Over the radio came the advertisement, "Suzie pays fifty quid a month for her gym membership and thirty quid a week for petrol. Now she rides a bike to work so she gets her exercise for free, no more petrol bill, and no more gym membership. Quid's in. And Redditch has one less car on the road". Or to put it in sensible language, Suzie arrives at work in a sweat or soaked in rain, stinks out the office, gives half of them a cold, takes time off on sick leave, and annoys the hell out of all the motorists when she rides up the inside pulls in front of the cars and holds them all up when the lights change. I also can't help but think, 'why doesn't Redditch council do something about the traffic jams, the leisure centre closure, and the acute lack of cycle lanes? The entire town was built around people owning cars and now they think it's their job to encourage us to exercise while closing the swimming baths to save money. When it comes to cycling, Redditch town is not fit for purpose, and neither is it's council.
I don't know why cycling has become such a fad other than the highly successful Olympic Games of 2012 that, according to our Government, means all of us will suddenly find the urge to take up exercise and or sports that we previously never considered ourselves as capable of. Why cycling? Why not pole vaulting or Freestyle Snow Boarding. Meanwhile I reckon any sport that wasn't played by the ancient Greeks should by definition not be allowed in the Olympic Games. Just think how much less boring the Olympics would be with no football, tennis, Winter Olympics, and no bleedin' bicycles. The Olympics isn't about sport, it is big business, it is about money and is why the one man who I never would have thought would sell his soul, Vince Cable, stupidly remarked "The Olympics has generated an income of 10billion for the UK economy". The next morning he was claiming that wasn't what he said. I never thought Vince Cable would tell lies either. The Olympics was a brilliant spectacle but it didn't come for free and I for one was chuffed when no hoper Chanatip Sonkham got a Bronze in Taekwondo and was heartbroken when the Gold medal hope Nina Ligon failed to get into the finals.
In Thailand it is motorcycles instead of bicycles that wreak havoc on the roads. Usually ridden by underage boys taking their sisters to school. Yes that was plural. They never pay for their road fund license and often haven't a number plate. They weave around in the pot holed roads, cross red traffic lights, pull up in front of you so you can't proceed, they've no driving license, insurance, or even a bloody crash helmet. They are a mix of those whose father's do not know they have taken the family bike, those who's father couldn't give a monkeys that they have taken the bike, and those whose father's insist they take their sister to school on the bike. Then the illegal biker boys do it again in the afternoon for the journey back home as these juvenile greasers wobble all over as they approach traffic lights from behind you at 2kph with legs stuck out for counterbalance because they can't stop when they reach the white line because their feet don't reach the ground. They then ride away before the light changes at 20kph leaving you stranded. Again!
That's exactly what cyclists in the UK do. The law in Thailand and England is that cyclists are not supposed to cause an obstruction. They're not supposed to filter at traffic lights, not supposed to ride two abreast, not supposed to ride on the pavement, not supposed to cross red lights. But they do. All the time. School children in Thailand, lycra-adults in England, same same!
Some idiot in the prohibition (sorry, I meant coalition) Government wants to cancel winter fuel allowance for retiree's living in hot countries. What a twat. Listen George, let me explain, these hot countries are not always hot. They have what is called a hot climate. Posh boys who wouldn't know the price of a pint of milk said Nadine Dorries and the next day on Newsnight Messrs. Cameron and Clegg were both asked "How much is a pint of milk". They didn't even have the sense to find out the answer before facing Jeremy Paxman but you know what, that isn't stupidity or laziness, that's arrogance and contempt. The cabinet were hungry for power and now they have it they do not know how to use it but what really galls is I pay into my pension fund just like all British based pensioners. In Thailand's summer the aircon goes on full-time just the same as in Britain in winter the central heating is on more and this contemptuous ignorance that is George Osborne didn't even look at any statistics such as more senior citizens die in summer heatwaves than in winter cold spells. But the worst of it is why? This reduction for pensioners is to pull in money that can be offered as a tax break to companies developing shale gas. Osborne will surely go down in history as the latter-day Sheriff of Nottingham.
