Tipner. Lennox Point. Gerald Vernon-Jackson showing his lack of spine, wits and insight again.

Crying tears in the often oh so “Trumpian” News over Tipner. Lennox Point. Peddling real estate developers’ interests.

Revealing a baffling lack of understanding of what really matters.

After previously having presented the clean air zones as a PCC invention while they’re government-imposed! Okay, that wasn’t literally him.

Take bold and effective action and you improve people’s health big time (saving a fortune in health care costs), create lots of space for housing, make the town a much more pleasant place to live in and bolster its reputation big time too.

But that takes a spine, guts and insight.

https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/politics/tipner-west-portsmouth-city-council-leader-gerald-vernon-jackson-says-ps1bn-lennox-point-plan-is-dead-in-the-water-3421182

I’m embarrassed to say that in the past, I didn’t see various of Vernon-Jackson’s behaviours for what they really were. Acts of voter manipulation. Such as making a lot of noise about Donald Trump visiting Portsmouth, while knowing very well that it would make no difference. But it would impress some people.

I’m seeing something similar over Aquind, from all parties. Because Copnor is where many of the votes are. Wanna bet? Look into it. I haven’t but I started seeing a pattern. And I wondered what might be behind it. And the only thing I can come up with is… votes. This is about power. Power over Portsmouth’s citizens and power within their respective parties.

Possible scam to do with NHS volunteering scam (to get a copy of people’s ID), combined with fishing calls from banks?

Be careful, people!

The fact that I have gotten many messages that spelled out “We the people of Portsmouth do not want you here! Leave! Go away!” from the very day in early 2009 that I collected the keys to my flat in Southsea and continue to be bombarded with that kind of crap…

It does not mean that there are no scammers out there who are abusing random people’s willingness to volunteer for the NHS.

How can you protect yourself? Submit a good enough photo (or scan) of a printed scan or printed photo of your ID with scribbled through it the date of when you are submitting it and what for, namely “NHS volunteering” or the “NHS stewarding” or the like. (This is a tip I got from my consul when there still was a consulate in Southampton.)

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Ethylene oxide in food in Britain

This bit of Dutch news caught my attention:
https://nos.nl/artikel/2395326-weer-terugroepacties-vanwege-ethyleenoxide-wat-is-het-risico

Before you start worrying on the basis of what I am reporting below, stop worrying. It’s good to keep an eye on these developments, however.

The Dutch and the rest of the EU are having lots of product recalls – FOOD product recalls – because it contains (too much) ethylene oxide. It’s likely coming from India.

That makes it probable that this is happening in Britain too.

Think sesame seed, cookies, ginger, vermicelli, food supplements and tomato sauces that contain locust bean gum as thickener (E410). Dried shallots, rice and tea, pasta and pies are also on the list of products that can have this contamination.

A quick web search mostly turned up food trade news that focused on what’s happening abroad.

This does not:
https://www.reading.ac.uk/foodlaw/news/20149.htm

Turns out that the UK opted for withdrawal of sales of products but no recalls.

Ethylene oxide is used to disinfect food stuffs as it kills bacteria, fungi and viruses. (Fungi are eukaryotes, just like humans. That always makes it a bit more likely that a toxic compound can also affect humans, as opposed to when it kills only viruses and/or bacteria. So do aflatoxins – toxins produced by fungi – and this is part of the reason why compounds like this one are used.)

Food Watch motivated the EU into regulating ethylene oxide and as of this summer, all foods containing ore than 0.1 mg/kg must no longer be sold and if sold, recalled. Last year, however, also saw product recalls.

There is no acute toxicity, but the cumulative effect of the consumption of ethylene oxide is not well known and may lead to tumour growth in the stomach.

It’s likely already been in our food for a long time. We did not pay attention to it until recently.

