No taking away the honour of gaining a gong in the new years honours list for those who really deserve some recognition but really some of the names put up by the Coalition are really just that, a bit of a mishmash.

Blindingly obvious omissions and a few names that really should not be there. Roger Carr for many years closely allied to Nigel Rudd (current chair of that great Spanish success Heathrow Airport) when they were City darlings building up mini conglomerate Williams Holdings, some may say at the time riding roughshod over small family firms ... and Carrs finest hour, in essence delivering blue chip Cadbury into the waiting arms of the ever caring Kraft Company.

Trawling through the lists, a lifetimes work rewarded by the Monarch and in many cases much deserved whereas others just kept the berth warm, taking out as much as possible, ramped up the expenses. This brings us to the recent BBC departure Mark Byford, services to broadcasting but better known for the expenses he managed to clock up all paid for by the BBC licence fee payer.

A poor list by any account but totally in keeping with the coalition ideal, no one really in charge and no doubt many names didn't make it through on political disagreement grounds. Some may ask why the Monarch is involved at all? On the 2010 report card "Cameron and Clegg must do better and listen to what people are saying...."
They won't and we all will suffer this year and for a few years to come. Now where did I put those cruise brochures? It's rapidly becoming cheaper to do a few winter sun type cruises than pay for food and heating oil in the UK, our US cousins pay far less in real terms although they may be catching up in recent months.
Oh, did I say VAT is going up on Jan 4th to 20%? No but there again, the figure of 20% is just the opening percentage, with routine price increases, it's looking near a 40% plus hike for all goods and services within the UK and none of us realise it..... and a very Happy New Year from Julian Bray!

Contributor: Media,Aviation & Travel Expert, Writer & sJulian Bray SKYPE: Julian.Bray.UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio direct)G722/APT-X DualCodecs GlensoundC5All Moral Rights Asserted

Arrest Made in Joanna Yates Murder Enquiry

Christopher Jefferies has now been released on Police bail without being charged but pending further enquiries by Police who continue to comb Mr Jeffries properties and vehicles.

The landlord of Joanna Yeates, has been arrested by Police on suspicion of her murder.
Police arrested Christopher Jefferies, 65, at his home in Canynge Road, Clifton, Bristol - the same property in which Miss Yeates rented a basement flat and lived there for some weeks with her boyfriend - and took him into custody for questioning over the 25-year-old's death by strangulation.
Joannas' corpse was found in a frozen state several days later after she was reported missing by her boyfriend who had just returned to the flat having visited his parents in another part of the UK.

The arrest at 7:30 am this morning, comes after Mr Jefferies, who owns several rental properties, a retired public school teacher and lecturer, appeared to make contradictory comments on Wednesday to TV reporters about whether he had seen Miss Yeates leaving her flat with two people on the night she disappeared. Police have also taken away a car said to belong to Mr Jeffries.

Contributor: Media,Aviation & Travel Expert, Writer & Broadcaster Julian Bray SKYPE: Julian.Bray.UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio direct)G722/APT-X DualCodecs GlensoundC5All Moral Rights Asserted

easyJet to deny UK Treasury £10 million in VAT over 3 Years...

According to the boffins at the IAG website, easyJet appears ready to launch a new low-cost tour operation outside the UK to save millions in VAT or put another way in future will deny the UK Treasury, millions of pounds of tax revenue.

easyJet Holidays, a joint venture between easyJet and Lowcost Travel, is likely to be registered in Switzerland in a bid to avoid UK VAT under the Tour Operator’s Margin Scheme. Should this prove successful it could well lead to many other UK tour operators seeking to register overseas.

IAG claims the deal could save circa. £10million in VAT over three years. An easyJet spokesman said: ‘EasyJet as a matter of principle looks to structure its business efficiently and in accordance with any legislation. The exact structure is still being finalised and we will look to engage with Revenue & Customs to ensure they are aware from the outset how easyJet Holidays will operate.”

If this move is successful, then the Swiss can expect lots more business. IAG say this is a smart move against cloying government and rapacious taxes. The EU will also take note, as EU firms are likely to follow suit. Of course the folks in Brussels could make new laws to stop this leakage – but it will take them some time before they can put this into effect.

