Saturday, 31 August 2013

Britain is no longer a country for an old soldier, politician and advocate of armed intervention in the war in Syria called Paddy Ashdown

Paddy Ashdown, the 72 year old former leader of the Liberal Democratic Party and now a member of the House of Lords is a deeply unhappy man. After Members of Parliament voted this week to reject Britain's military response in Syria in reaction to the chemical weapon attack on civilians in Damascus he tweeted that :

'We are a hugely diminished country this am. MPs cheered last night. Assad, Putin this morning. Farage too as we plunge towards isolationism. In 50 years trying to serve my country I have never felt so depressed/ashamed. Britain's answer to the Syrian horrors? none of our business.'
Speaking to the BBC's Radio 5 Live, he also expressed his unhappiness by saying that the outcome of the vote played into the hands of those who wanted to see Britain break away from the international community and “withdraw from the world”. He began by saying : " Call me an old warhorse if you wish, but I think our country is greatly diminished this morning."
He went on to say :
“ This country, which famously became Great Britain because it got engaged in the outside world, understood that dangers abroad were dangers for us - go back to Churchill - has decided that in the face of the breach of a war crime and a breach of international law it will not join with an international coalition led by a democrat American president. In more than 50 years of seeking to serve my country at home and abroad I wake up this morning more depressed, and I have to say, probably more ashamed than I have ever felt.”

What you possibly didn't know about this old warhorse, that he :
* was born Jeremy Ashdowne, the eldest of seven children, in New Delhi, India, during the Second World War in 1941 into a family of soldiers and colonial administrators with his father serving as an officer in the Indian Army.

* moved to Northern Ireland when he was a boy, where his father bought a farm in 1945, was educated first at a local primary school, then as a boarder at Garth House Preparatory School in Wales and then from the age of 11, Bedford School in England, where his Irish accent  earned him the nickname, 'Paddy'.

* left school and joined the Royal Marines at the age of 18 in 1959, served in Borneo during the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation before training as a swimmer canoeist in 1965 and joined the elite 'Special Boat Section' and commanded a Section in the Far East, then went to Hong Kong in 1967 and undertook an interpreters  course in Chinese.

* returned to Britain in 1970 and was given command of a Commando Company in Belfast, Northern Ireland at the time of 'The Troubles' and retired at the age of 32 with the rank of captain in 1972 and joined the Secret Intelligence Service and, as a cover, worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as First Secretary to the UK mission to the UN.

* decided to give up a comfortable life in Switzerland, with his wife and two children on the shores of Lake Geneva with plenty of time for sailing, skiing and climbing, to enter politics and eventually became a Liberal Member of Parliament in 1983.

* in the early 1980s, was a prominent campaigner against the deployment in Europe of American nuclear-armed cruise missiles describing them at a Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1983 as "the front end of the whole anti-nuclear struggle. It is the weapon we have to stop."

* when the Liberal Party merged in 1988 with the Social Democrats to form the Lib Dems, was elected as the new party's first leader (left) and resigned as leader in 1999 after 11 years, then  retired from the House of Commons in 2001 and then became a member of the House Lords.

* took up the post of the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2002, reflecting his long-time advocacy of international intervention in that region and testified as a witness for the prosecution at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Paddy, an old soldier out of tune with the majority of people in his country and members of its House of Commons.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Britain is no longer a country for and says "Goodbye" to an old rugby player, sports commentator and Welsh gentleman called Cliff Morgan

Cliff, who was one of the leading figures of British rugby in the post Second World period and played fly-half for Wales and the Lions with flair and inventiveness and then went on to become a radio and tv commentator, has died at the age of 83.

What you possibly didn't know about Cliff, that he : 

* was born in 1930 in Trebanog, in the Rhondda Valley where his father was a coal miner and educated at Tonyrefail Grammar School in an era when rugby was part of the informal curriculum of Welsh secondary education, left school and joined Cardiff Rugby Club in 1949.

* first played for Wales at the age of 21 in 1951, against Ireland, in direct confrontation with the great Jack Kyle and the following year, was a member of Wales's grand slam-winning side and in 1955 was selected for his first British Lions Tour, on which his try at Ellis Park, Johannesburg secured a famous 23-22 victory over South Africa in  front of a world-record crowd of almost 100,000.