Here is the WHO’s take: https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/38815/9241541954-eng.pdf



Source: https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2021/07/19/No-safe-level-of-exposure-EC-orders-mass-recall-of-products-contaminated-with-ethylene-oxide


Further reading:

https://www.foodnavigator.com/Article/2021/07/19/No-safe-level-of-exposure-EC-orders-mass-recall-of-products-contaminated-with-ethylene-oxide

https://www.foodwatch.org/en/news/2021/toxic-ethylene-oxide-in-foods/

https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/Ice-cream-biscuits-spices-why-France-is-recalling-7-400-foods

https://www.irishexaminer.com/farming/arid-40240982.html

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/pasta-pie-latest-in-latest-ethylene-oxide-recalls.895975

Source: https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2021/07/ethylene-oxide-scandal-spreads-to-food-additive/

Source: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/614329/Ethylene_oxide_general_information.pdf

(Like cyanide, ethylene oxide also occurs in cigarette smoke in small quantities.)

Dutch PPE scandal


For those of you who consider me too critical of England… The Dutch have a PPE scandal too. One guy (former lobbyist/commentator Sywert van Lienden) made over 9 million euros (30 million, with two partners) on the purchase and sales of 40 million face masks. He sold them to the Dutch government for 100 million euros.

(He apparently initially claimed to be providing the masks “for free” or at cost through a non-profit, while he was in fact making good money.)

(They were not even considered still urgently needed by some at the time.)

He asked the Dutch government to pay 2.52 euro (2.28 and 2.78) while others were selling them at 1.50, including transport and import fees. The Dutch government chose to buy from the seller with the high price. He also sold some at 1.50, to others.

The problem may have been that civil servants have no idea of the market, its fluctuations and of what is a reasonable price and what isn’t.

The price difference may also relate to a difference in quality, however.

The Dutch government is launching an external investigation into the matter.

In the UK, such initiatives are rarely taken by the government but usually by organisations like the Good Law Project which have to take the UK government to court over such matters. You will also note a difference in scale between what happened in the Netherlands and what happened in the UK.

We earlier saw that Dutch civil servants acted very passively with regard to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that is being produced in the Netherlands.

(Gleaned from a quick look at Dutch media.)

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I repeat, is your GP about to give your data away?

“The Tories have worked out how to pull off an NHS data grab: do it during a pandemic”

Marina Hyde

“Taking data from patients in England was so unpopular in 2014 it had to be shelved. Now it’s happening without the scrutiny”


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jun/04/tories-nhs-data-grab-pandemic

See also this, and it includes a petition:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/ournhs/legal-threat-sharpens-over-uk-government-plans-harvest-patient-data-gps/

Who spoke these words?

“we are starting to hear some bizarre autarkic rhetoric, when barriers are going up, and when there is a risk that new diseases such as coronavirus will trigger a panic and a desire for market segregation that go beyond what is medically rational to the point of doing real and unnecessary economic damage, then at that moment humanity needs some government somewhere that is willing at least to make the case powerfully for freedom of exchange, some country ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion, of the right of the populations of the earth to buy and sell freely among each other.”

24 May. Documentary about the pandemic. You may want to watch it.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2021/may/18/nurse-who-cared-for-boris-johnson-resigns-over-lack-of-respect-for-nhs-workers

After you’ve read that article in the Guardian, about how disgusted Jenny McGee from Invercargill became with how Boris Johnson expressed his gratitude in practice, watch this compilation to see what he said at the time.

(20 May 2021: And then read about the latest revelations, by following the link under the video.)

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/uk-government-blocked-release-of-companies-in-vip-covid-lane/

Settled status is highly unsettling

As I’ve said a few times, EU citizens legally residing in the UK – people who have “settled status” – are now probably the world’s only undocumented legal immigrants and there is no guarantee at all that if I were to travel out of the UK, say, a year from now, I would be let in again.

Think I exaggerate?

Think again.

This kind of incident’s already happened.

And it just happened again. It happened to thousands of people who were told by the Home Office that they currently are not officially legally residing EU migrants in the UK and that the time to apply for settled status is running out while they’ve even had the British nationality for decades.

