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I live in Northern Ireland and am about to write an opinion that is not Politically correct. I wish the death penalty had never been done away with. At the moment in Northern Ireland huge hurt is being inflicted on large numbers of convicted murderers being set free from Prison after serving very short times for murder and other offences. One example I can think of was a double murder that happened in 1998 in Co. Down and the people responsible were later caught, prosecuted, convicted and released from prison within two years. Two men died in this shooting but the murderers were out in two years! How valuable is a persons life. This is only one example of numerous atrocities done and the guilty parties can have a good laugh and enjoy their life. If the death penalty had still been around then maybe the hurt being felt by an awful lot of people may have been eased by knowing that the murderers themselves have also lost their lives. It is very easy for people not affected to say its in the past, move on. I just dont think it would be acceptable on the mainland for a murderer to get a slap on the wrist, told to be a good boy and raise one finger to the victims family. In my mind anyone who murders another person deserves themselves to die. Hang them all.
The Government have abolished the married persons tax allowance and say they have replaced it with a childrens tax credit. I understand what they have done but the system they have in place for assessing who receives it is grossly unfair. I have a decent job, and yes I earn a fair wage, just over £42000 per annum. My wife does not work and I have 3 children under five. I cannot claim this childrens tax credit because my wage is in excess of the limit of £42000 but my wife does not earn. One of my married friends is a teacher and earns around £33000 per annum. His wife is also in employment earning £37000 per annum. This couple also have three children under five. This couple together are bringing in a combined income in excess of £70 000 into their home yearly. I bring in just over £42 000 yearly. I am not entitled to claim this tax credit but yet this other couple are. Surely a much fairer way to bring in means testing would be for the total income instead on one of the incomes. I am not complaining because I dont receive this but because of the unfair way in which it is assessed. I am happy enough with what I get but how much more money can be put, say into the NHS, if the qualifying figure for this tax credit was based on joint income instead of one income. So many more people could benefit from less money being paid in tax credits.
Here we go again, Politicians sticking their noses into everyones affairs for no reason apart from having lost the plot completely. No way would a UK football team work. There are too many problems that would arise like 1. Who is the governing body? 2. Where would it be based? 3. Is there an equal distribution of talent used from all four countries or is it mainly made up of players from the host country? The questions could go on. Each country has the right to stand on its own merits. Its true Northern Ireland and Wales may be classed as having the weaker teams but national pride is worth playing for and the pride of pulling on youre countries shirt is worth more than cheating to win. English people may say they have the strongest team but Scotland are the most consistent team of all four and its only a matter of time before they pass England in the rankings. Why do away with all this healthy rivalry between the countries? Mr Straw should maybe think about having a Europe wide team, if he wants his country to win anything. Although a Europe wide team is as likely as the UK team. Get a grip Jack and stop taking what youre son does!
We visited Disneyland Paris for the first time last May. We have three small children so it wouldnt be too long before we realised whether or not it was a hit. We have been to Disneyworld Florida and Disneyland California so we knew what to expect from the Park but this time we were staying in the Disneyland Hotel right at the gates of the park. The hotel itself was an impressive building from the outside and then inside the show definately got going. We arrived as Mickey and Minnie were in the lobby meeting other guests and from that point on our kids just loved this place! We checked in and left our bags in the room which was clean tidy and well presented. There wasnt a lot of extra space in the room but hey how long do you want to spend in your room when you could be looking round Mickeys place. When you walk out of the door of this hotel you have to walk about 30 feet and youre there with the magic of the theme park, it really is that close! The park itself is laid out in much the same way as the parks in America but one thing we noticed was it was much easier for the kids to meet the characters. We found in the States the characters have particular places to be in the parks and this is where you go to meet them but here in Paris we came across them all over the place, the kids loved it (even the wee ones). Our boys loved the Toy Story restaurant especially when Buzz and Woody were always prowling round the restaurant when people are eating. My daughter is mad about Minnie mouse and during one of the parades minnie was at the front of it. Natasha shouted at the top of her voice "Minnie" and low and behold Minnie came over and gave her a big hug and brought her into the parade with her. She is four years old and still remembers that day. There are plenty of things to do, rides etc. for the younger children as well as the older ones (including me) in fact there is more for the younger ones in the Paris park than the main parks in America. I did not find the shops in the park any more expensive than other parks although you should bear in mind that eating in the parks is an expensive business. The weather was brilliant during our visit lots of sunshine and no rain. There were not vast crowds at that time and queues for the rides were very minimal indeed. On the whole the Paris Park is every bit as good and exciting as the parks in America although there is not the variety of parks to choose from. The Hotel we stayed in is a beautiful hotel which is right at the Park, but, it is very expensive and for a substantial saving the other Disney hotels are close by and every bit as good.