* the following year, was made 'Captain of Wales' and went on to win 29 caps making his last appearance in a first-class rugby match at the age of 28 wearing the Barbarians' colours in 1958, in a game against East Africa in Nhairobi.
* on his retirement from the game, was approached by BBC Wales to become organiser of their sports programmes, then  moved away from sport for two years from 1964 to '66,to become the editor of ITVs 'This Week', current affairs programme, then returned to the BBC to take charge of  'Grandstand' and the midweek 'Sportsnight' with David Coleman.

* in 1970, he and boxing champion, Henry Cooper, became the team captains in the first series of 'A Question of Sport', a year later, survived a stroke at the age of 41, recovered and in 1974, was appointed 'Head of Outside Broadcasting' for BBC Radio and two years later, moved back to BBC tv in a similar capacity, supervising the coverage of royal weddings as well as the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, the World Cup and other major sporting events.

* as a commentator, went down in  history describing Gareth Edwards's magnificent try for the Barbarians in the opening minutes of their match against the All Blacks at Cardiff Arms Park in 1973, widely held to be the greatest of all time when he said :
"John Pullin, England's captain, the hooker … McBride trying to get … Wilkinson … Going … Williams again … everyone with him … Sid Going … good tackle by Slattery of Ireland … almost on the half-way line … Kirkpatrick, to Williams … this is great stuff … Phil Bennett covering, chased by Alistair Scown … brilliant … oh, that's brilliant … John Williams, Bryan Williams … Pullin … John Dawes, great dummy … David, Tom David, the halfway line … brilliant by Quinnell … this is Gareth Edwards … a dramatic start … What a score!"

* on retirement in 1987, continued to present 'Sport on Four', which he had started 10 years earlier, interviewing the stars of  sports with warmth, enthusiasm and generosity of spirit accompanied with smiles and laughter.

* in his later years, while living in retirement on the Isle of Wight, suffered from cancer of the vocal cords and found the removal of his larynx reduced his ability to speak, a cruel misfortune for a man of such conviviality and eloquence, who had loved to sing while playing the piano.

The Channel 4 tribute :

Dennis Gethin, President of the Welsh Rugby Union said; “"I have lost a friend and we have all lost one of rugby's greats who was also a true gentleman. His exploits as a player for Cardiff, Wales, the Barbarians and the British and Irish Lions  are legendary but he also achieved so much off the field of play. As a broadcaster he became one of the best known faces and voices of radio and television in the UK and as a producer and editorial executive he reached the top of his profession. Despite all that success he remained a true gentleman throughout his life and always remained a true son of the Rhondda."

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to a once indefatiguable and now very old film actor, producer and director called Richard Attenborough

Richard, who is now frail after a stroke five years ago and lives in a care home with his wife of 72 years in the room next door, is 90 year old today.

What you possible didn't know about Richard, that he :

* was born in Cambridge, the eldest of three sons of Mary, a founding member of the 'Marriage Guidance Council' and Frederick, a don at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge, who wrote a standard text on Anglo-Saxon law.

* was educated at Wyggeston Grammar School for Boys and then studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.

* became eligible to fight during the Second World War in 1941, served in the Royal Air Force and after initial pilot training, was seconded to the newly-formed RAF Film Unit at Pinewood Studios, under the command of Flight Lieutenant John Boulting.

* in 1943 appeared in propaganda film .'Journey Together' and then volunteered to fly with the Film Unit on missions over Europe, filming from the rear gunner's position to record the outcome of  Bomber Command sorties.

* started his film career at the age of 19 in 1942, in an uncredited role as a deserting sailor in 'In Which We Serve' in a role which would help to type-cast him for many years as 'spivs' and cowards until his breakthrough role as a psychopathic young gangster (left) in the film of Graham Green's novel, 'Brighton Rock' at the age of 24 in 1947.

* in the late 1950s, formed a production company, 'Beaver Films,' with Bryan Forbes and produced and appeared in 'The League of Gentlemen' in 1959 and 'The Angry Silence' in 1960 and produced 'Whistle Down the Wind' in 1961.

