Friday, 27 May 2016
After the recent revelations about the British Medical Association and the very political ambitions behind the recent junior doctors’ strike the warring sides are now back around the table and the fuss and furore has died down... for now. Of course, strikes are never far away and the French unions, seizing their moment while Europe is distracted by the migrant crisis, the ‘rise of the right’ a possible Brexit and all those shenanigans, are lurching shambolically to the left and bringing the country to a standstill. There is actually such a thing in France as ‘Strike Season’, the disputes neatly timed to resolve themselves just in time for summer holibobs. They are so much better at this holding the country to ransom shit than we are.
Anyway, it’s business as usual in Britain’s hospitals and the wards are busily buzzing away with the labour of tending to the lame and halt. Surgeries are back to prescribing ineffective antibiotics for imaginary ailments and all manner of patches and poultices are being applied to every bodily appendage and orifice. The operating theatres are gradually getting back on track and theatre staff are regaining their playful nature. During one tea break a group of surgeons tale to discussing their favourite type of patient.
"I like accountants” says one, “because inside, it’s like reading a well-kept and tidy ledger. Plus everything is arranged in alphabetical order." The assembly then join in, imagining such a thing: appendix, colon, duodenum, heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, spleen, stomach and so forth. All agree that this might be a slightly impractical set-up, especially given the poor spelling and notoriously atrocious handwriting of doctors. There has to be a better way.
“Well, I like librarians” says a second, “because all of their organs are arranged using the Dewey Decimal System." They all nod; this seems like a far better way, grouping all the bits and bobs according to function and they happily devise their own version whereby the intestinal tract is neatly accessed by one handy incision and the cardio-vascular system by another. But far from gaining universal approval there is still the knotty problem of reading numbers when everything is covered in blood and iodine.
“Electricians” declares a third. “Inside every electrician, everything is neatly colour coded. You can’t really go wrong. Yes, electricians have the easiest bodies to work on.” No reading, no worrying about alphabetising, no numbers to accidentally go back in the wrong order and everything ordered by a system even a child could understand. One surgeon piped up: “But what about the colour-blind?” Stumped again.
The discussion faltered for moment and small talk began to break out until one suddenly said, “I have it. The perfect body to work on would surely be a politician’s.” The responses were somewhat less than charitable as they began to imagine what they would like to do should they find Jeremy Hunt under the knife. “No, no, no” said the originator of the idea, “what I meant was, they would be simple to operate on because they are heartless, gutless and spineless... the elbow and arse are interchangeable and it doesn't matter what you do with the brain as no use for it has ever been found."
Thursday, 26 May 2016
It’s hard to imagine how much lower the Remain campaign can sink after the ‘white thug’ poster, the clear implication being that if you vote to leave you must be an under-educated, unemployable white racist and only the combined forces of loveliness – see the sweet white-haired Asian lady – can thwart the evil demons of darkness. I only hope the Leave flag-wavers don’t continue down the undignified road of tit-for-twat insult exchange the referendum has become. This isn’t about what type of people we are, it’s about who owns us and whether we can do anything about it.
They say what’s yours is yours, but that’s true only as long as you can hold onto it. Die intestate and the crown will gleefully pick through your belongings. Even alive ‘your’ land can be repossessed by the state at will, for that new bypass or stadium or HS2. Keep your money in a bank and the government can dip into it whenever they wish; some western governments already have. Hide the loot under your bed and inflation will gradually erode its worth – although with Japan trialling negative interest rates, stuffing your mattress might yet be a good idea. But don’t hoard Euros – who knows what that will be worth in a year – go for dollars or better yet, gold.
The world is falling apart – South America appears to be fucked – Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina all riddled with corruption and dysfunctional government. Europe is struggling with immigration and identity crises and the popular ‘far right’ is feared by the commissioners who have decided to give themselves the power to ignore any democratically elected administrations they deem not to hold the views of the European dream. In America, Donald Trump, supported by many millions, is regularly harangued as some kind of Nazi. And meanwhile everywhere the rise of islam continues unchecked and largely ignored except by the howling voices of the Nazi-like, ‘anti-Nazis’. The BBC documentary about white flight from the East End only added more hateful grist to their perpetual milling.
So, who do you trust? Post Referendum Day, in or out, one thing won’t have changed – ‘they’ are not on your side. If anybody is expecting anything to be settled they will be sorely disappointed. The state will continue to increase its costs and the burden will continue to fall on the same shoulders. The NHS will remain in permanent crisis and we will lurch from one hated Parliament to the next. There can probably be no such thing as British independence any more; as a nation we are already history. There seems to be only one solution; take matters into your own hands and look after yourself.
