McAlpinomics or how to double a tender once you’ve won the contract…..

OK, so I just spent a while getting onto a Civil Engineering site to read this article. It seems worthy of further reading so I’ve just put it here for storage. Feel free to read it, of course. It describes the manner by which insiders can essentially charge what they want for works they choose to do. But what do I know………?

Sir Robert McAlpine has been confirmed to carry out repairs on Big Ben’s tower as the estimated cost of the project has doubled to £61m, it has been revealed.

The work was originally projected to cost £29m following an estimate in spring last year. However, the total cost of the scheme to repair the Elizabeth Tower – including fire safety work costs – is now an estimated £61m.

Among the reasons for the increased costs is that the job will be “more complex” than first thought, the House of Commons’ authorities said.

It added that despite “extensive surveys”, the ground conditions proved to be more complex than first anticipated and will require extra work.

A total of £17.2m has been set aside, up from a previous estimate of £5.8m, to cover “optimism bias”, allowing for unexpected challenges on the job.

Sir Robert McAlpine had already been appointed to a £3.5m contract to oversee preconstruction and scaffolding works in November last year.

However, the award for the overall contract to McAlpine is likely to prove controversial, after Labour’s former business secretary Chuka Umunna raised concerns about the choice of contractor in parliament earlier this month.

Mr Umunna flagged the fact that McAlpine had been implicated in the blacklisting scandal.

However, new McAlpine boss Paul Hamer wrote to Construction News to say that McAlpine has a “zero-tolerance approach” to blacklisting and the controversial practice was now “firmly in the past”.

The House of Commons and Lords commissions voiced their disappointment at the cost increases to the Elizabeth Tower project and the “unreliability of the original estimate”, the authorities said.

In a joint statement, the clerk of the House of Commons, the clerk of the Parliaments and the director-general said: “We acknowledge that there have been estimating failures and we understand the concern of the commissions.

“In advance of tendering contracts, the initial high level estimates were set at a lower level to avoid cost escalation from the market.

“Subsequent estimates, using better data and more extensive surveys, better reflect the true likelihood of the costs.

“We believe that we now have a more accurate estimate of the cost of the works and will report regularly to the committees on the progress of work.”

It emerged last month that Big Ben’s famous bongs will fall silent until 2021 while the restoration works are carried out.


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This is not Priti but………

[This is as yet raw posting and will very soon be edited to read clearly. For now, it saves all the text – which is what I want  and will of course be unchanged after the edit]


Priti Patel had been forced out and the government was writhing in multi faceted turmoil, but a facebook question produced this exchange arising out from her illicit activities as a Government Minister incognito in Israel. What was she doing and what was she supporting?
EdwardTarr · 

Watch how Owen Jones twists the truth.

Anti-Israel spin: Priti Patel offered UK aid money to the IDF and visited illegally owned land.

Reality: Priti Patel visited a military hospital in the Golan Heights that provides humanitarian aid to civilian casualties of the Syrian war and requested the UK send aid to help.

Mukke Pedersen
 Doesn’t alter the fact that she visited an area she was not supposed to visit (UK does not recognize Israeli annexation of Golan Heights and thus consider the presence of Israeli military forces illegit) without the consent or even knowledge of her superior. Enough reason to warrant a dismissal? Well, that’s politics.


Edward Tarr Mukke Pedersen Golan Heights belongs to Israel, Syria shot at Israel from there and Syria isn’t the type of country that needs more land to attack Israel from.


Chris Hemmings Well, let’s ask Wiki:
“……………In the 16th century, the Golan was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and was part of the Vilayet of Damascus until it was transferred to French control in 1918. When the mandate terminated in 1946, it became part of the newly independent Syria.

“Between 1967 and the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, the western two-thirds of the Golan Heights had become occupied and administered by Israel, whereas the eastern third had remained under control of the Syrian Arab Republic, with the UNDOF maintaining a 266 km2. buffer zone in between, to implement the ceasefire of the Purple Line. Construction of Israeli settlements began in the remainder of the territory held by Israel, which was under military administration until Israel passed the Golan Heights Law extending Israeli law and administration throughout the territory in 1981. This move was condemned by the United Nations Security Council in UN Resolution 497, which stated that “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.” Israel maintains it has a right to retain the Golan, citing the text of UN Resolution 242, which calls for “safe and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force”. However, the international community rejects Israeli claims to title to the territory and regards it as sovereign Syrian territory.”

