It is only 2 am, but I woke tearing my hair shirt, because Gordon Brown made a statement I failed to understand, which then led to a deluge of queries. I had intended writing some lovely thoughts about the beauty of Ireland, because it’s the season of good cheer; but either Brown or I was in the poolroom when our teachers were doing national finance.
What started it was why Brown brought out an edict that doctors are to work longer hours on certain days to accommodate patients who are working 9 to 5, and bring us in line with European practice. There was also a threat that any doctor not complying might lose DHSS funding. The doctors at our surgery have open surgery 2 days a week starting at 8am and going on to at least 6 pm, and I’m sure they are not unique. What really took the biscuit was that a general survey elucidated that only 16% of those questioned thought this change was necessary. Strange that the proportion of us not born in the UK, is about 16%. Is he trying to make medicine a private service like dentistry, to plug the hole in the overall DHSS budget? I find driving home from town at 4.pm a nightmare which makes me think that flexy-time is now standard. If it is, I see no need for Brown’s edict, It is this sort of difference between government policy and what seems reasonable to me, which worries me and makes me suspicious of every utterance.
Then I started doing sums in my head and the result made me get up and rush for paper and pencil. If we are 60 million, we are probably, on average, 3 to a house, so that makes 20m households. Northern Rock cost £100 bn . and if every household had to foot its share of that it would equate to £5000 per house. Our internal debt is said to be £3,000 per house on average (£60bn). We have 80,000 victim compensation claims outstanding. We are proposing to build 3m new homes in 13 years, say 230,000 pa,. If people can’t get mortgages the houses will be let, and the bill for construction will be footed by us yet again; and so it goes on. These astronomical figures worried me especially as I am unable to find the annual figures for the DHSS, Education, Defence and other big budgets. On top of this Brown has stated that if savings are lost he will repay up to £30,000 in any one account if the bank or Building Society fails. This forced him to take on further repayments for pensions lost up to £27,000pa each, total claim unknown. So, I’m a mite suspicious of exactly where we go from here, and what the future holds. Maybe, while the philosophy of ‘buy today and worry about it tomorrow’ is unsustainable, selfish and immoral, its participants might come off better in the long run, at the expense of the more frugal.
Strictly Come Voting. I cannot see how one can have a competition that is fair, or even makes sense, when the allegedly considered appraisal of the judges is overruled by the wishes, backed by cash, of the audience. It smacks of the Roman Forum with Caesar, giving the thumbs down proportionate to the applause from the bleachers.
If you read my stuff you will know I’m a cynic. I also used, in the 40s, to be an avid ballroom dancer, when Soph and I danced every dance, every night of the week, including Sundays, and at dance clubs, where you could be naked and they would never know, because they were all watching your feet to see if you turned properly. Add cynicism to dancing and evaluate, when I say I have convinced myself, from the actual judging and marking, the whole of Come Dancing was more than likely staged to increase the phone calls, rather than a true test of skill. I can’t see why all the profits of the phone-in couldn’t go to charity instead of half, they had a winner of a show, which had an incredible following and no doubt will be repeated. What I will say is, the achievement of the amateurs in so short a time, (if indeed that is true) was a demonstration of pure grit, dedication, and probably quite a surprise to some of them that they possessed this hidden talent.