Thoughts from an active pensioner who is now somewhat past his Biblical "Use-by date"

"Why just be difficult, when with a little more effort you can be bloody impossible?"



Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Not My Responsibility!

During my lifetime there seems to have been an enormous decline in the number of people who are willing to take personal responsibility for themselves. No longer will anyone who suffers a misfortune accept that this might be a result of their own actions, someone else is to blame.

The latest organisation to support this concept is the Centre for Social Justice  which said that wine, beer and spirits bought in off-licenses and supermarkets should be subject to a levy of a penny per unit to fund rehabilitation for alcoholics.

Why? Why should we all be charged to pay for the treatment of those who don't have the responsibility to look after themselves? In my view anyone who attends A&E as a result of either drink or drugs should be made to pay for their own treatment.

The problem with such a policy is there is no knowing where it might end. Obesity is a matter of increasing concern and today some of the media highlighted the number of teenagers awaiting surgery. The cost of gastric band operations is difficult to ascertain from the media, prices of between five and ten thousand pounds being mentioned, although it is not clear whether this also includes aftercare.

So following the logic of a tax on alcohol to cover treatment, why not take it a step further and have a tax on junk-food, sugar and all the other foods stated to be the causes of obesity in order to fund gastric band operations? Where does it end?

If you take out insurance to cover you or your property against possible misfortunes there is always a clause requiring you to make your best endeavours to safeguard your insured items, whether it is your person or your home. Few holiday insurance policies will pay out if you end up in hospital as a result of being drunk. If you want to engage in some risky holiday activity, you will be expected to pay an additional premium, as indeed I do because of my age.

Why shouldn't the NHS take a similar approach? If there is good reason to believe that you are responsible for your own misfortune, surely it is reasonable to make a charge. Why should we all pay for your irresponsibility? I like my quite regular drop of Scotch, but I don't drink to excess and have never had to have any medical treatment because of my drinking. Indeed my doctor, not so long ago, suggested that a glass of wine of an evening would help me to relax and sleep better and would probably do me less harm than any pills that he might prescribe.

I take responsibility for myself, as do most people of my age for as long as they are capable; I resent the thought of paying for those who have abrogated any personal responsibility.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill died fifty years ago this week and in my view he was the greatest Prime Minister that we've had during my lifetime, and in my father's view he was also the greatest one that he'd had during his lifetime. So that takes us back to the 1899!

To me, Churchill was one of those rare Prime Ministers who achieved as much outside politics as he did as a politician. He wrote numerous books, and these days anyone who wrote so many authoritative books would achieve fame solely on the strength of that alone. But no, he was a soldier, a newspaper war reporter, a painter, a politician and much more before becoming Prime Minister. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.

My father was a great admirer of Churchill because he was one of the few who spoke out against the appeasement policy of the thirties and who  recognised that, sooner or later, war with Germany under Hitler was inevitable. This was because my father visited Germany numerous times during the thirties and always said that anyone who was prepared to open their eyes would have seen the preparations for war.  Churchill was one of the few who did, and saw what was happening. He was prepared to stand by his convictions regardless of the prevailing political viewpoint.

Certainly, we have had no Prime Minister since Churchill who was such a great orator and could speak with such conviction, which I'm sure was one of the many reasons which made him such a good war-time leader. I'm sure that I will never see, or hear the likes of him again.

A question that I ask myself, from time to time, is who would lead and inspire this country if we had a major crisis as in 1940? I simply can't think of anyone either inside or outside the current political establishment who has Churchill's qualities.



Saturday, 10 January 2015

Islamophobia

phobia, noun, an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.

Following the tragic events in France, most politicians have been at pains to try to stress that what happened is nothing to do with Islam, but was the actions of a few extremists who are not representative of the majority of Muslims. The general consensus seems to be that anyone who doesn't take that view and dislikes Muslims is suffering from Islamophobia.

So far there has just been one British politician who disagreed with this consensus and that was Nigel Farage who spoke about the "Fifth Column" within this country, as a result of which, he was roundly condemned by the usual appeasers for "making a political point" out of a tragedy. Sky News, to their credit, interviewed a French MP about the events and he, too, spoke about the enemy within. But as far as I'm aware, not one other UK politician has said anything about the event other than to offer condolences to those involved and to the French nation, whilst, in most cases stressing that the events were nothing to do with Islam.

I'm sorry, but the events have everything to do with Islam, and many "moderate" Muslims are quite happy to accept such events in the name of their religion, as was reported in our local press at the time of 9/11 when pupils at a couple of schools were said to have all cheered as the tragedy unfolded, something that was hastily denied by the local education authorities. It seems to be the case that no Muslim will ever publicly criticise what another Muslim does however heinous the crime. It is impossible to have a dialogue with even "moderate" Muslims. Suggest that they should obey the law of our country, and one will be informed that it is not our country but it belongs to Allah. You cannot have dialogue with a religion which believes in Taqiyya, a concept that accepts it is perfectly in order to lie to a non-believer in order to advance the religion.  When I see Muslims wearing T-shirts saying "Not in My Name" or "Not in the Name of Islam" following an atrocity, I may start to believe in "moderate" Muslims.