In Thailand Finance Minister Na-Ranong wants to tax farang pensions and I'm left wondering how either Government is going to continue bleeding pensioner's pockets if they have already starved them all to death. It's bad enough having to pay 150 baht every time you use the ATM. This is a tax on foreign money coming into Thailand and at current rates is £3.20. If you try to get round this surreptitious tax your UK bank will charge you £25.00 for International transfer. Ask the Government to pay your money into a foreign account and they charge you instead. Upcoming pensioners beware. You may think the cost of living is half that of the UK's but the Thai and UK Governments are going to have the other half.
While world's apart on politics the current Thai and British Governments have an awful lot in common. They both have a public school educated Conservative leader pretending to be centre-left. They both lead a cabinet none of whose members were elected to Govern. They are both a coalition that was not elected by the majority. Yingluck said she wanted to assemble a coalition to set some harmony in Parliament while the truth was she had no serious contenders for top ministerial roles. Cameron said he wanted to agree a coalition so they could set some balance of power while the truth was he couldn't assemble a Government. And both of them come out with 'rabbit out the hat' policy ideas that were never in the manifesto while failing to pass any manifesto policies past Parliament. In other words, they are both ineffective, neutered, held back by Liberal minorities with no understanding of governance. They may as well both give it up and call an election but will not because the opposition lack the courage to raise a vote of no confidence and because they cling onto power knowing their time is a limited one off!
In Thailand you can ask councillors and MP's questions on Twitter. I doubt there is any benefit in this because few Thai's have Internet access but it does mean there is a level of contact between distant leaders and its support. I am not suggesting Cameron got the idea from Thailand as they only got the idea, as they do with all internal affairs, from America, but Cameron joined Twitter promoting himself on TV as 'getting in touch with the people' and got his first public post, and I quote with a big grin, "Piss off cameron you absolute cock womble". The fact that this quote was his very first and that it was immediately after his announcement that August Bank Holiday should be renamed Thatcher's Day should give him some idea what his public think of him bearing in mind he was not elected by the public. He was elected by the Liberal Democrats. David Cameron, we are not your public, but at least you are not the only cock womble!
Yingluck Shinawatra swept to power on promises of power to the classes of Thailand just like her exiled big brother Thaksin. Though she has always made clear her brother is not her policy maker. Unfortunately for the classes they thought a vote for Yingluck was a vote for Thaksin and were adamant in their thousands that little sister would change the law to allow her brother to come home and take his rightful place in Parliament. I always doubted and said previously on anachak that would require a change of constitution and the PM does not hold that power. Yingluck is nobody's fool and probably all along planned to use her power of Royal attorney to find a way to get her brother a Royal Pardon. What possible motive could a stunningly beautiful highly successful business woman with right wing political views have to, with no political experience or party, make a beeline for leadership the moment Abhisit Vejjajiva announced an election date. It smacked of ulterior motive at the time and now she has tried to get her big brother issued with a new Thai National Passport. Talk about a political miscalculation. A misunderestimation of Bush proportions.
Yingluck has succeeded in the tough business world of Asia through knowing the right people. Though born with a silver spoon the same as Cambellclegg she had what it takes. She was also a financial supporter of the Yellow shirt Democrat Party. The party led by Abhisit Vejjajiva. A man who is a natural politician and diplomat schooled at Oxbridge with the kind of links to the west that will promote Asia and an ardent promoter of the ASEAN. So why would Yingluck want to stand against the right man for the job with a new political party that is opposed to all she believes in? Her mandate was to improve life for the peoples of Thailand. Life hasn't changed. Her promise to Government was that she had no links to nor any motivation to restore her brother Thaksin. And recent events show that was never true. And that will inevitably cost her political career.
