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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.

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Friday, 30 April 2010

Round Three Leaders Debate. The Bigotgate Revenge.

Mrs Gillian Duffy, Champion of the people


Round Three Leaders Debate.
The Bigotgate Revenge.



What a difference a day makes! Yesterday it was Bigotgate and Gordon making repeated apologies to a Rotherham Grandmother for an unguarded remark but at least the sun was shining. Today the weather decided to change and it bucketed down on the University of Birmingham and literally put a damper on the whole proceedings.

The gladiators, the three main party leaders - the Scottish Gnats being thrown a bone by a seat on Questiontime on BBC1 transmitted live immediately after the debate-arrived by car and escorted in.


Cameron and Clegg, one car each but when Gordon Brown arrived a full presidential motorcade, I counted 7 vehicles; swept into the front of the University grand hall.

The BBC designed set was a delight, unlike the previous two with just a few discreet BBC logos on the lecterns rather than blanket house publicity for the host broadcaster.

The highly structured format of the whole series really put the lid on a free ranging exchange but at least we had a taste of what could happen if you put the three of them inside a large weighted sack and threw it in the River Thames, they would all rapidly devise a uniform strategy to get out of the bag to save themselves. The questions from a rum assortment of British Voters mainly dressed by courtesy of Oxfam completed the preparations.


Standing at the lecterns Cameron on the left, Clegg centre stage and Brown on the right the questions came and you could see that the lessons learned during debates one and two were being put to good use but I noted that Gordon Brown looked drawn and frankly ill – the man really needs a good nights sleep.


Questions came and answers given all drawn from the previously published manifesto, along party lines almost word for word. So no need to go over it all again here but there were subtle changes in tone and style.


I recorded only one Cameron reference to ‘the big society’ and that was virtually at the end of the allotted 90 minutes, so perhaps that’s a policy to be strangled at birth? We shall see.


Gordon Brown relied on set pieces and endless repetition: a good example: Deficit reduction plans which Gordon says he has stuffed in his back pocket. Before the final set piece, a statement by each one of the leaders I mentally put together my own poll of what the voting intention would be giving them marks out of ten : Cameron 8, Clegg 7 and Brown 4 and tweeted the numbers. Clearly Bigotgate had effectively killed the Labour campaign stone dead in its tracks.


Much later the You Gov poll for The Sun newspaper came out: Cameron 41`% Clegg 32% and Brown 25% . ITV also commissioned COMRES giving Cameron 35%, Clegg 33% and Brown 26% . We’ll know our fate within a week and then let the real fun and games begin. It’s not going to be pretty and will last for several years….but then be thankful we are not living in Greece!


Contributor: Julian Bray http://tinyurl.com/pknlxn Broadcasters ISDN 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X (3D2) Dual Codec Landline: 01733 345581

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Gordon Brown. A Duffer Duffed by Duffy. Gordon Brown Unspun….


Gordon Brown. A Duffer Duffed by Duffy: Gordon Brown Unspun



Julian Bray,  Duckhouse Political Blog contributor has for some months now, called for the metal and physical makeup of Gordon Brown to be subjected to the detailed searching checks and balances that any potential chairman of a major PLC would go through before the ‘appointment’ is confirmed. A full medical and a detailed investigation, into his previous career history.


If you live on the moon or have just come out from a mountain retreat you might not be aware of the mega gaffe zinging its way around the world in full colour video and stereo sound. Simply Gordon Brown was ushered towards a woman out shopping for a loaf of bread in Rochdale, Greater Manchester and she then let rip with a series of sensible questions.


This was day one of Gordons’ new remit to talk and engage with ordinary voters and not just hand picked party apologists. Forgetting that he was still wearing a live radio microphone, the cameras continued to record as Gordon sped away in his presidential motorcade protesting that Mrs Duffy Was a bigoted woman.


Brown later ushered into a BBC studio was then still blissfully unaware of the gaffe was then played the full recording, head slowly sunk into hands…meanwhile the BBC had made Mrs Duffy aware of the gaffe and sitting on the door sill of the scanner truck Mras Duffy heard Gordon Brown calling her ‘a bigoted woman’.