Julian Bray adds: The UK coalition government still has the option of withdrawing the new outfits operators licence on financial stability grounds and it remains to be seen if the new offshore easyjet set up will still offer holidaymakers protection under the UK domestic CAA scheme. The question of full refunds by credit card companies under the UK Consumer Credit Act when an Operator goes bust also needs to be looked at and quickly. There also seems to be no screams of outrage from ABTA as a wholesale move of this type could bury the remaining high street travel agents.

Contributor: Media,Aviation & Travel Expert, Writer & Broadcaster Julian Bray SKYPE: Julian.Bray.UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio direct)G722/APT-X DualCodecs GlensoundC5All Moral Rights Asserted

Paranoia over power cuts and Heathrow controlled for £13.75

Why am I paranoid? The electricity has spiked three times over the festive period, I know because the answer machine robotically informs me "The answer machine is on ", the Sky box switches off and in extreme cases I have 30 seconds to defuse the burglar alarm. It can only be a matter of time before the gas goes off as well. That is probably why I spent £13:75 at the local chinese supermarket on a portable gas stove made by that well known brand Korea Foods... Still if Korea can knock out, ship and deliver a high spec unit like this, for under £14 this household is now virtually self sufficent and ready for the real snow and power cuts certainly due in mid January.

The paranoia also stems from what this coalition government is not doing. The fragrant Ms Villiers (Transport Minister) gained widespread news coverage on a slack news day over her assurance that airport operators would be fined huge amounts. The sweet youngish thing forgets that it has to go through parliament first by which time she will have sprogged several children, married twice and probably been elevated to the House of Lords. It really needs Cameron to call COBRA together to stir matters up, evoke emergency powers and ramrod the management and operations at Londons shabby Heathrow Airport.

Even on Health & Safety gounds it cannot be right that intending passengers are hounded out of the terminals (they make terminals look untidy and the retail people are probably complaining too) into a shanty city of poorly equipped tents.

Just as the RMS Titanic had the legally required number of lifeboats on board at the start of its fateful maiden voyage (the number of lifeboats having been drastically cut to the bare legal minimum so the sun deck remained uncluttered) the same should not apply to London Heathrow and any other airport operator for that matter, the bare legal minimum number of snow clearing units and aircraft de icers (if that standard does indeed exist), needs to be revised upwards to a level that puts a snow shower of just a few inches under control with the minimum of disruption to the schedules.

Heathrow also needs to take a look at the information delivery mechanism, the media relations joker who initially appeared in front of the TV cameras complete with frizzy perm was soon replaced by a poorly media trained head honcho Colin Matthews (on a remuneration package of over £1 million per annum) like his chairman had clearly taken their eye off the operations ball.

Greater co-operation with airlines to de-ice aircraft on the airport stands and a joined up major incident plan is needed. Clearly the one that exists (I know as I've seen it - a fw years ago admittedly) has either not been updated or someone lost the key to the file where it's now kept. Either way we should not accept it and crucially nor should the Coalition government and HM Opposition, on this they can all come together without any loss of face... action this day Papa November cleared for takeoff....not.

Contributor: Media,Aviation & Travel Expert, Writer & Broadcaster Julian Bray SKYPE: Julian.Bray.UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio direct)G722/APT-X DualCodecs GlensoundC5All Moral Rights Asserted

Why Nigel Rudd should resign as Chairman from Heathrow Airport Operator BAA

Nigel Rudd is an honourable man, Chairman of BAA plc, he has even been a client of mine in the dim distant past but really Nigel it's time to stand up to the Spanish construction majority shareholder in the shambles known as London Heathrow and the other airport at the end of a poorly serviced branch line.
Whilst the Spanish construction industry trawls along the bottom, it is little wonder that the one profitable area, London Heathrow Airport is seeing revenues pumped back into Spanish hands. It can only be done if costs are kept to a minimum and on-site plant run way beyond its reasonable sell by date.

