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Are nine Tesco Express stores too many for one small-seaside town?

Or you could argue Worthing is a large-seaside town. It has a population in the region of 100,000 so is that large or small? You decide.

On this evening’s episode of South Today (yes I still watch South Today despite living in Essex – I’m so cool – Sally Taylor ftw) the lead story was about the acceptance by the borough council to a planning application for a ninth Tesco Express in the town (it also has one Tesco Extra). Tesco have long been a force in the high-street but in recent times they have been spring up everywhere in the form of these smaller Tesco Express stores.

Around where I live there are several – a quick google search shows that there are six within five miles of my location, Thorpe Bay, Southchurch, Southend-on-Sea, Westcliff-on-Sea, Chalkwell and Leigh-on-Sea. So basically everywhere where there is a handful of stores sees a Tesco Express. Is this too many? I personally happen to think that it is. Back to Worthing and having a store for every 10,000 people in that area. It seems like saturation to me but obviously they wouldn’t build unless they believed they had a demand for it. However they claim that this 9th Tesco Express store will generate 775 jobs in the town – excuse me?

In my local Tesco Express I think I know every single person of the 10-12 strong workforce by sight. I know they’ll be jobs in putting the store together but these aren’t long-term jobs so how can a small convenience store provide 775 jobs? If it can then Tesco really don’t have a clue – therefore I suspect this figure might be misleading somewhat.

The Tory led council say that they ‘reluctantly’ approved the plans because there is no evidence that by building it would directly harm other local businesses. Tesco themselves refused to be interviewed but released a statement which said that by building the store it will in fact drags more trade to the area and everyone else will also see the benefit. I don’t exactly see people travelling for miles to go to a Tesco Express somewhat therefore locals businesses will surely suffer – certainly other small local supermarkets/shops as people will have even easier access to a local Tesco Express.

I know it isn’t a big thing but this is a worrying glimpse into the future. Tesco have been quite brilliantly managed and were at a point a few years ago where one in every eight pounds being spent on the high street was spent in Tesco. With the growth like Japanese knotweed of their Tesco Express empire then I’m sure that number will rise. Tesco is what it ois and in this era of more people shopping in the bigger stores then it leaves the smaller shopkeeper struggling and when you throw in a Tesco Express in every part of a town then there is a real problem.

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Aliens to join in the Royal Wedding festivities?

Anyone who knows me will know I’ a sucker for UFO and alien stories. Having had extraterrestrial encounters myself I’m very open-minded about the whole thing. So when I saw a story entitled ‘Aliens to drop in on royal wedding’ it was a no brainer. My mouse moved and I clicked on it.

In essence for those of you who don’t want to read the link, the story says that UFOs are often spotted near big events and have been spotted more often than usual in both Libya and Japan in recent weeks. Those aliens watching our world play out like their own personal soap opera – the little scamps. Add to that sightings over the English Channel have increased in the past few weeks. Those aliens clearly wanting to do some dummy runs to make sure traffic isn’t a problem for the big day. I only just realised that we had three Bank Holiday’s in eight days – score. The aliens must know of the traditional problems with Bank Holiday traffic in the UK.

Major George Filer is a retired pilot from the RAF who now runs the National UFO centre. I had no idea we had one of those. I’d like to go there and have a bit of a chit-chat about Rendlesham Forest. However he seems to be convinced that the alien fraternity are interested in the Royal Wedding. Considering most English people aren’t that seems far-fetched but hey.

I know when I see the snippets on the news I’ll be looking for one thing and one thing only – aliens!

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The Hitler House – Exclusive: Daily Mail Newsroom is smoking some heavy stuff

If someone retweets a link on Twitter I think I’m more likely than most to click on it. If someone retweets a link saying that it is the best thing that I’ll read today then it is a no brainer. I hovered over the link and saw it was from the Daily Mail so I knew it had to be whack but what I clicked on even surprised me.

Yes a story about a semi-detached house in Swansea looking like Adolf Hitler. Really. Sometimes you just have to wonder what is going on in the minds of bored journalists desperate for a filler story in a newsroom late one evening. I doubt any of the journalists discovered the semi themselves so some bored eejit will have e-mailed it in saying ‘look at this bored Daily Mail journalists – isn’t this semi a spitting image of Adolf Hitler?’ and said bored journos have thought ‘blimey that’s an easy filler story that we can knock out in ten minutes and then kick back and relax instead of doing some proper interesting journalism that might enrich the newspaper and stop our soul degrading even further.’

