Brexit means Exit!

We know what we know, we are aware of some of what we don’t know, and we don’t know what we don’t know.  So why does everyone say “now we know what happens when we leave the EU.” Oh no we don’t – sheer fantasy like the Boris’ big bus.  

As I have said many times before ‘he who tells the future tells lies’.  Actually, he tells what he wants us to believe and he, whoever he is, is seldom right. 

The fact remains that the idiot Cameron allowed the uninformed to make a choice that was, and is, very unclear.  He offered the in/out option and the people in vast numbers voted, the majority for out.  Oh what a bugger!  Not what David of the shiny face wanted!

Enter stage left the dreaded Blair the man who misled the country so wilfully into Iraq.  He’s now mincing around Europe canvassing the EU to make our exit so difficult we’ll have no choice other than to cancel after what he says will be a positive peoples  vote.

If ever there was a motive to stick with the majority this is it, this deplorable truth spinner who’s made vast sums parading his ego as the saviour of the centre ground.  He has much in common with Macron who also has a ‘God’ syndrome.

No my friends, we voted out, no way back, out without a deal or with a deal, the people have spoken. It might be they spoke rubbish but it doesn’t matter its called democracy.  If you have another idea, maybe a Trump PM, or the loony left, take your pick. Me, I’m for believing in democracy even if the direction might be flawed.

Anyway who knows? I for one don’t know what I don’t know!

Mayday! May day, may be.

Teresa May survived her vote of confidence last night, largely because it was a pointless exercise and no one else would want her job anyway.  How those post Cameron candidates must be chuckling.  So did the pantomime prove anything one way or the other?

Not much that we didn’t know before, namely the majority of Parliament are set against the backstop and that Mrs. May has proved inept at rallying support as she persists in trying to do the impossible on her own.  Someone must tell her that she is not a modern day Joan of Arc equivalent.  The idea of parliamentary democracy is about listening to the representatives of the ‘people’ and sharing collective cabinet responsibility.  In this, it is fair to say, Mrs. May has been hopeless.

However, despite these lamentable failings, the one quality of the PM that has shone through  has been her heroic doggedness.  A quality much admired by the Brits. She has managed to press on firmly convinced that she is right and everyone else except possibly Michel Barnier is wrong. She wears her responsibility for the nation as a crown of thorns and parades her pain for all to see. The loan hero walking the lonely road.  Hoorah!

If at the end of this campaign when and if  Brexit is completed, she knows she will be discarded, cast aside.  In the best traditions of national sacrifice she knows she will be thrown on the pyre of a ‘has been and nearly was’, national treasure.

Mrs. May’s outstanding achievement has been that she has increased the leave brigade by a very substantial number, as those of a compassionate nature rush to her defence against the bullies of Brussels.  There may be an artist somewhere putting paint to canvass showing the ‘Maid May’ looking to heaven as she is tortured by the slings and arrows of outrageous Europeans, and the perfidious forces of Rees-Mogg and co.

As dramas go this is pretty melodramatic stuff.  Time for Brussels to give the Brits something to cheer about.  Will they perhaps see that this poor sacrificial lamb of a Prime Minister is a Trojan Horse who”s really working for Rees-Mogg?  Or will she procrastinate yet a while and almost inevitably lead the late Great Britain into a ‘No  Brexit at all, or maybe a ‘no deal’ Brexit’.

Maybe she will, Maybe she won’t, maybe!

A Christmas Gift

I have a good idea which is pretty rare for me.  I have been scratching my head enquiring what Dad should buy for daughter, what Mum should buy for me, what I should buy for my son in law? Well now, this whole process has became absurd. We all end up buying things which are generally useless, cost a lot, and except in very few cases, are not any use at all.

There are of course good things that come from useless gifts.  The satisfaction of giving, the improvement in the GDP, and a significant behavioural challenge in pretending to be thrilled.  There are lessons to be learned from all ages.  I remember my children when they were very young casting aside Santa’s fancy gifts and them playing assiduously with the brightly coloured containers and boxes.  My old man receiving his new tie and immediately losing it and forgetting about it until discovered in the following March behind the settee. Of course there are exceptions, and genuinely needed gifts are  thoughtfully purchased and graciously received. 

But you know and I know that as life moves on there is a great deal of habit about the festive season.  All of us are driven to spending money we may or may not be able to afford on unnecessary and duty driven paraphernalia from dangerous Christmas electronic lighting to utterly overpriced gizmos and gadgets.  The Season has become ridiculously materialistic.

Yet, as we spend and spend, there are those who we casually disregard who cannot afford to lash out, cannot afford a gluttonous feast, some indeed who cannot even keep warm.

Here’s my idea.  Send a gift to those you love, maybe it will be a pound or a thousand pounds.  Tell them to pass on your gift to anyone, who for whatever reason is worse of than them.  Your love may travel further than you think.

There’s none so deaf that will not hear!

The UK is transfixed with Brexit which is understandable, but just take a minute to look around and see what chaos rains across the European Union.

France is in chaos, Germany uncertain, PIGS broke, the Euro uncertain, the world environment being trampled over by not only Trump but several of his kind in the EU, and we worry about Brexit!  Even worse a range of people who should know better keep on prophesying doom and gloom and no one seems to think there can be any upside to leaving the EU.

It’s time for calm thinking.  The EU dream is all but dead, coming apart at the seams, and it is fair to say that the UK is one of the main causes or at least one of the main  manifestations of this unravelling.