The CAA is a passive once in five years regulator (fixes prices nothing more) and who cares if the logistics and operational side of Heathrow is kept on a very short lead,starved of funding and investment? Clearly climate change is happening and we can expect longer and colder Winters, the lacklustre Environment Agency (favoured revolving door recruitment focus for Anglian Water!) has been banging on about it for at least a decade, although offering little in physical or practical resources.

There is a limit as to how you create flood defences, perhaps EA might like to use all the glossy publications currently stored in warehouses around the UK? But back to Heathrow, here is my suggestion Government sets up a Porterhouse style leasing operation for snow moving plant as the private sector did for trains and railway carriages (and made a fortune out of it), that plant is them rented to BAA and all other airport and marine port operators on a mandatory commercial lease rental, the minimum level of snow moving plant being decided by an external body.

The point being that whilst the bull fighteres might be out of pocket, the whole of this beleagured island is disadvantaged as airports shut down and ports are closed. Costing many, many billions more than a Spanish dividend...

It won't happen of course, this seemingly loose coalition government is getting weaker by the day, trouble is the alternative is just too horrible to think about.....

Contributor: Media,Aviation & Travel Expert, Writer & Broadcaster Julian Bray SKYPE: Julian.Bray.UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio direct) G722/APT-X DualCodecs GlensoundC5All Moral Rights Asserted

Julian Bray, NUJ LIFE MEMBER? Me?

Julian Bray NUJ Life Member, MCIPR, Equity

It only seemed like yesterday, but the NUJ - National Union of Journalists accepted me Julian Bray as a member over 40 years ago, and have now awarded me Life Membership (shome mistake!) I've seen a revolution in news gathering during that time and well remember the look of horror and disbelief when I produced the very first laptop computer (a Tandy (Radio Shack) 100!) specially adapted for modem telephone transmission to telex lines, in Fleet Street, London, El Vinos' Wine Bar. The wine-bar owner Christopher Mitchell, tut tutted, and his bar manager, the late genial Geofffrey Van-Hay just raised his elegant nose and glided away..

In those early days large Imperial typewriters were physically chained to desks (stopped them being thrown at people), well oiled, under the table, journalists could dictate telephone copy to a battery of hard bitten copytakers who would make a highly reasonable story out the most garbled drunken rubbish... These days journalists are under the electronic thumb, a few drinks and what goes into the computer will also come out. Rubbish in, rubbish out... The same went for radio, midget EMI wire recorders (the size of a suitcase) gave way to the Uher Report, still heavy but could be carried on a shoulder strap, recording on reel to reel 1/4 inch 20 minutes on a reel of tape. Now I have a digital recorder the size of a cigarette packet and can happily waffle on for 50 hours or so before the SD card says its full or just had enough!

The union has been good to me and countless others, with information and practical help when its needed. The legal services team have also assisted from time to time and in recent years older journalists are encouraged to cross train and upgrade with a series of NUJ created training packages. Unions often get knocked and seem to be represented on TV by loudmouth dyed-in -the wool union 1930's throwbacks but in many cases the good work gets overlooked. Thanks NUJ the honour is much's to the next forty years...

Contributor: Media,Aviation & Travel Expert, Writer & Broadcaster Julian Bray SKYPE: Julian.Bray.UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio direct)G722/APT-X DualCodecs GlensoundC5All Moral Rights Asserted

Coalition Blues get a Yellow Tweek

Encountered this Lisbon Tram five days ago, in festive mode, double click on
picture to see it full size,
and explain to your children that if Santa (could be Vince Cable in disguise) is driving trams in Lisbon, he's not going to make it to the UK so no presents...sounds better than being stuck in a container from China on the high seas!

Honey trap! So much has been written about Vince Cable and his grandstanding in front of a couple of covert female journalists during a constituency surgery, but it bears further examination. Cable was in fact an economist with Shell before entering politics. Its not the first time the Cable Guy has upset the political apple cart and the latest inappropriate media event will take place over Christmas as the cable guy appears on a Strictly Come Dancing special, one can only hope he is teamed up with the former politician the astonishingly ugly Ann Widdecombe, who viewers might have forgotten wanted pregnant female prisoners to be handcuffed to hospital beds whilst giving birth. UGH! Finally, my partner has had the shock of her life, the Christmas edition of the Radio Times has been revamped. You only now seem to get detailed listing for evening viewing instead of a whole days comprehensive output.