That’s seems pretty clear.
Or is that clear, Priti?!


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Syria shouldn’t of attacked Israel then, Israel has the right to defend itself.


Chris Hemmings So you put yourself above the international community, then, in these assessments?


Kenneth Armstrong Chris All that ignores the fact that Syria carried out an ILLEGAL attack on Israel in 1967 and has to take the consequences.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings The international community is made up of a lot of racists and those who don’t know the facts.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Do you really want to give some land from the most progressive free country in the middle east to Syria? A country where millions have been fleeing from because of how unsafe it is.

Alison Webster Edward Tarr are you on medication! i cannot believe you have not read ALL the evidence and fallen for this load of old go research PROPERLY And stop spreading lies and propaganda…I’m embarrassed he’s from Bristol..normally they are wary of crap from known propaganda sites..


Alison Webster Edward Tarr ask who has annexed the oil from syria…go on i dare


Edward Tarr Alison Webster What oil? I could be wrong but I don’t think Syria is an oil producing country.


Kenneth Armstrong The Golan Heights have strategic value only. They don’t contain oil or any other valuable mineral.


Chris Hemmings Actually I would rather take Syria as a development model, Edward. Far from perfect, sure, but for the last five years under siege from internationally backed (US, UK, sundry Sheiks and periodic bits and pieces from Israel) mercenaries.
Thing is Syria is multi faith and looking for inter faith harmony which is how things have been and how they have to be for a sane future

Chris Hemmings Interesting that after about thirty years of very little Israeli settlement in Golan, the last five have seen a very substantial number of new, Israeli arrivals, building much new housing etc.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Actually I would rather take Israel as a development model, Chris. Far from perfect, sure, but for the last five years under siege from internationally backed (Racists,terrorists,fascists periodic bits and pieces from nazis) anti Semites .
Thing is Israel is multi faith and looking for inter faith harmony which is how things have been and how they have to be for a sane future.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Can’t blame Israelis building in Israel.


Chris Hemmings Watch C4’s “The Promise”.
Understand history.


Lynne Gill WHat a load of bollocks that article is.


Lynne Gill ANd “can’t blame Israelis for building in Israel” (load of tosh) – they are building on land they are NOT entitled to, hence being called illegal building even by Israelis.


Edward Tarr Lynne Gill So you think golan should be given to ISIS or assad?


Vaughan Montgomery If there’s no oil in golan heights why did israel grant oil rights to Genie-Oil because geological reports suggest there is more oil in golan heights than Saudi-Arabia.


Edward Tarr Vaughan Montgomery If that’s true than good for Israel.


Vaughan Montgomery Also Syria was also a multi-faith country too, with many christians living there.


Vaughan Montgomery Israel, in violation of the UN Charter, illegally occupied the Golan Heights after the Israeli army took it in the 1967 Six Days War. When Israel declared applicability of Israeli law in the territory and began Israeli settlements in a de facto act of annexation of Golan Heights in 1981, the UN Security Council passed UN Resolution §497, which declared that, “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.”

Until now the official US Government position has been that the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention’s prohibition on the acquisition of territory by force, and in contravention of the United Nations Security Council Resolution §242 passed in November, 1967 which mandates, “Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent (1967-w.e.) conflict.”

Location of the Syria Golan Heights annexed by Israel in 1981 in violation of UN Resolution 242


Lynne Gill Edward Tarr Don’t presume to know what I think and put words into my mouth. “So you think..” possibly the most idiotic start to a reply ever.Followed up by an even more ridiculous proposition. Don’t be silly.


Chris Hemmings Edward – clearly, all Golan should be restored to the Syrian state, under President Bashar Al-Assad.


Edward Tarr Vaughan Montgomery Not as multi faith as Israel, people of all religions in Syria are being killed just for their religion, Israel is the only country in the middle east where people of all religions coexist.


Edward Tarr Vaughan Montgomery Golan Heights is Israel, Israel took it when they were attacked by fascists from the heights so Israel should rightly have it.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings So you support Assad?


Chris Hemmings My opinion is irrelevant. The Syrian people clearly do and I am very happy to support them. They have had a brutal time these past five years or so, being attacked from nearly all sides by overwhelmingly well armed and supported mercenaries. It was not a civil war.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Syria does have a civil war, they are at each others throats and also many people,nations and factions are affecting Syria as well.


