Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Tory's to put power back to local Government and Communities

The British should directly elect the Prime Minister

I have long held this view and glad to see that someone has beaten me to raising a petition at 10 Downing street. If you think like me, that the office of Prime Minister is far too important to leave to just our MP's, and that it is time for future Prime Ministers to get a direct mandate from the people sign the petition link below:

Power to the people!!
Too many politicians just pay lip service to this.

Working from Home scams

Published in Your Money on 16 February 2009

With unemployment figures on the rise, schemes claiming to offer big bucks to work from home are looking increasingly attractive. Here’s why they should be avoided.
Rising redundancy levels across the UK are a major concern for many of us. It can leave us feeling vulnerable and unsure which way to turn next.
And as the bills start to stack up and the prospects of finding a new job seem increasingly gloomy, panic can really start to set in.
So imagine spotting an advertisement in a newspaper offering you lots of money for simply stuffing envelopes in the comfort of your own home. It would sound pretty tempting, wouldn’t it? After all, it wouldn't be forever and it would be a convenient way of securing some cash to tide you over for a while.
There’s just one problem -- many of these schemes are simply trying to rip you off.
What they offer
Typically, work-at-home scams promise a large income for minimal work -- such as envelope stuffing or craft assembly work (making toys and gifts). Often, the advertisements will be placed in shop windows, on lampposts, or in magazines or newspapers.
Traditionally, these scams have been particularly attractive to the elderly, students, people with young children and those with a disability. But at a time when job losses are on the rise, these schemes are likely to become more attractive to anyone out of work.
In fact, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) reckons around 330,000 adults fall victim to these scams every year. What’s more, scams like these cost UK victims £70 million a year, and that figure is likely to rise due to the recession.

The scam
If you apply to a work from home scheme, you’ll probably be asked to pay a registration fee so that you can receive your starter pack or assembly kit. And this is where the scam kicks in.
If you’ve applied to stuff envelopes, instead of receiving a batch of envelopes, you’ll be sent instructions to post similar advertisements to attract other people into the scam. This is what's known as a pyramid scheme and it's illegal under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.
If you’ve applied for an assembly kit, you may receive the kit, but it will probably be without instructions or certain items required to make the product will be missing! And even if you use your initiative and manage to assemble the item, it’ll probably be rejected by the company on claims that it doesn’t meet the required standard.
Meanwhile, home working directories promise a variety of different home work opportunities. But once you've paid your fee, you'll just receive a directory of other companies who have their own registration fees.

How to avoid the trap
Now I am not saying that all home working schemes are dodgy -- in fact, there are some genuine schemes out there. But if you do consider applying for one, you need to think carefully about how the scheme works. If it’s a legitimate business, it should be willing to tell you exactly what is involved.
So here are some top tips on how to protect yourself:
If you’re asked to pay any money upfront to cover administration or registration fees, investigate the company fully before sending any money
Check out the company on a website such as Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see whether there have been previous complaints
Find out exactly what tasks you will have to carry out, when you’ll be paid and how much.
Carefully check out the email and premises address -- dodgy companies are likely to use an anonymous email address or a PO box address as they are difficult to trace
Insist on a landline phone number to contact the company -- if it’s a mobile number, it’s more likely to be dodgy
Ask for references -- and don’t just settle for one or two as they might be fake
Even if the advertisement is in a reputable newspaper or magazine, it doesn’t mean you should trust it.

What to do if you are a victim
If you have become a victim of a work from home scam, you can report it to the Office of Fair Trading. Ensure you have as much information about the scam as possible, such as addresses and phone numbers.
By reporting your experience, you may be able to help prevent these bogus companies from preying on more vulnerable people. But the bad news for you is you’ll probably never see your money again.
If you would like advice on your consumer rights, you can contact
Consumer Direct, who will be able to help you.
So in these difficult times, if you are struggling to find work and are considering working from home, please think carefully before committing to anything. Your best bet is to contact your local job centre to see if they have anything on offer, and you can also check out our
Working From Home discussion board.

Just remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Art from A4 paper - incredible

Conservatives consult on giving power back to the people

LOCALISM GREEN PAPER “Control shift: returning power to local communities”

I am delighted to let you know that, today, David Cameron is publishing the Party’s new consultative green paper on localism. This is an exciting opportunity as it sets out clear and detailed ways in which we can give local representatives the real power they need to be able to serve their communities.

I thought you would appreciate a heads-up of the proposals. They include:

Strong local economies
• Abolishing all regional planning and housing powers exercised by regional government, returning powers and discretion back to local councils.
• Creating bottom-up incentives for house building, by allowing you to keep the increase in council tax revenues from new homes, rather than it being equalised away by Whitehall.
• Allowing councils to establish their own local enterprise partnerships to take over the economic development functions and funding of the Regional Development Agencies.
• Giving a real incentive for councils to promote local economic growth, by allowing you to keep the uplift in business rate revenues.
• Giving local authorities a new discretionary power to levy business rate discounts, allowing you to help local shops and services (for example, rural pubs, or post offices).
• Increase the freedom of your council to act in the best interests of residents, by giving councils a general power of competence.

