The WWW didn't really exist when I started using the internet. We had bulletin boards, arcane chat room protocols, some weird techy stuff that allowed me to send e-mails to the USA from London if I routed them through Hong Kong (don't ask, I can't remember how I did it) and most communications revolved around what would today be called ecosystems, for example CompuServe and America On Line. All the ingredients were present for social media but there was no integration. The internet was for techies. That soon changed, and we changed with it.

 

  The William Rhodes Secondary Technical School in Chesterfield was often the school of choice, above the grammar school for those who passed their 11 plus examination. On the recommendation of my junior school headmaster, I went there: it was, he said "a school for individuals." It was wonderful and when I had to move to another area, I was heartbroken. In the intervening years, things have changed. It's sad.

Graphic: My blazer badge c.1965

 

It's difficult to understand what happened at the end of the week before Christmas. Egypt's resolution condemning illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories was first delayed, then withdrawn after Israel pushed diplomatic buttons in Washington and found incoming President Trump to be an ally. Then four countries put forward their own resolution and that was passed, because for the first time in a long time the USA did not exercise its veto to strike down a resolution critical of Israel's illegal acts. That the Resolution was passed is a very good thing. But it's toothless and Israel's immediate response was to tell the UN it would not comply.

When I was young, and we had our first TV, I remember hiding behind the settee (I'm a Midlands lad, "sofas" were for pooftahs) when The Daleks appeared on Doctor Who. I remember my Aunt laughing as she came down from the "box room" where she was staying for a couple of days and banging the door into my feet which protruded. Now, rather older and, one hopes, rather wiser, I'm looking at my TV room and wondering if there's space behind the sofa (see, I'm reconstructed) for me to hide while the results of the US presidential election are announced.

If you are British, you will know that there are a number of reasons why the BBC earns its licence fee. Mostly, it's not the junk TV like Eastenders, nor is the dreadful BBC website which is journalistically bankrupt and often barely literate. And it's not the platform for stridency that is Woman's Hour. No, it's things like its excellent drama on TV and Radio and Radio 4's "Letter to America," now sadly dead along with its creator, and Desert Island Discs. Sadly, the Roy Plomley years have gone and good as his replacements have been, it's not the same without those warm, avuncular tones. Even so, people really, really want to appear.

There's a serious problem in Financial Crime Risk Management and Compliance: the lack of precision in language means no one knows where they stand.

I'm amused by the social media campaigns for Corbyn as an icon of socialism in the UK.

It seems that he's the man for everyone - so long as you are from a minority that he can claim to support or a self-interest group that can garner votes from its members.

We all make mistakes and often for the best of reasons. Often, it's difficult to make the judgement to correct them, partly because of ego, partly because we don't know what's gone wrong and therefore a fix is nothing more than a shot in the dark, or sometimes it's because we know what has gone wrong but we don't understand why it has gone wrong.

In terms of sentencing in English law, there is, in effect, an upper figure. Murder is generally subject to a life term, but convicts are released "on licence" - some earlier than later but, if they are going to be released at all, rarely more than 14 years. The maximum sentence for theft, robbery, money laundering, terrorist financing is, in each case, 14 years per count. Unlike the USA which imposes sentences that run several hundred years after the lifetime of the convict, UK courts rarely impose consecutive sentences where long terms are called for. This is especially so in the case of white collar criminals who, in the UK, are generally treated very gently. And then chunks of the sentence are often suspended.

Tom Hayes is the criminal who has broken that mould.

I am constantly amazed by the utter rubbish spouted by so many so called experts in the field of counter-money laundering, including many who proudly add various letters after their names.

The false information they spread fundamentally undermines all efforts to properly educate those upon whom the responsibility for detecting money laundering falls. That includes front line staff, new entrants to the field and those in positions of responsibility in all manner of businesses, not only financial institutions.

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