Photography Week Day 1: ‘Maidens in Waiting’, Blackpool, 1951 by Bert Hardy

This week will be a quiet week for blogging. As I’ve accumulated a number of photos to add to my Photos of the week, I thought that posting one a day for a week would be entertaining.

In all of the 29 photos of the week, only a few have been by a British photographer. With this photo by Bert Hardy I’m correcting that balance. Bert Hardy [1913 -1995] was a documentary and press photographer whose work was published in Picture Post magazine from 1941 to 1954. He also served as a war photographer in World War 2.

Bert Hardy’s ‘Maidens in Waiting’, Blackpool, 1951 is one of his most loved photos. In 2011, the identity of the girl in the polka dot dress became a news story, as reported in the Daily Telegraph.

A sub-editor is vital to help produce a professional publication

I’ve noticed some real howlers in the daily press that shouldn’t have happened. Mostly I’ve just inwardly groaned. Today I’m giving vent to my disappointment at the seeming lowering of standards. Maybe I’m being harsh. Maybe it’s just that I’ve noticed some obvious howlers. Perhaps so. Luckily, I’ve captured a couple..

When they appear on the front page – even though it’s in online versions – of quality publications I begin to worry about the quality of, or lack of sub-editing. I worked for a Chief Accountant many years ago. He could spot a wrong number in an instant among a veritable pile of numbers. I expect sub-editors to be as good.

Here are a couple of absolute shockers. In the Daily Telegraph online of 24th January 2016 about political insults, and referencing Churchill’s contribution. Secondly on the font page of the March 2016 issue of History Today, in an article about the building of the Forth Bridge. see if you can spot the bloomers – I bet you can in an instant.

Daily Telegraph online 24Jan2016

History Today March 2016 issue

Of course Winston Churchill didn’t die in 1945. He died on 24th January 1965. You can see the simple typographical error – 24th Jan 1965, not 24th Jan 1945.

Similarly, with the History Today article about the reason for the design of the Forth Bridge was the Tay Bridge disaster of 1879, not 1897 which was after the construction of the Forth Bridge. Again a simple number transposition. Both are obvious errors that any sharp-eyed sub editor should have spotted.

Living in interesting times, means testing times for policy makers

The apocryphal Chinese proverb says, ‘may you live in interesting times’. Well, that’s certainly true of our current times, don’t you agree.

Here are five tough issues for policy makers. Crikey, there are many more, but these five will do. How is it possible for Britain, a small island nation, to succeed in a globalised commercial world? How do we find employment for uneducated and unskilled youth? How do we manage the impacts of migration trends on our country and elsewhere in the world. How can small Britain make a contribution to climate change? How can we find a semblance of balance in acceptable behaviour when writing, commenting, and arguing online.

I could try to answer these here, though think it’s preferable to point to some recent articles with whom I’m in general agreement. Some of them are positive in outlook, others realistic, and one bleak.

I don’t believe that there are single perfect solutions to any of these issues. Solutions come only through a combination of multiple small, yet meaningful, initiatives delivered with grit, determination, and intelligence under overarching principles communicated to, and accepted by the majority of the population.

Some newly made up words are fun, others are simply annoying

An article in Atlas Obscura on How Do You Speak American? Mostly, Just Make Up Words, sort of lodged in the crevices of my mind.  I mentally filed it under new words and new ways of speaking, and additionally with happy enjoyment at new words, but also curmudgeonly annoyance at new words and abbreviations that I dislike, and of which I’ve no understanding.

It all came flooding back when I read this by Boris Johnson article in a Daily Telegraph on Monday this week,

“So I had truffled up some low-cost plane tickets to Turin, ….”

Converting an adjective ‘truffled’ into a verb, now that’s fun. But what’s the meaning of ICYMI?, as used in Twitter and short messages. I had to look it up. It means, ‘In Case You Missed It’. Ok.

More popular is converting nouns into verbs, not always successfully. Some verbalizing of nouns just jars, as with medalling and podiuming. Boris’s verb ‘to truffle’, seems perfect to me, such ‘he was truffling around for his keys’.

The strong jobs growth in the UK: Part 2-Dispelling the myths

Part 1 of ‘The Strong Jobs Growth in the UK’ looked at the three key factors supporting jobs growth in the UK, contained in How has Britain created jobs while France and Italy have struggled? by Andrew Sentence in the Daily Telegraph,

During the election a few myths were floated about nature of the jobs created. In this second part I’m highlighting how Andrew Sentence dispells these myths,

…. One is that all the increased employment is in part-time work and zero-hours contracts. This is not true. Full-time jobs account for more than three-quarters of increased employment since 2009. The latest official estimate is that fewer than 700,000 people are on zero-hours contracts out of a workforce of more than 31m (just over 2pc).

Another myth is that jobs growth has been concentrated in low-value-added sectors. In fact, the biggest job-creating sector over the past five years has been professional, scientific and technical services – firms like my employer, PwC. We have 500,000 more jobs in professional and related services compared with five years ago – a quarter of the total employment increase over the recovery. We have also seen strong jobs growth in other hi-tech sectors. In information and communications, 150,000 new jobs have been created in the past five years.

