A blogger's taleA while ago I was asked, Why and when did you decide to start writing? Furthermore - what persuaded you to take your talents to the Internet?Here is what I wrote in reply.
In 2007 I was working in a pressurised environment for the NHS in the UK.
My job held plenty of responsibility and hassle, for few rewards. Feeling that I was approaching breaking point I decided that it was time to walk away. As it has turned out I did return in a few short months but in a part-time capacity and different hospital environment.
When I first left though I took a drop in money. My new, temporary job was only just above the minimum wage and the 16 hours reduction in the working week added to the financial restraints. Still I was much happier and the break gave me time to re-evaluate life and my priorities.
So, at home, with more time on my hands, and no money, I began to research ways that I could make a little extra money on-line.
Simply google "making money online" and all sorts of opportunities and scams are easy to find. I wanted something that was legitimate, non pressurised and offered a little pocket money.
I began with surveys and mystery shopping and found the rewards nice. They were not always vast but they were steady extra cash.
English had been one of my best subjects at school and writing seemed a possibility. I had been good at art but my poor eyesight
limited these opportunities.
I signed up at
Dooyoo.co.uk and Ciao.co.uk and began to write product reviews. My initial reviews were dire. Whether it was lack of experience, my health at the time or simply lack of practice I do not know, but some reviews were dreadful. Still I earned a little money and built up a community. All in all I enjoyed these sites. Epinions was another that I joined, but only for a short time.
As my writing improved I gradually abandoned these sites and moved on. For a while I did go back and amend some of the reviews but as the rewards were small it felt time to move on. I guess Helium was my first proper Internet writing site.
It was in its infancy when I joined. Over the five plus years that I have been a member Helium has morphed into a new entity. Some of this I like. Some I do not. Then in time I came across Hubpages.
That site for me fulfilled many of my creative needs at least it did back then. It was user friendly, easy to get to grips with and did not make too many changes, too often. Yes, it has made some but most have been welcome improvements. Infobarrel was recommended by a fellow Hubber other sites followed. In time I streamline my Internet writing. There are only so many hours in a day and I do not want to be a, Jack of all trades, master of none, as the saying goes.
I guess on the whole I would say that I decided to try writing as a means to earn some extra money, but it turned out to offer so much more. Writing online offers flexibility
, instant writing rather than jotting down notes and needs little initial financial outlay except for needing to have a computer.
It has helped me keep track of new technological innovations, make many virtual friends and stretch my brain. As practise makes perfect it has greatly improved my writing skills. At least I hope it has. It has become a big part of my daily life. I use it as a means to unwind from my daily part-time work.
As I am approaching retirement I have seen and experienced so much over the years that in some ways I have a wealth of knowledge. That is true of all of us as we go through life. The Internet enables us to share our knowledge and experience with people around the world. The Internet was the place I chose to write mainly because it is accessible, relatively free, non restrictive and World wide
. I also liked the possibilty to remain anonymous when required or wanted. I have no delusions about being another Jane Austen or J K Rowling but enjoy putting my thoughts into words.Now with two websites under my belt I have gone from blogger to webmaster. Who would have though it? Certainly not I.If you think that it is easy to make a bundle of cash writing online you are mistaken. It could however be the hobby for you.
With only three days left before the London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony the UK Coalition are attempting to reassure the public. In such a huge, 21st Century, event safety and security is paramount. Surely that is why the government should have had all security issues sewn up weeks ago?As it is, the last couple of weeks has been shambolic. G4S security failed to come up with the goods, that is Olympic security and the army were hastily called in.Thousands of military personnel found that their Summer leave was cancelled
. Some were soldiers just home from Afghanistan. Instead of being able to enjoy a well deserved break they found themselves drafted in to secure the Olympics.Today July 24, 2012,
Government Minister Jeremy Hunt announced that a further 1,200 troops are to be deployed for the Olympics. These were initially said to be simply as reserves but now they are to be fully utilised. Just why is unclear. Hunt maintains that it is an extra precaution and a sensible measure.Interviewed on UK mainstream news shows he said that G4S were beginning to provide a good number of trained personnel. It was hard to watch him almost praising G4S in light of the recent fiasco.
Maybe it is a case of watching his own back. Hunt has been responsible for Olympic failings
and continues to wriggle off the hook.Whilst he may say that G4S are now providing a substantial number of security personnel we are inclined to say "so what?" After all the multi-million pound contract they were awarded was for doing just that.The UK has now committed a huge number of its troops to "policing" the Games. Is the truth of the matter that there has been an Olympic threat? In total there will now be 18,000 troops deployed at the Olympic Games in London.
Finally it seems nothing is being left to chance. Now as for the rest of the UK........
G4S have said that they may lose over £50mil because of their failure to fulfill the contract
they won to provide security for the London 2012 Olympics. Good is all we can say.Group Four Security does not have a good track record, especially as far as worker's right go. Part of the UK Government's Welfare for Work Scheme, they have been scrutinised before and found to be lacking. Pushing for people to be removed from benefit entitlements sooner rather than later firms such as G4S stood to win big time.They promised to provide around 10,000 trained personnel to cover the Olympics and finally at this late hour have admitted that they will be unable to do so. G4S have blamed many things for their failure but that does not help the Government, the Games and the people of the UK. As the gap their non compliance in security leaves is now to be filled with UK military the country looks set to pay dearly. Arguments that the military are on pay anyway are bunkum and being used as a way to soften the blow of the huge costs.If the company's Chief Executive Nick Buckles was expecting sympathy following the news that an extra 3,500 troops would be used for the Olympics he will be disappointed. The Military's additional costs for accommodation and the like will not be cheap.According to SkyNews,
"The company has a £284m contract with the Government to provide 13,700 security guards for the Olympic Games, but only 4,000 guards are trained and ready", Where but the UK, I ask you? Retired Merseyside police officers
have even been asked to help fill the security gaps although it is unclear if any have agreed.You have to wonder why more forward planning was not done by the Government or why the Army was not used in the first place. Is someone, somewhere along the line, reaping big financial rewards? Someone apart from G4S that is?Maybe the government was loathe to ask the UK military service to help out, having in the last couple of weeks announced major job cuts.