Now imagine that this kind of hiccup occurs when you happen to be abroad. If having the British nationality does not protect you enough, then having settled status surely means zilch. Because you cannot prove your status if the Home Office software has a hiccup and tells the Customs officer to stop you from entering the country.


https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/17/immigration-letter-sent-to-long-term-british-citizens-causes-alarm

And this is not funny either:
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/may/17/handcuffed-detained-denied-medicine-eu-citizens-uk-border-ordeals

UK govt, put the health of people and planet first

Shift to a Wellbeing Economy: put the health of people and planet first

We urgently need the Government to prioritise the health and wellbeing of people and planet, by pursuing a Wellbeing Economy approach. To deliver a sustainable and equitable recovery, the Treasury should target social and environmental goals, rather than fixating on short-term profit and growth.

Sign this petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/580646

DEFRA consultation on regulation of genetic technologies (closes 17 March)

DEFRA currently has a consultation called “the regulation of genetic technologies”. Post-Brexit adaptations or not? Will we drop the phrase “even if their genetic change(s) could have been produced through traditional breeding” or not?

Post-Brexit, animal welfare protections are being abandoned. We can’t let that continue unbridled. This consultation is not just about animals, however. It is also about agriculture, bacteria and foodstuffs.

If you want to weigh in, you have up to 17 March, 1 minute before midnight. It will take you some time and you’d better have a bunch of references and links to data ready. 
consult.defra.gov.uk/agri-food-chai

It consists of two parts, that is, the actual consultation is Part 1. You can come back to Part 2 later after you’ve completed Part 1. I have been working on Part 1 so far. 

When I downloaded the 14-page document that goes with this gene editing consultation, I spotted several problems. There is a pretence of an emphasis on science and there is at least one or one half paragraph that has nothing to do with genetic technologies (obfuscation).

The document starts as follows:
“Building back greener is integral to creating a healthier, more resilient world for future generations and the Prime Minister has highlighted the need to take a more scientifically credible approach to regulation to help us meet some of the biggest challenges we face.”

This is the document’s fourth paragraph:
While GE is unlikely to be able to address all these complex challenges, a whole range of innovative approaches could help us make progress over time. These could include increasing agro-ecological approaches for land management, the use of robotics and artificial intelligence, vertical farming, and the development of undervalued protein sources.

The part in blue has nothing to do with gene editing. So why throw it in? The first sentence seems to suggest that there may not even be a need for gene editing. What is the purpose of this paragraph? To obfuscate? 

On page 5 it says:
“Our position follows the science, which says that the safety of an organism is dependent on its characteristics and use rather than on how it was produced.” 

That, with all due respect, sounds like pretentious nonsense. No references are given, no scientists are mentioned, no agencies or universities are named.

Anyone wishing to take part in this consultation, however, is supposed to provide evidence and literature references and the consultation is clearly not intended to draw the public’s opinion.

Also on page 5 of the consultation document, DEFRA mentions that Japan, Brazil, Australia and Argentina take a different position than the EU and there is the suggestion that the EU’s view is flawed. 

“Now the transition period has ended, retained EU law requires that all GE organisms are classified as GMOs irrespective of whether they could be produced by traditional breeding methods. This was confirmed by a Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) judgment in 20181. This is not consistent with the position taken by most countries who have reviewed their respective regulations like Argentina, Australia, Brazil and Japan, which have concluded that certain GEOs should not be regulated as GMOs.”

There is also a 2-page Gene Editing Explainer, which tells the public what to think, again without providing any literature references or links.

(Only Rothamsted Research in Hertfordshire is mentioned in it. Wikipedia says:
“previously known as the Rothamsted Experimental Station and then the Institute of Arable Crops Research” “one of the oldest agricultural research institutions in the world, having been founded in 1843”. It is located on the campus of “Rothamsted Enterprises”. I assume that it is comparable to some of the departments of Wageningen University and Research. I am unfamiliar with it, had never heard of it before.)

