We codgers are delighted by today’s new stamps from Royal Mail. Several of us are philatelists, but that is not the only reason for our applause. The set of ten beautifully crafted stamps feature six bee species from across the UK and serve to remind us of the importance of bees without which pollination would be endangered and a large proportion of our food crops and flowers eliminated. On the allotments we do our best to attract the life-giving buzzers but would tear our hair out – if we had any – at the stupidity of politicians prepared to relax bans on pesticides known to endanger them. If you want to join our fightback all you have to do is plant Echinops (Globe Thistle) to provide a boost.
This morning there were almost as many bees around our clumps as there are ermine-wearers in the House of Lords. Almost. Yesterday Dr Meg Russell of University College London criticised our dear leader whose rate of appointments has been so fast that “the size of the chamber is going up in a completely unsustainable way..it is unjustified and unsustainable”. The reason for her outburst was the news that up to 50 new peers are expected to be named in the next fortnight, boosting the membership of the Lords to 830, far in excess of the elected Commons.
The large majority of the new peers will be Conservative nominees and include party donors, Tory special advisers, party officials and such as Michelle Mone, the founder of Ultimo lingerie. Every Lord is entitled to claim £300 simply for signing in and the cost to the public purse is astronomic. And it is hard to imagine anything more undemocratic and potentially corrupt.
We should perhaps be aware of the dangers of being labelled Corbynites. The newly emerged contender for the Labour leadership has dared to question the value of the noble peers, and continues to shock true socialists such as Blair and (Lord) Mandelson by even complaining about the performance of the privatised essential services and their multi million pound salaried leaders. This morning the rail companies are the subject of a study by ‘Action for Rail’.
It tells us that fares have risen nearly three times faster than wages over the past five years, leaving commuters “seriously out of pocket”. Season tickets have increased by 25 per cent since 2010. The study concludes that if routes coming up for tender were given to public sector organisations fares would fall sharply.It has of course failed to explain how the French and German governments would cope with a fall in their dividends.
I wish I could end on a happy note on this sunny Tuesday morning. But a hen was found dead this morning and the ‘autopsy’ found Albert’s hearing aid wedged in its gullet. The nearby bees buzzed their disapproval at the careless folly of man.
QUOTE FOR TODAY: “Wisdom entereth not into a malicious mind, and science without conscience is but the ruin of the soul”…. Francois Rabelais.