Sunday, 27 May 2018
The NHS: Pseudo religion to many; iconic socialist success story (with its shortcomings brushed under a carpet heaped high with uncritical praise); inviolable national treasure and the big stick regularly used to cow dissenters into a hands-off stalemate about its future. Suggest the NHS could be reformed and you will bring down opprobrium and lightning about your head and a plague upon your house. This is a tail which very much wags the dog.
In the British press you are only ever a day away from a big story about the NHS, which itself is only ever days away from total collapse; it has struggled on in this manner since 1948. At seventy it should be pensioned off but no, like those of us who have paid for it all our lives we will be expected to keep on going. Once again – as with Brexit, the immigration debate, the anger of the young, throwing around accusations of ‘having their future thrown away’ – it is all the fault of the old.
Old people have selfishly pushed up house prices. Old people have exhausted the resources of our boom years and left the young destitute. Old people blame it all on the EU and immigration, when ‘everybody knows’ we are a nation of mongrels and we need – positively need – immigrants to do the jobs the lazy Brits won’t do. Old people don’t care about the future, they won’t have to live through it. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah-bloody-blah... The gutless misery of these mantras is not only boringly predictable, it is wrong. So wrong.
For a start it is not old people who push up house prices it is simple supply and demand; it is the sheer number of people. And it is the tax-payer who pays for everything the state provides; who has paid the most tax of all? Why, those who have paid in for the longest. Who earns the most and therefore pays a disproportionately higher percentage of their income as tax? Those who have acquired the skills and knowledge and experience to be worth more to the economy, to generate more surplus wealth. Oh yes, that would be the older workers in the population.
And who disproportionately uses the resources of the NHS? Why that would be the
old I mean sick people. Sick people come in all
guises, but those who work through their entire lifetime tend to consume far
fewer of any public resources than those who have taken the cradle-to-grave
mantra of the welfare state as an invitation to plunder its overly generous
coffers. This includes children, especially babies – bloody babies; it’s all
just take, take, take with them – and all those who eagerly grasp at any
medical straw to excuse their lifelong indolence. (It also includes those beloved,
minimum-wage, zero tax-paying, net-welfare recipient immigrants who displace
many younger Brits who would pick those crops, pack those boxes and stack
those shelves if they had to.)
And now it is older people, those who in earlier decades might have expected to retire after a lifetime of paying for the NHS and everything else, who are opting to stay in work into their seventies to continue paying for it. You might think the vibrant, multicultural, progressive young people – who are the future, remember – would be grateful that the despised older generations are willing to carry on funding that future, but no... Kids, the older generation is not the problem; it is, in large part, the solution.
Saturday, 26 May 2018
The newsreader dropped an octave and in a husky voice, on the point of breaking and punctuated by dry sobs, she intoned the news. “It is twenty-four hours now since Jasmine, the nation’s sweetheart, went missing. A candle-lit vigil was hastily convened last night after she didn’t respond to the usual entreaty, ‘puss puss puss’ to come in for her supper. By this morning, some three thousand tea lights were being watched over by a crowd which overwhelmed Trafalgar Square and the steps of the National Gallery were adorned with flowers and tributes from well-wishers.”*
She paused a moment, bowed her head and clasped her hands together as if to offer a silent prayer. A single tear slid down one cheek, captured in close-up and broadcast to the millions who were simultaneously planning how they would mark their loss. The regular public sharia beatings, the gassing of protesters and the jailing of free speech advocates went unreported save for the coded columns in subversive, minor, former news publications such as the underground Mail and Express pamphlets, secretively distributed and often only passed on by word of mouth among trusted friends.
When did we become such a nation of crybabies and religious appeasers? In the last week we have seen wall-to-wall wailing over the losses in the Grenfell fire and the Manchester Arena bombing, yet the fifth anniversary of Lee Rigby’s brutal murder has been treated gingerly, so as not to cause offence. The BBC in one news item even referred to the Manchester Arena event as ‘an accident’. And in recent weeks there has been a push for increased legal powers to police ‘hate speech’ and criticism of islam. Blasphemy laws, in secular Britain?
And yesterday, of course, Tommy Robinson was sent to prison where, no doubt his life will be under threat, for a breach of the peace. It appears he has breached the terms of his licence, but he was simply doing what he is cheered on by many of us for doing and highlighting the otherwise unreported monstrosities committed by the hidden community concealed behind the very visible massed aggression which the government insists on portraying as a persecuted minority.
