Ian Blyth – It's Just a Thought

My thoughts and opinions

Archive for the ‘People’ Category

Roundabouts Don’t Work

Posted by Ian Blyth on 15 January 2008

I am sure when roundabouts were first introduced they may well have helped traffic flow. But since then traffic levels have increased enormously and it seems that people’s road manners have degraded significantly.

As part of my current journey I go through a number of roundabouts. There is a big one that has 4 major exits. The trouble is in the morning only 2 of them are used and as they are next to each other the junction on the right has priority and it seems like a never ending supply of cars. So the junction I am on backs up both lanes for some distance and only a couple of cars can get onto the roundabout every few minutes. Roundabouts were meant to help regulate the flow but I have found that only happens if the traffic is light or if all the junctions are used equally.

I suppose that is why we see more and more traffic lights on roundabouts. After all if roundabouts were supposed to control the flow then you would not need traffic lights as well. The trouble with traffic lights is that they can not see the traffic build up like an old fashion policeman could when controlling traffic. If they get the controls right then all is well otherwise some junctions are clear while other junctions get backed up. So to put a system that may not always work at controlling traffic on top of another system that may not always work – well it is hardly a recipe for success.

An example of this is a roundabout at a motorway junction that I use to get home. My journey usually takes about 40 minutes but one night it took 1 hour 40 minutes all due to this one roundabout which is meant to help the flow of traffic.

In the morning I am on the motorway and exit at this roundabout and filter to the left for the first exit so that works OK. In the evening I have to go around the roundabout 270 degrees to get to the right exit. In between me and the exit is 4 sets of traffic lights. And it is a nightmare. The main traffic seems to be coming out of a major town and wants to turn right onto the motorway also so they have to do 270 around the traffic lights as well. This seems to be OK when traffic is light but as soon as traffic picks up it is horrendous as people try and switch lanes to get into the right one as they go around.

I think that the major problem though is with people. Hence my comment about road manners. There are yellow box zones which means that you do not enter them unless your exit is clear. Nobody takes any notice of these as that may mean they lose a few seconds or, god forbid, someone will get in front of them! So they go into the grids and stop. So when the traffic lights change the people that need to cross the grid can not and have to stop and the people going around should stay where they are but know if they do that the others will fill up the grid again when the lights change and so they will be stuck there. It is a vicious circle. I wish I had an answer but following the highway code and being polite seems to me to be the best answer.

When I was in Canada and going to cross a road a solitary car stopped for me to cross even though the roads were clear and as soon as he passed I could cross without bother. I was amazed. That would never happen in the UK. In the States they have junctions that everyone has to stop at and take turns in entering the crossroads. It seems to work really well as each junction gets a fair share and if one junction is clear of traffic then that speeds up the other three. You do not get these frustrating queues like at roundabouts due to the cars on the right having right of way. Unfortunately I do not see them working in the UK as people would have to have self restraint and manners. What a sad indictment of the country I live in.


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Keep Charley Off

Posted by Ian Blyth on 3 August 2007

Well now that Charley is out (thank goodness) we need to keep her off the TV. I saw her do a trip to Sunderland to do a little presenter type role and she was rubbish. And on the phone later someone said she was from Sunderland and Charley said “Where is that?”. She had just been up their to do that clip that they had just shown! Please keep her off the TV.

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Get Charley Out!

Posted by Ian Blyth on 26 July 2007

I am not normally a Big Brother fan but for some strange reason I am watching this years BB.

And at last Charley is up for a proper eviction and not a fake one. There has been a group outside shouting “Get Charley Out” since the early days but this is the first real chance to do so. And for the first time I have phoned up to cast my vote to get her out.