18 months ago she was beautiful, smiling, full of eagerness, and willing to put up a fight. Today she looks tired and beaten. 18 months ago accusations by the National Anti-Corruption Commission would have been beaten off and she would have dared them to take her on in court. Today she is clearly preparing her sister Yaowapa Wongsawat to take over for the second half of her 5 year term of office. Yet again the Shinawatra brand has brought a red shirt political party into disrepute. Here is my next prediction; if Thaksin does not return and get to grips with this mess Yingluck will follow her brother into exile and the Pheu Thai Party will be outlawed just like its predecessor the Thai Rak Thai Party. And it isn't that Yingluck has done anything wrong, she hasn't, but she chose not to tell Parliament the truth and even in Thailand, you're not going to escape impeachment.
You have to be careful in Thailand when you make these kinds of allegations in public domain. There is a gagging order by default in that there is freedom of speech but it you mustn't tell anyone else. Lese Majeste is oft' incorrectly quoted as the law used to protect the rich because only they can afford to invoke it and usually against individuals who cannot afford to defend themselves. I am probably Thailand's most pro-Thai activist for which I am repeatedly berated by my partner but there is this issue of defamation which is a frequent source of embarrassment that even I cannot possibly defend. One I would defend is that of Natural Fruit versus Andrew Hall. Hall held a press conference to publicise the exploitation of Burmese migrant workers and the problem started when he cited a major politician, Democrat Party Secretary General Chalermchai Sri-On whose brother is the CEO of Natural Fruit. The company dispute the validity of the allegations and I have little sympathy for Andrew Hall who of all people should know better when seeking publicity because he wasn't getting anywhere with his research findings.
But often there is cause for serious alarm. Take the case of Suderueman Malae who was arrested by Police and tortured until they got a confession. In 2011 he sued the Police for brutality and illegal imprisonment. In response Police Major General Chakthip Chaijinda sued Suderueman for defamation. Suderueman by way of confessing to a crime he did not commit was then charged with making a false statement to the Police and was sentenced to two years imprisonment. And that's why my missus hates when I speak up.
If you think that's bad what about American journalist Erica Fry? In 2007 British agricultural expert Wyn Ellis published a remarkable dissertation on Organic asparagus and a year later Director of the National Innovation Agency Supachai Lorlowhakarn completed a dissertation for a Ph.D. at Chulalongkorn University on the exact same subject. Actually, Supachai had used almost all of the 161 page dissertation written by Ellis. Erica Fry was assigned the job of investigating it and wrote about it in the Bangkok Post. The defamation writs soon headed Fry's way and she found herself locked up. Unfortunately for Supachai an investigation followed and it was found he had plagiarised Ellis's 5 years of hard work and his doctorate was revoked. Is that the end of it? No. Fry can never return to Thailand because of the open warrant for her arrest because although the plagiarism case was concluded the defamation court hearing was not.
In a nutshell, Thailand's defamation laws are intricate, there to protect the innocent, and are abused by those with power and money. But at least you are allowed to speak the truth. In England, post Wimbledon success for Andy Murray, Radio 4 presenter John Inverdale made the unfortunate mistake of talking like a normal person when he made a few unkindly remarks about Marion Bartoli for which he apologised profusely when he realised the error of his political incorrectness ways. He said she's not a looker, and here I'll repeat it, I'm sorry but Marion Bartoli is NOT a looker. Why I'm sorry I don't know, it isn't my fault Marion Bartoli is NOT a looker. Can it be left there? No, Secretary of State for Culture Maria Miller MP, who is also NOT a looker, was compelled to step in when she got bombarded with complaints from thousands of woman who are probably also NOT lookers, and wrote to the BBC asking for John Inverdale's sacking. She then said she didn't ask for him to be sacked, then a BBC spokesman said the letter from Maria Miller did ask why the BBC had not sacked him, until John Inverdale decided enough was enough and resigned. Meanwhile nobody asked Marion Bartoli her opinion who probably couldn't give a shit seeing as she was now the best women's tennis player in the world?
But there is a fundamental difference between Thailand and the UK. In Thailand it is clearly defined what you are not allowed to say. In the UK it is left to opinion and the political correctness brigade. Luckily in Thailand political correctness doesn't exist and that's probably why it is the Land of Smiles!
