I am all astonishment.

Forgive me for plagiarism but I believe the phrase fits the bill. I’m referring to Peter Mandelson’s return to British politics from his role as Trade Commissioner to the EU. I find it surprising in view of the fact that he resigned twice from the Cabinet in his days with Tony Blair. What astonishes me is his right to receive roughly half a million pounds per year, for two years, while at the same time receiving approximately £180,000 for his services to our government. I assume he will also qualify for expenses during his service. In addition he will qualify for a 30,000 a year pension for services as a commissioner. My astonishment is on a number of levels, firstly he only worked there for four years, which shows you the incredible cost Brussels entails, when you consider the number of people there and the grades at which they work, not to mention their expenses for travel, accommodation, entertaining, lunches and pensions’. Another level of astonishment is that our government, in spite of his history, is having to bring him back. This would seem to indicate a paucity of people who would agree to, and are able enough, to fulfil the post that Mandelson is taking up, which itself I find extraordinary, because I believe that apart from someone like Einstein, there are few of us who are unique. I wonder what the public as a whole thinks of this in the light of the credit crunch, in the light of the Blair aftermath, and the possibility of Peter copying the Blairs’ incredibley lucrative lecture tours.

Another surprise this week was the theft of David Beckham’s memorabilia. I have considerable sympathy for him and his wife, and this is yet another twist in the change in morality that we think we can rely upon. I inevitably wonder if eBay, as an intermediary, should not ensure that the products they are advertising have not been stolen. The purchasers have no way of vetting the source of the products yet they are receiving stolen goods, which is against the law. Surely, if a series of articles whose value was increased by being once the property of the Beckham’s, suddenly appears on the market, it must raise questions?

Some councils are proposing to turn off the street lights at some time in the night to save costs and save the world. The criminal fraternity must be rubbing their hands, and the elderly will be vulnerable. Joy-riders will be harder to catch and girls will be afraid to stay out late. The irony is that everybody will be buying their own street lights in the form of spotlights, so once again the ratepayers will be paying twice, and the world won’t be saved at all. They do of course mean well – these councillors.

In one part of the United Kingdom there is a senior official who is being taken to task by some of the public and the media, for not having sufficient isolation wards attached to a hospital with a sudden and recent large outbreak of one of these killing viruses. I personally don’t blame him, it would be far too expensive to have vacant wards in every hospital just in case there is an outbreak. I would have thought that it would not be difficult to modify mobile homes, by using additional strutting in lieu of the internal walls, to provide torsional strength, and design in such a way that four of them could be bolted together, with additions, in short order, to supply an isolation ward, suitable for the 20 beds, plus a sluice plus also an area for serving meals. These could be set in place very quickly and moved from hospital to hospital as required. These days with all the advances that have been made in the mobile holiday home industry, toilets, washing facilities and all else, could be accommodated, with just a little thought and co-operation from the mobile home industry. If the police can set up incident rooms on a similar basis, why not wards within the DHSS

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