Monday, 10 March 2014
Accusations were flying thick and free from the LimpDem conference stage this weekend as they attempted to resurrect their busted flush of a party and distance themselves from the Tories. Danny Alexander couldn’t have been more emphatically anti if he’d claimed that without the LibDems at their side the Tories would have by now mandated the compulsory eating of babies as an alternative to food banks – nice roasted, by all accounts. And by re-branding themselves as the “Party of In” they now seek to present themselves as empowered and mighty players in the EU experiment.
I say ‘experiment’ because I’m sure Greece and Spain and Cyprus and the other raped and impoverished southern European countries, with massive unemployment and crippled economies feel closer kinship with vivisection subjects than with their richer northern neighbours. But don’t panic fellas, that inequality is being addressed and we’ll all soon be just as poor as you. And Cleggy is determined to take us on that journey come hell or high water. He claims to love all nationalities, so why does he hate the British so much?
Despite the passage of over a decade since a report suggested that over three million UK jobs ‘depend’ on the EU and despite numerous rebuttals of that claim it still seems to be Clegg’s only real rationale for remaining in the club. Oh, that and his other dodgy assertion that, should we leave, Brits abroad will be immediately dispossessed and repatriated. Both claims are, of course, utter bollocks; the main jobs that would be lost would be the commissionerships for Clegg and his troops.
The argument that British workers abroad would lose jobs and domicile rights just doesn’t hold true. The British have been emigrating economically or otherwise for centuries and none of that will stop. And as for jobs at home, even in the ‘good old days’ of manpower intensive industry people lost their jobs and moved, often en masse. From mills and pits and the land old jobs have gone and will keep on going. But Clegg wants to play on that fear of the inevitable and spin the declining pay and displacement of labour as a wholly good thing.
What IS a monstrosity is the fact that in 21st century Britain, by whatever definition, we still have poverty. And if the LibDems believe that ever cheaper labour is not partly to blame they might want to try asking the actual poor, because every place where we have poverty we also, presumably coincidentally in Clegg World, have large and new immigrant populations. Mind you, if you listen to some commentators a bit of poverty is a small price to pay for opening our borders to so much thrilling diversity. You see, through the right coloured spectacles cultural ‘enrichment’ is just as good as the monetary kind.
If only we would open our eyes and see the world through Nick’s sparkly eyes we would see the incredible benefits of membership. Soon almost none of us would have to work at all. We would live comfortable, easy lives while our Lithuanian gardener tended the lawn, our Portuguese cook prepared dinner and the Polish builders erected the nursery extension for the new baby currently incubating inside our Romanian surrogate. Of course, as we would be ‘unwaged’ we’d still be poor, but it would be a new and better kind of poor. But what do I know?
Friday, 7 March 2014
Progress, noun, ˈprəʊgrɛs’
1. forward or onward movement towards a destination.
2. development towards an improved or more advanced condition.
You can’t stop it, they say; progress gathers a certain momentum as it carries us inexorably towards change. Of course the adjective ‘progressive’ is a backward motion in political terms, having been appropriated by the left to spin their desire to return to the failed dogma of Marxism as the opposite of the disaster it generally engenders. But nonetheless, progress usually connotes desirable outcomes, as is the case with the latest deployment in technology in healthcare.
The NHS is trialling a new remote diagnostic procedure which if successful could greatly relive the strain on both general practitioners and accident and emergency departments. It turns out that a simple urine test, which can be automatically analysed, offers a fast route to treatment for many common complaints. Funded by a small fee for each use, possibly only five pounds, this could herald a new era of self-sustaining investment in healthcare, allowing twenty-four hour access to reassurance or confirmation for all. My local branch of Tesco has installed one of the machines for the free trial and I decided to give it a go.