Chris Hemmings Did you ever read “Asterix and the Black Gold”? Certainly elements of that comic here, I wholly agree. But global power politics pulls too many strings in this region and the outcomes are so often so awful for ordinary people, just wanting to live their lives. You know also about the arms trade and the Permanent Arms Economy?

Balfour, 100 years ago, did not promise Global Jewry a monofaith homeland, did not say indigenous Palestinian arabs could be cruelly dispossessed of their ancestral homes and livlihoods. Balfour, 100 years ago, anyway had no right to promise anything.

Watch The Promise (2011 TV serial)

We are all human

Lynne Gill Chris Hemmings He LOVES to extrapolate things you never ever supported from your comments – no ideas of his own – nor any conception that you might disagree with him and yet not be in favour of terrorists… duh. Sterile imaginations eh?

Chris Hemmings Well I do find it tiresome when providing irrefutable truth is met by flat denial. Cognitive dissonance. Or cognitive absence, possibly………..


Kenneth Armstrong Vaughan Montgomery That is like saying it is against International Law to defend yourself and to pursue your attacker.


Vaughan Montgomery No it’s not.


Kenneth Armstrong Both Syria and Egypt attacked Israel in 1967. Israel drove them both back. For a while they also occupied Sinai but decided to vacate it. Golan had strategic value as it allowed Syrian activity to be watched. Considering Syria has had a civil war since 2013 Golan is of little concern to them.

ur alone. geneva convention & UNSC 100% disagrees with you.


Chris Hemmings Historically the facts are thus:

Initially, Israel attacked an Egyptian airbase , so declared war and nearly wiped out the whole Egyptian air force as said declaration of war.

Pretty smart, eh? Especially for a country only established twenty years earlier. Where did they get that equipment and so well trained forces in that short time?

Anyway Egypt then requested assistance from ally Syria, telling Damascus that far from having been militarily crippled, they were doin’ just fine but wanted extra assistance, new front opening, that sort of thing.

When Syria found the truth they called for a cease fire but Israel carried on attacking, taking position in Golan that they still, illegally, hold on to.


Chris Hemmings At least one hundred thousand Syrians were made refugees by Israel’s annexation of Golan. They want their homes and lives back.

Chris Hemmings History and cartoon time.
What could be better:.. []




Lynne Gill Chris Hemmings All this damned evidence is falling on deliberately deaf ears.


Chris Hemmings Yeah, but its nice to stack it up!!


Kenneth Armstrong Chris Hemmings You forgot to mention that Egyptian forces had massed on Israel’s southern border first. Israel then made a pre-emptive strike on Egyptian airfields. Syrian forces attacked Israel from the north but were quickly repelled. Israel gave Egypt back the territory it captured from them but kept some of the Syrian territory. Here is a full account : []




Chris Hemmings So its OK for Russia now to attack any NATO country it wants?
There are military exercises in your own country and there is warfare when you actually attack.
Israel launched the war.


Chris Hemmings Israel had been massively armed in just 20 years in order to achieve……what? Its an alien construct and a strategic position bolstered by huge external investment.


Kenneth Armstrong You fail to address the point that Syria attacked Israel for NO good reason. Germany had to lose territory after WW2 and has only partially regained it.


Chris Hemmings Syria was an ally of Egypt.
Israel attacked Egypt


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Egypt were about to attack Israel, Israel has the right to defend itself.


Chris Hemmings Israel attacked first. They launched the war. Facts not conjecture, please.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Israel was attacked first, Israel has only ever defended itself.


Chris Hemmings Simply not true. Read Kenneth’s wikiposting.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings The Arabs mostly hate Israel and Egypt was about to attack Israel and they hate Israel, so Israel did what it could do to defend itself.


Chris Hemmings Thought crime, eh?
I “hate Israel” but, you know, I’ve never attacked the country. Iran wanted “Israel off the map” – not a thermonuclear bombing, just the concept is wrong. It should still be open, multi faith and not the Zionist abomination it is.
Watch “The Promise”.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings Israel is open and the only multi faith country in the middle east.