What happened to the stiffness of our upper lips? The black-shrouded, grieving widow was an aberration, her strange, ethereal, inability to move on the antithesis of Britishness, yet tolerated in true British fashion. But now it’s as if we must all join in the tortured misery and self-flagellation in the pseudo-scientific notion of closure. This isn’t closure; it’s a perpetuation of a snivelling inability to grasp cold reality. When 96 year old war hero Jim Booth faced down an attacker armed with a claw hammer he shrugged off what the press has to call ‘an ordeal’ with the superbly British response that worse things happen at sea.
Nothing has changed...
It’s time to ‘man up’, surely? It’s time to take to the streets in protest, to rattle a few cages and to unseat a few so-called leaders who neither lead nor offer solutions. It’s time to stop getting maudlin, to give up the widow’s weeds and shout out ‘enough is enough.’ Standing proud? Standing together? All this vigil nonsense is neither; it is hollow words to cover up the reality that we are standing against nothing; we are giving in. Well enough. Don’t get sad, get mad. Then don’t’ get mad, get even,
(*No cats were harmed in the making of this blog.)
Monday, 21 May 2018
The pomp, the pageantry, the pontification from the pulpit! But most of all the punditry, by all and sundry of the significance of the royal wedding on Saturday. Given the manner of the demise of the groom’s mother you would imagine that the oh-so-well-tuned sensitivities of the self-appointed kinder, gentler spokespersons for society might have curbed some of the more outlandish claims for the Duchess of Sussex’s future role.
The Telegraph reports that she will fight for feminism. You do know, Telegraph, that it is the British royal family she has married into? Apart from the not insignificant fact that it has often been headed up by a woman it is practically the epitome of the sort of patriarchal system that feminism deplores. But it doesn’t stop there; if the blanket coverage across every platform told me anything it told me that a world of expectations lies on the young lady’s shoulders, not least that she is now to be the focus and figurehead for the race industry.
Unless you had been told, repeatedly, you would not realise that Meghan is ‘black’. I beg your pardon; she’s black? Without that information you might imagine she was of Italian extraction, or Spanish perhaps; there are darker skinned products of the sunbed culture in the Anglo-Saxon gene pools of our former working classes. But like the tale of the emperor’s new clothes we are being trained to see what we are told we must see; get used to it - latte is the new black... at least until the gloss wears off and we get back to reality.
But for now at least we are awash with the news that a ‘person of colour’ has broken down, infiltrated, multiculturalised [insert hyperbole of preference here] one of the last bastions of privilege and exclusivity that exist outside of EU politics and the Bilderbergers. Until she falls out of favour – for as sure as eggs is eggs she will – she will be lauded as an ambassador for every minority cause the grievance bandwagons can deliver. While most of us accept the match for what it is – just two people doing what millions of others before them have done – certain factions on the left are applauding this as a great victory for... for what, exactly?
Why is the left so obsessed with race? The British have traditionally taken people at face value and cultural markers have only been an issue when say, every stabber in London happens to be of Somalian origin, or pretty much every swept-under-the-carpet rape-gang exposé happens to centre around rapists of an identifiably Pakistani persuasion. And even then the colour of their skin is not the focus of prejudice, rather it is a handy marker of shared identity – the prejudice is in their actions, not ours.
The Firm is indefatigable...
The 'black duchess’ is identity politics writ large and it is at the heart of all that is wrong with Labour and the left. They accuse others of creating division but what could be more divisive than to perpetually plead the special causes of each of the segments of an ever more finely divided society. Rather than allow herself to be co-opted into the causes of the eternally aggrieved I hope Meghan assimilates seamlessly into the family she has joined and becomes a true royal. Let her stand up for everybody and let her rub the left’s nose in anything but diversity.
Friday, 18 May 2018
I’ve started and abandoned a dozen blogs since the last I posted and simply not had the time to ride those thought buses to the terminus. It’s happening more and more just lately as deadlines for real work appear on the distant horizon then suddenly loom large before disappearing in the rear view mirror; forgotten ticked-off events that mark my passage towards my own ultimate deadline. This might sound a tad morbid and forlorn but it’s natural to wonder about how we prepare to meet the end.
Oh, I’m sure I have a couple of active decades left in me yet, but how active and more importantly, with what level of agency? Given the parlous state of, well, everything, will there be enough left in the pot – both mine and the state’s – to facilitate a dignified descent into comfortable docility, or will there simply be no pot left to even piss in? Even the most optimistic of us, even the luckiest, must surely entertain dark thoughts, on occasion, about what might lay ahead.
