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31 January 2012

Posted by DMC on 1 February 2012 in Diary |

The Eurozone mandarins have won the first round in the battle to control the budgets of the countries within the EU, and in particular those within the Eurozone itself. 25 of the 27 countries involved have signed up to the new regime leaving the UK and the Czech republic outside these controls. (As I understand it what they have signed up to is in effect was to have been the European constitution, which the UK vetoed) The same mandarins are attempting to force Greece to allow an outside body to monitor taxes and outgoings – rather like one’s parent insisting that you wrote down every penny of expenditure from your pocket money each week, when you insisted that it was not enough. Of course, Greece is opposing this sort of control, claiming it is humiliating to suggest they cannot run their own economy effectively, although the evidence over the past few years must be in favour of some form of outside agency. In fact, if Greece wants to have the continued financial support of the Eurozone then they will have no choice, ultimately, but to agree to some form of outside control.

In exercising his veto against the proposed EU constitution, the Prime Minister has made it clear that he will not accept any directive or legislation that restricts the functioning of the UK financial institutions. There was some talk earlier on that, as a tit-for-tat for the UK vetoing the proposed EU constitution, they could somehow move London’s position as one of the leading international financial markets, perhaps to somewhere in the Eurozone, like Frankfurt, and I suppose this was a sort of thing to which the Prime Minister was alluding. Of course, it would be disastrous for this country if that were to happen as I believe the City brings in almost a third of our GDP

Moving closer to home there was another tragic accident on a railway level crossing a couple of days ago this is local to us and then only a few miles away from an earlier accident at Elsenham, where a couple of young girls were killed on a level crossing by a train, 6 years ago. This seems to have been a similar type of accident where a young girl simply did not see or hear the train coming. One suspects that, like so many of the young, she probably had her ears stuffed up with earphone listening to her music.

Whilst being immensely sympathetic with the parents for the loss of their 15-year-old child, one cannot help wondering how anyone could be foolish enough to open the gate at the level crossing when the lights were flashing and the alarm sounding predicting the oncoming train. To say she neither heard nor saw it beggars belief.

What is even more surprising is that the parents, in similar cases have blamed the railway company and it seems from yesterday’s High Court decision (for the Elsenham case) the parents, are going to win (substantial compensation?!) from the rail operators for failing to observe certain safety regulations, to which they have already pleaded guilty.

I have no idea which directives or regulations were infringed (except that the electronic lock was not activated), but for most sensible people. the current arrangement is certainly safe if common sense is used when using the crossing. I suppose the one improvement. which could be made would be an automatic electric lock on the pedestrian gate that operated at the same time that the barrier came down. Whether this would stop youngsters climbing over a locked gate in order to try to catch the train, which is already in the station-which has been observed by one of the rail way regulators-I know not

The other suggestion, that the father of one of the two girls killed on the Elsenham crossing made, was that there should be no level crossings at all. The pedestrians should be able to cross the line either underneath by means a tunnel or over the top, but on a bridge. This is simply not a practical suggestion bearing in mind the number of such crossings (6500) and the phenomenal cost involved.

After all that serious talk. Click here for something entirely frivolous

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