The Grumpy Old Man

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Big Brother, we live in society alongside many others, we must all ensure that 'Big Brother', operates for the benefit of all, not just the chosen few.




...Company Pension Schemes, a Government review, at last.....

....I read with great delight that reform of the "Firm's Pension Scheme" system seems to be on the cards in the UK...

I read with great delight that reform of the "Firm's Pension Scheme" system seems to be on the cards in the UK. This is long overdue, however, I feel intuitively that it will not go anywhere near far enough.

For years Grumpy is convinced that there have been huge abuses of the system which seems to have little precluding the parent company using the pension fund as their own private piggy bank.

It is accepted that current legislation precludes the possibility of a pension fund owning shares in the parent company, but it is the freebooting way in which the parent company .....read more.....




Big Bro 5;....Brexit....

An analysis of the EU and how its development inevitably lead to Brexit

I have been requested by one of my readers to give my views on Brexit. I must confess, I have been rather reluctant to do this as I know that it is a hypersensitive topic on which everybody has their views and these views are not always shared by one's nearest and dearest. Brexit I know has caused rifts in families and lifelong friendships. It is for this reason I've been reluctant to give a point of view. Brexit, is all about politics and the "now". However, being pressed for a point of view, I will give one. At the end of the day, nobody knows what will happen until well after article 50 is activated but let's face it, when all the jawing has taken place and negotiations are complete, Planet Earth will still go round the sun. However, as the embryonic new World Order develops .....read more.....




Big Bro 5-1;....Brexit comments and other Grumpy observations....

.... An overview of the details and background to Brexit ....

Quick research shows there to be at least eight other EU members, many of whom with internal elections imminent, showing leanings towards withdrawal. There is a common thread running through the reason behind these countries concerns. This is Sovereignty, sometimes called "populism". The countries are Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands. It is interesting that these countries represent a significant mix of both founder and recent accession countries.

Reading between the lines from many financial reports, it is also quite clear that politically and financially, Italy (one of the larger founder EU economies) is in a right old mess. with little stable government (more governments since WW2 than I've had hot dinners) and in financial crisis. There is talk of banks being bailed out by .....read more.....




Big Bro 5-2;.....EU Brexit wind bagging.....

Some off-the-cuff statements from the EU and a "British" response to them

To even hope to understand some of the kites that the EU is flying (with regard to Brexit) it is useful to remember what the EU claim are their "four freedoms". These are;

freedom of movement within the EU of EU citizens
freedom of movement of goods within the EU
freedom of movement of capital within the EU
freedom of EU companies to provide services to anybody within the EU

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty states that negotiations must be complete within a two-year period of "activation", unless both parties agree to a different timescale. Grumpy would observe that should activation take place in March 2017 there are EU Parliamentary elections in 2019. The French have already said that they want negotiations complete in 18 months .....read more.....


Note:this grump was originally published in January 2017, and updated in November 2018




Big Bro 4;....Do You Use Your Local Supermarket?....

Are you as fully in charge of what you purchase as you think? Or are you being manipulated by other Big Brother like agencies?

Some time ago Mrs Grumpy and I decided to use our local supermarket because we had noticed there were significant environmental considerations.

By local, I mean in the small town which is about one and a half miles up the road. For years we had driven, weekly, some twenty miles each way to our nearest medium-sized town where we had the choice of two large supermarkets, together with a number of small department stores, and many other facilities that one would normally expect in such a town. This weekly shop became something of a habit and a day out. Of course we would have lunch and frequently morning coffee .....read more.....




Big Bro 3; ....In Doing Business, Do You Feel Unreasonable Contract Terms are Forced on You?....

....big business imposes unfair contract terms on the little guy....

Grumpy has long been concerned about the number of contract conditions that are increasingly being imposed on you and I when we carry out a huge variety of activities as part of our day-to-day business. To the supplier a "contract" and "terms and conditions" are little different and frequently are interwoven and interrelated. Within this context .....read more.....




Big Bro 3-1....Contracts of Employment, a Salutary Pension Tale....

....A Company's Abuse of Priveledge by Giving Themselves a Pension Contribution Holiday....

I realise that the legal position, particularly in the United Kingdom has changed significantly since I found myself in the situation discussed here, however I feel it important to talk about it as it represents a good example as to what can happen when one is faced with an "over the barrel" contract situation.

At the time of this situation arising, most long-term employment contracts .....read more.....




Big Bro 3-2....What, If Anything, Are the Government Doing About These Unfair Contract Terms?....

Some contract terms are forced upon elements of society, who are presented with a very much, take it or leave it attitude, so, where is the Government's manifeso promised action?

By gum, they don't have some weird contractual arrangements over here in Ireland. What I write about now is clearly against the public interest, which is why I ask "what if anything is the government doing about it?"

I became aware of this particular contractual oddity after Mrs Grumpy and I became friendly with the proprietor of a small shop in our local town. She was saying that, although home ownership was very high in Ireland, a huge proportion of commercial .....read more.....




Big Bro 2;....Large can be self destructive....

What can happen when a business gets too big

I find it absolutely fascinating writing this a few weeks after the European elections in which vast numbers of voters, let's just call them "Joe Public" sent a huge warning shot across the bows of the behemoth that the European Union has become. It has grown too large, too quickly and is in danger of self-destructing. Don't get me wrong, like alot of people, I believe in many aspects of the European Union. However .....read more.....




Big Bro 1; Large is NOT beautiful

A salutary tale of the dangers of huge monopolystic empires

Being large is not necessarily beautiful. Being huge can be self-destructive and if not self-destructive, it can certainly be far from the best interests of the small guy.

I have personal experience of examples of each of those situations. One I shall talk about here .....read more.....