And yet even worse than the story. I’m blogging about it. Seriously what am I doing? I suppose I’m just trying to point out that this might just be the most bizarre and pointless story I have ever read in a newspaper. I know there have been ‘Jesus in my Beer Froth’ articles but any Jesus story has some credence because so many idiots believe it but a house looking like Hitler. Honestly who cares? Has the house taken on the personality of Hitler and in persecuting jews and invading the rest of the street but knocking down its own rooms and evicting the neighbours with poisoned gas? If so that might be quite a story. As it happens it’s absolute codswallop.

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Protesters in Libya and Bahrain are being slaughtered and we still do nothing. I’m sickened to the core.

I know the political world is still scarred from the Iraq invasion and how it didn’t have full UN backing but now we have another glaring situation where fellow human beings are being slaughtered to quell any free speech and nothing is happening. It makes my blood boil and if I were an MP I wouldn’t be able to contain myself. We can all talk and talk and talk and whilst we talk and talk and talk Gaddafi kills and kills and kills and the Bahraini authorities oppress and oppress and oppress. At some point someone has to show the strength of character to do the right thing but no-one wants to do that as they are scared of what the rest of the world, let alone their own people will think.

Sadly we live in a world full of NIMBYs, certainly when it comes to old school third world countries. People feel far worse for the Japanese people who have been crushed by Mother Nature flexing her muscles than they do about people being slaughtered in cold blood for wanting the freedoms that we take for granted. People seem to be thinking that the freedom rebels in these Arab states deserve freedom but that they need to do it themselves whilst we sit and watch. The historian David Starkey certainly seems to think so after his appearance on Question Time the other week. If they can’t win democracy, freedom and free speech for themselves then they don’t deserve it. What horsecrap. What type of idiot thinks that?

Don’t answer that.

I am naive and I know that and in all honesty I couldn’t care. I am idealistic I know and the real world and idealistic values often don’t go nicely together. However I stick by my opinion and that is people are allowed the right to free speech all over the world wherever they are from. Russian, English, American, Japanese, Australian, Kenyan, Indian, Tunisian, Libyan, Brazilian, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu I couldn’t care less – they are all human and all humans deserve the right to live in an environment where their voices are heard without living in fear that free speech will result in arrest or worse.

Yes the Tunisians and Egyptians managed to win that right through peaceful demonstration and no outside help was needed but that will not be the same in every situation. As we clearly see now it isn’t in Libya or Bahrain where the rulers still have the Army and they will happily kill their own people in the name of the government. This is not right. Anyone who thinks it is is someone I will just never fathom. The UN, NATO and the Arab League all want Gaddafi to go and have told him this but he won’t listen. He won’t give up until he’s dead and we all know this. However we still sit and discuss what to do and go round and around and around in circles. All this talk of a no-fly zone will be pointless soon as Gaddafi will have crushed the opposition and doomed these people to a life of misery and pain – that’s if he decides they are allowed to live.

These people only want basic human rights and need our help and whilst we hear their calls we are not doing anything about it. Jo Swinson brought it up in PMQs this lunchtime and David Cameron said he was actively trying to do something but when all is said and done China and Russia will never back any military intervention. They are more NIMBY than anyone and they couldn’t care less. Stephen Dorrell and Sir Menzies Campbell spoke with BBC News after PMQs and both lamented the current situation knowing that time is running out to save these people.

Whatever you think of George Bush and Tony Blair you must admit that in the long run people’s lives were saved by invading Iraq and stopping the oppression. Yes the reasons for war are debatable and the Iraqi people hadn’t stood up as a collective voice demanding change but certain parts of the country were immensely oppressed, trodden down and treated like shit on the shoe by Saddam Hussein. This time the people are loudly saying they want change and are not being allowed it. Not just that, they are being killed for saying it. This is not right and it never will be.

