand that Britain leave NATO.
  5. We might demand that Britain declares itself unwilling to support US military adventures.
  6. We might demand a foreign policy which concentrates on friendly cooperation with all countries and working towards the peaceful encouragement of tolerant and democratic societies in countries where we find human rights to be lacking.

On a personal level the least we can do is write to our MP stating what changes we would like to see. We also need to raise this matter with as many people as possible. This might be in face-to-face discussions but it can also be in the form of letters to the press, tweets on Twitter, messages on facebook etc. We should stop misnaming offensive weapons of mass destruction “deterrents”.

The media should take on the topic of peace and disarmament

We need to lobby the media to deal with peace and disarmament issues and not brush them aside. Why was the huge increase in defence (war) spending at a time of severe financial difficulty not thoroughly explored by the media?

Peace and disarmament should become a long-term burning public issue.

Britain’s reputation as a violence-loving country

When we think of the death, destruction and misery our bombing and interventions in other countries have caused in this century alone it is obvious that the subject is something we are right to be angry about. British governments have proved themselves to be unfit to be in charge of their huge and growing destructive armoury.

True “defence” is a topic which ought to be part of the school curriculum but can we persuade the government to allow this controversial and political topic to be aired in British schools?

Your views?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on these topics. Please use the comment box below. If you use facebook you can use the second comment box without any formalities, and could share your views on facebook too, if you wish.

David Roberts,


Defense News (online) 19 November 2020
Statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street. 19 November 2020.

facebook users can comment directly below

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Wildlife endangered by planned nuclear power station, Sizewell C

Wildlife endangered by planned nuclear power station, Sizewell C

On the Suffolk coast is an exceptional wildlife habitat that is threatened by a planned new nuclear power station called Sizewell C.

Wildlife experts in this video explain what could be lost if the planned nuclear power station goes ahead.

Ben McFarland, Head of Conservation at Suffolk Wildlife Trust, and Adam Rowlands, RSPB Suffolk Area Manager, outline their concerns for Suffolk’s wildlife should plans for Sizewell C go ahead.

Please write to your MP to voice your objections to this plan and sign online petitions.

Also, have a look at the reasons why this whole nuclear power project here will do very little to combat climate change

  1. instead introduces a massive problem of coping with the most toxic waste known to man
  2. and incurs astronomic waste disposal costs which government experts themselves say are incalculable.

For more information on this important topic see other articles on this blog about Sizewell C. Click on the ISSUES label in the menu bar above and click on NUCLEAR in the drop-down list.

Your comments will be very welcome. Space to share your thoughts below the video. 
David Roberts
8 March 2021

Facebook user?

Then you can comment here without further formalities  –  and, if you wish, share your comment with facebook friends.

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Dangerous cladding scandal – the government could quickly alleviate the problem

Dangerous cladding scandal - the government could quickly alleviate the problem

The government has available some simple (partial) solutions to the problem of the combustible cladding scandal

Homes became unsaleable

More than a million flat owners in this country find themselves to be living in blocks of flats with flammable cladding and other fire safety defects.
Most of their flats are now unsaleable, which means that they are valued at zero, a problem which especially affects first time owners who can now not think of moving on.

Huge additional costs

This is a nightmare situation but to add to this disaster flat owners are faced with crippling costs which are already causing bankruptcies and huge distress. A survey of 1,342 leaseholders by Inside Housing in February 2021 found that around 90% of respondents expected to pay over £10,000, with 62.5% facing a total bill of above £30,000 to bring their flats up to the legal fire safety standard.

Two problems and their partial remedies

Two issues need immediate attention and could save flat owners millions of pounds in unjustified extra charges which have been placed on them.

  1. Fire seekers

Because more than a million flat owners are considered to be living in high fire-risk homes they have been required to employ 24-hour fire safety wardens to patrol the outside and inside of blocks of flats. It’s a ludicrous idea that a man walking round a building or walking up and down corridors, no doubt utterly numbed by the mindless boredom of the task, is going to be the first to spot a fire. Honestly, what are the chances? Almost all flat fires start inside flats themselves. The Grenfell Tower fire started inside a flat. Nevertheless these fire wardens are required by law to operate round the clock, seven days a week, and the cost to each individual flat owner amounts to over £5,000 per year.