Chris Hemmings Change the record, eh, Edward. You’ve said that before and it was not true then either. Israel is a neo-apartheid entity. Check points, routine arrests and murders by security staff in open daylight. And they have stolen vast tracts of land. Gaza is an effective concentration camp – which is such a terrible irony.
Watch “The Promise”.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings then they need to stop attacking Israel.


Chris Hemmings Watch “The Promise”.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings why should I hear more anti Israel lies?


Chris Hemmings Director of the series thought exactly the same as you when he was given the job.
Then he did his research.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings I seem it all before, I used to hate Israel as I was brainwashed by the anti Zionist controlled media.


Chris Hemmings I have always had the habit of reading widely and making objective assessments. This continues to be the case.


Edward Tarr Chris Hemmings It seems you only seen the properganda not the Israeli side of it.


Chris Hemmings You say ” I seen it all before, I used to hate Israel as I was brainwashed by the anti Zionist controlled media.”

Where on this planet did you find such outlets? There are no such that I have encountered in the UK. But, despite bias in reporting, it does not take too much effort to uncover objective realities. I am very satisfied that I have done that.


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So people do stuff for money.

So, then, devious and deep duplicity takes over

from ability.

And the rest,

as they say,

is history…….

Chris Hemmings

October 23/2016

Lexicon and translation:

“the president was accused of duplicity in his dealings with Congress”

sharp practice,

dirty tricks,
monkey business,
funny business,


“his conscience would not allow him to enter into duplicity”.

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Croc n scorp

On line composition. First came:

A scorpion came out of the desert to the banks of the Nile, whereupon he accosted a crocodile. “My dear chap,” he said to the crocodile, “could we form an alliance to get to the other side of the Nile?”
The crocodile answered, “Do you think I am stupid? I would be at your complete mercy. You could sting me and kill me at any time during the crossing.”
“Of course not,” said the scorpion. “I promise not to sting you, because if I did sting you, I would drown.”
The crocodile thought for a second and then agreed this made sense and took the scorpion on his back. About midstream, the scorpion became agitated and stung the crocodile.
As the two were about to go under, the crocodile turned to the scorpion and said, “Now we will both die. What possible explanation or logic is there for such an act?”
“There is none,” said the scorpion, “this is the Middle East.


OK, this was not wholly pleasing. So:

“This is both funny and, I suspect, inherently patronising.

“Probably better if, on an island in the middle, they decide to rest a while. Walking round the island, as the crocodile sleeps, the scorpion meets a shady character:
“Hey, Scorpio, I hear you and Crocked over there own the land 50:50. How’d you like to own it all? The oil rights are worth a fortune and you could use the money to set up a totally Scorpy state. Your life will be so much better.
” All you need to do is use this mega-powerful Sting-Boostr ©® on unbelieving Crocked when you get back in the water. Then, as he sinks, we’ll rescue you and help you set up your independent Scorparadise.
“Just sign here”………..

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I follow you

A follower not a leader?

There are many such rooms in the Buildings. Offices, yes, but steeped in time and the anonymity of history. Many, many such chats and small gatherings had taken place between these four walls and nothing, today, suggested that this would be anything other than simply routine.

Oh come on, not me – there must be someone else. Look, I’ve been where I am since time began, or so it seems. I am forever out on a limb and, well, I have no following. Hell, I DO the following – it’s just most of those I follow are no longer with us. I so miss Tony – he’d have been your man for this.”

He had his chance and, now, it’s your turn, your time in the spotlight, if you like. We’ve got to keep our ideas out there, get them discussed, even if we all know you’ll be wiped out in the first round.”

Yes, well, I’m sure that’s true but, alright, let’s give it our best shot. And you are right – I don’t want to leave this place without nailing my colours firmly to the mast and saying how I fundamentally believe that the last thirty years have been a betrayal of all our predecessors ever stood for and has been letting down of all those generations yet to come”.

It’s funny, you know, there’s even guys on the right who’ve told me they’ll second your running. They say “Sure I’ll propose him – we need to have a show of competition”. And they go away smirking. Still, it’ll get you on the ballot, and that’s what’s most important”.

And he didn’t act away from his usual self – he changed nothing and simply followed the ideas he was so steeped in. I saw him that same summer. Rank no-hope-er but bringing the discussion out to the country, just as his predecessors would have done but which, now, had come to be regarded as “old hat” and ineffective. Decisions had to be made behind closed doors, taken by people who understood the issues and so could make an informed choice. The four other contestants, relaxed in their own personal merits, attended committees of important supporters and talked to the national media.