* appeared in several successful comedies by the Boulting Brothers, 'Private's Progress' in 1956 and 'I'm All Right Jack' in '59 and then in 1963, at the age of 30, appeared in his first Holywood blockbuster, in the ensemble cast of 'The Great Escape', as RAF Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett, 'Big X', head of the escape committee, based on the real life exploits of Roger Bushell.

* expanded his range of character roles in the '60's in 'Séance on a Wet Afternoon' (left)
and 'Guns at Batasi'  for which he won the BAFTA Award for 'Best Actor' for his portrayal of the Regimental Sergeant Major.

* in 1965, played Lew Moran opposite James Stewart in 'The Flight of the Phoenix'
and in 1967 won  a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in 'The Sand Pebbles'  co-starring Steve McQueen.

* directed the all-star screen version of the hit musical, 'Oh What a  Lovely War' in 1969, filmed in and around Brighton where I was a student at the time and where a friend, Willis Pitts, got a job as a soldier extra.

*  portrayed of the serial killer Christie in '10 Rillington Place'
and in 1977 he played the ruthless General Outram in Satyajit Ray's period piece , 'The Chess Player'.

* took no acting roles following his appearance in Otto Preminger's version of 'The Human Factor' at the age of 56 in 1979 until his appearance as the eccentric developer John Hammond in Spielburg's 'Jurassic Park' in 1993.

* directed two epic period films: 'Young Winston' in 1972, based on the early life of Churchill and 'A Bridge Too Far' in 1977 and in 1982 won the Academy Award for 'Best Director' for 'Gandhi' and five years later directed the anti-apartheid drama, 'Cry Freedom', based on the life and death of the acivist Steve Biko.

* directed and produced his last big films, 'Chaplin' in 1992 and 'Shadowlands' in '93 and between 2006 and 07 in his 80's, spent time in Belfast, Northern Ireland, working on his last film as director and producer, 'Closing the Ring', a love story set during the Second World War.

Britain's old men pay tribute to Richard's lifetime of work and thanks to the hours and hours of his film work they have seen over the years.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Britain is no country for old men in 'care homes' which provide neither 'home' nor 'care'

Bad news for old men and women in care homes last year because a record number of them and hospitals were issued with 'official warnings' after the health watchdog uncovered ‘unacceptable’ standards of care for the most vulnerable and inspectors issued 910 ‘warning notices’ . Of these, 818 were in 'adult social care', meaning care homes as well as care in pensioners’ own homes.

Warning notices are issued when care is so bad that it is no complying with the law and institutions are ordered to improve on pain of closure or prosecution.

Attention was drawn to the following care homes and although the problems have been rectified, the scandal is that they were reported in the first place.
Oakhurst Nursing Home, Bradford, where :
* staff were described as 'cocky' and 'punitive'.
* rooms were left unheated for two winters.
* water running at 50 degrees C put residents at the risk of being scalded.

Whitstable Nursing Home, where :
* one resident was left 'black and blue' after five falls in two weeks.
* residents were ignored when they were in
visible pain.

Norton Hall Care Home, Worcester, where :
* residents had filthy commodes and solied matresses.
* there were no effective systems to either prevent or monitor infection.

Willow Green Care Home, Darlington, where :
* residents were given medication at the wrong times and doses were missed.

West Cliff  Care Home, Southampton, where :
* the call bell system was found to be not working.
* one resident could not be heard and eventually found, had to be taken to hospital.

Coxwell Hall Nursing Home, Faringdon, where :
* three cases of unexplained injuries were not investigated.

Ros Altmann, pensions expert and campaigner said :

Minister of State ‘Jeremy Hunt has come down hard on poor standards in hospitals and he needs to do the same for care homes.  In a way this is even more important, because residents in care homes are usually there forever, while patients are in hospitals for shorter times. It is so deeply worrying that we seem to have a system that seems to be sweeping poor care under the carpet rather than dealing with it properly. We have a crisis in the care home sector. We are trying to provide care on the cheap, and as these shocking examples show, that can’t go on.’

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of 'Age UK', said:

‘Providing safe and dignified services must be the first priority of any organisation and there must be a zero-tolerance attitude to poor, neglectful care whether in a hospital or care home.’

Friday, 23 August 2013

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to a flamboyant, controversial old museum curator called Sir Roy Strong

Roy, art historian, museum curator, writer, broadcaster and landscape designer is 78 years old today.