I am a little disgusted with the approach taken by DEFRA here. I have taken part in DEFRA consultations before, when that particular PM mentioned at the start of the document was not PM yet. I may not often agree with DEFRA, but DEFRA’s consultations did not use to annoy me. This one does.

It is a political document, isn’t it?

I may be way off, but I hear the PM’s voice in the background and I sense the assumption that the public at large does not have the capability to understand the science and/or that the public is not well informed enough to be able to contribute to this consultation.

(Note that research in Germany showed that providing more information did not make the public more accepting of the use of genetic technologies; link below. These kinds of studies are not my field of expertise and there may be plenty of studies that found the opposite. But if that were the case, then why did DEFRA provide so little information?) 

Below are my two cents, so far. Also biased, namely skewed toward caution, and written off the cuff.

In my opinion, organisms developed using genetic technologies such as gene editing (GE) must continue to be regulated as genetically modified organisms (GMOs) even if their genetic change(s) could have been produced through traditional breeding.

  1. Genetic technologies can have side effects that are not necessarily instantly clear. An example could be that the changes that Dr He introduced in a pair of human twins in China to make them immune to HIV could also have resulted in “off-target” changes and scientists are largely still in the dark about this. (Natural breeding does not have the potential for unintended changes that CRISPR still has.)
  2. The application of genetic technologies may also impact animal welfare differently than when their genetic change(s) are produced through traditional breeding. 

Regarding the question as to the risk associated with the application, the problem is that we cannot predict what we don’t know yet.

If you look back into history, you can see that in the past, we’ve often hailed as great progress what we later ended up banning.

  • We gave a Nobel Prize in medicine for the development of DDT. It almost eradicated the American bald eagle and that is only one aspect of its many side effects. DDT causes nerve damage and affects the hormone-producing systems of many animals, among other things lowering their fertility. In the United States, it was the environmentalist and marine biologist Rachel Carson’s work that eventually led to a ban on DDT and other pesticides.
  • We didn’t even foresee the blatantly obvious consequences of insecticides, namely that their use would affect pollination as well as bird populations.
  • Should I mention thalidomide? DES? That ibuprofen may affect male fertility?
  • Many people are pushing to have other harmful pesticides banned, such as glyphosate and chlorpyrifos. That isn’t because they’re afraid of progress. It’s because these substances are not as harmless as we thought.
  • When I was still based in the Netherlands and a board member of the Environmental Chemistry (and Toxicology) Section of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society, our section organised a symposium on brominated flame retardants. They were already being found in tissues of animals in the Arctic. Did we see any of that coming? No, we did not. Subsequently, there was a push to phase them out in favour of others that turned out to have similar problems.
  • Did we expect to do damage to the ozone layer when we introduced CFCs?
  • Should I mention PFAS? (You may want to look into the situation in the Netherlands, where PFAS in soil have caused major upheaval because the Dutch want very little of it in their soils and the stuff is everywhere. When permitted levels were lowered, construction ground to a halt all over the country.) But we all thought that non-stick coatings (also called Teflon, PTFE, polytetrafluorethylene etc) were the greatest thing since sliced bread. People with pet birds started noticing disastrous effects. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFAO), also known as C8, dissolves well in water and does not decay. It is now globally present in the air and in seawater. In the Netherlands, discharges by the Chemours plant in Dordrecht led to increased PFOA concentrations in the Merwede river and in the groundwater along its banks. In the U.S., a former DuPont plant in West Virginia released more than 1.7 million pounds of C8 into the region’s water, soil and air between 1951 and 2003. C8 was phased out after a class-action lawsuit that alleged that it causes cancer. Chemours now makes a new compound called GenX instead, for which safety thresholds have yet to be established. Regular water treatment methods don’t remove it from drinking water. GenX may be safer than C8, but it is also alleged to have caused tumours and reproductive problems in lab animals.

None of what I just wrote has anything to do with the use of genetic technologies. My point is that we never know with 100% certainty that all forms of progress are safe and we have missed the blatantly obvious in the past. This uncertainty also goes for genetic technologies. 