The lady was visibly angry and very distressed vowing to tear up her postal vote she had already completed but not yet posted. A major Labour vote very publicly lost!


Gordon Browns’ gatekeeper is the long serving Sue Nye, married to a multi-millionaire Banker and said to fiercely shield the Prime Minister from ordinary mortals. This is believed to be the same Sue fingered by Gordon for setting up the encounter with Mrs Duffy. But what gives me the right to take a look at this public relations gaffe and slow-motion political car crash?


For many years I ran two highly visible London City Public Relations firms and routinely put captains of industry, politicians, heads of state and visiting US showbiz stars through intensive media training courses (UK media is a million miles apart from the way the Americans conduct press and media relations).


Make no mistake not only did Gordon Brown deeply offend an articulate 65 year old widow and until yesterday staunch labour supporter, but he will also be shown the red card by many thousands of ‘ordinary’ voters who immediately identify with Gillian Duffy and the series of questions the UK media has so far tried but shamefully failed to put to Mr Brown.


Her tone was measured, the questions easy to understand and went right to the heart of what this election should be all about; Debt, Immigration, and Pensions. Unlike the current Press pack, plucky Mrs Duffy could teach journalists and broadcasters a thing or two. Not satisfied with the usual well rehearsed mantra of tractor facts delivered at breakneck speed from Mr Brown, she came back and pressed him again and again and again on specific points.


Trying to run an election campaign on the cheap is also a big problem for Labour, Tony Blair had an aide permanently in charge of audio and video feeds and these would be offered post filter by the party to broadcasters.


Yesterdays mega gaffe was caused by the rostered ‘pool’ radio mic from SKYNews (directly beamed to the camera and the hired in SIS scanner truck). Fitting a body pack radio mic is also a major feat of dressing and undressing. The transmitter pack is either in your pocket or attached to your belt and the cable should run up underneath a shirt and the tie mic clipped to – a tie!


The lazy way is to run the cable over the shirt and put the transmitter body pack in the jacket upper pocket. As Gordon Brown found to his cost the mic, using the ‘lazy’ installation is quickly forgotten. Had he taken time with the installation, the simple act of sitting down and directly on the rock hard transmitter pack in the car would have caused immediate discomfort and alerted the gaffe prone Premier. A case of more haste less speed.


Ironically, my own postal vote arrived just as the Mrs Duffy saga was being played out, my partner has already completed her postal vote prior to the ‘bigoted woman’ gaffe and I completed mine shortly afterwards… The political map of the UK changed in an instant.. but for Mrs Duffy, her political life as an empowered voter is just beginning!



Contributor: Julian Bray http://tinyurl.com/pknlxn Broadcasters ISDN 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X (3D2) Dual Codec Landline: 01733 345581

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

What Gordon really thinks:

THE WORD FOR TODAY IS:

BIGOT

Contributor: Julian Bray http://tinyurl.com/pknlxn Broadcasters ISDN 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X (3D2) Dual Codec Landline: 01733 345581

Thursday, 22 April 2010

SkyTV Gets Its Bristols Out - 3 Men Go West –



SkyTV Gets Its Bristols Out - 3 Men Go West –

So here we are again and who will win round two of the series of General Election Debates? Unfortunately for SkyTV who first mooted the idea. The BBC and ITV are not to carry the debate live on terrestrial TV as to do that would variously upset the soap and footy fans, not to mention political balance cries from those left out... A major blow to Sky and no doubt will be long remembered when it comes to channel hosting and gateway charges…

But back to the candidates: the runners and riders.


James Gordon Brown, Labour Party, Prime Minister. (Yes James is his first name) missing an eye and failing sight in the other, serial nail biter, world weary lived in face, mobile bottom chin, prone to reeling off obscure facts and cannot even when forced provide what appears to be a genuine smile.


David Cameron, Leader Conservatives. Found to his cost that all the media training he has skipped over the years has now come home to roost. How do I know this? All PR men react the same way, always the bridesmaid never the bride, close to the event but not actually starring in it. Never had the opportunity to be truly centre stage in an independent forum and not with the full majesty and hype of a major TV event.


