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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Letters to the Editor

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The smart meter mob will never give up

Gillian Dymond’s piece on TCW about smart meters prompts me to add a bit more from my own experience.

A couple of months ago I related an exchange between myself and ‘the only energy supplier recommended by Which? Magazine’, as the adverts keep reminding us.

I’ll admit I was intemperate and should not have included the first name of the agent which had ‘caused him great and unnecessary distress, he is just doing his job and paying to put himself through Uni’. I apologised and his name has now been redacted. But there is a follow-up lower down.

Here is what happened next:

To which I replied: ‘I did not ask you to do this. How dare you presume. Do not proceed.’

I went on to use the complaints procedure. I said I disliked their corporate approach to communication and what I saw as an arrogant and bullying attitude. But here’s the kicker in their reply, about that unwanted appointment:

‘The metering appointment booked for the 11th July shows booked by Customer using anonymous URL. This suggests that you have booked this appointment yourself I am sorry if this is not the case?’

You may be quite sure that I did not create an anonymous URL – I don’t know how to do that or how I would use it to book the service appointment. In any case I had already said that I wanted to be the last person in the country to have a smart meter installed. So I said to them‘If the authorisation was anonymous I think you may make your own speculations as to who did this and why.’

I don’t know what is more outrageous: the ‘anonymous authorisation’ or the complaints department’s suggestion that I did it myself.

I’ve changed supplier to get away from this outfit and will continue to resist, though more wisely I hope.

But see what happens when a corporation gets even a little personal information about you; how it can mess with you if it pleases. Power will always be abused, sooner or later.

Now I have had a letter from the water company saying it is going to fit a smart water meter. Smart systems, non-human shopping . . . I feel the net closing.

Rolf Norfolk

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Out-of-date cash

Dear Editor,

Having popped into Waitrose to buy some fruit, I queued at the ‘baskets only’ tills which are manned by humans, clutching a £10 note as I wished to pay in cash. I seemed to be waiting an inordinate amount of time, given there was only one person ahead of me. It turned out the till had suddenly stopped scanning. We were therefore moved systematically along the remaining three empty tills, which one after another also ceased to function. As the queue of bemused customers grew, we were shepherded to the larger tills to join the queues of people with full trolleys, whilst one by one they also froze, until the entire payment system of the store shut down. The young Waitrose manager appeared at a loss to offer any leadership in managing the situation. Several customers complained the same thing had happened the day before, so I suggested to her that there needed to be a contingency system which could operate manually and take cash. The word ‘cash’ seemed to register distaste with the young manager, who dismissed such a suggestion with the words: ‘We need to move with the times!’

The good news was that during the 45 minutes in which this debacle unfolded, there was a coming together of customers decrying AI. I leapt on the opportunity to talk about the alternative media, in anything but muffled tones, and a group of people in my queue struck up animated conversations about the valuable work of James Delingpole, TCW and GB News!

Serena Wylde

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Conversations with my six-year-old

What is hate speech, Mummy?
It’s what the government hate you to say.
Who are the government?
Well, no one really knows any more. We used to think they were those who sat round the Cabinet table.
What do they do round the Cabinet table?
Discuss things.
Like hate speech?
That, and how to hang on to power.
You mean like hanging on to the package in pass-the parcel when the music is still going?
Oh, they pass the parcel round all right.
But not when the music has stopped?
Well they try to keep that going.
So no one ever unwraps the parcel?
Not if they can help it.
I don’t understand.
It’s called a political party.
Can I have one at my next birthday?
It’s not that sort of party.
But they sit round the drinks cabinet and play pass-the-parcel?
It’s not that sort of cabinet.
Are there no bottles of drinks in it?
I wouldn’t swear to that.
What about cake and balloons?
They have those at their party conferences.
So, can I have a party conference at my next birthday?
It’s only for grown-ups who like sitting down a lot.
Mrs Thompson wouldn’t like that. She says you have to run about in the fresh air or you get fat.
Perhaps Mrs  Thompson could give lessons to the House of Commons.
Is that a school?
It behaves like one.
But it doesn’t have a playground?
Yes it does. It’s called the House of Commons Bar.

Francesca Abbott

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They’ve got their eye on you

Dear Editor

The head of MI5 gave a speech earlier this month.

You can read about it in this Daily Mail article: ‘MI5 is using
AI to root out terrorists by deciphering whether those who watch violent videos pose a threat, spy chief says’. 
Here is a quote from his speech, as reported in the article:
‘Understanding whether, say, a prolific contributor to extreme
Right-wing online forums is also watching graphic beheading videos can help in assessing the level of risk they might pose.’

I believe politicians should pay more attention to what MI5 is doing.

Adam Clarke

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What exactly does ‘Made in Britain’ mean?

Dear Editor,

I have a strong aversion to financing the gutting of Britain’s manufacturing base, as one does when buying a foreign-made product. Like many of us I endeavour to buy British when I can.

But the difficulty of penetrating the cunning, dishonesty, and outright cheating of the marketing fraternity can make this very difficult.

The first difficulty is finding out where a product is made: the place of origin is always shrouded in mystery.  The marketers will proudly boast of the product being ‘designed in the UK’ or ‘engineered in the UK’ or even ‘designed and engineered in the UK’ but never ‘made in the UK’! Evidence, if any were needed, that purchasers are influenced by where a product is made.

Even if one manages to find a UK manufacturer, their claims have to be investigated in detail. So often their product lines are mixed with imported items. Then, they often claim, the company is proudly ‘British’. The company may well be British but it is simply an importer or a retailer.

Often is the Union flag prominently displayed; what does that prove? Absolutely nothing. The most obscure company in Outer Mongolia can quite easily display the Union Flag.

The second difficulty is in establishing what exactly does ‘made’ means.  A well-known firm markets its cast-iron stoves as ‘made in Britain’. However, all the components are made in the far East and simply assembled in the UK.

One aches for a register of British manufactured products, and  wonders why the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) doesn’t support one. Surprise: the CBI is a confederation of multi-national conglomerates.

If we had a government that was loyal to this country, and had a real interest in both what is left of our manufacturing industries and the British consumer, we would have some simple legislation. Especially since the constraints of the EU have been removed.

Let us have good definition of what ‘made in the UK’ means; even if we have to define the concept of ‘substantially made’. Then let us have a legal requirement for every product sold in the UK to have the country of manufacture clearly marked. And for good measure why not have the CBI be forced to maintain, at the expense of their members, an on-line register of British made products?

Charles Shackerley-Bennett

Witchcot 

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The wrong sort of comment

Dear Editor

This recent Telegraph article had about 200 comments, all pointing out immigration problems. Now the Telegraph has got rid of the comments. Must have been wrongthink . . .

Garry Lavin

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TCW
Edited by Kathy Gyngell

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