So, yes, a few weeks into this campaign, I spotted a two line notice in the local free newspaper, saying he’d speak at a meeting in a seaside hotel six miles away. “Half past five, Wednesday evening, early August”. I decided at once to go – I liked his politics and felt he could do with some support. “I’ll get there fifteen minutes early so’s to get a good seat at the front of the room – not that many will turn up at that time of day and in the summer holidays, too”.

I couldn’t get into the room – four hundred people had beaten me to it. Several friends were there but how come so many others?

The man came into the room and I soon realised exactly why – he was saying, in cool, calm, clear and collected manner that which we were all thinking. As he spoke, he had no difficulty in being heard, there were no hecklers, no disrespect. We all knew, all of a sudden, we had a movement, we had strength. From this could come the changes that we all yearned for.

An hour later he was off, smiling and cheered – en route for more similar gatherings that same evening and many more in the days that followed. And he hadn’t changed at all. Quiet, convicted, unassuming. He followed his instincts, his ideals and his own heroes.

A few weeks later Jeremy won the leadership contest convincingly, moving on, over the next two years to first re-iterate his victory within the party, despite insane backroom backbiting from the reactionary elements and then, in 2017, finally becoming prime minister in the second of the two general elections held that year by the calamitous Conservative Party.

After Cruella’s dismal performance in the first how could they have imagined Boris winning the second! Both were dismal followers, led by their unseen owners, unable to decide any questions as they lacked the internal mechanisms to do so.

Unlike Jeremy who, through a vast accumulation of humility, humanity and reason then led from the broadest foundation – powered by empathic connection. It felt as if we all were the leader and we led him as much as he us.

Perhaps we had, at last, achieved true democracy……..



The above was written to topic of “I’m a follower, not a leader” set by Colwyn Writers’ Circle, for Saturday June 24th, 2017.

Chris Hemmings

June 22nd, 2017.

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Deliverance Day

June 8th, 2017 – Deliverance Day


Our Corbyn which art in Islington
Jeremy be thy name.
Thy red flag come,
Thy will be done in Liverpool
As it is in Edinburgh.
Give us this day our welfare state
And forgive us our student debt,
As the Tories forgive those bankers that trespass against us.
Lead us not into privatisation,
But deliver us from MayHem,
For thine is the Republic, the People and the Justice,
Forever and ever.

Original Posted by Mick Grieve

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Awakening the Written Word

Awakening the written word

 A one day workshop set up to discuss and develop skill sets suitable for writers to compose material such that they are confident it will work not only as individually read work but also be suitable to be read aloud to a group of listeners or, further, used in live performance without reference to the physical written words.



A writers’ circle in Colwyn Bay has been meeting weekly to exchange ideas, inspirations and individual responses to an agreed topic. We have all been impressed by the diverse range and the high quality of responses and have, further, seen the group grow significantly over the two years of its existence. In reading aloud our works, we find, also, a range of approaches, some more polished than others.

When requested to engage with the Lit Wales Itinerant Scribes programme, it was felt that, initially, we should attempt to address this issue and so enhance the performance quality of our compositions. Bangor Performance Poet Mr Martin Daws accepted my request to run such a day of skill development.


We wanted to involve the Conwy County Council in the event and so based the first of the two workshops in Colwyn Bay Library, where Martin led a two hour helter skelter through the interactions of words, people and life situations. Commonplace run through the filters of imagination but funnelled back together through teamwork and integration.
After lunch in the NWAMI building on Greenfield Road, also in Colwyn Bay, we remained in NWAMI for an afternoon session taking our earlier writing as well as additional scribing and running through exercises in microphone and other performance technique. Individuals in the group discovered a lot about themselves that, hours earlier, they might not have imagined was possible!

Three hours very well spent.


Performance Session

For two hours that same evening we took over the upstairs floor of The Station Pub, in central Colwyn, and ran through our newly developed skills. Led by half an hour’s inspiration from our tutor who worked through a number of his more recent poems and tonal structures in a spellbinding style. Thereafter a number of the members of the group performed works from their individual folders, showing a clear boost resultant from the day’s well structured studies.


Above was my report back to event part funders Literature Wales.

Hopefully we will run a series of such events, under the series’ title “The Write Way”…………….


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