The Brits for all their faults, are smarter than many think.  There is no doubt that the EU will suffer enormously from the British exit, far more that the UK.  In areas like technology, research, defence and intelligence the UK is miles ahead of its peers in the EU.  In terms of finance and banking London holds sway and will continue to do so. Yes there will be short term disturbance of all the markets but it will settle and the UK will be substantially better off without its levies to the EU, with opportunity to trade fairly and widely inside and outside the EU.

Hopefully the vicar’s daughter in Downing Street will be replaced by a leader of imagination and charisma that can exploit the great opportunities that will doubtless come.  It will not be too long before the gigantic bureaucracy that is Brussels will be knocking on the UK door seeking advice and succour on any number of fronts from defence to technology.

The French always resisted the entry of GB into the European fold.  There is little to choose between the posturing Macron and the elegant but strutting de Gaul.  Their attitudes remain unchanged, in wanting to see the resurgence of an imperial France as a joint European leader without the Brits who have always retained more soft power. The french dig up the streets in protest the Brits just wring their hands. 

The real disadvantage of the unravelling of the EU is not so much the UK’s withdrawal as the rise of populism throughout Southern Europe. The stability that the EFTA and EU  imposed has been comforting, but the rise in the uneven material wealth in Hungary, Roumania, Greece and say Germany has given rise to enormous dissatisfaction and the rise to this uneasy populism. Instead of de-emphasising nationalism the failure of the EU’s fiscal system has exaggerated it.  The whole political ideal of Delors has been or is being turned on its head.  

In the UK referendum many people voted to leave for the reasons they perceived to be the most crucial.  Those who have least feared they would lose most and voted primarily against the free movement of people which they saw as a strain on the UK welfare and NHS.  Now that the reality of world economic migration is striking home everyone has a much more reasoned view of migration in general.  Immigration is no longer the issue it was. Nonetheless the great majority of Brits are loath to change their minds.  The population seems at odds with Parliamentarians who are as ever more cautious and unadventurous than the great majority. Democracy strikes again!

The question is should MP’s vote as their constituents tell them or vote according to their conscience. An impasse!  How the French love that word – but the people say “Let’s go, the world awaits.”

Bedlam, Charity and the NHS

Recently I was unfortunate enough to have to use the emergency services after an accident.  Let me say at the outset, that I am very grateful for the NHS and all that it attempts to achieve.  However, my experience was nothing short of horrific.

Indeed, I am so shocked at how chaotic the hospital system works I am driven to avoid any further contact with my local health board hospitals if at all possible, and this includes life and death situations. ‘Desperate claims’ you might say.  Well, they maybe desperate but believe me that is precisely the way I feel.

There has to be a better way.  Firstly, hospitals must be run more efficiently.  It is apparent that the institution where I was admitted is not.  Why do I say this? Basically because my treatment/diagnosis  from accident to admission took eleven hours when it could and should have taken no more than two hours.  If only a proportion of patients were treated in a timely manner with a view to getting them back on the street it would make an enormous difference.  If however the charitable instinct dominate then there will remain a drive to care even when it is not strictly the need. The consequence will be to add to the overcapacity crisis. In any enterprise there must be some objective definition of corporate goals.  In the NHS it is too broadly set as ‘free care for all’ even the word ‘necessary’ would help, with all the attendant issues of definition that are implied.

The aim must surely be to define the service more clearly. Whilst recognising the ideals of the original concept we have to realise that we cannot exponentially increase care.  There have to be limits.  The NHS cannot succeed trying to be the carer for the whole of British society.  All these lovely employees dashing around doing their best to achieve unachievable goals has to be modified.  Not letting people in to hospital is just as important as getting them out of hospital.

Everyone I’m sure is aware of the issues of the National Health Service; the pressure of exponential demand and of course hapless social care support.  This means that a high percentage of beds are unavoidably blocked unless there is a fundamental change of budget planning at national level.  The prospects of the integration of health and social care is abominably complex especially if the NHS continues as a gargantuan national enterprise. The prospect of it getting even more massive is very challenging and maybe someone at Government or  parliamentary level ought to start thinking more radically and not exclude the idea of regional or even sub regional organisation (s).

Back to our city hospital.  My impression was that the system is not ‘joined up’.  I mean by that there is no discernible system at work. It is as if those who are in charge have surrendered to ‘what is, must be’ system.  An entirely reactionary system which responds without structure or organisation.  One can easily see that this comes about because of idealism rather than practicality. I.e. ‘we must be flexible and ready for anything’ an attitude which lets us become undisciplined and unfocussed.  In turn this leads to counterproductive mini groups who see themselves as the pivotal centre of necessity.

These, so called, teams become more inward looking than collegiate, fighting for their own mini kingdoms rather than looking after the efficient running of the institution as a whole.  Clearly there are issues of life and death, challenges and choices of the gravest nature.  Under these stresses, it is imperative that the institution as a whole runs much more efficiently.

Add to this, the sheer chaos of night time where bedlam is nearer the reality than we would be ready to admit.  The simple idea of peace and quiet has long been lost to the idea that ‘respond at all costs, and ‘what is, must be’ attitudes.  The night staff have an often impossible task of integrating disturbed mental health patients, restraining screaming drunks and drug addicts, as against managing the rest and quiet reqired by those recovering from injury or surgery.   Quiet places and not so quiet places and the management thereof, should not be beyond the wit of man or manager. No one is saying this is easy, buildings are often ancient and inappropriate  but these issues can be managed more effectively.

Despite my cynicism, I know there is much to be cherished about the NHS, but please, please, will someone understand that this is not some charity run by volunteers but a national enterprise run for the benefit of all patients.  Let’s not pass the buck, yes, there are huge problems but at least manage the manageable and give our much vaunted NHS the chance it deserves.