If pressure groups and NGO's really want something to do then do something about Internet monitoring in the west and the ludicrous amount of censorship in Thailand. If someone has a portent for porn surfing then ok by me but in Thailand it is impossible as well as potentially illegal while a stallholder outside our home put up posters of indecent sexual acts and was flogging pirate copy DVD's of xxx porn. The TV is even more censored without sense. Even an alcoholic beverage is pixelated while it is not illegal to drink alcohol which leaves me wondering, can you be arrested if you watch someone drinking beer? Worse still, why are NGO's worrying about tigers and gibbons in Thailand when Cameron and Clegg have terminated the pleasure of a hot sausage roll from Greggs!
I think the UK Government and in particular Jeremy Hunt hit an all time new low of Zimbabwean standards when they announced the scrapping of plain fag packets. I wouldn't have thought any Cabinet could so unashamedly excuse themselves for lining their own pockets. It was a Hunt policy to force cigarette manufacturers to use plain packets that do not distinguish any kind of branding. And the next thing you know it is unproven and all other kinds of reasons why the HEALTH Secretary could not approve the plain packet legislation!
Current Thai legislation introduced by Thaksin Shinawatra in 2005 requires 40% of the packaging be used to portray horrible images of damage caused by nicotine abuse. In the eight years since its' introduction the estimated number of smokers in Thailand has fallen by 20%. In 2011 that packaging coverage was to be increased to 60% of the packet but an injunction was successfully obtained by tobacco giant Philip Morris.
I would call it ironic that in Thailand Philip Morris had to use the legal system while in Britain they had to use corruption. Jeremy Hunt said the evidence was not yet available from New Zealand on plain packet effectiveness while the New Zealand Government have produced a report that states the numbers of under 16 smokers has fallen by almost half in its first year. Jeremy Hunt used reports from the manufacturing industry that claimed branding had no effect on cigarette choice while the rest of the planet used NHS and NZ healthcare reports and concluded without doubt that plain packaging reduces the appeal and I'll explain why Mr. Hunt chose to use a selective industry report.
CTF is a lobbying company owned by Lynton Crosby who is also health strategist advisor to David Cameron. While advising Cameron on healthcare strategy his lobbying company advised an umbrella group of private healthcare providers on how to exploit perceived failings in the NHS. Tobacco giant Philip Morris also used lobby firm CTF to persuade the Government to do a U-Turn. Cameron's track record which he persistently puts down to coincidence such as his U-Turn on press regulation, his relationship to Rebekah Brookes, and his appointing Andy Coulson as press advisor despite everyone telling him Coulson was corrupt is also questionable when he supports the Parliamentary Under-secretary of State Earl Howe who along with Lord Tim Bell lobbied for health care privatisation while buying up shares in the companies that would profit from outsourcing. Undeniably Philip Morris used Lynton Crosby to get to Jeremy Hunt because it is not in the industries interest to reduce the number of new smokers who are largely school children and it is not in the many health related politicians interests to reduce the number of sick. Our own politicians are pro-actively sentencing our children to a premature death so they can make money.
Yingluck's misdemeanours? She posted to the Parliamentary Interests Committee that she loaned 6m baht to Ad Index but actually it was 30m. She owns 41m baht worth of jewellery. She stayed at Bangkok's Four Seasons hotel. Although to be fair it was what supposedly went on at the hotel between Yingluck and Settha Taveesin that the ethics committee were interested in and that's where everything becomes all to familiar. Settha Taveesin is a real estate developer with an interest in the flood basins and what was under discussion was flood prevention in the central regions. The tycoon is closely related to Nalinee Taveesin who is the cabinet advisor for business and real estate within the Prime Ministers Office. Yingluck does care about the classes but is living dangerously close when she does something like this even if it was a group discussion and issuing defamation writs against the gang of four (Sirichoak Sopa, Chavanond Intarakomalsut, Thepthai Senpong and Mullika Boonmetrakul) is not going to wipe away the sock muuk. Even my ardent red shirt missus agrees Yingluck is sunk on the moral ground and is unlikely to survive. Personally I think Yingluck's first intrepid venture into politics turned out not to be like big business and she is naive thinking this shark pool wont shred her. Shame really because she could have changed things in a country that is anti-social mobility. Or is that why she is grooming little sister Yaowapa Wongsawat!
