Stop crying about the cost of beer

One of the biggest gripes people complain to me about is the price of a pint of beer and I’m sick of it.

People fail to understand that a 2.5% VAT increase on the top of a pint or 1p on a pint at the budget doesn’t simply mean a 2.5%  (or 1p  if we are talking about the budget) increase in the cost they pay in the bar.

The hospitality trade has to pay 2.5% vat on every single thing needed to provide you with that pint of beer, heat, light, barware, rent, cleaning products, the list is endless.

A 1p cost on the pint of beer at the budget, is 1p on the barrel price, not the actual price you pay.

In real terms,

A 2.5% increase in VAT results in a 10p rise in the price of a pint

A 1p increase in the cost of a pint at the budget, results in 5p-6p on the price you pay

Last year, in Northern Ireland the average price of a pint of beer was £3.00 and the average profit per pint was reduced to an all time low of 13p………. still think you are being ripped off?

Many pubs and hotels have done their upmost to absorb recent increase’s but with the disastrous weather in Q4, the hospitality trade in Northern Ireland was hit hard.  Hotels and bars have had to apply price rises or risk their business failing.

Speaking on this, Colin Neil, Chief Exec of ‘Pubs of Ulster’ The trade body says.

“Unfortunately this is another instance where pubs fair worse than supermarkets, which still retain the margins to absorb the VAT increase whilst selling alcohol below cost.  We hope that the coalition government’s plans to introduce minimum pricing in England and Wale and the upcoming consultation on a minimum price for alcohol in Northern Ireland will lead to an end to the pub industry being unfortunately penalised with disproportionate taxes.  However current proposals to not go far enough and we call upon the Assembly to lead the way and set an effective minimum price for alcohol in Northern Ireland.”

If you want to see your local bar continue to be there for you in the future, pay a fair price for alcohol and please, please stop crying about the cost of beer……… no one is making you drink it!


Save the forests, sell the forests

Last year, David Cameron’s coalition Government announced controversial plans to sell the nations forests and free up some cash for our failing country.  It was wrong.  It was wrong because there was no immediate plans as to who would buy them or what would be done with them.

Today, David Cameron’s Government U-turned this plan. Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman told MPs the Government had “got this one wrong”, as she announced the current consultation was being halted.

Speaking on this, Labour’s leader Ed Miliband MP said

Virtually every person in the country could see selling off our forests was a foolish and short-sighted policy but they went ahead regardless. Now they are panicked into a retreat hours after Mr Cameron said they would carry on with their consultation.

Ed Miliband is also wrong.

Selling off the nations forests can only be a good thing……… if done right.

Let look at the facts for a second,

Government owned forests, both public and private are a burden on the public purse and what do they actually provide us?  A nice place to take our kids and dogs when the sun is shinning and a habitat for wildlife to flourish.

OK, so the later of my point is worth keeping them for but who says for the later to happen, they have to be state owned?  When people talk about selling off the forests, they automatically think of hungry fat cats swopping in and building concrete jungles but it doesn’t have to be that way.

With the correct model, more forests could be open to the public, enjoyed by all and be …….. er profitable?  Sure, lets think about it, even in public forests, most of the woodland is actually shut to the public due to our fancy pants health and safety laws, it just would not be safe for the average punter to be rambling about it.

Let’s get a forest and use all of it for the good of society.  What am I talking about here? well how a forest that contains

1.  Land for public’s and rambling (ok we have that already, i’ll move on)

2. Houses that are eco-friendly and built from the timber actually grown in the forest, that would be a nice place to live

3. Eco-office’s, again built from the timber in the forest and powered from power generated from woodchippings from the forest, what a great place to live

4. Let farmers use the land to….. er farm

5. What about a school in a forest?  I’d love to send my Daughters there, what a great place to learn

6. A hotel ! built again eco-friendly.  What a super place to holiday

6. An adventure centre, Scout den, watersports centre, farm shops, cafe’s on the river, research centres, theaters you name it.

I’m talking about a sustainible, profitible venture that doesn’t cost the Governement (utimately us) a penny.  It can be done, with the right guidlines and objectives in place it should be done.

A forest for all…….. lets do it!

Calling all hoteliers……. Do you think you are good enough?

Fancy some free UK wide advertising?
Think your hotel is good enough to go under the TV lens spotlight?