What you possibly didn't know about Roy, that he :

* was born in Winchmore Hill, North London in 1935, four years before the outbreak of the Second World War, had a father, who sold hats, who was a bully, in a family where there was next-to-no money.

* went to Edmonton County School after the War, then gained a first class degree in History at Queen Mary College, University of London and after earning his doctorate from the Warburg Institute, became a research fellow at the Institute of Historical Research.

* rose quickly and became Assistant Keeper of the National Portrait Gallery at the age of 24 in 1959, and came to prominence at 32 when he became the youngest Director of the Gallery and set about transforming its conservative image with a series of extrovert shows, including '600 Cecil Beaton portraits', to which the public flocked and the queues made national news.

* in these years,later said : " I discovered that I was photogenic and became the subject of every photographer from Cecil Beaton to Bill Brandt".

* astonished the art world in 1971 when he abandoned the bachelor life and 'eloped' at the age of 35 with Julia Trevelyan Oman, age 41 marrying her at Wilmcote Church, near Stratford-upon-Avon with a special licence from the Archbishop of Canterbury.

* in 1973, aged 38, became the youngest Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, remained there for 14 years and amused audiences in 1974 with his collection of fedora hats, kipper ties and maxi coats.

* regularly introduced new exhibitions and doubled attendance with 'The Destruction of the Country House' in 1974, 'Change and Decay: the future of our churches' in 1977 and 'The Garden: a Celebration of a Thousand Years of British Gardening' in 1979 all of which were credited with boosting their conservationist agendas.

* at his home in the village of Much Birch in Herfordshire designed, with his wife, one of England's largest post-war formal gardens,'The Laskett'.

* at the age of 45 In 1980, was awarded the prestigious Shakespeare Prize by the FVS Foundation of Hamburg in recognition of his 'contribution to the arts in Britain' and awarded The Royal Photographic Society's 'President's Medal and Honorary Fellowship' at the age of 68 in recognition of a 'sustained, significant contribution to the art of photography'.

* after leaving the V&A, published a set of diaries infamous for their often critical assessments of figures in the art and political worlds about which Jan Moir commented : "His bitchy, hilarious diaries caused a storm when they were published in 1997 and although he has no plans at present to publish another set, he is keeping a private diary again."

* In 1999, published 'The Spirit of Britain: A Narrative History of the Arts', his widely acclaimed 700-page study of British arts through two millennia.

* in 2008, hosted a six-part tv reality series, 'The Diets That Time Forgot' in which he acted as the Director of the fictitious 'Institute of Physical Culture', where nine volunteers spent 24 days testing three weight loss diets and fitness regimes popular in the late Victorian, Edwardian and Roaring 20s periods and 2 years later made 'The Genius of British Art'

Friends: Roy Strong with Gianni Versace* developed a friendship with the fashion designer, Gianni Versace who took a keen interest in his wardrobe, regularly sending him items of clothing.

* is a practising member of the Church of England, an altar server at Hereford Cathedral, a High Steward of Westminster Abbey and as its 'High Bailiff and Searcher' attended the funeral service of the Queen Mother in 2002.

* in 2007, in the crypt of St Paul's Cathedral, delivered the annual Gresham College Special Lecture, entitled 'The Beauty of Holiness and its Perils (or what is to happen to 10,000 parish churches?)' and deeply critical of the status quo, said: "little case can be made in the twenty-first century for an expensive building to exist for a service once a week or month lasting an hour." and recommended someone taking "an axe and hatchet the utterly awful kipper coloured choir stalls and pews, drag them out of the church and burn them," and "letting in the local community" in order to preserve many rural churches in Britain.

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Britain is a country where old men don't have a problem with themselves but believe the rest of society does have a problem with them

More than 2,000 old men and women aged 65-93 have been surveyed by 'YouGov' for a firm providing support services for older people, Invicta Telecare. The results were interesting indicating that :

* about 63% agreed that being old was 'just a mindset' and refused to define themselves as old.

* more than a third (39%) said they were 'happier' than at any time and 42% described themselves as 'more tolerant'.

* only 6% feel their age 'changes the way they live their life' and would class themselves as ‘old’.

However :

* almost half of those questioned (47%) complained of ageism.

* almost two-thirds (62%) were concerned about 'being seen as a problem by society'.