The 22nd July this year was a very ordinary day. 1878 people died of natural causes, 271 were admitted to A&E because of car accidents along with three children with saucepans stuck on their heads. Oh and I nearly forgot, Kate and Wills son George was one of the 2201 children born this day, which makes George about as interesting as 2200 other babies whose parents I never want to meet because they will also talk the same talk as all new parents. Why then do the press and news media organisations think we are remotely interested. Why not tell us about all the thousands of bereaved families?
Why would a new prince be so annoying? Because of the stupid quotes that inexplicably yawn out the mouths of third rate journalists who couldn't make it so resorted to following celebrities instead that's why. The best of which was surely "of course we still don't yet know the baby's name but it will be a traditional boy's name" from Royal correspondent Peter Hunt. He is the definitive Royal correspondent and had nine months to prepare for this day and all he could manage was to tell us the couple will give their son a boy's name. Some stupid bint connected with the Royal family, it might have been Carole Middleton or Jenny Bond, I don't know and don't care much, reckons Kate and Wills marriage will bring back stability to the Royal family. This is the level at which the serving public should understand is it? A Royal follower who knows nothing at all about the Royal descent? The inference was about Wills parents Charles and Diana's turbulent relationship but historically the Royal family's history is one of marriage break-ups, extra-marital affairs, and sex scandals and in fact Elizabeth and Philip brought back stability. Whoever said this about Kate and William dishonour our Queen with such a comment and is why we should probably have lesse majeste laws in the UK.
On the same day in China, one of Thailand's closest allies, several hundred were killed in an earthquake, in the Middle-east there was a mass break-out of Al Qaeda terrorists from Abu Grade prison who will likely try to get to somewhere like Thailand for sanctuary, and in Thailand a Police officer was beheaded by Muslim extremists who want an independent state. Not one of these items was reported on Thai TV news. Instead there was 15 or 20 minutes about the new Prince of England followed by several reports about Yingluck Shinawatra.
83 year old Stuart Hall had his 15 month sentence for indecent assault of underage girls doubled by the Appeals Court to 30 months. The Attorney General Dominic Grieve said 'this sends out a message' but failed to append with what the message contains, so I'll do it for him. It tells all the paedos 'there is no serious punishment'. Nobody with any moral compass would seriously consider Hall should have any life outside of prison ever again and neither should any other convicted paedophile because that is the only way we can protect our children.
Thailand is also following the trend to chasing after child abusers regardless of how old the accusations are. The Police started by assembling a list of wanted or known paedophiles from every western country and issued it to local authorities and immigration points. Now they are going to publish the list with photos and why not? They surely lost all their human rights when they took away any child's human right to innocence and when they are raped in Bang Kwang they will surely wish they hadn't. One way of catching them is public awareness so publish that list Thailand!
David Cameronclegg announced his latest plan to reduce the deficit. He has done well this year, inventing the healthtourists who are sucking the reserves out of the NHS and how he will save us by making them pay for treatment. Except the NHS have to keep stats on such incidences and sick people coming here for treatment is about 0.001p in the pound out of the NHS budget and most of them get sick while on holiday in the UK. Cameronclegg then invites 14 year old Malala Yousafzai to come to Britain to have her face rebuilt at tax payers expense. What an admirable schoolgirl that can stand up to intimidation by big men with bullets but Cameronclegg is just courting favour. Next came the car insurance avoiders and how you will have to have continuous car insurance cover. Yeah that'll work Cameronclegg, won't save any money, but just think how many twockers (TWOC - taking without the owners consent, usually applied to vehicle theft) will think twice before stealing a car and all those who don't pay for their insurance will now I'm sure. But this time it is all those time wasters clogging up the tribunal courts with bogus claims against innocent employers costing the tax payer a grotesque fortune. So from now on you have to fund your unfair dismissal claim yourself. Cameron actually said that it "would dissuade people from going for unfair dismissal" and I have no doubt he is right. Boss sacks you without pay, you have no money so can't claim, sounds good to me!