The procedure couldn’t be simpler. You pick up a container from the dispensary, nip to the toilets, produce a small urine sample and pop on the sealed lid. Then you insert the container into the machine and you can either wait for the results – about ten minutes – or opt to have them emailed to you. As I’ve been suffering a bit of joint pain in my elbow lately I decided to give it ago, rather than bother the walk-in centre. So I toddled along to Tesco, did the deed and went off to do my shopping. When I deposited the sample the machine had given me a small card, like a car park ticket, so on returning to the machine I fed this card into the slot. Almost instantaneously a printout appeared.
“Welcome and thank you for using this diagnosis machine. Please note that this is not intended to replace your normal health screening services and persistent symptoms should be referred to a qualified medical practitioner.” Well, duh-er, I thought. The diagnosis followed: “You appear to be suffering from tennis elbow. Recommended self-treatment: soak the elbow in warm water occasionally. Avoid heavy lifting and twisting movements. If symptoms persist after two weeks, see your GP.” I was impressed at this accurate assessment of an ongoing and recurring problem.
Later that evening while thinking how amazing this new technology was and how it would change medical science forever, I began to wonder if this machine could be fooled. So the next time I was in Tesco I picked up a container and took it home with me to carry out a little experiment. I collected a small stool sample from the dog, persuaded my wife and daughter to contribute to the urine content, diluted the whole lot in tap water and gave the mixture a good shake before decanting off a little into the sample bottle. On a whim I masturbated into the bottle for good measure.
Back in Tesco I furtively inserted the sample into the machine, took my ticket and waited impatiently for the result. It took ages. I was here for well over an hour and each time I inserted my ticket it was returned and a message on screen told me the diagnosis was not yet ready. Finally, the ticket was retained and the printout began to roll. It said: “Your tap water is too hard. Get a water softener. Your dog has worms. Get him vitamins. Your daughter is using cocaine. Put her in a rehabilitation clinic. Your wife is pregnant with twin girls. They aren't yours. Get a lawyer."
I was amazed and slightly stunned at these revelations and wondering how I should react to this news,most of which, to be fair, I'd already suspected. But the machine wasn't quite finished. A second page of print appeared, which stated: "...and if you don't stop wanking, your tennis elbow is never going to get better.”
Thursday, 6 March 2014
So now it turns out that eating animal protein gives you cancer. Yes folks, we’re back in the realm of the ‘expert’. What’s the betting that this is the work of mutant ninja vegetablists with a mission to save the human race from itself by enacting a twisted form of benign vengeance? You have to be cruel to be kind, they say. No, you don’t; never mistake cruelty for kindness even if the ends are honourable. It has to get worse before it gets better and it’s always in the last place you look? Ermagerd, what is wrong with you people?
The darkest hour is just before dawn? Bollocks. Many hands make light work yet too many cooks spoil the broth? People live their life by these contrary, contradictory and downright inaccurate rules. No wonder some of you greet the start of Lent with such glee – you just can’t help but find pleasure in imposing prohibition on yourselves and others in pursuit of some unattainable reward in the fictional hereafter. I believe you are the foot soldiers of the inexorable march of socialism, scatter-gunning self evidently incorrect assertions under the guise of authority until an unsophisticated population accepts everything at face value and complies without challenge.
"For every additional 100 immigrants … 23 British workers would not be employed". So said the Migration Advisory Committee in 2010, a report that informs Theresa May’s views and efforts in regard to immigration. Oh no, says a different analysis, neatly bifurcating British public opinion depending on which ‘expert’ guidance you want to hear. Does nobody do the sums for themselves anymore? And then we’re straight back to that blanket proclamation: ‘immigrants are a net benefit to the UK economy’, or as Vince Cable is now dancing a joyous jig to: ‘immigrants are an ENORMOUS net benefit to the UK economy’. But of course, like the curate’s egg, immigration is good only in parts.
Unlike the nineteen fifties we have no population shortage. The displacement of unskilled UK workers in favour of foreign, cheap labour is near 100%; it benefits large employers and traffickers of illegals only. At the top of the tree it may well be true that we have a skills shortfall that can only be met by immigration but at the arse end of humanity, there is no benefit, net or otherwise to the people reared here. You have to earn over £30,000 per annum before you pay more in taxes than you receive back from the state, apparently. But yet again that is an average figure and taken at face value means that the vast – and I do mean vast – majority of UK citizens are a drain on society. How then can minimum wage immigrants, who suddenly seem to be doing ALL the shit jobs, ever attain the status of net contributor?
