Whither those with power over us?….


When I went to the UK last August for my daughter’s wedding, I made a point of keeping ‘mum’ about my current relationship with Noo as I feared they would despair of me and think that the ‘stupid old git’ is making a fool of himself yet again. 

In fact, strange the tell, my dear old octogenarian friends in Barnwell seemed to know me better than my own family as they were immediately dubious about my claims of living alone and  I soon confessed all about my latest attempt at romantic bliss. As ever, they were most supportive and wished me all the best.

However, this didn’t persuade me to take my family into my confidence, but I did realise that sooner or later I would have to break the news to them, especially as both of my daughters had expressed a desire to come and see me in 2012.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was having a web-cam chat to my brother on Skype and as luck (or lack of it) would happen, Noo walked past where I was sitting and my brother asked me:

‘Who is that?’

‘Who is what?’

‘That lady who just walked behind you.’

‘Oh…oh…her?…she’s… she’s the maid…’

‘Didn’t look much like a maid to me…’

‘Oh…really?…’ I answered with a grin, ‘Oh well, I might as well come clean, it’s a fair cop bruv.’

I told him all about Noo and also said that my daughters didn’t know about her but that I was planning tell them, ‘soon’.

As with my friends from Barnwell, my brother’s reaction was completely  supportive and he wished me well in my new relationship.

‘It’s your life, Mobi, if it makes you happy, then go for it.’

Fast forward to a few days ago when I received a ‘Twitter PM’ from my eldest daughter, (note that this ‘old git’ is well into the technological age), advising me of her plans for her and her husband to come out for a visit in early April.

So I decided that the game was up and I’d better come clean, and if they both disowned me in disgust, then so be it; but as my brother had said, it is my life and if Noo makes me happy, that’s what matters most.

So I fired off a long email telling the two of them how long Noo has been with me (nearly 15 months now), and all about her.

Well of course I needn’t have worried as both my girls are wonderful, good hearted  people and, I like to think, they still  care a bit about their old man’s happiness. They both wished me well and expressed a desire to meet Noo in due course. God bless’em!

Wither those with power over us….

If the wrecking of the Corncordia wasn’t so tragic, it would be almost laughable.

Here we have the captain of an ocean going cruise liner, responsible for upwards of 5,000 souls, putting everyone at risk by manoeuvring his giant vessel into shallow, rocky waters to salute a colleague, then lying to the passengers about the severity of the situation and failing to take immediate measures to ensure their safety; and finally – crime upon crime – deserting the sinking ship, long before all the passengers had been rescued.

Then he made half the world’s population almost fall off their chairs in apoplexy when they learned that claimed he ‘tripped and fell into a lifeboat’ by accident.

The truth is still to come out concerning the Moldovan blond bimbo who was cavorting with Captain Francesco Schettino on the bridge during the minutes before his cruise liner foundered on rocks.

She had no cabin – yet when asked, she claimed ‘I had a cabin coupon in my pocket’…, and it has been reported from many sources that the Captain had been drinking copious glasses of wine during the period leading up to the accident.

Well I have no idea what rules, if any, govern the consumption of alcohol, when in charge of an ocean going vessel, but if you or I had been found over the limit on dry land in our car, after a major accident, we would have been locked up for the duration.

By all accounts, the good Captain was a bit of a ‘maverick’ and enjoyed living the high life, which is evidenced by the presence of a blond bimbo on the bridge.

I ask you, in all seriousness, is a man who likes to change his ship’s course to salute a colleague; a man who is a known ‘budding Casanova’ – one who has bimbos cavorting with him on the bridge – the kind of person who should be in charge of a ship carrying 5000 people?

What was the selection procedure that led to him being appointed captain? In my day and age it would have involved something we used to call the ‘personnel department’ but has long since been re-named with the ridiculous and euphemistic term; ‘Human Resources’, as if by changing the  name, that somehow makes them better, and more skilled.

If you ask me, the opposite is true. In this politically correct age, I very much doubt if any thought was given to the ‘character’ of the candidates and the ‘gut feel’ of traditional  personnel professionals. If it was, how could such a flamboyant man with a maverick personality ever have been elevated to such a responsible position? 

It doesn’t take much wit to understand that the type of person who is put in charge of such vessels should be a steady, careful, conservative, safety -conscious mariner, who at all times could be relied upon to place the safety of his passengers above all else, and who had a record of selfless and dedicated behaviour to his chosen career and who could be relied upon to act decisively and bravely in a time of crisis.

Clearly, Captain Francesco Schettino had none of these attributes, and why is it that the so-called professional ‘human resource experts’ didn’t spot this?  Appoint him as First Officer or Second Officer – fine; but as captain of a giant ship?  Never!  Maybe they just didn’t care or maybe they weren’t consulted!

It wouldn’t surprise me if the recently retired Captain, who Captain Schettino was trying to ‘salute’, had a hand in his appointment, and this was his way of returning the favour. In any event, is changing a  ship’s course just to blow your horn for a friend on shore, the type of behaviour that anyone wants from a ship’s captain?