* one in five of those polled (21%) worried about being thought of as a 'burden to friends and family' as they grew older.

* 48% said they thought their generation was 'ignored'.

* more than a third (37%) felt 'treated disrespectfully' because of their age.

* About 34% complained the word 'old was derogatory', while 27% disliked the word 'elderly' and 30% objected to being described as an 'OAP' (Old Age Pensioner).

Wendy Darling of Invicta Telecare said:
 "It's important to tackle the old-fashioned taboos that many are coming up against. It's clear many worry they will lose their identity and be seen as a problem as they grow older so it's important not to underestimate the support out there which will give full control of your freedom and independence."

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to an old film critic called Barry Norman

Barry, film critic, writer and media personality, best known as the presenter of BBC TV's 'Film 72' for 26 years until 1998 is 80 years old today.

I followed his programmes as a young man of 23 to a middle aged man of 51. Like many old men today, he educated my sensibilities to the world of movies.

What you possibly didn't know about Barry, that he :

* became increasingly irritated by the BBC's reluctance to screen his programme at a regular time and in 1998, finally accepted an offer to work for BSkyB, where he remained for three years.

* was interviewed in 1977 :

* also wrote and presented a number of documentary series for the BBC, 'Hollywood Greats' from 1977–79 and 1983, 'British Greats' in 1980 and 'Talking Pictures' in 1987.

* was associated with the phrase "and why not?", which originated not as his catchphrase, but as that of his puppet likeness on the satirical show 'Spitting Image' and then adopted the phrase himself and used it is the title of his autobiography.

* admitted that he initially hated the way his puppet looked on the programme, mostly because it had a large inexplicable wart on its forehead, but later moderated his attitude and felt flattered that the series found him famous enough to include him in its sketches.

Britain is suddenly a country for old men deemed fit for jury service

Under existing rules in Britain, old men and women up to the age of 69 can be called to serve as a juror. Now the Government intends to change the law to include those even older men and women aged 70 to 75. This will add two million to the list of potential jurors and up to 6,000 old people over 69 are expected to be called every year.

In addition to claiming for travel, lunch and refreshments, jurors can claim for loss of earnings and other expenses, for example, employing a child-minder or carer.

Could it be that the Government has found a new cost-saving source of jurors in the shape of old pensioners who won't claim for loss of earnings ?

Of course not. Perish the thought. Old men and women are to be taken on as jurors because, 'suddenly' the Government has been recognised that they have something to offer to juries in terms of their age and experience.

Criminal Justice Minister Damian Green said the shift would enable the criminal justice system to benefit from the knowledge and ‘life experiences’ of older people.
"The right to be tried by your peers is, and remains, a cornerstone of the British Justice system laid down in the Magna Carta almost 800 years ago. Our society is changing and it is vital that the criminal justice system moves with the times. The law as it currently stands does not take into account the increases to life expectancy that have taken place over the past 25 years. This is about harnessing the knowledge and life experiences of a group of people who can offer significant benefits to the court process."

And by the way, the Office for National Statistics estimates that the average old Briton remains ‘disability-free’ until the age of 75.

Saga Director of Communications, Paul Green said: "Older people have a great deal of life experience and many remain astute, savvy and mentally agile well into later life and will be a valued addition to any jury. This is a common sense reform and should be applauded."
Jane Ashcroft, Chief Executive of housing charity, 'Anchor', said:
"Older people have already contributed a great deal to society and their experiences and views are invaluable. I’m pleased that more older people will now be able to share their wisdom and participate in the criminal justice system.’ 
Michelle Mitchell, Director General of 'Age UK, said:
"Judging someone on the basis of their date of birth alone risks overlooking a person’s unique skills and knowledge. While it’s true that increasing longevity brings its challenges, there is also extraordinary human capital within our older population – older people are working, volunteering and contributing a huge amount to communities and the wider marketplace. We welcome all ways of including older people into the different aspects of society including eligibility to sit on a jury."

So old men of Britain, rejoice ! Your unique skills, knowledge, life experiences and being astute, savvy and mentally agile have all finally been recognised.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Britain is still a country for and says "Happy Birthday" to an old pop singer called Billy J. Kramer who sang when old boys were teens and all the world was young

Billy, who in the 1960s was a Merseybeat singer, managed by Brian Epstein and recorded several Lennon and McCartney compositions, is 70 years old today.