The moral is of course, don’t believe everything you hear, read, or have thrust down your metaphorical throats. Look around you for the real evidence and pretty soon you’ll realise that most of what you are force-fed is agenda-drive bollocks, often delivered by willing dupes. Earnest juvenile planet-savers, union-roused teachers, flash mobs of the pale and sickly walking wounded class warriors of the Hundred Years' War that is the NHS and well-paid ‘experts’ producing paranoia-inducing propaganda to order.
I don’t know the whole truth. You don’t know it. He, she and we don’t know it... and neither do they; to conjugate the truth all you have to do is put ‘don’t know’ in front of it, which means that, unless you want to slavishly believe all the claims and counter claims that are tubed to you daily with little or no provenance and drive yourself slowly mad in the process, you are going to have to do what most of us used to be able to do before the advent of 24/7 infotainment. Look around you, read some books, take an interest in history. For instance, we are all several inches taller than when food was harder to come by... I know it’s difficult, but just think for yourselves. And eat plenty of meat.
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Yesterday morning, whilst slurping on my first cuppa and straining on the blog, I was dimly aware of some claptrap about childcare being discussed on BBC Radio 4. My ears pricked up when I heard somebody say that you shouldn’t get assistance with childcare (income support, or some other such nanny state, socialist bribe) unless your household income fell below £72,000 per annum. It’s a small miracle my tea remained un-spat. Firstly, why seventy TWO thousand? There must be a department employed specifically to come up with oddly random numbers for this kind of announcement. And secondly, £72k is a king’s ransom for the vast majority of households in Britain.
Now, I’ve never been interested in the subject of childcare, largely because I don’t much care about children; nasty sticky, smelly things they are. But my interest was then taken to a whole new level - the décor was safe because by now I had put the tea cup down - when the same voice informed me and the other listener that such assistance is given for some households with an income of up to £300,000 p.a. My gob has rarely been so smacked. At £150k the top rate of income tax applies and only 1% of the population earn such sums, yet a couple each earning just below that level can, apparently, claim public subsidy for looking after their brats. Sorry, but this is just taking the piss.
Later in the the day even more urine was appropriated as various couples told their tales of childcare costing more than their mortgage and the bizarre juggling with careers and part-time work and whether it’s stay-at-home daddy or stay-at-home mummy and all that other latter day bullshit where everybody seems to have lost their mind and forgotten the rules: Rule number one – you breed ‘em, you feed ‘em. Rule number two – you should have thought about the working arrangements before you pupped up. Your kids, your responsibility and I heartily begrudge you every single penny of state funding that you steal for your progeny.
And then it turns out that the childcare industry has gone mental, with costs escalating because of the evolution of ridiculous, unnecessary and downright stupid regulations. Qualifications, for fuck’s sake? What qualifications do you need to mind a few rug rats for a few hours? Childcare used to be an in-the-community, ad-hoc thing with a few mums making pin money for looking after their neighbours’ shit machines, but now? Now, by all accounts it has become (like nursing and burger-flipping and colouring-in) a graduate ‘profession’ where certification takes the place of competence and perfectly able and dedicated people – the right people – can’t be employed at reasonable wages because the right boxes haven’t been ticked.
So now you have the situation where people are going to work and in some cases paying even more than they earn by doing so in order for strangers to bring up their children. Come on, that is sheer lunacy. It wouldn’t be an issue if we were talking of a few high-flying career women not wanting to step off their meteoric rise to the top but not having the space for a live-in nanny. Or if we were considering the odd circumstances that a small number of people find themselves in due to a quirk of the system. But no, this stuff is mainstream madness and has become an electoral pledge issue. I can only conclude it is down to some form of mass delusional insanity.