I also think that dropping “even if their genetic change(s) could have been produced through traditional breeding” would likely make the regulation harder to apply. It would have companies trying to find all sorts of shortcuts (to “prove” that the effect of the technology they used could also have been produced through natural breeding). It might lead to frustrating discussions and costly legal proceedings. It might even lead to more campaigning, protests, etc.

(I did not look into how Japan, Brazil, Argentina and the United States handle these matters.)

There might well be effects on trade as well. German consumers for example traditionally have put great emphasis on ensuring that their food is as “clean” as possible.

https://www.loc.gov/law/help/restrictions-on-gmos/germany.php

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326462738_Does_information_change_German_consumers’_attitudes_about_genetically_modified_food
From the abstract:

“The consumers who are more accepting of genetic modifications are younger, less educated and less concerned about their nutrition. The average effect of our provided information is negligible. However, the initially less opposed become slightly more opposed. Our results thus do not support the view that a lack of information drives consumer attitudes. Instead, attitudes seem to mostly reflect fundamental preferences.”

Many of the questions and the choices for answers in the DEFRA consultation survey are blatantly biased and it is quite clear that DEFRA would like to see the phrase “even if their genetic change(s) could have been produced through traditional breeding” dropped.

Am I being too critical? I don’t think so.

See also for example these two articles:

https://angelinasouren.com/2018/12/11/an-opinion/ by Cecile Janssens, professor at Emory University. A quote: “Most DNA mutations do nothing else other than cause the disease, but DNA variations may play a role in many diseases and traits. Take variations in the MC1R “red hair” gene, which not only increases the chance that your child will have red hair, but also increases their risk of skin cancer. Or variations in the OCA2 and HERC2 “eye color” genes that are also associated with the risk of various cancers, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. To be sure, these are statistical associations, reported in the scientific literature, some may be confirmed; others may not. But the message is clear: Editing DNA variations for “desirable” traits may have adverse consequences, including many that scientists don’t know about yet.


https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02087-5

 

So, what exactly is the science that DEFRA claims to be following? It is not this kind of science.



It is too soon to abandon caution. 
 

12 March 2021
Here is the PDF with my response: 

DEFRA-my_response

I expected Part 2 to take as long as Part 1 – I imagine that the start of Part 2 is the point at which many give up – but it did not. And in essence, it was a repeat of Part 1.

“Let them eat biscuits” – kids, disabled people and other humans – food deprivation in the UK

This morning, I attended another online meeting about the escalating inequality, poverty and associated misery in England and the rest of the UK. That is, I was 15 minutes late, so I missed a few things.

It was also about how useless the UK government’s response is, as usual.

The only “advantages” coming out of the pandemic are going to the pals of the politicians who get large contracts to supply services and tangible products that they have no previous experience with. (This has led to a lawsuit, as you know, with the court ruling that the UK government is breaking the law through the lack of transparency. The judge wrote: “The Secretary of State spent vast quantities of public money on pandemic-related procurements during 2020. The public were entitled to see who this money was going to, what it was being spent on and how the relevant contracts were awarded. “)

 

 

14 million people in the UK live in poverty, it was said. That’s slightly under one entire quarter of the population.

Severely disabled people are currently five times more likely to be food-insecure.

Some links:

https://covidrealities.org

 

https://www.livingwage.org.uk/sites/default/files/Low%20pay%20in%20the%20supermarket%20sector.%20LWF%20briefing_0.pdf

Comments from food-insecure people have included that they’d much rather have cash or vouchers over parcels. They are much better at stretching money than they are given credit for, getting cash or vouchers enables them to take food allergies into account and also allows them to buy fresh fruit instead of the obligate tinned peaches and mandarins, cereal instead of cornflakes and helps them avoid the cookies – or “the bloody biscuits” as the person in question put it.

From the chat:

“Let them eat biscuits.”

“The global humanitarian sector has been significantly moving away from food parcels to food vouchers. Cant believe in UK we still at food parcels discussion.”

“Most local authorities in Scotland have been providing cash payments to families, food parcels are not the go-to everywhere in the UK.”