I can understand why the leaders of the major western worlds are not keen to get militarily involved but if they don’t then the rebels and freedom fighters will lose and die. Libya will become a pariah state and will probably become a new home to terrorism, one that has immense oil reserves and money as is even nearer to mainland Europe than Iraq was. Basically if the rebels lose it will be a disaster for both freedom and democracy as well as the safety of the people of Europe.

The time is now to do something. In all honesty the time was weeks ago but as they say ‘it’s better late than never’ the problem being though that never is creeping up on us at an ever alarming rate.

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People of Egypt 1, Hosni Mubarak 0

A terrific victory for the home side as after 18 long days the people of Egypt have forced out their dictator and whilst the future remains clouded in mystery hope has been restored. If you cut the head off then the body will fall. When the figure-head of a political regime is tole it is time then it is over. Last night it seemed as though he would cling on to power until the last possible moment but with a million people spilling on to the streets today then the army knew it was time and have told the President it is time to go.

Obviously we now have to watch what the military do as they will rule for a period believed to be between two months and two years. Will the military allow fair and free elections? You have to think they will because they have seen what the people are willing to go through to get what they want. Now is the time for democracy to take hold but will democracy comes uncertain times. However that should not matter to the rest of the world. Tonight is a night to rejoice that voices were heard and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

This just shows that the way things are aren’t how they always have to be. If people bind together then they can achieve great things. Toppling a political regime those non violent means and not at the ballot box must be one of the hardest things to do for any group of people, so to show such resolve and vigour to see this through to the end is quite breathtaking. To see them willing to go through hell to free their people is enough to bring you to tears.

Celebrate Egypt. You have earned the right.

One final point I want to post is the amount of people who are likening Egypt’s dictatorship to the coalition saying that if Egypt can topple a dictator in 18 days then the people of the UK can do the same with regards to the coalition government. I find this pathetic and quite frankly disgusting. As far as I’m aware we had full and free elections. More people voted for the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats than did Labour and all sorted other parties. These people have been oppressed and have not been allowed a voice. We aren’t and we had our voice. What the country said may not be everyone’s cup of tea but to liken the two is deplorable.

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Arrested and charged for taking food out of bins. Great job CPS…

Sometimes I shake my head. Sometimes I tut. Sometimes I roll my eyes and sometimes I do all there. Then though there are times when I am just well and truly flat-out disgusted and dismayed. A story in my mother’s hometown caught my eye and made me feel this way. Woman charged with theft for taking food Tesco threw out.

So a woman got arrested, charged and faces court and a criminal record for taking food out of a bin. Is this the world we live in? Who endorsed this stupid law? What pathetic cop decided that it was worth his or her time (maybe I’m being harsh on the bobby) but my wrath for the CPS knows no bounds. At what point is this ‘in the public interest?’ I’ll answer that. It isn’t. No-one with any form of brain cell gives a stuff about if someone takes food out of a bin. No-one. So is it worth putting a citizen through the court system at the cost of the tax payer? Not on your nelly.

So there is a crime ‘theft by finding’ and doing some research on it there have been cases where people have been arrested by police when handing in things that they have found. Seriously. So if you find something it is safer to leave it than to be a good citizen and hand it in. Bet this isn’t the ‘Big Society’ that David Cameron wants.

Back to this case. I’m pretty sure the moment a company or a person puts something in a bin then they have waived their claim to whatever they have thrown away. Therefore the thing thrown away has no owner and therefore cannot be theft. Maybe I’m just being thick but this doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. I know companies do dump food out and believe that their bins are part of their property. This is where I contest the law as that’s bull. I think trespass laws are even more apt than theft laws. I don’t know the lay of the land of this supermarket and whether the accused had to go on to property to get the food or not and that is the only caveat. If she didn’t have to go on to Tesco property then what is wrong with it?

Whatever the case though is this really in the public interest? Of course it isn’t. Another good solid job by the CPS…

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Penny Mordaunt MP says that filming a porno in a hospital is just not on

Whilst reading various articles on The Independent website this afternoon I noticed a link with the words, ‘Porn film shot in London hospital’ and I had clicked on that link in lightning speed. The article itself is a rather short one but in brief Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt claims that in her previous position she had come to learn of a Hospital in Kensington & Chelsea having hired out one of it’s closed wards to a film company and they in turn shot an adult film there.