What you possibly didn't know about Billy, that he :

* was born William Howard Ashton in Bootle Lancashire, the youngest of seven children and went to the St George of England Secondary School and then took up an engineering apprenticeship with British Railways.

* in his spare time played rhythm guitar in a group he had formed, 'The Coasters', before switching to vocalist with the name 'Kramer' chosen at random from a telephone directory.

* came to the attention of Brian Epstein on the look-out for new talent add to his expanding roster of local artists, turned   professional with a new backing group, 'The Dakotas' and at John Lennon's suggestion, added 'J' to his name to further distinguish him by adding a "tougher edge".

* once the Beatles broke through, found, as a Merseybeat artist, his way was paved for success and was offered the chance to cover "Do you want to Know a Secret ?" with George Martin as producer in 1963 when I was 16 and he was 20.

* had another Lennon- McCartney song. "Bad to Me"
reach Number 1 and sell over a million vinyl copies and was awarded a gold disc and in 1964, when I was 17 and in love with Heather, his "I'll Keep You Satisfied" earned him appearances on the tv programmes 'Shindig', 'Hullabaloo' and 'The Ed Sullivan Show'.

* in 1964, despite being advised against it, turned down the offer of another Lennon–McCartney song, "One and One Is Two", and insisted on recording the Stateside chart hit "Little Children" which  became his second chart topper and biggest hit.

*  his Lennon–McCartney composition "From a Window"
only just became a Top Ten hit, then in 1965, when I was 18, his cover of "Trains and Boats and Planes" found itself in direct competition with Dione Warwick's version, which won the day and proved to be his swansong with the Dakotas.

* in 1983 at the age of 40, released a solo single called "You Can't Live on Memories"/"Shooting the Breeze" which failed to chart.

* in this century in 2005, recorded the "Cow Planet" for Sandra Boynton's children's album, 'Dog Train' after she had sought him, having in 1964, at age 11, bought a copy of his 'Little Children'.

* last year at the age of 69, went back into the studio for the first time in years to record  "I Won the Fight",  featuring  new songs written by him as well as covers and said in an interview in the 'Liverpool Echo' :
“The main thing about these new songs was that I finally decided to write them for me, and as it turned out, about me. I remember when I was a little boy and my mother use to take me into Liverpool and I used to look at all the guitars and I always felt something special was going to happen, but I was a very shy and self-conscious boy from Liverpool. When I was forced to take the lead, I really found it very difficult and struggled to deal with the attention and, like a lot of other people, I got into drinking, but in the end I got sober and I won the fight”.


Friday, 16 August 2013

Britain is no country for old men without access to the web

Britain's 'Office for National Statistics' in its 'Internet Access Quarterly Update' has announced that :

almost all, 99%, of those young people aged between 16 and 24 years of age have used the web.

only 33%, 1.5 million of those old men and women over 75 years of age have used the web.

the 3.2 million non-users over 75 year made up 45% of the 7.1 million people who had never used the Internet.

* Internet non-use was 28% for old men aged 65 to 74 years.

Access to the Internet has become part and parcel for life in Britain in the 21st century and like many old men I have been online for a number of years, but what of those millions of old men who have no access ? How are their lives diminished ? What don't they have and can't they do which the rest of us can ?

Number One : Methods of personal communication which could be the antedote to the loneliness and isolation which can blight lives , no :

* instant emails to family, friends and business. Instead, letter writing - expensive and time-consuming.
* online chat, social networking and facetime. 

Number Two : Easy professional communication, no : 

* ordering repeat prescriptions from the doctor, online banking, submission of gas and electricity readings. 

Number Three : Online shopping which could give access to the range of products which could save money and increase choice, no :

 * access to Amazon or ebay and other electronic market places. Instead, arduous visits to local shops and for those in rural locations without a car, even greater difficulties. 

* online booking for tickets for travel and entertainment. 

Number Four : Instant access to information, no : 

* access to news, web search to answer questions about, for example, local bus timetables, clubs and entertainment. 

Number Five : Downloading software, no : 

* access to free music, videos, movies and video games denying the opportunity to improve cognitive functions and improve eye-hand co-ordination.