Read on

I received the below press release today calling for hotels to put themselves under the spot light for a month of filming, ‘The Hotel’ will film everything in a chosen hotel for a month, hiring, firing, good service, Corp business, the restuarant and coping with the recession.

In terms of advertising, you could not get better value for money but be careful. There are two types of hotel out there;

The hotels that are shit hot &
The hotels that think they are shit hot

Can you guess which one the producers are after?

Get your house in order and get applying !

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CEOPs latest drama ‘exposed’ focuses on sexting

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, make good short films, really short films.  Well researched and executed hard hitting short films to educate kids and parents on taboo subjects.  Their website is pretty cool too.

Their latest drama ‘Exposed’ is aimed at 14-18 year olds and is focused on ‘sexting’ and the forwarding of ‘naughty’ pictures and video’s and the related consequences of the youth for both.  Below is the promotional drama for the actual video, I can’t show you the actual video yet as it’s only available for teachers and youth workers and I hope CEOP release the drama shortly on YouTube and Facebook as this needs to be easily shared online between teens, not just played in the classroom.

When you get the chance, watch it.  Get parents to watch it and get young people to watch it.

Updated : The movie is now online : watch it 

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What if the Internet got switched off? ….. And you owned a gun

Imagine a world with no Internet or cell phones. A scary thought eh? For the people of Egypt last week it became a reality as the Government pulled the plug to shut down all
communications in a hope to stop the rioters in their tracks. How wrong was that?

The Internet is the best form of communication and learning around, its both bias and un bias and what’s more IT’S LIVE. No waiting for a news bulletin or a daily news paper, the information contained is raw, both factual and bullshit, both regulated and unregulated.

We, as a race have never been as smart.

Yet the Government of egypt somehow think by pulling the plug, people will go back to state sponsored newspapers and television channels and back to ‘taking their word for it’. Of course what happened in reality was much different, people fought harder and
what’s worse, fundamentalists were able to work under the cover of darkness. Rumours and lies could spread easier and the only way to confirm things was to watch the correpted government broadcast. Total madness.

Dispite this and despite President Obamas plee’s to switch the Internet back on it has emerged that the USofA are actually planned their own Internet kill switch wrapped up in a lovely bill claimed to be ‘Protecting Cyberspace as a National security’

Don’t America’s have the right to bare arms? Good luck with that Mr President.

The future called, it said its going to be expensive

It’s difficult to be ‘all things to all men’ in fact many say it can’t be done, yet somehow Steve Jobs has managed to achieve this with the iPad, well in my house anyway. The iPad has became the most fount over device in my house, knocking the remote control of the top spot if has held for the last decade.

For me, the iPad is about constant communication and the perfect business tool for when I’m traveling and a good way to read books, for my wife (who hates technology) celebrity gossip websites, wikipedia and various online retailers get a nightly bashing and for my (nearly) 3 year old daughter, peppa pig is the game of the year and YouTube let’s her watch her favorite shows on demand.

The devise is so in demand in my house, I’m considering purchasing another one for ‘the family’ but then it hit me. The future is damn expensive.

Up until now (through my adult and teenage life), I’ve had all the toys. Right now my essentials include a MacBook hooked up to the TV, another MacBook, two iPhones and an iPad, not to mention the monitors scattered across my desks in Dublin and Moira and various GPS devises. This addiction to technology has never seemed expensive to me for two reasons, firstly, my wife was never really that into new tech so we were never having to buy two at once and secondly as a person working in telecoms, certain toys are passed of a ‘work essentials’ and thus, never paid for.

Fast forward 15 years and my house will contain an 18 year old girl, a 15 year old girl, an aging geek and a yummy mummy, who knows there may even be a 12 year old throw in for good measure.

If 15 years time was today, I should imagine that my two daughters would each demand an iPhone, then a netbook for school and probably an iPad just cause dad has one. Given facetime is what it is and with the LBS apps getting better, my wife may even want to upgrade her Nokia 1110 to some form of iPhone.

Slight heart palpitations begin. How am i going to pay for this?

Of course some of you will be reading this and thinking ‘spoilt brats’ but I have grown up with a passion or technology which I believe has helped me be were I am today. I think it would be wrong to deny them of the same, if the passion is there and they are appreciated correctly.