What the government could do about fire wardens

It’s simple. Remove the requirement to employ them.

2. Insurance

Although major, all-consuming fires in tower blocks like Grenfell are extremely rare, insurance premiums have been raised to as much as five times their previous level. This is pure exploitation. It cannot be that external fires in blocks of flats have increased five fold since the Grenfell disaster in June 2017. Premiums for building insurance per flat are now as much as £3,500 a year. To add to the scandal of these huge premium rises the excesses demanded are typically £250,000. This means that insurance payouts if a home were to be totally destroyed would be only a fraction of what could reasonably be expected.

What the government could do now about the insurance companies

At nil or negligible cost to the tax payer the government could bring in controls to

  • reduce the premiums unjustified by the actual risk

  • reduce the sums required as excesses

  • make buildings awaiting the remediation of unsafe cladding exempt from insurance tax


Who is responsible for the scandal of Britain’s unsafe flats?

Several organisations can be identified as responsible for the widespread use of potentially dangerous cladding and lack of fire safety within buildings.

  1. The manufacturers must have been aware of the characteristics of the material they were using in their product. They are morally responsible for selling a highly flammable product that was far worse than “not fit for purpose”.

  2. The inspecting organisation responsible for testing a product to be installed on thousands of buildings failed in their duty to properly test the product.

  3. Past governments, in placing the task of building materials inspection in private hands, including firms connected to the building trade, removed the independence which a government body would have had.

  4. Building firms which have failed to install legally required safety features.

  5. Building inspectors who failed to ensure that buildings met the required standards, and builders who “self certified” that their work complied with building regulations when it didn’t.

Who should pay the bill for replacing cladding which is highly combustible and making safe defectively built flats?

Some of the above made huge profits from their shameful work – sums amounting to million or even billions of pounds. They should be the ones to pay to put matters right and the government (i.e. the taxpayer) should contribute too (and is already making a contribution).

Who should NOT pay to put matters right?

In this tragic scandal only one party is wholly innocent and that is the flat buyer who purchased a home in the reasonable belief that it was safe to live in. Currently it is the flat buyer who is being asked to pay for the wrongs and crimes of others.

The guilty
The government needs to act to ensure that those responsible for the damage are the ones who pay for the remedy. The cladding scandal is not just a scandal it is also a crime and people most responsible should be identified and punished.

More information at

Government article

Excellent wikipedia article

Inside Housing

Daily Mail article

David Roberts 17 February 2021

Please consider writing to your MP or Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and share this post.

The contact link for a short comment to Robert Jenrick is

If you have insights or experience in this area please take advantage of the opportunity to comment below. 

Photo is courtesy of

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Support British Musicians and the British Music Industry

Support British Musicians and the British Music Industry

Brexit in practice shows that negotiated arrangements are, in some cases, very unsatisfactory.

Something needs to be done to correct problems that should never have arisen.


Power is with The European Commission

The difficulty now is that the real power to make changes lies with the unelected European Commission. Petitions need to reach the Commission.

In the meantime our access route is through the government. Petitions are circulating. Everyone can help by signing these petitions in support of action that the government needs to take.

British Musicians need help

Here’s some information from the BBC with a link to the full article on the BBC website.

“What are the issues?

Now that free movement has ended, UK musicians and crews will need a visa for stays of longer than 90 days in a 180-day period. Certain EU countries will also require additional work permits on arrival; and touring bands will also have to pay for carnets (permits) for their equipment and merchandise.

According to the Association of British Orchestras, another barrier is the imposition of limits on road haulage – with new rules stating drivers must return to the UK after visiting two EU member states.

“This makes the standard touring model of moving musical instruments by truck from the UK to venues in multiple countries impossible,” said the ABO.

“The UK’s orchestras will need to look at hiring in European road haulage operators at additional expense.”

Read more from the BBC “

Here are links to petitions

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How governments hide bad news –  and the recent bad news they want us to overlook

How governments hide bad news -  and the bad news they want us to overlook

Governments very often have to announce bad news or controversial news to the general public. In order to do this they carefully choose the time to make the announcement. When will people be distracted and have little time to consider the announcement?