Nick Clegg Leader Liberal Democrats (LibDems) .Youth, tall good looking, confident knows a little about a lot so others need to dig under the well honed exterior shell. Good at soundbites and on the hoof voxpops (corrupted from voice of the people) street interviews.

Hopefully media advisors will have touched on the following:


Shoulder blades back and together –straightens spine and opens up chest cavity, expands lungs, take deep, deep breaths and try to make the voice come from the diaphragm and not simply the back of the throat


Only drink room temperature tepid water never chilled or with ice and only enough to wet the throat.


Take a few spoons of honey cough mixture immediately before the event or ideally a mild anaesthetic like Difflam Oral Rinse ( needs a Doctors prescription) throat gargle. So the latter is unlikely.


On stage skills front relentlessly follow and look at the camera even when the moderator or the other hopefuls on the rostrum are talking to you, this is not the real world and normal rules of etiquette do not apply.


Don’t crack rehearsed jokes, you need comedic timing and none of our trio have it.


Finally be yourself. Be honest, honesty shines through. Let the games continue….


Contributor: Julian Bray
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London met police new guidelines on dealing with photographers press and public


This should clear up a few grey areas, for both press and members of the public. Taken from the Met. Police website (just released) 

Photography advice

The Metropolitan Police Service’s approach towards photography in public places is a subject of regular debate.

We encourage officers and the public to be vigilant against terrorism but recognise the importance not only of protecting the public from terrorism but also promoting the freedom of the public and the media to take and publish photographs.


Guidance around the issue has been made clear to officers and PCSOs through briefings and internal communications. The following advice is available to all officers and provides a summary of the Metropolitan Police Service’s guidance around photography in public places.


Freedom to photograph/film


Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places and police have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel.


Terrorism Act 2000


Photography and Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000


The Terrorism Act 2000 does not prohibit people from taking photographs or digital images in an area where an authority under section 44 is in place.


Officers have the power to view digital images contained in mobile telephones or cameras carried by a person searched under S44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, provided that the viewing is to determine whether the images contained in the camera or mobile telephone are of a kind, which could be used in connection with terrorism. Officers also have the power to seize and retain any article found during the search which the officer reasonably suspects is intended to be used in connection with terrorism.


Officers do not have the power to delete digital images or destroy film at any point during a search. Deletion or destruction may only take place following seizure if there is a lawful power (such as a court order) that permits such deletion or destruction.


Monday, 19 April 2010

Sky News Leaders Debate Thursday, 22nd April, from 8pm How to see it!



Wherever you live in the World, you can watch the British Prime Minister Mr Gordon Brown continue the longest theatrical death scene in history. The second of three television debates, which have turned the UK General Election upsidedown with the supposed underdog Nick Clegg putting in a barnstorming performance during the first set piece leaders debate on the terrestrial ITV channel (see our not too flattering earlier blogposts on the below-par technical presentation). Here Adam Boulton (who could double as the Beadle in Oliver Twist) the political editor for Sky will act as Moderator and on his blog, Adam has produced this comprehensive worldwide TV guide. Enjoy!

Over to Adam:- 

Carry On Cruising! Gordons Volcanic Placebo!



Carry On Cruising! Gordons Volcanic Placebo!


What a load of cobblers! Send in an Aircraft Carrier and a smaller chopper carrier. We are talking about 150,000 stranded travellers on mainland Europe and the French Port police are effectively our jailers as they decide who will rescue our citizens! Dan Snow, the TV historian, had his token inflatable boat d-day style landing rebuffed as the French thought it would damage the Ferry trade! P&O Ferries by the way owned by Dubai World!

Now I don’t know if you have ever been on an aircraft carrier but it’s not child friendly (kiddies tend to fall of the elevated flight deck and the catering is not up to consumer mass catering and unless there is a row of portaloos that could be a problem. No stabilisers to speak of, if the vessel is to use tenders (little boats) to load the aircraft carrier, what happens to baby buggies, luggage and all those who have cars and possibly caravans in tow? Of course mainland Europe is rubbing its hand with glee. The UK finally put in its place –by France. Being a little jumped up island finally cut off and even the channel tunnel has been taken out of UK control !