Contributor: Media,Aviation & Travel Expert, Writer & Broadcaster Julian Bray SKYPE: Julian.Bray.UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio direct)G722/APT-X DualCodecs GlensoundC5All Moral Rights Asserted


Surfing above the Bay of Biscay on the FLOWRIDER just five days ago,
on board the RCI Independence of the Seas, the largest cruise liner in Europe
on an 18 night voyage around the Med....from Southampton. No airports or airlines involved!

Colin Matthews, the media robotic head honcho of the cash rich but logistically and operationally poor London Aviation adventure by a Spanish construction company - who paid over the odds for BAA, the Heathrow Airport operator - has seemingly wiped out his permed longhaired unshaven head of media and seemingly with little or no media training and a new 'Just for Men' darker hair colour is now fronting all Tv interviews.
Mr Matthews (salary circa, £1 million per annum) declared he is to give up his annual bonus (like the bankers eh?) after the absolute 'Horlicks' which is currently the state of the snow hit major London Airport.

Gatwick Airport was also sold off but the new owners of that operation in the last two weeks had a look at the long term forecast and quickly spent £8 million on snow movers and some of the newly acquired kit is already in operation at Gatwick (they spent eight times Colins annual £1 million Heathrow salary).

Meanwhile back at snowbound Heathrow, donning a pristine clearly brand new day-glo high viz jacket, nose running, standing in the cold, WHY?) we can expect in the coming days, the TV media routine to include our Colin physically shifting a token shovel load of snow.
He certainly won't be driving a snow mover/blower as Heathrow didn't order any new ones and the Spanish owners seeing the core construction business evaporate at home are not too willing to spend the money.

The Spaniards clearly like what Colin Matthews has done - relentlessly running Heathrow at over 95% capacity, wringing out every last dollar, pound, euro from captive would be passengers, but seemingly not too willing to put into operation a pre-drilled major disaster plan which the current airport situation really is. Heathrow even turned down the coalition government offer of trained disciplined troops and engineering equipment to physically clear the aircraft stands......why?

Coping with a massive influx of passengers can be caterered for but it needs strategic thinking, for what it is worth here is my suggestion. Hire in film location caterers, dining buses and large steel frames tents with beds and toilet/bathroom facilities all on site within hours. I know it is possible as I've done it!
But all this costs money and the newish owners sitting in warm offices in Madrid, are clearly not too bothered about events far away....perhaps we should just cancel Spain as a travel destination? Possibly switch to the new generation of mega cruise ships where a call of 160, 000 meals a day (YES I did say 160,000) is possible (RCI Independence of the Seas - round trips out of Southampton).

But in Heathrow, tens of thousands of passengers, all dossing down for another bleak night in the airport terminals and in some quickly errected cheapo party tents, so as not to litter the terminal with bodies. They've been issued with silver foil emergency blankets so looking like a group of turkeys ready for roasting. Which is probably the nearest they will get to any form of Christmas celebration. Spookily its not the first time an aviation linked Colin M. has tried the 'giving up my bonus ploy. Take a look at this Reuters 1991 report:

Pay Cut at Top for British Airways

Top officials of British Airways will take pay cuts this year to avoid the recent criticism of huge pay increases that has been leveled at other British company officers, The Financial Times newspaper said today.

The company's chairman, Lord King, will have his $890,000 annual salary cut by about $170,000 following the airline's poor results, the paper said. The chief executive, Sir Colin Marshall, will take a similar cut, putting his pay at around $540,000. A company spokesman was not immediately available to confirm the reported pay cuts.

So it's a Marshall and not a Matthews but instead of resigning, the bonus has again been waived. Merry Christmas.....

Contributor: Media,Aviation & Travel Expert, Writer & Broadcaster Julian Bray SKYPE: Julian.Bray.UK Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile: 07944 217476ISDN2 downline +44(0)1733 555 319 (B'cast ISDN Remote Studio direct)G722/APT-X DualCodecs GlensoundC5All Moral Rights Asserted


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