The official employment statistics for the UK can be seen at the Office for National Statistics HERE. I’ll leave it to you to sift through all the Labour Market data.

The strong jobs growth in the UK: Part 1-Three key factors

I’m a firm believer in the value of employment. It’s one of the things about which I’ve written here on many occasions. There’ve been few credible suggestions as to why the UK economy has been creating jobs while other advanced economies have not. An article in the Daily Telegraph by Andrew Sentence is among the most plausible. Not least because he’s a former member of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee, and a senior economic adviser at PwC.

In his article – How has Britain created jobs while France and Italy have struggled? – he identified three key factors supporting strong jobs growth in the UK, North America and Germany. Here’s the part of his article where he describes the three key factors,

The first is a flexible labour market – as excessive regulation and high employment taxes can stifle job growth. In a flexible labour market, wages can adjust to changing economic conditions – and subdued wage growth has been an important factor encouraging employers to retain and recruit workers in the recovery. Workers are also free to move between jobs, as the structure of the economy changes. And a flexible labour market facilitates the growth of part-time jobs and self-employment, where that suits individual lifestyles and circumstances.

A second ingredient is having business-friendly economic policies, aimed at encouraging enterprise and investment. Investment in the UK has grown by more than 4pc a year across the recovery – more than twice the rate of GDP growth. Under the Coalition, the corporation tax rate levied on business profits was brought down from 28pc to 20pc. The UK has a strong reputation as a business-friendly economy open to trade and investment, and this has been a consistent theme of government policy since the 1980s.

The third factor supporting employment growth in the UK, Germany and North America has been political stability. Angela Merkel has been chancellor of Germany for nearly 10 years, and Stephen Harper has been in power in Canada since 2006. Barack Obama was elected in 2008 and David Cameron has been Prime Minister since 2010. Over the course of the recovery, the four leading economies have had the most stable governments. By contrast, France has had three prime ministers since 2010 and Italy four.

Flexible labour markets, business-friendly economic policies and political stability are a powerful recipe for employment growth. The good news for the UK is that this recipe should be in place for the next five years…..

EU rules threaten my new found love of artisan cider from Somerset & Devon

Artisan cidersOk, so many of you will likely have imbibed one or more of the new ciders coming onto the market. Not so me, I’m fresh to these new ciders.

I enjoyed a Pilton cider with Bighams steak and ale pie for last night’s supper. A pleasing alternative to wine. We’ve some more, and other varieties in our fridge. Obviously folks, I’ve some catching up to do on the cider front.

Looks as though, just as I’m getting a taste for ciders there very existence is threatened by EU rules. Martin Thatcher is chair of the National Association of Cider Makers writes in today’s Daily Telegraph that inflexibility of EU rules threatens the existence of hundreds of small cider makers.

Daily Telegraph: Is this the EU rule that could crush the pips from your favourite cider maker?

Past Mayor of Surrey Heath in lead article in the Daily Telegraph

Roy LilleyShould I aspire to write a lead article for the Daily Telegraph, as Roy Lilley has done in his article about how information technology can help the NHS.

Roy Lilley was mayor of Surrey Heath 1988-89. I’m unaware of any of our 42 mayors having done so.

New ‘stealth’ speed cameras to watch over M3 Junctions 4a to 2

The Daily TelegraphSmart Motorways reports that the new smart motorways will also get the latest in speed camera technology. This means on completion of the M3 Smart Motorway works, from J4a to J2 with the M25 including J3 at Lightwater, this stretch will have these new ‘stealth’ cameras.

The new speed cameras work with the variable speed limits. I guess if you’re stupid enough to ignore the gantry speed signs an the warning signs about speed cameras, then perhaps you deserve to be caught.

I know these variable speed signs smooth out the traffic flow and reduce congestion, it’s just that niggling ‘big brother’ effect of your life being controlled. Although I must admit it’s more comfortable on the motorway when almost everyone’s driving at the indicated variable speed. See, I’m as conflicted on this issue, as I guess are many others of the general public.

Tesco Express in Lightwater not in the list of scrapped planned stores

3-Tesco Express building beginsThere’s still no visible action on the planned Tesco Express convenience store in Lightwater. It appears that the footings of the building are in place, but there’s been no further progress for many months

A reasonable person might therefore have concluded that Tesco has lost interest in Lightwater. Yet, Lightwater’s name doesn’t appear in the list of Tesco’s 43 store closures, nor in the list of 49 the scrapping of planned stores.

The Daily Telegraph has the names involved in both lists, which are too long to list here.

Get Surrey reports that the planned Tesco Express in Godalming is going ahead, despite huge opposition.

I still stick to my view, expressed in Wondering if Tesco is shelving plans for Tesco Express in Lightwater, that,

…. in Lightwater, which is well catered for in convenience food shops with a Budgens supermarket, a Marks & Spencer Simply Food store, and a frozen food Cook Shop. Additionally Lightwater has an independent butcher with George Arthur Butchers. Heck, it’s even got three fast food outlets in an award-winning chippie, a Chinese food take-away, and a pizza take-away. I struggle to see how a Tesco Express store would be a valuable addition to this retail mix, bearing in mind that they’re all within yards of one another.