What the flurry of media activity will do is defer any overt criticism of Browns Government in the hope that it will all sort itself out. Meanwhile the direct intervention of George Brown and Lord Mandleson, casts a cloud (ash laden?) over the political future of Lord Adanoids sorry Adonis..the Transport minister who clearly was having a personal struggle with the detailed brief and repeated the mantra several times.

I’ve already suggested the use of all mega sized cruise ships, such as the American owned Independence of the Seas and others on round trips from Southampton. Action this day but its not the Brown way unless it’s a dither….. best of luck and keep back from the edge…


Julian Bray

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Sunday, 18 April 2010

BROWN DITHERS OVER ASH AIR TRAVEL VICTIMS RESCUE

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Aviation and Travel Commentator Julian Bray says the Government is deliberately dithering because of the General Election campaign and not using the emergency powers it already has to bring British nationals safely home and help others leave the UK.



Julian Bray says: “The government is deliberately burying its collective head in the sand over the Icelandic volcanic ash situation when it knows full well it has emergency powers to get all UK nationals back home AND QUICKLY. The plan is very simple, all cruise ships beginning or ending cruises at British ports can with no loss of revenue or disruption to existing schedules bring ALL UK citizens back home as they would have to do in the event of a national emergency.


Most cruise lines build in a 24 hour delay during each round trip cruise out of Southampton spending the previous evening at the end of a cruise virtually at a standstill in the English Channel and running at minimal speed during meal periods and overnight. Cruise ships have also been hit by the ban on air travel and have many unfilled berths so they could easily dock in Le Havre at 10 pm take on up to 2,000 plus walk on foot passengers for the short trip back to Southampton.

The open lounges and theatres will easily take the extra loading, The ship would arrive at its usual berth at say 3am (normally 5am) offload the foot passengers and then prepare to offload the cruise passengers at the normal time from 6am to 9am. From 10 am to 12 noon a similar load of foot passengers could be taken on board and when the cruise ship leaves at 5pm go straight to Le Havre say 7pm then make up the lost time overnight for the next port of call.


Cruise ship operators would benefit from the extra revenue and they already have catering and refreshment facilities in place and normally dump any surplus food and beverages at the end of each cruise .

Friday, 16 April 2010

UK Leaders Debate in 60 seconds!

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Three men in a Moat– UK Leaders Debate – Round One


Three men in a moat– UK Leaders Debate – Round One



By Julian Bray


Editor, Duckhouse Blog



It’s easy to be wise after any event BUT heads must roll after the Manchester based much hyped leaders debate. Not even style over substance. The one big chance for ITV plc, to show that it is still a force in television to be reckoned with.


What do they do?


A cheap set seemingly culled from the ITV game show prop room, poor music junctions, harsh full up lighting, botched camera shots, sloppy direction and from a studio complex (the former Granada Manchester Studios) which had clearly seen better days.


To compound the utter Horlicks, the moderator is parachuted in from ITN London (sorry aka ITV News) rather than risk local talent. The rules of engagement micromanaged by party spin doctors was also a big mistake. It was a pity that the contenders had not been more closely consulted, properly rehearsed, media presentational training undertaken and frankly schooled in some new ideas.


It was also unfortunate that Iceland managed to close down the entire UK and Ireland aviation industry with a stunningly well timed delivery of seemingly invisible volcanic ash from an erupting volcano; underneath and forced through an ice shelf essentially producing shards of silica rock enough to sandblast windscreens, paint and totally shut down engines, if the volcanic ash is ingested by modern jet engines.


All neatly ensuring the main news focus of the day was hapless, whinging air travellers, retired BA Pilots who had survived (hopefully along with their passengers) previous volcanic ash incidents.


All in all, the back room boys have a lot more work to do before the next encounter at Sky TV. Nick Clegg won this one hands down, David Cameron put in a workman like performance as known and Gordon Brown , the old carthorse is still running in full harness and weighted with Unite sponsored but meaningless decorative congratulatory horse brasses and the stable door left wide open.


If its not back by May 7th, the knackers yard or perhaps early retirement awaits.