Holidays will cost more? Take fewer holidays; the annual jetting off to the sun is a recent and unnecessary indulgence and often causes more strife than staying at home. Energy costs up and supplies uncertain? Learn to rely less on the certainty of cheap fuel; put on a jumper, walk to work if you can and turn the bloody lights off. Food prices rising? You already spend far too much on processed stuff that’s full of sugar; buy fresh, stop filling the fridge with anytime snacks and lose a few pounds of flab, fatty.
If we can’t control who governs us – and the evidence all points that way – we should learn to rely less on that government and more on ourselves. Stand on your own two feet and be as self- sufficient as you possibly can; see how liberating that feels. Live within your own means and don’t expect anybody to top up those means; if you ‘need’ those tax credits and fear their loss the government has you where it wants you. Stop thinking the government is on your side – it is on nobody’s side but government. So, come the big day, vote whichever way you wish, it will probably make little difference. But do yourself and your family a favour; if we can’t free the country we might still have a chance of freeing ourselves.
Tuesday, 24 May 2016
The ancients, in the absence of physics and Google, used superstition to explain their world. Playthings of mischievous and often vexatious gods, human leaders sought to ally themselves with higher powers and became easy prey to soothsayers who claimed insight and offered a tantalising glimpse into the future. Not too precise, mind, nothing so specific it could ever be held up to detailed scrutiny. The perfect soothsayer would be akin to a modern-day PR practitioner, forever repeating back to the client what the client wants to hear yet appearing to remain impartially aloof and prophetic.
Eventually these high priests of doom wormed their way right to the top of society and became untouchable talismans and harbingers of continued dynastic supremacy. These days they go to Eton and become Chancellor of the Exchequer. And they use technology instead of crystal balls. The government has once again used your money and the machinery of state (which is supposed to serve you) to dole out another helping of thin, cold, fearful Brexit gruel. Using models approved by those people who approve of such things, they have fed in selective data and come up with projections in the time honoured fashion of any proud pseudo-scientist.
Now, real scientists and engineers have used computer models for years; models based on hard, known repeatable facts, such as the properties of materials or chemical reactions or natural phenomena, such as gravity. Feed in the right numbers and you get accurate, reliable output; information which can predict with some certainty the amount of concrete needed to build that bridge and how many trucks it will hold. They can tell you when the sun will rise and set and predict eclipses hundreds of years in the future. Most importantly, computer models allow you to vary the inputs and see the consequences without spending a fortune getting it wrong.
But such powerful tools have to be carefully handled and a hard-learned lesson of early days is summed up by the acronym GIGO - garbage in, garbage out. The government guessing machine is now spewing out so much garbage it is beginning to attract rats and disease. Well, two can play at that game, to which end I have coded a special spreadsheet whose algorithms are arranged such that the desired outcomes are entered and the necessary inputs are reverse engineered to suit.
Thus, if I want to show global warming, it carefully selects from known information the required data sets to produce that conclusion, omitting any inconvenient truths such as this utterly normal May weather we’re having. Should I wish to forecast a reduction in migrant figures it points me at the most suitable year-on-year figures to compare. And if I want to demonstrate the absolute truth about what an existential disaster Brexit will bring, why I just tell the application to recreate 1978-1979, the famous year of discontent.
Government 'scientists' discover new 'facts'.
But David Cameron’s chickens may be coming home to roost as a new generation of John Major’s bastards renounce his ill-considered logic and defy his stance on the EU. For a fee I’m sure I could get my app to forecast his political survival. It might even be possible to select from the pile of evidence actions that exclude the current finagling and misuse of the instruments of state. I could turn his forecast DIY recession into a DIY vote of confidence. But I fear there is only so much bullshit any system can take.
Monday, 23 May 2016
Ah, happy is the potter at his wheel, especially so given that none but Potters may ply his trade. ‘Oh, wonder!’ As the famous Bard of Brussels once wrote, ‘How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in ’t!’ And apt it is to remember Guillaume Shakespeare as today we celebrate the hundredth anniversary of the Luvvies’ Revolt. Until their brave intervention there was a risk that the savages who sought to tear our union asunder might prevail but once the noble heroes of stage and screen stiffened their sinews, we were saved.
