A moderate beginning the road back to radicalism?

What with :

  • the Tea-Party – the Taliban of the American Right – gaining power in the US Republican Party
  • the Tories finishing what Thatcher started, wearing a dapper LibDem hat to confuse us
  • Darth Ratzinger landing the Death Star on British Soil spitting hate at women and gays, with an army of paedo’s hidden in his skirts…

…it feels like the world is still going to pot since Bush stole the White House, despite the blip of hope when Obama got there to weather the wake…

We seem to be staring at least a decade of austerity and right wing rule in the face, and I have to say, I for one, with memories of my 80s radicalism stirring in my heart, am finding it increasingly necessary to ‘take sides’ in the debate – to radicalise my own thinking in the general drift toward polarisation: the usual effect of right wing rule.

As John le Carre put it, once the Cold War against the failings of Communism had been won it was time to focus on the failings of capitalism. Instead there are those who still believe they should be able to get away with being better off than everyone else at everyone else’s expense, and happily deploy the most insidious strategies to ensure we gleefully beg for them to take more. With bread (in the form of palatial supermarkets) and circuses (yes those theatres of dreams) our ‘owners’ marshal their populations carefully to avoid unrest, driving engines of mass slavery to keep us too occupied to realise who we are, let alone why on earth we are playing this deadly game for people we don’t even know…

I guess one outcome of becoming more radicalised by a political environment shifting to the right, is that I am likely to become more outspoken.

Blog Rebirth

Thumb of the old blog I have spent the last five hours, after three and half years with Pivot, completely migrating my entire blog from March 2007 to September 2010, into a new WordPress installation. Why? Because I wanted to create a page with all of the Peru entries, and found it not only difficult, but ended up screwing up the entries in Pivot, almost losing one, and mucking up the date sequence. So I exported the lot into Movable Type format, installed WordPress on my server, imported the lot into the installation, sorted out all the dates, and hey presto. It was quite time-consuming get it all sorted out, unfortunately – the export/import mucked up ALL the dates (US vs British dating) which required amending them all – BUT WordPress, unlike Pivot, lets you do that 🙂 AND now I have a lovely page all about Peru. And all the wonderful advantages of WordPress. I have been thinking about migrating for, oh, at least a year. I tried in fact, over a year ago, but the installation process was a nightmare. This time it took 5 minutes – they’ve got it sorted now 🙂
So welcome to the New Blog, just like the Old Blog, but with a new engine!

Confused.com Nightmare

OK so here’s my anti-Marketeering rant for this year. Confused.com have really pissed me off. I made an enquiry about Life Insurance – the kind with critical illness cover. I guess I was getting worried that one day – heaven forbid – the pesky back might really go awol and cripple me. It’s not likely, tbh, I’ve been managing it well for more than two decades and this was just a bad year, but I thought I’d investigate the prices, etc, anyway. So after loads of paperwork and emails and phonecalls, eventually I get a reasonable quote, am
reasonably satisfied, and prepared to go ahead. Then all of a sudden the insurer sends another letter saying they’ve thought about it, and decided not to cover me for ‘disability’ of any kind. Basically, they won’t cover me for the only thing that’s likely to even potentially be a problem. No point in having the insurance then, really. So in the next phonecall I tell the girl I’ve decided I don’t want the policy after all. I’ll repeat that – I TELL THE GIRL I DON”T WANT THE POLICY AFTER ALL. She starts into trying to persuade me different and I keep saying NO. Then the signal goes and the call dies. She leaves a message, while the signal is dead, saying she’ll send the paperwork anyway. Then, I go away to Peru. I leave an answerphone message for any callers – “i’m in Peru, won’t be taking or making any calls until September.” Yep. You’ve guessed it. Two or three mornings a week, for the next three weeks, and I mean 4am in Peru, she calls me. She sends text messages asking me WHEN I want my policy to start. I respond to the text messages, but these are clearly generic and not getting
back to her. She calls again. Of course I don’t answer – would you answer the phone at 4am?? There’s more text messages. I write to the email address I got the emails from – to no avail. Confused.com reserve
the right, clearly, to contact you in whatever way they see fit, by email, text, and by phone, but the only way you are allowed to communicate with them is by phone, to their phone number, which at International Roaming Rates I am NOT prepared to pay, when all it is is to say AGAIN that I DO NOT WANT THE POLICY.

Home at last, I find a letter from them, which arrives the day after I return, wanting me to tick boxes and add comments, suggesting they’re not going to contact me anymore unless I want them to. At last! So I tick the boxes saying NO, and leave a terse message reflecting my annoyance at the way they have harrassed me whilst I was away on holiday. And this morning, still fighting jetlag, having got to sleep at about 5am, they call again, at 9.15am. Of course I didn’t answer. I will never have ANY THING to do with confused-dot-anything ever again – and will tell anyone who cares to ask that this company will HARASS YOU TO THE GRAVE if ever you dare give them your mobile phone number.

I have created a silent ringtone in GarageBand on my Mac, and transferred it to my iPhone, and made it the custom ringtone for the ConfusedLife phone number they always ring me on. I will never hear them call me again.

UPDATE: 3/10/10
Got a letter from Confused.com apologising, with £50 of Capital Bonds vouchers to spend as an ex gratia payment to sweeten the apology. Credit where credit’s due, I think they’ve done very well with this, as I didn’t expect anything – just wanted to register my annoyance! Clearly they want to maintain their image as a caring company, and I am assured by their letter that they have learnt lessons from my experience. Good!