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Julian Bray


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Thursday, 15 April 2010

Why Manifestos Are Misleading and Cost Us All Money





Julian Bray puts the Duckhouse Blog view:




UK plc is the body corporate and if you like, the various political parties are all rival managements, possibly competitors, seeking to control the parent UK plc.


The fact is that the more you look at the parties the closer they become in ideological terms and it all has to do with money, or rather the lack of it. There is none.
It’s not just the bank bail out, UK plc has as our American cousins would put it been ‘living high on the hog’ for over a decade, buoyed up by the City of London and the over reliance on imports and a gradual deskilling of an ageing population.

Skills gaps being encouraged and seemingly exploited by a Labour government, hellbent on multiculturalism, but not willing to factor in the upward cost changes needed in increased education, health and general welfare services.



No single party was really prepared for the natural ghetto mentality of the new arrivals and councils close to ports and airports clearly not ready for the disproportionally massive influx of immigrants. It is as if the Home Office was sleepwalking all through the period. Funding was slow in coming and racial tensions as a result began to rise.

Europe didn’t help either as the new Europeans also claimed their right to work in the UK. By this time the second generation Ugandan Asians were seeking a new competitive surge from Asian countries as equally battered by the likes of the despot Idi Amin in Uganda but fired with a renewed religious zeal to upset the sleepy UK apple cart.
The natural reaction of the resident population was to steadfastly ignore it until the jobs started drying up. No one really cared who was in power and MP’s carried on in a cosseted world of their own only partially opened up by cameras in the Palace of Westminster. Then totally wrecked first by an expose of dirty and legally dubious dealings of spin doctors, then by the ongoing expenses scandals of many of the outgoing MP’s and a few who have the temerity to stand again!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

ITV over-eggs plans for the first Election debate.



ITV over-eggs plans for the first Election debate.


ITV today unveiled the online plans for this week’s historic First Election Debate between the leaders of the three biggest political parties - Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg - live from the North West of England to be aired on ITV1 this Thursday 15 April.
A dedicated area at www.itv.com/electiondebate will be the  online destination to host a live stream of ITV1’s debate and post-debate programming. ITV.com will also mark this historic occasion with opportunities for users to fully engage with the debate on the night through commenting and interacting with political experts and ITV News correspondents.
An audience reaction tool ‘The Worm’ will be displayed on the live stream video, monitoring reaction from a dedicated focus group, assembled by ITV News, throughout the debate. The Worm registers approval, disapproval or neutral feelings from the panel constantly throughout the debate and creates a live ‘worm graph’ on-screen with this information.
Using Cover It Live, ITV News and ITV.com will host a live online chat about the debates, in real time, giving commentary and posting key quotes from the leaders with users able to submit their thoughts to the moderated conversation. Bill Neely, Lucy Manning and Angus Walker will also be giving instant reaction direct from the debate location.
Social media will also be at the heart of the debate as a Facebook Live tool will allow users to log into their Facebook account and share their reactions on ITV.com and on their Facebook friends' news feeds.
Twitter tools - built by Tweetminster - will also be available to track the reaction to the leaders’ performance. A sentiment tool tracking 5,000 key Twitter users will be employed as a visual representation of what people are Tweeting about each leader, throughout the debate, in real time. An election debate Word Cloud will also highlight the frequency with which party leaders use a selection of key election words.


Following the live stream the debate will be available in full on both the ITV Player and the ITV1 You Tube channel in the UK and internationally.










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Julian Bray

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Monday, 12 April 2010

Back of the fag packet Manifesto



How difficult is it to draw up a manifest? This took five minutes...




Pull out of Afghanistan, hand over war to Europe.