She is a strange personality proclaiming she is south east London’s IT girl.  Yea Right! She is very insecure internally and that has shown through a number of times but she is also a narcissistic egomaniac and she twists things round to her own view – or has people have called it – Charley’s world. She says she speaks her mind but does not really if you actually listen to her. And she has this annoying way of saying “to tell you the truth” or “it does not bother me” when in fact it is the exact opposite. When she goes off on one (quite frequently – and how does she cope without breathing for so long?) I think she sounds like Vicky Pollard from Little Britain.

She is obviously suffering in the house as people are not looking up to her and telling her how wonderful she is – which they must do in her little province and that is really annoying her. So she has to take it out on others. In reality she is not that pretty unless she is all dressed up with full make up on.

She claims to stand up for herself but does not know when it is diplomatic to stand back and she has only one strategy – go for the kill as loud and as nasty as possible. People have called her a bully. If she were sure in herself she would be assertive in dealing with other people – standing up for herself because she respects herself and therefore others. But as she does not respect herself her strategy is to shout people down. And from comments that have been made like saying she is deliberately nice to people before evictions it is clear she is a scheming two-faced liar. She needs to go.

What worries me is that there are people that want her to stay because she is “entertaining”. When it happens once or twice it is entertaining but all the time is a pain. These people need to retune their entertainment filter. And I can not believe that there are people who actually want her to win! We should not be rewarding behaviour like that. I hope that she gets shunned by the media and goes back to her own little corner of obscurity but I am afraid that someone will try and utilise her negative image to make money out of it. She does not deserve a chance like that – even if it is negative. That type of behaviour should be deemed unacceptable and shunned.

What I would like to see is a record number of people call up and she gets a record percentage of the vote. That would make her Britain’s most hated house mate but then again that might add to her notoriety and give some media idiot a reason to hire her. Just get her out of the house.

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Greed and Envy

Posted by Ian Blyth on 25 June 2007

It never ceases to amaze me how Labour and the left in general bay for the rich to be taxed to the hilt. The reason being that they can then give this money to the poor for “equality”.

If you are living on a modest wage the thought of taxing the rich is appealing. They can afford it. They have lots of money. They don’t deserve it. And so on.

The thing is that the more you earn the more tax you pay anyway. If the tax is a flat 20% and someone earns £20k then they pay £4k. If they earn £200k then they pay £40K. So even with flat rate tax people who earn more automatically pay more anyway.

And there seems to be a misconception that people who have more money just horde it. Perhaps they think people with more money stick it under their bed. Like most people they spend it. Perhaps on more luxurious things but they do spend it and that in itself keeps companies in business and allows them to pay people’s wages so that they in turn can spend it.

This concept of “milking the rich” is an emotional tug that politicians use. After all there are more poor people than rich people. But with 10 years of Labour in power has the poor got better due to their policies. I can not see it. But politicians use it get their votes.

All the factual economic studies backed up with case studies from governments that have done it shows that reducing the tax burden helps the economy and paradoxically brings in more tax. It brings in business and entrepreneurs are more likely to spring up which creates jobs and prosperity. When tax was an eye watering 98% for the rich with a pervious government all that happened was the rich moved to other countries so the government did not get any of their money.

The thing is how can these people who want the rich to be taxed be educated to realise that entrepreneurial people are good for the economy and therefor better for their self interest and get over this emotion feeling of greed and envy.

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Posted by Ian Blyth on 21 June 2007

I was interested to read Stumbling and Mumbling’s post about this. In particular the quote from Managing Britannia.

The notion that [19th century managers] had in common a single talent which can be identified as “managerial skill”, capable of ready transference between their different callings, is pure fantasy. That Dr Barnardo could equally well have run a chain of newsagents, or that Thomas Cook could just as readily have run a chocolate factory, is manifestly absurd.

I have to disagree with that as a person who has been a manager and changed industries a few times. I think the skills of management are very similar. Technical skills and vertical knowledge can be learned. What makes the difference is that Dr Barnardo had a passion for helping children and Thomas Cook had a passion for holidays which is why they went into those areas. In fact you may be able to make a case that it was their passion that helped them succeed rather than their management skills. But the fact is that they did demonstrate those skills and if their passion ran in another direction I have no doubt that they would have been good at that as well.

