Saturday, 28th January, 2023

[Day 1048]

Once we had got ourselves up and breakfasted and enjoyed our weekly diet of Alan Titchmarsh on ClassicFM, we make our way down to Waitrose and met up with the same pre-pandemic friend with whom we had had a chat yesterday. She was telling us of the frustrations that she was havng with the ‘Power of Attorney’ document which she was trying to register with some of he appropriate financial institutions. In one of them, which I shall not name, the institution should have taken a photocopy for their records but only succeeded in losing one of the pages of the original document (which required another visit to the solicitor to replace the missing page) after which the financial institution in question did not succeed in making a legible copy of the document in question and our friend had to be called back again with her document for fresh photocopies to be made. Whether the whole of this transaction has ended with a happy resolution I am unable to say but the root of the problem always seem to be that personnel do not pay sufficient atention to detail and hence errors occur and accumulate. Certainly, if one were to take a survey of the transactions that ‘ordinary’ people have with the financial entities with which they have dealings, I am pretty sure that most of us would have some tales of woe to recount. I would surnmise that with the prevalence of financial fraud not to mention outright money-laundering that quite obsessive bureaucratic procedures have been put in place which are onerous in the extreme for us, the law-abiding, whilst probably not deterring the professional money launderers that the procedures are designed to prevent. That London is at the centre of dirty money is quite widely accepted, but the crisis in Ukraine has once again put the issue in the spotlight according to Thomas Mayne, visiting fellow at Chatham House, an independent think tank that focuses on international affairs. Transparency International UK recently reported that such ‘questionable funds’ could be to the value of GBP 6.7 billion. Properties in the central London areas like the City of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea form a huge part of this value. After listening to our friend and her travails, our University of Birmingham friend turned up by prior arrangement. We are swapping little bits of electrical equipment with each other but nothing extremely exciting (a battery tester and a little transformer power supply) There are several little technical questions I wanted to ask my friend as his technical engineerng knowledge is evidently far superior to mine. We will probably meet again tomorrow in Waitrose and start off here we left off today. We both share an interest in rugby (football) and as the Six Nations will start off next weekend, no doubt we will have a lot to discuss.

There are several stories doing the rounds at the moment about some of the turmoils happening within the BBC. In both TV and radio, the story is more or the less the same. Under the pressure of rampant inflation, the license fee model under threat and a feeling that the BBC is top heavy, then a series of reorganisations seem to be taking place. This is having the effect that even seasoned and well-respected journalists and presenters are having to reapply for their own jobs. It will come as no surprise that any presenters that come into the categories of being white, male and middle aged do not fare well in these interviews even though their careers have been exemplary. I share some feeling for these personnel because even in my last post I was constantly being told how expensive I was with the implicit message that two junior and inexperienced saff could be appointed at the bottom of the respective salary scales for the same amount of money as my salary. If this is happening all over the country, it may help to explain why there seems to be an exodus of staff aged in thir fifties who have either been given the ‘heave-ho’ by their employing organsations or decided that there is a better life out there once one reaches the stage where the mortgage has been paid off and children have passed through university.

I always have the same feeling on Saturdays that big political ‘exposés’ are often revealed in the Sunday newspapers and evidently Saturday is the day when the political journalists are sharpening their quills, as it were. Sometimes it happens that the revelations are such that the politician feeling the heat feels that that they have no option but to resign sooner rather than later. Evidently Nadhim Zahawi is awaiting the results of the investigation into his tax affairs which may well take a fortnight to conduct, but I have a feeling in my bones that he will be gone long before then. Apart from his tax affairs, there is information that his wife received a £30 million unsecured loan (from whom?) which was not declared in the Register of Members Interests The loans were made to a business called Zahawi and Zahawi, and reportedly used to fund part of a large property portfolio including commercial and retail units in Birmingham, Brighton, London and Walton-on-Thames in Surrey.