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UK inequality is like a diamond

So hard that nothing shatters it…

This morning, I filmed this short video below. A few hours later, I spotted this JAW-DROPPING BIT OF BRITISH NEWS in The Guardian. Turns out that there is no pandemic, according to close to 50% of Brits. Because if you lost your job because of the pandemic, that’s on you. Nothing to do with the pandemic, these people say.

“Despite the exceptional circumstances [of Covid], Britons are more likely to think that job losses caused by the crisis are the result of personal failure than chance.”

They also say this:

One in eight Britons think lower earnings and higher unemployment among black people are due to a lack of motivation or willpower. Because most black people have “less in-born ability to learn”.

‘scuse me???!

Britain has something that no other country has. The class system. It makes people believe that they have few options and it makes them overlook opportunities. (This class system also impacted India because it used to be under British rule and it meant that the associated cronyism became applied in India.)

It makes others believe this too. It makes others believe that lower-class people and others who have little income are inherently limited in terms of skills and abilities. But not because of their poverty. These people see the poverty of others as a result of who those others are. They don’t see their poverty as a result of lack of income as a result of massive inequality which also brings low wages with it.

I too became heavily influenced by British class thinking after I moved to the UK so I know very well how heavy its burden can be. But I am still much more aware of it than Brits.

In 2019, there was a day for which I had train tickets to go to London but someone told me that it would be better not to go to London that day. I listened to that advice and did not apply my critical thinking skills.

The person who gave me that advice – I won’t name any names – is the kind of person many people turn to for advice. He is heavily influenced by class ideas and at the same time, has no idea of the extent to which poverty alone can hold people back, because of the many practical implications that poverty has. And he sees these kind of people are powerless, not as people who  seem very different people when empowered. Appearances can be so deceiving.

If I had gone to London that day, I might have returned with a boatload of paid work and if not, then I would not have wasted my train tickets – I did now – and have had a good day out. And in times of stress, such little bits of leisure are very important, particularly if they take you out of your regular environment and habits.

That I did not go to London, that’s fully on me, however.

 

In the video, I mention the CAB. I know that there is a lot of variation among the CABs but their main problem seems to be that they, too, operate with a class system mindset. They see powerlessness. Depending on where you are in the UK, there may be better advice options for you locally.

But… please, try to think from true strength as opposed to from weakness and powerlessness. Because thinking from strength will support you and carry you.

And don’t confuse admitting to feelings of insecurity or fear with weakness. See them and embrace them. Don’t fight them. If you don’t fight unpleasant feelings, they will move on. If you fight them, they will cling to you. 

When I was in my twenties, I bought a book that taught me about this stuff, that you shouldn’t focus on how poor you are – if that is your challenge – but more or less pretend that you already are where you want to be.

Stay well. Be prosperous and resourceful. You deserve it.

For all of you who still believe it’s 1985

The first bit in the first video – two years old – happened to a CRYPTOCURRENCY EXEC. Not the checkout girl around the corner or the older female adult who barely knows where to find the on/off button on a computer. (The latter would be a stereotypical assessment of me, ha ha, and my assertion that I am genuinely often dealing with hacking would typically be attributed to that plus that I “get delusional when stressed”.)

A friend/colleague of mine in the Netherlands, with PhD in math/physics/computer science, also recently got tricked TWICE, over the phone. Thankfully, other companies spotted the problem and protected her finances.

So I have been trying to tell Portsmouth City Council that currently, for example, anyone can call – or e-mail – local people, pretend to be PCC and ask people to pay, say, council tax over the phone, using their bank card. Because of the lockdown, this type of fraud is much easier at the moment.

Yes, PCC, it is possible to fake an e-mail address and it is possible to fake a phone number.

I have raised this problem with several UK electricity companies – that they have NO SECURITY on the accounts and anyone can mess with your account if so inclined, such as close it or tell them that you have a new address – and the people I spoke with had NO IDEA what I was going on about.