Deploy all troops within the UK


Take all utilities back into public ownership and or limit payment of dividends to overseas parents without a like amount being re- invested in the UK


Railways state/private partnership


Kill off network rail set up regional rail consortia on lines of old railway companies


Cut petrol price to a level that equals the USA


Raise drinking age to 21 as in the USA


Raise Value Added tax to 25% exempt basic foods, childrens clothes


Full council tax on all empty properties


Business rates cut by 50% for new companies for first three years


All bank transactions above 2 million value subject to VAT and additional bail out levy of 15%


Scrap the Olympics


Buy the old QE2 and park near Palace of Westminster for MPs rented overnight


Accommodation and conference centre


Tax at 60 per Cent Alcopops, lagers, cider and all top pressure beers


Tax at 30 percent wines and champagne


Tax cigarettes at 60% cancel duty fee allowances


Cancel all non-dom contracts; if people work or take dividends out of the UK they must be UK doms not external


Put all government procurement contracts out to open tender with no pre-qualification criteria.


Charge back cost of policing for late night drunks and football matches with an additional 40 per cent booking admin fee on top.


Make all Quangos re-bid for their cash allocations.


Cancel all foreign issued UK Visa documents. Entry on new documents issued at designated ports and validated during ferry journeys i.e. no airport entry for immigrants or students


All immigrants to lodge a £10,000 deposit, refund on departure confiscated for overstayers

25% betting tax


NHS ring fenced and 10 percent per Annum increase in budgets but admin staff to be not more i.e. on a numerical par with nursing medical staff


Matrons reintroduced and give total control and budget for all services within their area


All healthcare trusts to be equal in status


All credit cards to carry interest at no more than 10% over libor rate


British Bankers Association abolished


Banks to lend 30% of annual turnover or face windfall tax


All city bonuses limited to 10% of basic salary or 20% in non-voting shares


Football clubs: all transfers: agents fees capped at 10% levy payable by both club and player


Income tax – £10,000 allowance 40% tax on all income over £1 million per annum


Incorporate car tax into car insurance policy, ins.co. responsible for collection


Disband Government DVLS


English Heritage, Arts Council, and like organisations admin and directors fees to be capped at 25% of overall budget

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Julian Bray

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Friday, 9 April 2010

Luke Cleggwalker, the Darlingeks and Captain Cameron. Beginners please!

"You buy the drinks Piers and I'll save the world.."


Oh what a Horlicks! How was it for you? You'd be forgiven for thinking the whole thing was over, done and dusted. The day 3 Labour big press conference was a shambles with the platform party poorly briefed on issues, Lord Mandleson making snide aside jokes on marriage and the role of the leaders wife. Gordon Brown under layers of makeup, looking increasingly stressed if not unwell and the lighting scheme giving Alistair Darling an amazing purple barnet. He could have come straight out of an experimental Dr Who ...The Farewell of the Darlingeks.

Cleggys pop style roadie tour bus was not much better, clad in a garish livery with a couple of Star Wars refugees on the side ...on a closer look it is young Luke Cleggwalker with an older father figure ....the images are fading fast...meanwhile in Apollo 1,2,3 &4 is Captain Cameron, travelling at warp factor 8, or is that sunscreen?

Managing to spend a total of 70 minutes in Norfolk before re-entering a non liveried white private jet (the type they use in rendition flights) and jetting off to.....Cornwall! 

The amusing thing is the presentational style of some of the main contestants. I say some of them as a few who should know better have no no presenational talents whatsoever, the use of the word 'contestants' is deliberate as well. The introduction of the three set piece TV debates (the first debate will be staged on ITV on 15th April) will help to completely screw the dynamic of local candidates and have a major influence on national trends. 

This should not be underestimated and hopefully the lessons from the USA have been considered.

The other major factor is the influence of social media. Big namer politicians are now piling in, particularly the immediacy of Twitter is having an impact, but politicians have yet to grasp what it really is all about and have little time to build a core of influential followers.

In this case it isn't a numbers game, the quality of followers have a major beearing and unless time is spent weeding out the spambots and multi-level- marketing - I can make you rich - merchants. Little practical advantage will be gained and possible damage sustained by the hapless candidate.

Just under a month of this and still no guarantee that we will not be saddled with a hung parliament and possibly have to go through the whole sorry saga again in 6 months time! AAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHH! 
    
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Julian Bray

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Wednesday, 7 April 2010

No Cheese, all Pickles..

I know I said maybe just two before lunch..

There is something delightfully immoral about Eric Pickles, not in the carnal sense but in who and what he is. In the real world Eric Pickles simply could not happen but here in la la land. Eric Pickles is the Tory Chairman, M.P., and General Election campaign cheerleader. 