Feed me now or dis gon’ get real ugly.
Because I have to ask you why you do it? Why did you even have kids in the first place if you didn't intend and have the means to raise them yourself? It strikes me there is little logic behind the decision, given that it even was a decision and not some foolhardy accident of promiscuity. You risk illness and even death in pregnancy, your world focus shifts way out of all sense, you develop unhealthy obsessions with the health of your offspring and the texture of their ordure and you suddenly lose the ability to hold a normal conversation. In return for your devotion they cost you a fortune which they will never repay, but worse; they could turn out to be delinquents, or criminals… or politicians. And then when you get old and frail you fear they might suffocate you as you sleep in order to get their inheritance, or else put you in a home. Honestly, children are evil, why would anybody take the risk?
Tuesday, 4 March 2014
It’s disturbing when your life views are up-ended. I’ve never really understood people. By that what I really mean is I don’t empathise – I am fully cognisant of your nasty venal urges and baser instincts and I want none of it. Observing the human race from the outside I’ve come to understand that my detachment has always been my strength. Given the choice of committing teamwork I’d rather commit something much more certain and final. I’ve never wanted much and most of it involved being left alone with a bit of peace and quiet.
I’ve often dreamed of living in a simple shack, far from any settlement, reached by a forbidding track and away from prying eyes. Yesterday I spent all day on a building site in the middle of nowhere. But this was no mean bothy; rather it was a luxury development of eye-opening grandiosity. The principle house – there are three others - will go on the market for £4.5million and its kitchen alone is fully twice the size of my entire house. Readers, I shit you not, I have the plans and I’ve done the calculation.
Of course it has a pool; for that price it would be unthinkable for it not to. And obviously as standard comes a gym, sauna and steam room, entertainment complex (whatever that entails) mini-cinema, eight car garage and views to die for. Hell, it even has a purpose built bat roost – yep, an ersatz barn as a sop to displaced wildlife. They have thought of everything. Actually, they haven’t… yet. For the development has been tortuous and the saga goes back years as the site owner clearly has more money than he knows how to deal with and is apt to change his mind on a whim.
Take the pool: The pit is dug, the retaining walls of reinforced concrete have recently been poured and the footings for the grand, vaulted enclosure are in. But yesterday he was seriously considering moving the whole thing and enlarging it. The underground cabling for landscape lighting, fountains, gate control and driveway lighting were being sketched on the plans because they need to go in some time soon, but even during the discussion the position of the main gate was changed three times.
This was all doubly frustrating because not only is it a waste of time and money and effort and an exasperating demand on the patience and good will of all the contractors involved, but the client was genuinely unconcerned that it was all going to add a small fortune to the costs. Just back from his third skiing holiday of this season alone he sat there with a beatific calm, not a worry in the world; he seemed to ask, what else was he going to do with all that money? And then it dawned on me – this was just a hobby for him – no bankers were creaming off interest, no prospective buyers were screaming for completion. He’ll be ready in his own good time.
As I settled into the long drive home I couldn’t help but dwell on what I’d seen and wonder whether, with that wealth, I would even bother to be involved with the world of work and other people. If I had that sort of dosh I’d be so fully retired and remote that National Geographic would set out on expeditions to try and prove I existed. In fact, sod that sort of dosh; for the cost of the kitchen alone I could retire today. And then I realised I wanted a small piece of what he’s got and I want it before it’s too late.
Gold plated barbecue? Why ever not?
As I drove home through the night the events of the day receded into memory and felt more like a dream than reality. It dawned on me that I was experiencing envy, something I’ve tried hard to resist. But behind that envy a tiny prickle of something; what was it? A sense of injustice? How was it fair that somebody who seemed not to care about money had so much of it? Why, if he didn’t appreciate all that he’d got, did he need it all? Why wasn’t more of it coming my way? And then I had the horrible, crashing revelation that, far from not understanding you humans, I was becoming one of the worst kind. Fuck me, I thought, don't tell me I’m turning into a socialist?