Now forgive me if I’m wrong here but where is the problem with this? The ward was closed and had been shut down. The local NHS trust got a significant fee for the hiring of their premises that will have helped to pay in a very small way for patient care. If the hospital had thrown all the patients out of an open ward to allow a film crew in there then yes that would be an issue but this was a completely closed and shut down ward.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, the MP said, “To add insult to injury, the movie was a pornographic one. Although I cannot claim to have seen the final picture – as I understand, these things are no longer claimable on parliamentary expenses – it was a big-budget affair and generated substantial income for the hospital.”. ‘Insult to injury?’ Excuse me? What does in matter if the film was a porno or the latest Harry Potter movie? It makes zero difference to the situation. Zero.

All I’ve learnt from reading this story is that the local NHS trust either had or acted upon a good idea that would enable them to stretch their budget and that in public Penny Mordaunt is a prude.

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Fire Extinguisher Student goes down – and rightly so – protesters should learn from this

Edward Woollard did a stupid thing in a moment of madness. That decision has cost him a couple of years of his life. It is a sad day that it came to this but he has no-one to blame but himself and the courts did the right thing.

As I am sure most of you know Edward Woollard is the 18 year-old who dropped a fire extinguisher off the roof of Tory Party HQ during the first set of student protests in November. It was an instinctive thing that in the end resulted in no real damage done. However that was totally by luck and not by judgement. that fire extinguisher hauled towards a crowd of both policemen and women as well as at fellow protesters would have in all likelihood killed whoever it struck below.

I think this sad tale shows us that peaceful protests are all well and good but when it turns violent and ugly lives can be changed. The only way to not put yourself in that situation is to keep a calm head and know your plan. If you want to be safe then protest peacefully. If you are willing to let your adrenaline get to you then you risk troubles down the road. This kid had every right to protest about tuition fee rises but I suspect as he sits in a prison van on his way to a Young Offenders Institute for a couple of years he wishes that he hadn’t been so bone-headed and probably wishes he’d just gone to college that day instead.

This story should be a warning to protestors that when the adrenaline gets flowing you can make bad decisions that can impact on the rest of your lives. Protest but know your plan of action and stick to it. If the mob goes one way then you have to make the decision on whether you want to deviate from your plan and put yourself in a bad position. Protesting isn’t just about getting your point across but doing so in a safe and peaceful way. Not just for others but for yourself.

This kid didn’t and it has cost him big time and it will probably cost others as well. These young people have brains and want to go to university for free but it is sad that a small minority didn’t use said brains when it came to protesting on that front. The actions of his mother were first-rate. This wasn’t throwing a stone at a window this was just dumb luck it wasn’t murder. It must have been the hardest thing she has ever had to do but she did the right thing and whatever happens I hope the kid realises that and doesn’t blame her for what has happened.

Edward Woollard made his bed and now he has to lie in it. For everyone protesting in the future please learn from this. Have a protesting plan and stick to it otherwise you are leaving things more to chance and to the adrenaline – and that isn’t a safe place to be in a mob.

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The Murder of Jo Yeates, The Media & MPs react.

I have dillied and dallied on whether or not I was going to write this blog but it looks like I am going to go through with it. The murder of Jo Yeates is without a doubt a horrific crime and needs to be treated as such. However the way the media are going on it seems as though this is the first murder of a person in the UK for a generation. I could deal with that without too much of a murmur but the reporting in the Sunday newspapers have tipped me over the edge of silence.

Now I know Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristol East has claimed on her twitter feed that she has been misquoted but she did say – and the quotes are direct – that (about DNA testing) ‘but rather than taking DNA just from men in the Clifton area, where the population is somewhat transient, the operation should be widened to include the whole of the city.’

First of all this is not a sex crime. Therefore it could have been a woman who murdered her and in any DNA testing plan the police would have to test both men and women. Secondly as far as I’m aware people are free to travel outside of their local area so the murderer may not be a local. The profile of this murder seems to suggest that this wasn’t an opportunist killing and was planned. If it was planned then someone could have driven in and out of the area to do what they did.

So mass DNA testing would have to cover everyone essentially. It opens up the question of personal information and whether or not people who are not accused of a crime should have their DNA taken. I know there is an opinion of ‘if you are innocent then you have nothing to worry about’ but I don’t buy that. I do not (to my knowledge) live in a police state and live in a liberal and free society. I’m not surprised Labour MPs have backed this plan.