I am a great believer in the NHS but I also realise the need for Private medical care. Waiting lists for some operations are incredibly long and are very frustrating for those waiting. People with private health insurance or people who are willing to pay can "jump" the queues for operations cause they are paying. Is there anything wrong with this? If everyone only used the NHS and there was no private health care then I feel the waiting lists could only get longer than they already are. There would be a shortage of doctors able to carry out these operations as the pay with the NHS would not keep the doctors when other countries without an NHS can pay substantially more. At present these doctors pay are being supplemented by carrying out private work which enables them also to supply their services to the NHS. Last winter there was a massive bed shortage crisis with the flu epidemic. Private hospital beds were used by the NHS, although I feel the government should have footed the cost of using these beds as the money ended up being taken out of an already cash strapped NHS. If these beds had not been there then the crisis would have been much worse. In my opinion there is room in society for both the NHS and Private medical care. People have the choice to use what they desire and choice is important to us all. People who knock the private health care should not just look on it as only available to the rich and being used by the rich at the expense of everyone else, but realise it is an alternative which by its existence can actually support the NHS.
A couple of years ago my wife and I wanted to get away for a short break over Christmas. No particular reason apart from thinking Christmas abroad would make a lovely change. We booked a trip to Cyprus and stayed just outside Aiya Napa. We arrived here about three days before Christmas, got to our apartments and found a game of bingo going on in the lobby. One old lady won this particular game and stood up all excited then said to her friends " 3 pounds great. Where am I going to spend it?" My wife and I didnt think anything of this remark and went to bed. Next morning when we got up we went exploring the local shops. We found the shops but didnt find any that were open! The further we walked the more closed shops we found. There were plenty of restaurants in the area but they were all closed too. We came back to our apartments and asked some other people where the shops were etc to be told to our horror that everything closed at the end of October and does not open again until March! Now we realised what the lady had meant when she won at bingo. At least there was a bar and a shop in our apartment block. Guess what? These closed on Christmas day and Boxing day as well! We could not believe that our Christmas break in Cyprus was a complete break from humanity in that there was nothing to do. At least the weather was fine even though it got dark shortly after 3pm. Cyprus did seem to be a beautiful place but if you are going for Christmas dont expect to have a wild time.
I recently flew to the States with Airtours. I have flown to the States quite often but this was the first time with this company. Usually I have flown with Virgin, BA or American Airlines. The airtours plane i admit was pleasant although the amount of legroom left a lot to be desired. The TV's on each seat, although usually on scheduled flights, were a nice touch but you had to buy the headsets. The food on board the plane was not great and anything you wanted to drink had to be paid for. People are under the illusion that flying with airtours to the States is cheaper because its a charter flight. I disagree. On a scheduled flight the headsets are usually free. On a scheduled flight the bar is free, you can prebook your seating and your meals free, there is usually a bit more legroom. Pre booking your seating and meals with airtours cost us £10 per person and the meals on the return journey could not be booked. One of my children has a nut allergy so this was unsuitable for us. If we had wanted a seat by one of the exits this was £50 per person. Why do they charge this when scheduled airlines do it for free. Also on a scheduled airline children usually travel at a 30 - 40% reduction in the adult fare - On airtours we had to pay adult price for the children. They said this was because we were travelling at short notice. We booked the flights 6 weeks before we left. In Florida, this is where i travelled to with airtours, the scheduled airlines fly into the main international airport while the charter flights use Sanford which is miles away and in the middle of no where. I cant complain about the crew or other staff they were very good but it is not much more expensive to fly scheduled, if it is at all. Plus with scheduled you can choose your day to fly and duration of stay without any penalty as they fly on a daily basis.
I can understand everyone having something to say about the prospect of cloning. But do the people who criticise and condemn it think of the benefits that can come from this practice. Any parent wants the best for their child, and why not? This new technology has the potential for being able to cure hitherto uncurable illnesses. Is it not better to have a go instead of sitting back ridiculing it? People who want to become parents but have some illness they may well pass on to their child will naturally want to make sure as far as possible their child is healthy. Why do some people apparently prefer the idea of bringing disabled children into the world when there is the possibility of bringing full bodied and healthy children in. Don't get me wrong - I am not ridiculing the disabled - but if there is the chance of not afflicting a new child with disabilities why should it not be taken? Another argument some people put forward is that if to have children means the child will be afflicted then can't have children. Thats okay for someone to say when they have children because they don't understand the need for other childless couples to have kids! I am all in favour of the advancement of technology and I just wish other people would take their blindfolds off and start realising the benefits that can be had from this wondrous discovery.
