Archive for April, 2012

Lech Lesiak

April 26, 2012 2 comments

I’ve grown old pointing out that the existence of a province wide police force in Ontario does not preclude the existence of other, smaller forces.

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April 13, 2012 5 comments

Today, the following is running on the Ryanair website, and is being reported in other media. I will add to its dissemination.

RYANAIR, the world’s favourite airline, today (12 April) announced further cuts at its Edinburgh base with the closure of 8 routes and 60 weekly flights from October 2012 as BAA Edinburgh refuses to offer a competitive cost base for more Ryanair growth. 
Ryanair’s Edinburgh traffic will now fall by 500,000 pax per annum (from 1.8m to 1.3m) passengers), leading to the loss of up to 500 “on-site” jobs according to ACI figures.
Today’s route cuts (to Bratislava, Bremen, Frankfurt, Fuerteventura, Gothenburg, Kaunas, Lodz and Poznan) follow the closure of 5 routes from Ryanair’s Edinburgh summer schedule and Ryanair warned that deeper cuts to its winter schedule may be inevitable if BAA Edinburgh fails to agree an extension to its 5 year base agreement (which expires in Oct 2012) on more competitive terms. The BAA’s failure to secure a long-term growth deal, with Europe’s largest airline, is further proof that the BAA has no interest in securing the future of Scottish tourism, traffic and jobs as it artificially increases charges in the hope of making a killing on the sale of the airport for its Spanish shareholders.
These latest Edinburgh cuts become effective in October 2012 for the Ryanair winter schedule, and include:
From 25 to 17 winter routes (down 32%).
From 168 to 108 weekly flights (down 36%).
From 1.8M to under 1.3M pax p.a (down 28%).
Cuts on 10 other routes
The loss of 500,000 pax p.a. and 500 “on-site” jobs at Edinburgh Airport.
Ryanair regrets these cuts and confirms that they can be reversed if a competitive and realistic cost offer becomes available from BAA Edinburgh.

This is the latest round in Ryanair’s bid to screw the maximum commercial advantage from  the forced sale of Edinburgh, and it must be resisted. The company is demanding, as it does all over Europe, preferential treatment over its competitors, and it has no shame in so doing. But this time it is over the top. The figures it quotes are clearly nonsense.They suggest that the obscure loss-making winter routes that they are cutting represent over a quarter of Edinburgh Airport’s total turnover. They imply that it takes one employee to service one thousand ‘pax’. From the first five words right to the end, the statement is riddled with arrogance and distortion. Michael O’Leary and his cohorts have to realise that theirs is a service organisation that relies on public goodwill. If they did so, instead of constantly taking the aggressive posture of the bully, they might find that their airline’s ‘pax p a’ figures actually rose. If they don’t they will find more and more people deciding that civility and service is worth a little extra cost.

Edinburgh Airport was there, and profitable, before Ryanair came along, and it will continue to thrive even if it pulls out entirely.  In fact, I wish it would, and look seriously at an alternative.

In the middle of East Lothian, there sits, right beside the Edinburgh – London railway line, East Fortune Airport, home of the Museum of Flight and its major attraction, Concorde. It has been there for almost a hundred years since it was built to counter the threat of the Zeppelin. In 1919, it became the world’s first trans-Atlantic airport, when the airship R34 took off from there and flew to Mineola, New York. Today it is used by no-one other than a few microlight pilots, motor-cyclists  and Sunday market traders, but for a short period fifty years ago it served as Edinburgh’s airport while work was under way at Turnhouse. It would probably be cheap to buy, the runway could be easily restored and a dedicated railway station could be installed at minimal cost, allowing a direct link to the centre of Edinburgh that would be as quick as the Turnhouse bus. The residents of East Linton and Athelstaneford might have reservations, but these would be  softened by the prospect of improved rail services and rising property values.

Take a look, Mr O’Leary. Yes, I appreciate that it would take a little investment and that spending its own money is not  something that your company is fond of doing. However I suspect that East Lothian Council would bite your hand off for the economic growth you would generate, and that Scotrail would too, for all those extra pax. Freed from landing charges, you could operate as many profitable routes as you liked out of there. On top of all that, there woud be an added, undreamed of bonus. You might actually become popular.

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April 12, 2012 7 comments

Having been on hand and clearing her throat at Wigan last night, the Fat Lady has gone for a cup of tea, and will make her next appearance in Manchester.

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Uber alles

April 11, 2012 1 comment

Sebastian Vettel, the F1 World Champion, has been expressing his views on the Bahrain Grand Prix, which is in doubt because the Bahraini royal regime has been wielding the big stick, literally, over pro-democracy demonstrations. He has been quoted as saying: “The latest comment was that we are going to Bahrain to race there I think.” He added that, if that remained the case, “then I think it is safe enough to go and we should go there and race and not worry about something that is not our own business.”

For all his excellence as a driver the young German still has a lot of growing up to do. For those of us who live in democracies, it is our business when aspirations are beng oppressed, fairly brutally; we must worry, and if all we can do to express solidarity is boycott those countries, then we should. Hopefully Seb will come to realise that one day. Or is it simply the case that he will always fit very well behind the wheel of a Panzer tank? In his defence, though, he is simply following the lead of the Formula One autocrat, the octogenarian, Bernie Ecclestone. I reckon Bernie would stage a Grand Prix in Guantanamo Bay if he thought it would make money.

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Nutbush City limits

April 11, 2012 9 comments

Warning! Don’t get caught speeding in Effingham County (Was there ever a place better named?) as did Jose Maria Olazabal Manterola, our Ryder Cup  captain. If you do, they will fine you a significant amount of money, but much worse, they will take your mugshot and post it on their website, to be lifted and used by any newspaper in the world, including what used to be the Daily Telegraph. Another small example of what can happen when a nation declines to ratify international treaties on human rights.

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Down the drain

A nod to Homer and Bart Simpson from Scottish Water who roused my household just before midnight last night by ringing the doorbell incessantly. When I got there the two dunnikin-divers told me that my neighbour had a blocked drain, and demanded to know whether the door between our two houses gives access to his back garden. It does not and I told  them so, but guys, excuse me; he knows that as well as I do, so why the ******* need for a second opinion?!?!?!?

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Jackie Tocher

Thanks for your feedback, but I don’t do requests. If you don’t know the difference between arrogance and honesty, I can’t help you either.

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Ten minutes to spare? Then log on to this website, and prepare to be astonished/impressed/energised/empowered/enriched/enraged/shocked/disgusted. (You choose once you’re done.)

Be sure you play the Youtube video.

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