Imagine the satisfaction military personnel must have felt knowing that they were suddenly vital to Olympic security.On Tuesday July 17, 2012, Mr Buckles will go before the
Home Affairs Select Committee
as part of the panel's inquiry into Olympic Security. Yesterday, Friday July 13, 2012, shares in G4S plummeted. Representatives of the company have issued statements insisting that G45 will absorb the additional cost, not the UK taxpayer. We better watch this space though. As Olympic Games draw close in any host country, there are always problems. In the UK for the 2012 Games there has been everything, including, the closure of important roads, diabolical weather, flooding and now a shortfall in security. What next we wonder?Tags: G4S Olympic security shambles, military, UK politics, UK news, London 2012
With a little over two weeks before the London 2012 Olympics begin the final touches are being added. Well that would be the scenario in an ideal world. Here in the UK the Government's Home Secretary Theresa May has announced, July 12, 2012, that security firm G4S does not have enough trained security personnel to cover the whole event and quite literally the authorities are going to "send in the troops".
G4S were awarded the security contract worth around £248 million and you have to ask why a non compliance clause was not added?. The would have meant that had they failed to supply what was promised, G4S would have faced a financial penalty.
Warning bells should have sounded loudly in the Coalition's ears when G4S failed to meet their target in covering the Queen's Diamond Jubilee events. In the end untrained personnel
were taken from dole queues to work for no pay with no sustenance provided either. There was a government outcry following this but only because the matter became public knowledge. Had it not, the story could have been very different.
G4S have tendered to run some of the UK's Police Forces when they are privatised. Unbelievable? Not for a Tory government. which this coalition keeps on proving it is.
Following its failure to supply enough trained security personnel for the Olympics, Surrey Police Force
is putting their privatisation plans on to the back burner. The plans have not been scrapped though so watch this space.
So how come G4S win all of these contracts whether they are able to meet the requirements or not? Wikipedia carries a little pertinent information about G45 security group and its UK ties:-
Their track record is not good:
- G4S plc (formerly Group 4 Securicor) is a global security services company headquartered in Crawley, United Kingdom. It is the world's largest security company measured by revenues and has operations in more than 125 countries. With over 630,000 employees, it is the world's second-largest private sector employer (after Wal-Mart Stores).
- G4S has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange and it is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It has a secondary listing on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.G4S has its origins in a guarding business founded in Copenhagen in 1901 by Marius Hogrefe originally known as Kjøbenhavn Frederiksberg Nattevagt and subsequently renamed Falck.
- In 2000 Group 4, a security firm formed in the 1960s in Belgium, merged with Falck to form Group 4 Falck. Following the decision by the British Government in 1993 to enter into a contract with Group 4 to provide security for prisons, the company was embarrassed after a series of security blunders, including escaped prisoners.In 2002 Group 4 Falck went on to buy Wackenhut. In 2003 Group 4 Falck signed a Detention Services Contract with the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (Australia) Under this contract Group 4 Falck took over direct control of Australia's refugee detention centres from Australasian Correctional Management, owned by its subsidiary Wackenhut, which had run them since 1998. In 2004 Group 4 Falckmerged with Securicor, a security firm founded in 1935 in London, to form G4S.
- In October 2010, three G4S-guards heavily restrained and held down 46-year old Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga on departing British Airways flight 77, at Heathrow Airport. Security guards kept him restrained in his seat as he began shouting and seeking to resist his deportation. Police and paramedics were called when Mubenga lost consciousness. The aircraft, which had been due to lift off, then returned to the terminal, Mubenga was pronounced dead later that evening at Hillingdon hospital. Passengers reported hearing cries of 'don't do this' and 'they are trying to kill me'. Scotland Yard's homicide unit is investigating after the death became categorized as "unexplained". Three private security guards, contracted to escort deportees for the Home Office, were released on bail, after having been interviewed about the incident.
At the time we reported on privatisation plans for the UK police Force, G4S was the chosen contractor in the UK Government's 'Welfare to Work' scheme. Smell a rat? Well so do we.
G4S was hoping to have enforced, but trained labour, ready for the Olympics. Using its welfare for work status that was its ideal. Correct TEK if you know differently.
For whatever reason not enough staff have been trained in time. As a World Wide security firm though surely they should have been recruiting and training through their usual methods? The conclusion here is that this is their normal methods, that is cheap, poorly trained forced labour.
When Home Secretary Theresa May today, July 12, 2012, announced that the number of UK troops used for Olympic security is to increase from 13,500 to 17,000 she was at pains to claim there will be no cost to the UK taxpayer. The argument that the army is already on pay though is nonsense. Th irony of a government who only last week announced many job cuts to the military, then needing to utilise them is easy to see.
In spite of time pressures the army will be able to assemble a camp for the extra personnel, as it is used to working in such a way. It is thought however that the cost will run into the tens or twenties of millions.Ms May insists that as G4S have failed to comply with their contract they will pay. In her dreams, no doubt.
Note: Whilst UK authorities were busily positioning surface to air missiles
on the homes of some outraged tenants perhaps they should have looked a little closer to home. Man or woman power will surely be key to a safe London 2012?
Tags: G45 security, extra troops drafter in, London 2012 security, London Olympic security, G4S security, G4S