I say Pickles could not exist because this is the day of the airbrushed politician, airbrushed to perfection (or oblivion depending on your point of view!) Pickles will admit that he is critically overweight but jolly, a Bunter figure writ large.

But to give him credit he fought and won his seat and is now fighting again. His northern vowels come over as fresh but not impressive, concerned but not overbearing, He also has perfectly manicured nails unlike the serial nail biter and dangerously stressed out [James] George Brown. 

So perhaps Pickles is the ideal role model for sofa bound Britons?  At 5am this morning (Pickles or one of his robots) tweeted that so many million leaflets were distributed at railway stations and at the doorstep,(don't you just hate people who call them 'train' stations? ) But as Eric faces a full month of going on the stump we could see a slimmed down version of the man trying to get out. No more in the Palace of Westminster will you hear the pint-sized Speaker bark out:"Order, Order, Who Ate All The Pies?" Pickles will have probably eaten him and well before breakfast. 

Julian Bray

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Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Why this Election is too important to bungle ....


Meet your new MP!

Important Election? Seems a reasonable proposition but the sad fact is that the few who are entitled and registered to vote, might not bother to do so. It is also well known the Labour voters won't come out in the rain (talk of the tories hiring aircraft and salting the clouds is just not true - but a lovely idea!) and that the 18-24 age group is virtually invisible in voting terms. This includes the military incarcerated in Afghanistan and seemingly unable to vote!

All that is a pity but it does mean that if we get a shitty virtually hung parliament, the non voters can just keep silent for the next five years (or five months if it really is well hung). Any visitor to London could be forgiven for thinking that we do actually hang our MP's.

A very impressive multiple gallows seems to be under construction just over the road from the Palace of Westminster and no doubt countless american tourists have been fed the line by bored tour guides.

In reality it is a rostrum for the worlds chattering classes to give their media trained party line on any given Election subject . But why the gallows? Er sorry rostrum.The construction neatly takes the eye above the passing traffic as in previous elections some crafty folk have used large panel vans as Prime  TV advertising billboards and just run the vehicle up and down the road a few times! 

BUT the topic is Why this Election is important? It is important because virtually inexperienced people you have never heard of will be controlling your destiny and taking away what little savings or assets you have acquired over the years. This is compounded by the face that an equally faceless bunch of jokers in Europe will also be passing laws that override our home grown legislation. 

There is an end to this mess and to my mind it's good to have at least a nodding connection with events. As for me well, I'm collecting US $ whenever the tourist rate is above £1.51 and booking a couple of cruises, whilst all the bloodletting takes place. Anyone tempted by the concept of Cash my Gold should literally sit on it and do nothing. In times of turmoil, gold prices shoot skywards and as our politicians have so far demonstrated no credible plan or knowledge of how to physically make things better, it's going to get a whole lot worse and this sorry state of affairs will last over a good few years. Hang onto your hat the ride is going to be very bumpy, just don't say that no one told you because I now have!"      



Julian Bray

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Monday, 5 April 2010

FIRE UP THE AUDI. CAR CRASH ON THE WAY...


I thought that I had just about sorted out the runners and riders for the general election then Grayling (he with the multiple bags under each hooded eye rather like one of the saucy seaside postcard jokers AA Gill used to draw)  decides to upset Queens everywhere including the arch b*mbandit Lord Mandyb*m. Don't get me wrong some of my best friends are gay or that way inclined, but this near to the Election (come on Brown call it) you would think the Tories would by now have a robust and bombproof front line.

Not a bit of it. Behind Cameron is the same old unreconstructed bunch of troughers and landed gentry. Tell the silly hoorays to button it, sit tight and let Cameron do the talking, then you'll probably romp home, that is how unfair the whole system is.

The next Government is going to be shitty no matter who is elected, its all a matter of degrees as to how much we are to be dumped on and from what height? My worry is that Brown having put all his efforts into this campaign if elected will see it as his victory lap for for the next five years. 