Tom Harris, Labour MP for Glasgow South tweeted, ‘However the comments by @KerryMP might have been misreported, I hope the idea of DNA tests for every man in Bristol is acted upon.’ The police have not even said that they have any DNA from the body to match any sample against or whether any sample is male or female. He is just desperate for attention and has already decided that a male is to blame for the murder. He’d be a great policeman…Not. So basically two Labour MPs have jumped on the populist bandwagon and said that DNA testing can possibly save the day. DNA evidence is clearly an important part of any case but just let the police do their job.

That brings me on to my biggest bugbear. I have read across the media and on various internet forums that the police are not doing a very good job. Well what bullshit. The police are trained to investigate crimes and we have to just let them get on with it. The media should just let the police do their job and be there to help the police with media appeals etc… Being critical of an ongoing case when no-one in the media actually knows what is going on in Police HQ is flat-out dumb and pathetic. There was a reason the police told itvNews to get out of their Press Conferences – and that is because they were hindering the investigation.

So an open memo to the media. Solving the crime is the most important thing. Not giving opinions on the investigation and what might or might not have happened. I’m not a trained police officer and therefore I have no knowledge of how to investigate a crime. Nor do members of the media or MPs for that matter. Let the people who are trained do the job and keep your opinions to yourself if you are going to make comments that might harm the investigation.

My final point of this matter is that Jo Yeates was a 20-something blonde who was murdered and the media have jumped on board like it’s the worst crime ever. I ask myself whether the media would be all over the story had for example the murder victim had been a 35 year-old Pakistani woman or a 40 year-old bald man? Sometimes I feel that the media jump on to a crime because the person killed fits that ‘middle England’ sense of perfection.

For example see the Madeline McCann coverage. Perfect blonde girl with a smile and wearing a football top. Again a terrible crime may well have happened here but kids get abducted all the time and they never get this coverage. Early last year there were a series of knife crimes in London where young teenagers were stabbed and killed but those stories went away after 24-48h. This one isn’t and the difference is in the gender. As far as I can recall no teenage girls were stabbed and killed during that spell of violence, had there been would the media reporting have been different? I know I certainly think so.

I may just be a 20-something cynic but if I disappeared and turned up dead, my death would not be making headlines a fortnight later. There might be a Crimewatch reconstruction a few months later and it might make the news when my body was discovered but I suspect that would be it.

The media know how to make a story and this is a legit story that needs to be reported but so are other murders and missing people. The media should not be able to pick and choose which murders are most important but they do and sadly this is something we have to live with. Hopefully the police are allowed to get on with their job and find out who killed Jo Yeates and then the streets will be safer but for now we know nothing so let’s give the police the time and space to conduct their investigations.

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The Cat in a Bin saga

So if you haven’t seen the cat in a bin incident yet then have a look at the following video:

Having read her interview in The Sun and the Daily Mail article I do feel that this women is being made a scapegoat but then the other part of me is thinking ‘What the [expletive] did she really think she was doing?’ My next door neighbour has a cat and I have to admit that putting him in a bin has yet to ever occur to me. Stroking him when I walk past has when I pop to the shop and quite often he’ll wait by the gate for me to return. He’s a great old thing. Bit fat but he seems like a happy cat.

I’m sure many of us when passing a cat in the street will bend down and give it a stroke or two before wandering on. I’m sure many a person has done so to this cat but what could compel a grown woman to put the cat in a bin and then proclaim that she thought ‘it would be a bit of fun’. In what way is putting a cat in a bin ‘a bit of fun’ or the cat? This woman doesn’t have any record on mental illness so that can be ruled out. It is just sheer stupidity of the worst kind.

I feel for her a bit as it is a small incident, which is rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things but really, how stupid can you be? My motto in life is Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. My mother would inform me that is a biblical quote and the words of Jesus. I prefer to just see it as a basic life principle. I wouldn’t like to be shut in a bin with no means of escape and I’m sure she wouldn’t either so why do that to a cat?

Some people…

PS: According to the WordPress spellcheck, ‘bin’ is not a word…

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