Meanwhile Shadow Employment Minister Chris Bryant demonstrated why he should never hold the real post when he showed off his speech in a pre-release to the press. If you court favour it will backfire; especially when it's the Press. He started out with a speech about how Tesco exploit workers, which is true, and how Tesco have built a new distribution centre and closed the old one, and employed cheap migrant workers in the new one, and sacked all the staff from the old one, which is also true. And so did Next.
Tesco responded that CB's facts are wrong. Instead of taking them on head on he bottled it and rewrote his speech telling the CBI what a good employer Tesco is and how they generate jobs. When questioned about the changes he claimed the press had taken excerpts of his speech out of context. Bare faced lie. You changed your speech Chris Bryant and for the record the distribution centre in question is staffed mostly with an eastern European workforce and that does nothing for the unemployed in Britain. What's more if you slagged off Tesco to the max they would not leave Britain so why did you not have the balls?
In Thailand Tesco promote an excellent business practice bringing products people want to rural boroughs with modern aircon shops and supreme hygiene. But it's all nonsense just the same as in Britain. Tesco are in it for the money. They encourage store cards for farmers who can barely make ends meet. They pay below the minimum wage without premium rates for anti-social hours. The average Tesco store employee in Thailand is paid £7 a day. Staff are given shocking employment contracts and Tesco often bully land owners into conceding to Tesco's demands. When the Chamber of Commerce complained they were issued a multi-million dollar writ for libel. When columnist Kamol Kamoltrakul wrote about Tesco bullying the Chambers he was also given a writ for libel not on the grounds of accuracy but because he was damaging their business. Another journalist Nongnat Hanwilai was humiliated into writing a public apology three times in a daily newspaper because she couldn't possibly pay the 100m baht damages Tesco wanted. Tesco Lotus do this because the cost of issuing the writs is only a few baht out of its aggressive expansion program budget.
Some of Tesco's production practices are illegal under International laws sub-contracting child labour and Burmese migrants while saying the claims are not true. They are true, payslips of less than £250 for an entire months work with the tax code missing are commonplace, and produce sourced via businesses using child labour is also common and worsening because Tesco also has a very aggressive business practice. They get you to supply them, then withhold payments until you are going broke, then offer to pay but want a discount. Farmers desperate for trade try Tesco as an outlet and then spiral into an ever deepening problem of cashflow. If Tesco really cared about communities they would have an advanced and interim payment scheme for producers instead of using promissory notes.
Coventry born 4 year old lad Daniel Pelka died of starvation and multiple injuries. Nick Clegg on the news said of the boy's brutal treatment "he is on all our consciences". He isn't on mine, why would he be? I didn't batter the toddler, I didn't kill him, I didn't even know he existed and I doubt your sincerity Clegg because when the story broke on the news in the UK I didn't feel guilty; I cried for him. And I suspect many others did too. Nick Clegg, what you are feeling is guilt because you don't feel any emotion for the suffering. You are heartless and you use this child's suffering for political point scoring!
But I also feel a sense of indignation that mass migration has also brought with it these kinds of problems. Brutal crime to the UK, paedophilia to Thailand. Tadas Prismantas drove around our area in the UK stealing petrol from garages while his migration pretence is he came here to work. Meanwhile according to a survey on crime migration reduces crime. Marian Fitzgerald, a visiting professor of criminology at the University of Kent - visiting? Biased maybe? Sometimes how they arrive at stats is mind boggling. How can statistics prove something isn't true when I can see it with my own eyes all around me? The truth is the Police do have the stats and know that in areas where the Government has located large numbers of asylum seekers from the late 90s, property crime rates were "significantly higher". Every time a crime hits the news on TV it turns out to be an immigrant. They come from poverty in search of improvement so they do not bring prosperity, they bring poverty. They do not improve quality of life, they reduce it. They come with no income, no skills, no education, and nothing to offer and is why the coalition promised to tackle the problem. So what is the result of their efforts? They said they would reduce immigration from 200,000 per year to 100,000. Their policy is the 'Time to go home' advertising campaign. So successful is it that it has been referred to the ASA (advertising standards authority) as potentially illegal. It's success can be measured by population growth and in the first half of 2013 the population increased by 410,000 half of which was immigration - the coalition are to be congratulated on successfully doubling the numbers but what was really funny was when Teresa May described the campaign as "Proving very effective". When asked how effective, ie: give us some numbers she replied "We have to wait for the results of the trial". Seems Ms. May who is also NOT a looker can see into the future!
