Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: Life: News Commentary

Memories…or how I learnt new names for old products

I have memories of eating Marathon chocolate bars (now Snickers) or sucking on Opal Fruits (now Starbursts) and then cleaning up using Jif cream (now Cif) and Bounty towels (now Plenty).

Now wonder my memory seems to be going – history is being re-written…

Incidentally, and what sparked this post off, is that “Bounty” have recently rebranded in the UK as “Plenty” – but watching US adverts (such as those currently on the Discovery US Mythbuster’s site) shows they are still using Bounty as the name in other markets… Interesting

Business: Royal Mail Postage Price Increase

Following on from my previous post about where my money goes, I thought it’ll be worth reminding people that tomorrow (Tuesday the 6th of April) Royal Mail* postage prices increase (* = Royal Mail is a “private company” wholly owned by the UK Government).

Rate New price Old price
1st Class Letter (up to 100g) 41p 39p
2nd Class Letter (up to 100g) 32p 30p
1st Class Large Letter (up to 100g) 66p 61p
2nd Class Large Letter (up to 100g) 51p 47p
1st Class Packet of 101-250g 172p 162p
2st Class Packet of 101-250g 151p 141p
1st Class Packet of 251-500g 224p 214p
2st Class Packet of 251-500g 195p 185p

If you are sending more than 1,000 letters on a single day, you can get a discount of 1.5% – if you are sending over 20,000 you get 5.5%. However, if you are sending around 100,000 letters in a batch and they are presorted then the cost is just 15.85p: but if you are sending that many letters you have an option not to use Royal Mail (you can use UKMail etc): however, the small business person and normal consumers don’t have that option and have to pay Royal Mail’s ever increasing prices.

News: Well Done Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick

If you’ve been even slightly following the news, you might have read that “Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism officer Assistant Commissioner Bob Quick” made a security blunder on Wednesday the 8th of April by accidentally exposing a “Secret” document to Downing Street photographers (technically a breach of the Official Secrets Act).

However, he has done the honourable thing and actually resigned over the issue stating “I have today offered my resignation in the knowledge that my action could have compromised a major counter-terrorism operation.”. It just makes such a refreshing change for somebody quite high up in the country to take responsibility for their actions: now I just wonder if the G20 officer who hit a bystander with his baton and pushed him to the floor or Jacqui two homes/husband pay-per-movie expenses Smith will resign over costing people their lives and the tax payer over £116,000 for secondary houses [including £568.95 for TWO washing machines and £500 on a shower mixer!].

News Commentary: Proposed Minimum Alcohol Prices

The UK’s “top medical adviser”, Sir Liam Donaldson, has drawn up plans for a minimum price for alcohol of 50pence per unit of alcohol they contain for the purpose of “tackling alcohol misuse” – although it isn’t clear from the BBC’s article how this figure was arrived at (it could be a figure Donaldson just “plucked out the air”).

So how does this affect Richy’s house hold? Well, there’s just the two of us and we like the occasional drink (maybe 2 or 3 a week): sometimes, we have a glass or two of wine at night with our evening meals, occasionally I’d have a “nightcap” of Whisky and very very very occasionally (like once every 6 months), I might have a very small amount of Absinthe. Katy quite likes Port and Sherry. So which items would go up in price – here’s the current contents of our drinks cupboard:

  • Glenfiddich 12 year Old Single Malt Whisky: 40% ABV/70cl = 28 units. Sainsbury’s Price: £21.99. Proposed minimum price: £14.00
  • Thatcher’s Vintage Fine Somerset Cider: 7.4% ABV/75cl = 5.6 units. Tesco’s Price:£2.08. Proposed minimum price: £2.80: 72p increase
  • Sainsbury’s Sweet Rich Cream Sherry: 20%/75cl = 15 units. Sainsbury’s Price: £4.59. Proposed minimum price: £7.50: £2.91 increase
  • Port Dhubh Whisky 21 year old: 43%/70cl = 30 units. MRP: £50.00. Proposed minimum price: £15.00
  • Antonio Nadal Black Absinthe 80%: 80%/70cl = 56 units. Fine Spirit’s price: £22.97. Proposed minimum price: £28.00: £5.03 increase
  • Tesco Tawny Port: 19%/75cl = 14.3 units. Tesco’s price: £5.48. Proposed minimum price: £7.15: £1.67 increase
  • Sainsbury’s Sancerre: 12.5%/75cl = 9.38 units. Sainsbury’s Price: £10.49. Proposed minimum price: £4.69

(we do normally have a bottle of champagne in the house as well as that’s Katy’s preferred drink of choice, but we appear to have ran out).

As you can see, we’ll be looking at a £5.30 increase without the Absinthe (which, to be honest, I first of all doubt I’ll finish drinking before I’m 50 and secondly, I probably wouldn’t buy another bottle – it’s just too strong: it’ll be a total increase of £10.33 if we were to include it).

The more pricery drinks, since as the whisky and the Sancerre, seem to avoid the price increase: and those are the sort of drinks I would imagine members of the government quite liking (coincidence maybe?).

I can’t see having a minimum price would actually help avoiding alcohol misuse, as the “easy to drink”/”easy to abuse” stuff, such as Carlsberg Larger which Sainsbury’s are currently selling at £17.49 for 24 cans of 440ml: that’s 3.8%/1056cl=40 units would only go up to a minimum of £20 (a £2.51 increase) and “Alchopop” Bacardi Breezers wouldn’t actually change price from £3.78 for 4x275ml bottles: 4%/110cl= 4.4units as the minimum proposed would be £2.20.

How can we stop or reduce alcohol misuse? Education – encourage adults to teach their children that one glass of wine at a meal is ok (say, start when they are 8-12) and hence they should learn that it is nice in moderation: and they shouldn’t learn to abuse it. Also if they have alcohol “reasonably available” at home (regulated by the parents), then they won’t “sneak down the shop”, illegally buy bottles and drink it unsupervised. The government could also introduce labelling on alcohol such as “Do you think you are drinking too much? Do you feel somebody is abusing alcohol? Then call Drinkline free on 0800 917 82 82 or contact“: along with making it clearer how much alcohol is in a single bottle/can, what a “serving is” (i.e. a glass of wine, a shot of whisky) and how much alcohol is in a serving.

News Commentary: Performing Rights Society and YouTube’s disagreement

As you may aware, the UK’s Performing Right Society (PRS) has had a “little falling out” with YouTube. Basically, as far as I can tell from the BBC reports, YouTube is not willing to pay what the PRS is requesting (some say the PRS is asking for considerably more money the currently, some say that YouTube is offering considerable less).

Anyway, without an agreement with PRS in place to pay royalties to artists and songwriters, YouTube has no right to play their music in the UK. YouTube is, therefore, following the law and PRS’s own policies by blocking those music videos on their site: as they don’t have permission from PRS to play the music.

However, Feargal Sharkey of the UK Music industry body is saying that by following the rules YouTube is using a “blatant, cynical, manipulative” negotiating tactic. So now YouTube is in the wrong because they are following the rules? If they didn’t block the videos, they’ll be breaking the law – but by blocking the videos PRS’s artists are missing out on exposure… I think the PRS needs to think which is more worth while: having lowish quality music videos available on YouTube for potential purchasers to come across and then buy singles (and therefore let YouTube host them for free), or demand so much money from YouTube that it’s not worth them offering the music videos.

You can’t have it both ways PRS!