Last year I bought my kids an interactive Barney and video pack from the Early Learning Centre. WOW! What a hit this proved to be. The kids love the big purple Dinosaur anyway but to have him at home in their living room singing, playing games and joining in when the video is playing is something else. Not a cheap toy, last year was £100 plus £50 for the video pack, although I believe you can get it cheaper this year. Barney sings talks and plays games without the extra video or PC packs so in my opinion is well worth the money on its own but the extra of the add on packs makes him that bit special.
Just over 1 year ago I bought a hotpoint aquarius washing machine. We needed a new machine as the one we had was beginning to break down due to the regular use. We have three babies in the house and naturally the washing machine was in regular use. We got this new aquarius machine and after a couple of months problems started appearing which necesitated calling for the repair man. During the year we had the repair man out now fewer than six times. At the end of the year we were told that the washing machine was 'burnt out' and hotpoint gave us a full refund and told us not to buy another one because of the amount of use it was getting they would not guarantee that the next one would last any longer. Clearly if you are in a household with a requirement for very regular use of the machine I would not advise a Hotpoint aquarius.
Great fun having a party at Christmas, getting all your friends into your house, drinking, eating, platying games. Next day not so much fun. Christmas comes round and everyone knows a lot of money has to be spent. Do what I do. Get someone in to clean your home after your party. It only costs maybe 20 or 30 quid but believe me its well worth it. You can have a ball at the party, see the state of the house after it but hey! Who cares! Its Christmas. Eat, drink and be merry and forget about the consequences!
Belfast over the years has had a lot of negative publicity mainly concerning the troubles in this little place. Now Belfast really is beginning to buzz. There are new places opening all the time eg. Waterfront Hall for concerts, plays etc. In early December another new spot for nightlife will open - The Odyssey Arena. This is going to be the home for the Belfast Giants, Ice Hockey team. It will also host live concerts, has a large multi screen cinema and a number of restaurants all in the area of the odyssey arena. This is just one of the new exciting places to open in Belfast along the side of the River Lagan. Belfast really is a place on the up and well worth a visit.
I had never heard of Deep vein thrombosis until very recently. Apparently this is a problem which may occurr, not often, due to insufficient exercise during a long haul flight. Airlines have known about this illness for a long time so why did they not tell their fare paying passengers? I have travelled on many long haul flights but never heard of this. Apparently it is easy to avoid. During your flight lift your feet on their tip toes until you feel the calf muscles on your legs strain and the do the same but on your heels. Avoid alcohol or take very little during your flight. If you can take aspirin take one before your flight. Apparently these things can help you avoid this illness. I heard another startling stastic yesterday and that is 140 people died in the Gatwick area last year after coming off long haul flights. Surely in these circumstances Airlines ought to have more responsibility towards their fare paying passengers and inform them of these dangers and what appear to be easy solutions to help you avoid this illness! One thing I know is that my next long haul flight will be different in that I know about this and I am prepared now to be able to help myself get to my destination more safely than the airlines were guaranteeing.
Every year I get the feling that Christmas is coming earlier. Well, IT IS! Halloween has just passed but even before that my local M&S store had one or two small Christmas trees on display in their store. I had just come back from holiday so I know it was late September. I have three small kids so when we went into the store the usual Christmas phrase started - "Iwant". Santa has arrived already in the major stores now in my area. I am writing this on 23rd November. How long will the commercialisation of this Chritian event keep going? Are we going to end up with Santa having a break after Christmas but arriving back in February? By the time Christmas day comes I feel most people are thoroughly sick and tired of all the fuss which causes great harm to the actual point of Christmas, The celebration of the birth of Christ! If major stores etc. began to worry more about the shoppers instead of their pockets I feel that Christmas could once again become a holiday which is enjoyed by all. I have no problem with all the shops putting on displays, late nights etc. to get shoppers in but COME ON! Why not celebrate Christmas at the proper time of the year and stop bringing it forward earlier and earlier every year.
The common buzz words at the moment seem to be the world is suffering from Global Warming. Is it or is it all just media hype. Recently with the severe floods in the UK, yes they were serious, various commentators repeatedly mentioned this 'buzz' phrase of Global warming. The same commemtators then went on to say these were the worst floods for over 50 years! If these floods were not the worst floods ever then why is Global warming being blamed? Surely if the floods occurred 50 years ago when a lot less greenhouse gases were present what was the reason then? Rock and Roll? Society at present appear to try to find someone or something to blame for absolutely everything. Has anyone considered the possibility that this is just a natural phenomenom and not something caused by man.