God help us all….

More of the same…

And just so that you don’t think this is an anti-Italian rant, (although I have plenty of material, what with that arrogant, criminally insane, sex-crazed idiot Berlusconi; one of the worst western leaders ever to grace the international stage), here is nice little home grown screw up, which potentially could affect the lives of thousands.

In the UK, A senior police officer has been reprimanded after a dossier of documents detailing security plans for this year’s London Olympics was left on a train. The documents, which detailed Olympic security plans, including contact details of senior police officers, were found by a commuter who handed the documents to The Sun newspaper.

Apparently, “The Directorate of Professional Standards”, whatever they may be, have been informed. (Sounds like something out of a Harry Potter novel).

What I would like to know is how can a person be appointed to a position of such responsibility be capable of doing such an incredibly foolhardy and scatter-brained thing as to leave highly confidential documents, which potentially could place lives at risk , on a public train.

What on earth was he doing even reading such documents or displaying them when travelling on public transport? Even if he hadn’t put them down and forgotten about them, who can say that he wouldn’t be mugged and have the documents stolen, or maybe someone sitting near him may have been able to photograph some of the information from their mobile phone?

It’s just plain, honest to goodness, common sense. If you are carrying highly sensitive documents in a public place, you keep them well concealed about your person at all times.

And all that happened was that the officer was ‘reprimanded’. As far as I am concerned, he should be hung, drawn and quartered; then maybe some of the other idiots in similar positions of responsibility may think twice before being so careless with the State’s and people’s secrets.

And this is by no means the first time this sort of gaffe has occurred. How many times have we read about classified documents or tapes being left in taxis, or stolen from the back seats of cars, or even recovered from rubbish bins in public parks? And what about the UK Police Chief who walked into No 10 showing the whole world the details of some highly classified information he was carrying in his hand?

Has everyone gone completely barking?

And on top of this, how about the following ‘data protection gaffes’, all of which occurred in just one year, 2011.

  • The Co-operative banking Group apologised after details of 83,000 customers of its funeral planning service were accidentally published online. It blamed the episode on a contractor…
  • A hospital was forced to admit that patient records had been subject to “unauthorised access and disclosure” after being sent to the Philippines for transcription…
  • A division of NHS North Central London had 20 of its laptops stolen from a storeroom. The laptops contained 8.6 million patient records, reported to have been unencrypted, and that the incident was only reported to police three weeks after the laptops went missing.
  • Powys County Council were fined a record £130,000 after sensitive information relating to child protection case was mailed to the wrong recipient.

I understand that humans are fallible and that mistakes will happen, but when it comes to highly sensitive information, don’t you think it behoves those responsible to take all steps necessary to ensure that proper procedures are put place and that the right people are put in charge of ensuring the safety of the state and it’s citizens’ confidential information?

It seems to me that the whole world is becoming cavalier – with our lives and with our personal information – be it Italian Captains who want to show off from their bridges or mindless and criminally careless British public servants; all no doubt a bi-product of these politically correct times where common sense often takes a back seat when it comes to appointing the right people to the right job.

BUTT…BUTT…BUTT…I don’t give a hoot!…


2 thoughts on “Whither those with power over us?….”

  1. Yes, I am a sensitive soul. I must flagellate myself for attacking those who seek to help.

    I once upset a well known author and live to regret it…

    My apologies, seriously…

    slap! slap! (ouch!) ☺


  2. Thank you for you comments.

    I get the distinct impression that although you claim to have read all my blog, there must be a strong element of ‘flick reading’ otherwise you wouldn’t have made some of your comments.

    In particular, I have no idea where you get the impression that I am obsessed with the number of ‘hits’. Of course, anyone who writes a blog wishes it to be read, otherwise there is no point in publishing it. But over the past 2 1/2 years of my blog, (145 posts), I doubt whether I have raised the subject of my readership numbers more than 3 or 4 times at most, including one simple poll to try and get a handle on reading habits. I would hardly call this an obsession, but there you go….

    I also find your comment ‘It looks like after all these years you are finally seeing what LOS is all about’ rather patronising and condescending, considering I first lived here back in the 70’s. If you have read my blog carefully or any of my ‘stories’ you would know that I have lived and worked with ‘real’ Thais in a real Thai environment and speak the language pretty well. I have travelled extensively throughout Thailand, both in those far off days and also during the past ten years or so; in fact I can now say that there is not a great deal of Thailand and its people that I have not seen, lived with, or experienced at one time or another.

    My present car testifies to the fact that in the past 3 years alone I have driven over 70,000 kilometres around Thailand, and remember, I do not commute or use my car for work – only pleasure.

    Again, read the various articles I have written in my blog through the past 3 years about Thailand, its culture its politics and its people and I fail to see how you could possible think that I am ‘finally seeing what LOS is all about’…

    Anyway, we are all entitled to our opinions….

    Keep reading… and please don’t ‘blow me out’


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