One snapped at me that she simply had to ask me questions because of privacy regulations. She of course knew my DOB and likely quickly made the “useless old cow” judgement. She did not GET that the answers to the questions she asked are largely all over the internet – for example because I am a Company Director – and are in various databases that are accessible to literally thousands of people.

(I hung up on that person. She was rude.)

It’s totally NOT ROCKET SCIENCE.

Below is a video that I have posted before. It is about 18 months old.

The other side of this can be that if for example you lose your Google Authenticator app because your phone quits on you and you made no backup, some accounts ask you to supply a list of all your recent transactions as well as (a list of logins with) IP number – if you don’t have a static one, this can be a pain – and take a selfie with an ID document in such a way that the ID document is legible. It can be annoying and I have once gotten really annoyed about it because my selfie with ID kept getting rejected. But it’s better than the alternative.

Speaking of ID, if you need to supply an ID document WRITE ON IT, either digitally or with pen or pencil if you scan a copy, when and to whom you are supplying it. Through the actual document, in large letters, such that it cannot be easily used by someone else to steal your ID. This is a tip given to me years ago by the local Dutch consul.

You’ll also want to watch this one.

Two messages I sent this morning, for business advice

One went out to Team Forleo because you never know what tips they might come up with, though I am not holding my breath.

Another one went to Karyn Greenstreet who’s been a wonderful business coach for decades, together with her English husband, who is also her business partner. I interacted with her when I was still based in Amsterdam. I still benefit from the many good tips she and the people she works with have doled out over the years.

Is that not done here in Portsmouth? Well, deal with it.

And stop making my mouse pointer sticky just to fuck with me some more. 

(Asking for advice in England? Been there done that. Too often all you get is abusive shit or useless crap flung into your face, sometimes peppered with a few insults about daft Americans.)

Brexit, cultural differences and negotiation styles

Captions below. More information and some tips under the captions. Also available on YouTube.

READ THIS: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/dec/25/make-what-you-want-seem-normal-david-frost-and-the-brexit-deal

“It was a Trumpian use of alternative facts,”
said one EU source.

(It is not tied to the Trump era, however. I first ran into the above in Southampton, in 2006 or 2007. It’s part of the silly games the English often play. It renders you powerless and speechless, pulls the rug out from under you, thus putting them in the driver seat. Be prepared for this. Stay focused!)

…as a British official put it:
“They found it very difficult to deal with our obstinacy. It was wearying.”
)

READ THIS: https://www.amazon.co.uk/When-Cultures-Collide-Leading-Across/dp/147368482X/

READ THIS: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/01/02/uk/2020-hurt-the-uk-2021-could-kill-it-intl-gbr/index.html

READ THIS: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-3-types-of-negotiators-and-how-to-tell-which-one_b_594378c5e4b0d188d027fd4c

About Chris Voss: https://www.blackswanltd.com/our-team/chris-voss

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The Dutch Financial Times about Brexit

Echoing what I’ve been moaning about since I moved to “Britain” (that “Brits” are recalcitrant by definition and difficult to work with) and saying that Boris Johnson is full of it, with one major difference – and this is important – namely, equating English and British. (I stopped doing that after a while.)

In the Netherlands, the UK is called “England”. The distinction between Britain’s four nations barely ever features in the conversations there.

If you’re a non-English business Brit who deals with Europe and may have to do more negotiating now, this is something to keep in mind and be forgiving about.

This too is diversity.

(I’m about to make a video related to this, so be on the lookout for that post here, if the topic is of interest to you.)

(Also, I too am now often perceived as “difficult to work with” for Dutch people and Americans, I am sure, after 16 years in England.)

Opportunities in the pandemic

With most people short on funds but not on skills and experience, bartering may be a way to increase people’s options.

This is not just related to professionals and people who are self-employed. I think we need extraordinary business innovation now.

And while I don’t like the way Amazon is taking over the world, at all, I also suspect that the way forward for many smaller businesses is to join Amazon. Because that is an option many still seem to have when all other options have dropped away.