Vibrant local democracy
• Letting councils choose their own organisational structure, such as returning to the Committee system if you wish.
• But building on the success of the London Mayor, giving citizens in the large cities of Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol, Wakefield, Coventry, Leicester, Nottingham, Newcastle upon Tyne, with the opportunity to choose whether to have an elected mayor, through a mayoral referendums. The referendums would take place on the same day to ignite a national public debate.
• Abolishing Comprehensive Area Assessment – which looks to be just as burdensome as its predecessor, and further curtailing the number of central targets imposed on councils.
• Empowering citizens, not Whitehall, to ensure value for money by requiring more detailed information on local (and central) government expenditure to be published online.
• Continuing the work of the Lifting the Burdens Task Force to identify unnecessary burdens, and putting its recommendations into practice.
• Ending all forced unitary amalgamations of local authorities which have not already gone ahead – such as cancelling those planned in Norfolk, Suffolk and Devon.
• Abolishing Labour’s new Infrastructure Planning Commission quango.
• Scrapping the Standards Board and repealing the flawed ‘pre-determination’ rules that prevent councillors from standing up for constituents’ views on local issues.
• Abandoning plans to regionalise local fire services, while providing new measures to enhance resilience in the case of a national emergency.

Gordon Brown’s target-driven, top-down government has hindered strong local economies and discouraged civic pride. We will bring councillors and their constituents closer to the levers of power. This will start to restore the trust that has been lost in our political system under Labour.

The full paper will be available on or can be downloaded direct:
Localism Green Paper

Sunday, 15 February 2009

New Aircraft Design

Even though the Aeroscraft dwarfs the largest commercial airliners, it requires less net space on the ground than any plane because it doesn't need a runway. The airship takes off and lands like a helicopter, straight up and down.

This is not a Blimp. It's a sort of flying Queen Mary 2 that could change the way you think about air travel.It's the Aeroscraft, and when it's completed, it will ferry pampered passengers across continents and oceans as they stroll leisurely about the one-acre cabin or relax in their staterooms.

Unlike its dirigible ancestors, the Aeroscraft is not lighter than air. It's 14 million cubic feet of helium hoist only two-thirds of the craft's weight. The rigid and surprisingly aerodynamic body, driven by huge rear-ward propellers, generates enough additional lift to keep the behemoth and its 400-ton payload aloft while cruising.

During takeoff and landing, six turbo-fan jet engines push the ship up or ease its descent. This two-football-fields-long airship is the brainchild of Igor Pasternak, whose privately funded California firm, Worldwide Aeros Corporation, is in the early stages of developing a prototype and expects to have one completed by 2010.

Pasternak says several cruise ship companies have expressed interest in the project, and for good reason - the craft would have a range of several thousand miles, and, with an estimated top speed of 174 mph, could traverse the continental United States in about 18 hours�.

During the flight, passengers would view national landmarks just 8,000 feet below, or, if they weren't captivated by the view, the cavernous interior would easily accommodate such amenities as luxury staterooms, restaurants - - even a casino�.

To minimize noise, the aft-mounted propellers will be electric, powered by a renewable source such as hydrogen fuel cells. A sophisticated buoyancy - management system will serve the same purpose as trim on an airplane, allowing for precise adjustments in flight dynamics to compensate for outside conditions and passenger movement.

The automated system will draw outside air into compartments throughout the ship and compress it to manage onboard weight.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Ireland 30-21 France

Oh yes. The Irish stuffed the French. Their first victory in eight games against France - a great weekend of rugby.... and heralds a fantastic tornament.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Paparazzi pictures of me at LSB University

Myself and some other young students!

Trying to look as if I am studying

Putting the world right with Niknam

I am hating every minute

Monday, 2 February 2009

All snowed in at 'Wellington House'

The garden shed - my home from home!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

My new Blackberry Storm Phone

Well - good news and bad news:

Bad news is my phone died and I have lost all my telephone numbers - the second time this year. The first time, I was parachuting all week, without any problem with my phone - then went go-Karting and broke it!! This time it just quietly died, and I have lost everything on it.

Good news is I have the new Blackberry Storm - that seems to be able to do everything, even linking with my msn and facebook accounts. How frightening is that? It also plays fantastic music on it and awsome video. So no more boring Council meetings for this councillor!! I can still be working while listening to others gasing.

Vodafone Farnborough are not an official business outlet, but the staff there are fantastic, very business aware and helpful, and extremely patient, especially with the dangerous clients like myself who think they know about mobile phones, but actually do not have a clue.