Brown will jump around on the world stage and basically let the home front go to rot. Why not? Tony Blair has done it and made a fortune. Brown would like the same...he'll be jumping out of the passenger side of the car whilst it is still moving, never passed a driving test or accountancy exams, the vehicle totally out of control headling down a hill... meanwhile Brown dusts himself down and walks right into a cosy nook at the European Commission. 

As for us? we can go hang....or a hung parliament at least. 


Julian Bray

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Saturday, 3 April 2010

Hacks taking a pop at PR's is it justified ?



From time to time hacks have a go at PR's, what follows is a TRUE story. Enjoy!

 As a PR - and I have been on both sides of the fence - several times in fact - the rant is nothing new and stereotypical of the professional relationship whcioh is supposed to exist between the two camps. However consider this and it is a true story set arouund 1990 ie the desktop; computer had just recently come in and most communication at that time was by fax. on a roll of themographic paper.THE STORY:
I once asked a temp working in the office to send over to the Business Editor of the Birmingham Evening Mail by fax, a statement just cleared by the lawyers over a delicate industrial negotiation and agreement reached with the Unions and the management of a metal castings firm which hopefully would get both sides back to work. The foundry workers had been on strike for six weeks since itr had been sold to new investors and the workers were worried about their future. In typical fashion they were camped outside the gates with the obligatory braziers well alight and a mini tented village established. To add to the mix the workforce were of 99% asian extraction.


I handed over the file, to the temp secretary then promptly went for a long lunch (with client) as was the custom in those days (downstairs at El Vino's in Fleet Street).


I returned at 3:45pm having left the office at Noon. I turned to the tempo and asked here is she had sent the fax. "I finished it about two minutes ago" she replied.

She had in fact sent the statement as soon as I had left for lunch but she then continued to send the entire contents of the client file , all my confidential notes, agreements the lot.....all 368 pages.............


I telephoned the newspaper: "We seem to have a fax which stretched three times around the newsroom." was the laconic reply. The 'hack' concerned obviously read through the entire fax but true to his word used the original statement and he knew that in my dealings with him ove the weeks I had been truthful.. Some hacks are intelligent enough to realise that PR contacts save a lot of legwork and effectively add a couple of bodies in terms of output to the salaried staff. Without the input of PR materials many local papers would have gone out of business years ago.


So rather that venting your spleen at the PR's who on the basis of a 900 strong mailing list isn't going to be too bothered about say 10% of the list having a flea up their backside about the press release and also knowing that many print publications will reproduce the release just topping and tailing the submission and that with a whole range of live radio intrerviews to be done back to back from the PR's office over the broadcast quality ISDN line and voice codec recently installed thats another 20 - 30 hits and finally the "b" roll broadcast quality video will be on the circit from the BT tower later in the day. I forgot to metion the blogposts, You Tube Virals and if any time is left a few follow up phone calls to the Blunt as in Scunthorpe. I'll, put you through....


9 October 2009 12:03


.


Julian Bray


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Friday, 2 April 2010

IS BROWN BARKING UP A GUMTREE?


....IS IT OVER BEFORE IT'S BEGUN?

You would be forgiven for thinking that Labour under Brown have the election in the bag and that David Cameron has no chance. But consider one single massive non-voting sector may have some sway following the piggy-back letter to the DAILY TELEGRAPH this week. The letter shows that business in general and retail in particular is very against National Insurance contributions being hiked and on this single issue are collectively behind the Conservatives. This will not be lost on the millions PROFITABLY employed by the named major blue chip companies.   

National Insurance is seen by Business as a cost on or tax specifically against employing people and not a contribution to profitability which in turn would lead to more people being employed thus generating greater tax revenues, increased consumer spending and helping to reduce the national debt.

Mandy was so wrong to suggest that business had been misled and were acting as poodles for Cameron. Silly man all he has ever run in the commercial sector, is a PR outfit! 

By hiking up national insurance, the pressure on profit centred businesses is increased but the public or 'not for profit sector' would not see any difference where the culture is always to spend up to the budget (ie new office furniture always arrives in February, if needed or not [ref: The Environment Agency!]) Fearing that not to spend or underspending will lead to the following years allocation being reduced!

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