All of which is why, whether we believe in it or not, whether we worship at its altar or avoid it altogether, we really should be concerned about the state of the National Health Service. Once a ground-breaking and quite possibly world-beating system of keeping the labour force healthy and productive it has become a deified monolith of gargantuan proportions. It employs a ridiculous number of people – yet there are daily calls for more – and it consumes a huge amount of ever-more-thinly stretched national resources. And as its customer base expands exponentially this is a situation which can only worsen.
Those who paid for it all – the elderly who now rely on it and who also need social care, now that society has abrogated responsibility to government for every aspect of its wellbeing – are unsurprisingly disdainful of how its largesse is extended to all comers. The free-at-the-point-of-use model is no longer viable as fewer and fewer people now actually contribute to its funding, yet more and more funding is demanded. The whole thing is on a one-way journey to collapse unless something new happens.
The decades-long row between Conservatives and Labour over this supposed national treasure isn’t good enough. Labour must not be allowed to get away with demanding ever more money yet having no realistic method by which to raise it. And the Conservatives must stop throwing £billions into its gaping maw while kicking the can of unpopular reform further down the road to ruin; nobody is listening when they insist that they have spent more than Labour ever did, because all they see is their grandmother waiting months in agony for a hip replacement.
The Tories have got to stop trying to appear reasonable; they lost the insincere battle for popularity far too long ago. That is the Labour confidence trick and it’s wearing thin. We don’t need reasonable, we need backbone and a dose of effective medicine – a political emetic to vomit up the flux. Stop gingerly picking at the scab and prolonging the pain; steel yourself for the sting and rip the damned thing off. People will complain whatever is done, but until what is done is drastic and transformative, the only thing you will hear will be those complaints.
When a structure is crumbling, there is only so much you can do to shore it up. There comes a time when you need to cut your losses, tear it down and start over. The NHS is not a unique and inviolable, precious thing which cannot be touched. It is just another symptom of the loss of British backbone, identity and resolve. And part of that Britishness was not relying on others to fix our problems. We may have already lost the ability to deal with all this, but if we don’t heal ourselves, who else do we think is going to do it?
Saturday, 12 May 2018
It’s been a busy old week at Battsby Towers and while I’ve accumulated lots of notes about topics to cover, I’ve also been flat out writing technical stuff for work. Still, we’re here now so what do you want to chat about? I’m hearing we’ve become more racist since the referendum; ‘UN Expert’ E Tendayi Achiume says so. Who, you may ask? Her role is – and you’ll love this: ‘Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance’. So the real headline should be more like: ‘truffle hound finds truffles’.
It’s a curious concept, racism. What does it really mean? The first definition the interwebs offered up was: ‘prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior’. Seems fair enough; mind you, I’d feel quite antagonistic if somebody here for just a few days quizzed me about whether or not I felt less, about the same, or more racist since somebody started quizzing me about my racism. This is all bollocks of course, isn’t it?
I can certainly see how some who identify as victims of racism feel they have the licence to announce that it’s got worse since everybody started banging on about it. Reported cases have increased dramatically of late, but of course they will when the system demands we self-identify as racists and dob ourselves in; when the definition of hate crime allows anybody who imagines they have been snubbed to turn their perception into a crime statistic.
But have we really become ‘more racist’, or do we just exhibit the same amount of preference and disdain we always did? You see, for most British people it isn’t about race, it’s about culture. The shameful examples of white trash, covered in menacing tattoos and yobbishly marching about like they own the council estate are despised. The ennobled parliamentarians, who parade their privilege and sneer at the common herd who voted for Brexit disgust us. And we fear the moped muggers and knife-wielding thugs of the stabby capital of Europe.
And by ‘race’ does this expert really mean ‘colour’? Because, you know, being repeatedly told not only that all white people are racist, but that only white people can be racist will tend to piss us off a bit. If we discriminate in favour of what we now clumsily have to call ‘the BAME community’ we are tarred with employing ‘the soft bigotry of low expectations’. If you go looking for racism it is pretty well certain you will find it because, whatever we do, the jury of your peers already returned the verdict of guilty. (And yes, I did use ‘tarred’ deliberately – may as well be hung for a sheep and all that.)
The law of unintended consequence is always lurking in the shadows ready to do its dirty work. Are you a small business which can’t afford to pay two people to do one job? Then don’t employ women of child-bearing age. Worried about the gender pay gap? Suggest men work less. Do you need more qualified people? Dumb down education. Are you afraid of being called racist? Avoid mixing with, employing, or having any form of association with anybody who doesn’t look like you. How much racial segregation will we need, Ms Achiume, before you will be able to declare we have eradicated our hateful, racist ways? I won’t hold my breath.