It’s my observation, and you can check this out for yourself, that November/December is a favourite time to make unpopular announcements or just before the summer holidays. The general public therefore has little inclination at this time, just before Christmas or summer holidays, to consider controversial issues or to spend time lobbying MPs or protesting about something which in normal times they would be very concerned about.

This is the time of year when the government, whichever party is in power, announces an increase in defence spending. It used to be the time when the fishing quotas were negotiated with the EU and Britain, being always outvoted, usually came away with a deal which wasn’t very satisfactory to British fishermen.

Much more money for defence?

On 19 November the government announced huge increases in defence spending, at a time when money is desperately needed in other areas. Disturbing details to follow in another posting.


nuclear power station billowing steam from cooling towers

Another questionable decision taken on a new nuclear power station

On 14 December the government announced that it is “talking to” EDF the French energy company that runs our nuclear power stations and a Chinese energy company about building a new, highly controversial nuclear power station at Sizewell in Suffolk. “Talking to” is double-speak code for “planning to go ahead with”.
British taxpayers may be asked to pay billions of pounds in upfront costs and also to pay for any cost overruns.

The issue of long-term highly toxic radio-active waste will hardly be considered openly.

The Chinese company currently has a 20% stake in this project and is threatening to pull out. This would make the whole situation more difficult and possibly more costly for the British taxpayer. And should the Chinese be involved anyway?

I’ll write about these topics in the next few days or so.

David Roberts, 12 January 2021

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Spotify needs a new formula for sharing revenue with musicians

Spotify dominates the music industry of the world with its music streaming service.

In December 2020 it is a company valued at 60 billion dollars.

Currently 90% of Spotify’s huge revenue goes to just 1% of the musicians on its books. 99% of musicians share the remaining 10 percent of revenue. This cannot be right.

The winners are being paid excessively whilst equally talented artists, serving local or national audiences receive a pittance. Of course “top musicians” are talented, hard-working and bring pzazz to their music, but they are being paid primarily for being well-known and well publicised by the media companies that manage them.

Most of these superstars began their musical careers as unknowns. They may have been lucky enough to have been picked up a major record label. The Beatles did this when they were on the verge of giving up the effort to find a backer. They almost missed out. But for that last minute stroke of luck the Beatles might have ended their careers as a local Liverpool band that lasted just a few years.

Until quite recent times musicians could earn useful sums of money through the sales of LPS and CDs. Record labels may not have the financial resources they once had.The record market has now, for all practical purposes, disappeared, yet to compete, in the world of Spotify and music streaming, newcomers find themselves at a huge disadvantage.

The amount paid for each stream of a track varies from country to country. In the UK the amount paid by Spotify is £0.0028. (NME) Managements and promoters may take a large proportion of this tiny sum.

It must be in the interest of Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and others to encourage and develop new talent and this can surely be done partly by introducing a sliding scale of payment. For example, the first thousand streams could be paid at a very much higher rate than the next 1000 and when the streams of music go beyond, say, 100,000 the payment per stream could drop further. In that way more money would be channelled to emerging and other professional musicians and the excessive money paid to superstars could be reasonably reduced.

David Roberts.
Please share
9 December 202

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Children safe from corona virus at school – official

Yesterday Sunday 23rd August 2020 the Chief Medical Officer for England, Prof Chris Whitty, stated what I have been promoting on this website for months –  that corona virus is extremely unlikely to harm children. This is not my idea or just wishful thinking. I have been looking at official statistics and quoting other top experts who have been saying this since the outbreak began. You can find these posts and stats by searching my blogsite,

You can read and see Chris Whitty’s statement here. Link to BBC website.

David Roberts,

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Closing Norway’s Schools May Have Been a Mistake

Norway’s Prime Minister has second thoughts about closing Norway’s Schools.

On Wednesday night, Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg went on Norwegian television to make a startling admission: she had panicked. Some, even most, of the tough measures imposed in Norway’s lockdown now looked like steps too far. “Was it necessary to close schools?” she mused. “Perhaps not.”  –  From Daily Telegraph, 2 June 2020.

Was it a mistake for the UK?
David Roberts

2 June 2020