Over the years I have worked for both good and bad managers. And what makes a person a good manager and what makes them a bad manager are pretty consistent. The trouble is that bad managers survive because their managers are not good enough to spot the difference.

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The Power of A Word

Posted by Ian Blyth on 8 June 2007

Emily was removed from the Big Brother house by saying the n word. It has been speculated that the shock value came from her being white and Charley being black. And it did not help that Charley went on about it and talked to others even though she kept on saying it did not matter. Obviously it did!

The show afterwards with George Galloway where they talked about the matter with an audience was interesting to see the different views.

They use the f word a lot on the show and that would have been equally shocking years ago but it is now common place. Yet it was only in 1961 that Lenny Bruce was arrested for obscenity.

So it seems that a single word still has power today. Power to shock and power to upset people. I suppose until everyone can live a life free from prejudice we are going to have to temper the right of free speech with the reasonability to use it in a sensitive manner.

The phrase used throughout the Spiderman movies was “With great power comes great responsibility”. I suppose free speech is the great power.

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20 years from now

Posted by Ian Blyth on 13 April 2007

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Mark Twain

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Service and a glass of water!

Posted by Ian Blyth on 4 April 2007

Having recently returned from a trip to the States I am in awe of how their service culture works and generally how poor the UK’s is. We all make fun of the “Have a nice day” but when Americans say it they mean it and it sounds genuine, That is because they have been brought up with that culture. Getting UK people in shops to say it may be possible but how they say it shows that they don’t really mean it and it sounds false.

If I were to open a restaurant I would want my waiting staff to visit the US and eat there to see how it is done. They introduce themselves, smile, give you a chance to ask for something but then leave you alone with the menu. They remember what everyone ordered and do not have to ask. And my favourite. They come with glasses of ice and a jug of water and pour it for you straight away. They do not wait for you to ask for water and they do not try and sell you a bottle of water as they do in the UK. Now if I was in some other country with dodgy water supply I would be grateful of bottled water. But as the UK has perfectly good drinking water I am annoyed that most restaurants do not give you that choice. You have to specifically ask. Are the waiters and waitresses on a commission to sell bottled water?

I suppose it helps that they are on poor wages and make their money on tips. So service is important. But it seems to me that most people have got into the habit of tipping in the UK. Even when it is not justified.

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Roman Abramovich billionaire divorce

Posted by Ian Blyth on 15 March 2007

 Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club, and his wife, Irina, have divorced.  He is reckoned to be worth to worth £10.8 billion so if she gets half it is over £5 billion. Nice. For five billion I would marry him! But we would have to have separate bedrooms – I am not like that, you know! But with the money he has he can afford it. And like the majority of women I don’t like football either. So that’s a start.

Actually I have just realised that Irina is worth £5 billion and is soon to be a free agent. Perhaps I shouold drop her a line. Or if she is reading this blog she can leave a comment on where and when to meet. 🙂


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Junk Food Ads

Posted by Ian Blyth on 28 February 2007

I am not sure on how the proposed ban on advertising junk foods is going to work. They say that they will not be able to advertise during certain hours when kids may be watching.

The problems I have with that are:

  1. Kids are not always regimented at home into only watching at certain times
  2. With Sky+, MCE, Tivo etc you can record at one time and watch at another (although the main use is to skip through ads)
  3. Who determines what constitutes junk food? As the say “One man’s meat is another man’s poison”. If you are vegetarian you would want all meat products to be considered junk. Dietary information changes all the time as new information is found out.
  4. What about personal responsibility and the responsibility of the parents?
  5. They banned cigarette ads but it does not seem to have stopped people smoking and even worse it has not stopped new smokers taking up the habit.

All in all it seems like another “nanny” response from a government that revels in being a nanny state. All that it will do is stop the TV companies receiving advertising money.

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