The BBC article gives a full time-line of the sinking of the ferry until she sent her last radio message at 13:58. But it leaves out anything of what happened later.
As a child for a few years I lived in Felixstowe and I can still remember the dark marks on the walls of the houses in Langer Road, showing how high the North Sea Floods of 1953 rose later on that fateful day, killing some 38 people in that end of the town.
Many more died in The Netherlands and Flanders.
Sad that the sinking of the Princess Victoria was, it seems inconceivable today, that the warning wasn’t heeded and so many deaths and damage occurred.
I hope we have learned from what happened that night.
This is the headline over a report on the BBC web site. It concerns the political arguments about John Lewis opening a department store in Northern Ireland.
Personally, I think they would be very brave to do it, given the stupid fuss being created by so-called Loyalists about the flying of flags.
The article does suggest John Lewis might open in the Republic. Now that would probably be a sounder business decision, as the only organised violence there generally happens at places like Croke Park and the Aviva Stadium.
I’ve just heard yet another pointless argument on BBC Radio 5 about Northern Ireland.
Whatever we do, the situation seems to get worse and worse.
Now the argument is about flying the Union flag on Belfast City Hall.
Surely, as it’s the UK’s flag, then the UK should say who could fly it.
I just wonder how much the Irish government would need to rid us of our turbulent province?
They probably don’t want it either!
This tale is almost unbelievable. As it’s in the island of Ireland, you do wonder how much of it, has been given a bit of exaggeration.
On the other hand it’s on the BBC, so it must be true.
But unlike many tales of ths type, it has a sort of happy ending.
There is a touch of deja-vu about how Derry is being made the UK City of Culture for 2013.
There was a lot of cynical thought about what might happen when Liverpool became European Capital of Culture in 2008. However, looking back from 2010 in this article in the Guardian, shows it was a great boost to the city. On my regular visits to the city, it now has a very buoyant attitude to the future, compared to say ten years ago.
Let’s hope that being UK City of Culture does the same for Derry.
I took these pictures over the last couple of days in the rain.
I suspect this rain is due to the large number of Irish-built buses that have arrived in the last week or so. The Northern Irish may be exporting buses, like the 38 in the picture, but do we have to have the rain as well?
The bus is set to feature in an action scene set in Trafalgar Square involving the 007 spy, played by Daniel Craig.
Surely, the designer of the bus, didn’t envisage it to be James Bond’s latest transport.
It does however mean that there is a lot of scope for film and book titles.
On the Hackney Express is the obvious one, as the buses at present go to Hackney Central on route 38.
The phone-in on BBC Radio 5 this morning, was about the possible Scottish Independence Referendum, which is being debated by David Cameron’s cabinet today.
I should say, that I don’t care much, whether Scotland is independent from the UK or not. after all, there would be one big advantage to England if Scotland were to be independent.
It would mean that the result of UK General Elections would not be skewed because of the overwhelmingly left-facing vote north of the border. It would also mean that policies for England would not be decided in a Parliament, where many of the members had no electoral connection to England, but still voted on English law. Tam Dalyell posed this as the West Lothian question and summed it up as follows.
For how long will English constituencies and English Honourable members tolerate … at least 119 Honourable Members from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland exercising an important, and probably often decisive, effect on English politics while they themselves have no say in the same matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?
I agree with this and it is a running sore to many English voters. Interestingly, to sort the West Lothian Question doesn’t need Scottish independence, but just a simple change to UK law, which would say that on matters of English law, only English MPs could vote. But would the Labour Party give up this right?
There might well be other advantages to England and I won’t debate them here, but I think it is in the interest of the whole of the UK, that the problem is settled one way or another before the end of the current UK Parliament.
Some of the biggest problems do not concern either the UK or the Scottish governments.
Suppose you are the CEO of an airline with a service to the London area, that is thinking of serving a second airport in the north of the UK. Obviously, your choice is between Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. But which? Uncertainty about the status of Scotland in the UK doesn’t help your decision. From my experience of the trains between Manchester and Scotland, it would appear that Manchester is getting the business, as opposed to Glasgow or Edinburgh. Note these points too.
- In 2010, Manchester was used by slightly more passengers than Glasgow and Edinburgh combined.
- The Scottish airports are not connected directly to the rail network. Manchester is and is due to get extra connections in the next few years.
- All airports have direct air links to either Gatwick, Heathrow or Stansted.
If Scotland’s status in the UK were to be sorted long-term, it would be a much easier decision.
There are a lot of other business decisions that are suffering from the same uncertaincy.
I actually think that the biggest problem with any Scottish referendum, is that no matter how it is written, it would not give a clear-cut result, that would satisfy everybody.
There could be three possible boxes on the ballot paper for a referendum.
- Complete independence for Scotland.
- More devolution for Scotland.
- Carry on as we are now.
The Scottish Nationalists would be very happy with one and possibly two. But as time progressed, I suspect that if they didn’t get complete independence, they’d come back again and again until they got the result they wanted. The uncertainty would be bad for Scotland and not very good for the UK. So in my view David Cameron is right to insist on an early binding referendum to put the issue to bed, once and for all. It would appear that the Scottish Nationalists want the referendum in 2014, as it’s the seven hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn. I actually think that would be a recipe for a lot of trouble, that no-one wants.
The English would also like to bury the argument and most would be happy if Scotland became independent, as it would mean no Scottish interference in matters purely of interest to the English. Remember too, that the last two Scottish Prime Ministers of the UK, are not held in much affection in England. I think too, that the English would also be happy to go along with a very definite vote for the status quo, providing that the West Lothian Question was settled and there was no chance of another referendum for at least fifteen years or so.
I feel a bit sorry for the Welsh here, as they were a bit short-changed on devolution by Tony Blair. I do have this feeling though, that Wales will do well economically in the next few years, especially if they get the infrastructure a lot better.
Northern Ireland is a totally different matter and I’ve always believed that it should be united with the south. But that will probably not happen in my lifetime.
To return to the Scottish Referendum, would any political party get a result they want?
Scotland is a much more divided country than England, although both have a lot of regional pride. Edinburgh and Glasgow rarely agree and I’ve read reports in the past, about the islands not wanting independence at all, except from the rest of Scotland.
So it will be very difficult for any party to marshall the voters.
In fact, I think that in a three choice referendum, the Scots are more likely to vote strongly for maintaining the status quo.
But the Alliance Party weren’t happy! I’m not either and I agree with the use of the Alliance Party of the word; railroaded.
But then I’ve never understood Ulster politics! So what do I know? Nothing!
Yet again, Northern Ireland is rioting and causing mayhem.
If we are giving the Scots and the Welsh a degree of independence, in these times of austerity, shouldn’t we cut Northern Ireland adrift and leave it to its own resources?
I just don’t like seeing bigots burning my taxes as a form of entertainment! Perhaps, they should impose a local income tax!