Many mistook the aims of the EU, thinking it a malign perversion of our rights to self-determination. Far from it, in fact the opposite, as you now have total self-determination from birth – your birth name dictates the guild to which you belong and to which you are enrolled even as you take your first breath. Now, thanks to the progressive policies of Europa our jobs are saved forever. As the great man also wrote ‘That which we call a rose, by any other name would never smell so sweet.’ Were it not for the pioneering Cumberbitches almost anybody would be able to get an Equity card. Instead, however, we have the certainty of protectionism taken to its logical conclusion. Only a true-born Dimbleby may dimble on the tellybox and only the Coogan clan may lampoon for profit. Talk about creative.
Once it was only the French who insisted that bread bakers must have degrees but soon enough this splendid notion had spread and the wholesale adoption of glorious closed-shop professionalism became commonplace across the European Union. With only twenty-eight members back then and with minimal influence on world trade it was essential that the union be enlarged as quickly as possible. Were it not for the intervention of the thespians and their band of light-footed lovelies Europa may have been limited to only the old European continent, instead of reaching out to touch our immediate neighbours in New Imperial China and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Your name is truly your fortune and everybody is happier for that. The Potters, as previously mentioned, obviously, but also the Carpenters, Smiths and Taylors wear their jobs with pride. Naturally, some older names have been lost – not much call for Wrights and Coopers any more, but there has been a boom in Deed Poll conversions and marriages of convenience to attain treasured appellations such as Banker, Financier and the splendid multi-barrelled Climate-Change-Scientist and Social-Justice-Warrior.
But birthrights in some professions are sacrosanct and nominative determinism is jealously protected in law; only a Camerosborne may vote in council on behalf of Brexile Island where political dissidents are re-educated and of course only a Kinnock or a Blair can ever take the presidency of the whole union. Keep Europe European, they said as they rose as one to support the legendary Kapoor, who prophetically proclaimed ‘Europe or death!’ Ironically, as it turned out, for on this septic Brexile Island, you can have both.
Friday, 20 May 2016
The latest referendum polls showed little change and the government, having decided to campaign for the continued servility of the British economic machine to the puppet masters of Brussels, decided to hold a summit to assess the way forward. After all, their future EU commissioner jobs were at stake here. Around the table various strategies were discussed and a plan of sorts began to come together. But given the exposure of some high profile figures to the enhanced scrutiny of the public gaze they were struggling to come up with a strong enough character to lead the final push.
“It’s as if we are like the components of one body” said David Cameron, “all working in concert to keep this thing viable...” adding, for no reason other than it was expected, “...going forward.” He then went on to propose that all around the cabinet table compared themselves to a vital organ as a means of explaining how they fitted into the whole and how they would bring new insights to appeal to the undecided voter.
"I should be in charge," said Sajid Javid “I am like the brains and that, because of all the things what I know. I used this knowledge to rise from being the son of a bus driver to be like what I am now. And where I am now and that. As the brain I run all the body's systems, so without me nothing would happen, innit." The cabinet nodded, unconvinced.
The resident of No.11 stood to address the assembly. "I should be in charge," said George Osborne. “Money is like the blood of the economy and I am the heart of the operation. Without me, circulating life-giving blood – by which I mean money, of course – all your other functions would waste away. The heart is the most important organ.”
"I should be in charge," said Liz Truss. “As Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, I am like the stomach. My department preserves the life-giving environment so we can grow the food which the stomach processes to give you all energy. Without that energy the blood is no good and the brain would be starved." Murmurs went around the table; she had a point.
Patrick McLoughlin cut in: "I should be in charge," he said. “As Transport Minister I am like the legs and I carry the body wherever it needs to go." Another good point, the murmurs suggested. Then, "I am the eyes," said the Theresa May, "I send out my security forces and I see everything. Without the eyes the body wouldn’t be able to see where it is going.” A flurry of others added their own bids, until a cough was heard from the head of the table. David Cameron was ready to speak again.
“You are all forgetting the rectum.” He said. “The rectum is the most powerful.” The cabinet laughed, nervously. “As the rectum, I am responsible for waste removal – I get rid of those we don’t need." Everybody fell silent and for a few seconds nobody dared breathe. “If I choose to shut down, within a few days the stomach will bloat, the brain will get headaches, the legs will wobble, they eyes will blur and the blood will become toxic.” In a unanimous vote it was confirmed he would lead the charge.
The arsehole of Europe?
The Moral of this story? No matter who does all the work and no matter how much effort they put in it is always the arsehole who is charge.