This may mean that you need someone to do the digital stuff for you. That’s where you can barter. You have goods that you aren’t selling right now, after all, because you had to close up shop. Barter locally, and you’ll be supporting people around you and at the same time getting what you need without it costing you money.  

Not everyone can do this. True. 

But even if you have a hairdressing salon, you can start selling great hair care products online – you have them in stock, I bet – and teaching people how to do their own hair at home, for example. If you had a loyal customer base, you can work with those clients and offer them a great service.

They would much rather buy these products from you and learn from you than go to someone else, after all. And it means that you retain them as customers so that at some point in the future when you open up shop again, perhaps at a new location, those customers will know where to find you and come back to you. It’s not ideal. I know. But you gotta work with what you’ve got or start something entirely different.

And the people you barter with to do digital stuff, maybe you can trade a box of fancy shampoo and a box of fancy conditioner, luxury stuff that they might not normally buy but can perhaps use as Christmas gifts. Heck, ask them what they would like. Ask them what they might be able to use. 

This may be a time, also, to go back to what we did before we had money. Coupons. Vouchers. IOUs. Promises.

Sally who was a great fisher would buy boots from John and vegetables from Karen. Sally might promise John to pay him back for his boots by giving him a kilogram of fish eventually.  John might exchange that promise of fish for vegetables from Karen’s garden so that Karen would be the one to go to Sally for the kilogram of fish. Or that website design. Use your imagination!

(And build trust. Don’t let “we’re all in this together” be an empty slogan.)

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A reminder. How is workplace bullying affecting your business? Do you know?

(image from the NY Post)

Since the start of the first lockdown, the number of internet searches for “workplace bullying” went down. As of about July, the number began to increase again. This indicates that now is a good time to ensure that such practices do not flare up again once the bulk of the pandemic is behind us.

Because workplace bullying is costing businesses a lot of money and not just that, business owners are expected to deal with it. They must look after their employees.

I am aware of two cases in England in which employees were set on fire at work and Landrover / Jaguar has just experienced a landmark case of constructive dismissal to do with workplace bullying.

In the UK, the incidence of workplace bullying is around 30% (2015, Trades Union Congress), with 71% of disabled women reporting some form of abuse and 91% of workers stating that bullying in the workplace wasn’t being dealt with appropriately.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (HR professionals) found a percentage of 15 for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 yet added that more than half did not report bullying.

  • Most bullying at work in the UK appears to take place in London and the southeast.
  • Most bullying is carried out by someone higher in the hierarchy.

In a study by Kew Law (employment law), 71% of the employees at 131 companies in the UK stated that they had either been bullied or witnessed bullying.

Are you sticking your head in the sand over it, ostrich-style?

Workplace bullying. Don’t pretend it isn’t happening when you know it is.

 

How is workplace bullying affecting your business?

(image from the NY Post)

Do you know?

In the UK, the incidence of workplace bullying is around 30% (2015, Trades Union Congress), with 71% of disabled women reporting some form of abuse and 91% of workers stating that bullying in the workplace wasn’t being dealt with appropriately.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (HR professionals) found a percentage of 15 for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019 yet added that more than half did not report bullying.

In a study by Kew Law (employment law), 71% of the employees at 131 companies in the UK stated that they had either been bullied or witnessed bullying.

Workplace bullying is very costly. Are you sticking your head in the sand over it, conveniently closing your eyes? Well then, with most staff still working from home, NOW may be the perfect time to wake up and address it. Workplace bullying. Don’t pretend it isn’t happening.

 

Another case of “not workplace bullying”?

Landrover / Jaguar:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/17/gender-fluid-engineer-wins-landmark-uk-discrimination-case

Constructive dismissal. Thank you, Judge Hughes.

All people who suffer from workplace bullying, certainly if it concerns the extreme kind of workplace bullying that George Cheese and Harry Hayward suffered from, should document what is happening, then leave and sue their employers. 

Mr Hayward was set on fire at his place of work. Although it was an accident, it was an accident waiting to happen.