In Thailand it is much simpler. You're not allowed in. And if you do manage to get in and break the law, you're out. And if your country cannot find your files and send the Thai immigration a passport, they send you back anyway. Thailand also has a habit of turning a blind eye to illegal immigrants getting trafficked and those that cannot be repatriated being imprisoned permanently. Does this inhumane policy have any affect on Thailand's popularity or appeal to business or trade? No!
Charities in the UK see themselves as a business and recently Charities Commission boss William Shawcross suggested aid charities at least try to curb salaries in light of hard times as it could harm their reputations. He wasn't accusing them of anything, just that the future needs consideration, and that was enough to encourage charity bosses to show their true colours. One of those snout-in-the trough bosses was Dame Barbara Stocking who plum in throat took delight in telling listeners she had to take a 30% cut when deciding to move from the NHS to do charitable work and "often it is a very hard job indeed". You are not doing charitable work Stocking, you have a job and are paid 105k a year to do it. It isn't a full time job. It isn't hard work. And you are rewarded considerably out of ordinary peoples generous donations. The CEO of Save the Children Jasmine Whitbread was paid 180k a year and Oxfam CEO Mark Goldring 160k when he succeeded Dame Barbara Stocking. Oh wait, is that the same Dame who took a pay cut to move from the NHS to charity work? Yes, and she is actually Vice Chair of the Steering Committee for Humanitarian Response. She doesn't work for a charity at all. She is a civil servant on 103k a year the same as Bill Shawcross except Bill accepted a sensible salary for the part time post of 50k. I know which one I am going to believe. UK charities also try to smoke screen pay with things like the Save the Children executive pot. Last year they shared out 160k tax free between themselves. Money that surely could have gone to helping children. Last year the new CEO Justin Forsyth was paid 162k after tax and that was what prompted Bill Shawcross' comments. He stressed it was not his job to tell charities how much to pay the executives. No, that's our job, and is what Bill is trying to tell you, people will stop donating if you continue to "take the piss" (Bill's words not mine).
If there is one thing that stands out in Thailand it is the philanthropic enterprise. Charity workers and the bosses are not paid salaries. They do it for free and they do it to help others in need. From Tourist Police to skill centres, ambulance services to sick dispensaries, animal sanctuaries to snake venom farms, food distribution to flood victim rescue, AIDS foundations to orphanages, the list is endless. Millions work in charities, for nothing, for the love of their fellow man and because charity begins at home, Thailand looks after Thailand first. Thailand will never be on the world's stage of International Rescue but neither will they be in it for the money.
A study by Japan's MITI (their office of trade and industry) found 54% of the entire world's inventions of any worth came from Britain. In the last 50 years, 40% of the most important discoveries came from Britain. This is inventions that changed the world, things like hybrid wheat that has saved billions of lives, or what about the jet engine that shrunk the world. Tin Cans, Computing, Lightbulbs, Penicillin, RADAR, Steam Engine, Petrol Engine, Toothbrush, Electric Motor, Syringe, Telephone, Tyre, World Wide Web, Antiseptics, Anesthetics, all these things changed the world. We are a nation of inventors but politicians are hell bent on making it as miserable as the British weather for its residents so I'm off to Thailand again - at least there the political weather is predictable and that's why the Phue Thai party are asking the Generals to throw their military lot behind Prime Minister Yingluck but they haven't responded.
Last time that happened tanks rolled up Rama I and pointed their cannons at Parliament House!