I believe that the media of the western world should have stood in solidarity with the murdered journalists, but they have done very little. If they'd had any guts, they would all have simultaneously reprinted the offending cartoon on their front pages to demonstrate our free speech and freedom of expression.

Surprisingly, one small section of the press did this, in Quebec where all the French language newspapers reprinted the cartoons. The English language papers opted out! My respect for the French language media in Quebec has increased immensely.
See: "Prophet Muhammad cartoon in Quebec papers after Charlie Hebdo shooting"
(H/T to Anna Raccoon)

Coming back to my original heading. I do not have an irrational fear of Islam, I have a genuine fear of what the religion is doing to my country. There is absolutely nothing irrational about a fear of a religion which instructs its adherents that they should either enslave or kill all non-believers. There is nothing wrong with a fear of a religion which claims to be the "Religion of Peace" and yet finds it acceptable for its adherents to murder anyone who "insults" the religion. No other religion goes to such extremes, and there is no way that I could possibly believe in a God who advocates such action.

So, I am not suffering from Islamophobia, as the politicians and appeasers would claim, I have a real and genuine fear of Islam and of the future that it is leading us into.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The NHS and A&E

Today, and no doubt for weeks to come, the NHS is in the news.
Hitting the headlines is the fact that many A&E departments at hospitals around the country are unable to cope with the number of people requiring attention and arguments are raging as to why this is happening. One cause for this is claimed to be that too many people are visiting A&E when they should be visiting their GP; but what should they do when they find they can't get a GP's appointment for a week or so? No mention is made of the closure of A&E departments at numerous hospitals; in my area the nearest A&E has been closed and of the next two nearest hospitals, one is in a different NHS Trust whilst the other was already overloaded. Neither has had its facilities increased to cope with the closure, and it shouldn't have needed a genius to deduce that that the closure of an already busy A&E department would have further overloaded departments elsewhere.

But the main problem, in my view, is the mass immigration. You cannot run any service that is "free at the point of use" and can then be used by anyone who turns up for treatment without asking any questions. Unlimited immigration and free treatment for all-comers has broken the NHS, nothing else, and the high birth rate amongst immigrants makes the situation even worse. Locally, the maternity wards are probably under similar pressure to A&E, with mothers often being sent home within hours of giving birth.

Until you are prepared to charge all newcomers to this country there is no solution, short of more and more funding from ever increasing taxation; the NHS has become a World Health Service. I'm told by a friend at a hospital near Heathrow that it's not only immigrants from poorer countries, her hospital gets quite a few US citizens who "are taken ill" here whilst on "holiday" as they don't have adequate health insurance back home for some major operation.

It is time that everyone coming into the country was made to have adequate medical insurance. You can't go to work or live in Australia without health insurance; two retired friends of mine recently went to Australia to live near their children, they had to take out a bond to cover health treatment which cost them about £100,000. They also, incidentally, had to prove that they had the capital to rent or buy a home along with sufficient pension income which would ensure that they wouldn't become a burden on the state. We are only going to solve our NHS problems is we ensure that every user pays for the service, either indirectly by having paid taxes in the past or directly in cash, preferably from an approved insurance policy.

UKIP advocates such measures, and that is why I will be supporting them at the General Election.

Monday, 5 January 2015

The Benefits of Migrants !

I suppose it all depends on who gets the benefits, us or them.

This blog by Anna Raccoon is a "must read" for all those who believe immigrants contribute to this country.

In essence it is about the cost to the state of a Bangladeshi immigrant, Mr Ouanq, who "married" his cousin, Tia, who has a mental age of between four and eight, who then bred four children which were taken into care; of the "wife" who needs a 24/7 team of carers because of her mental state, and of a further "wife", also a cousin, who has since produced two more children.

All are living in social housing and on benefits.

Anna lists some of the costs:
"We have two adults, possibly three if we include Mr Ouanq, fully supported by the taxpayer.
"We have housing association accommodation subsidised by the tax payer.
"We have six children, each fully supported in care by the taxpayer.
"We have full time care via a rota of employees for Tia.
"We have (I may have lost count here!) nine high court actions/family court/court of protection/immigration tribunals – each of which has been attended by a murmur of black gowned legal experts including top flight QCs.
"We have a range of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, case conference attendees, and assorted council employees."

For once, I simply don't know what to say!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Spending Money that the Country doesn't have!

Anti-corruption group Transparency International reports that 'Britain gave more than £1 billion to some of the world’s most corrupt countries in 2013, possibly even helping fund extremism, despite numerous warnings that the money was being misspent'.
And that 'Even North Korea, with its oppressive communist regime, received money from the British government'.
The Daily Mail gives more detail.

Giving away money we don't have and incurring interest on that money hardly seems to be a very clever way of restoring the country's fortunes, especially as the government is now spending more paying interest on borrowed money than it is on defence.

This billion pounds, of course, is just the money given to some of the world’s most corrupt countries, nothing is said about that given away elsewhere to countries like India which can afford a space programme or to Argentine which never has a word of good for this country. There was even money given to Venezuela, a  country which is oil rich but remains in poverty due to incompetent government.

The biggest joke, if it wasn't so serious, is the statement by The Department for International Development last night that "it took a zero-tolerance approach to corruption". Indeed it claims that it doesn't give money to the some of the countries mentioned, but that it given through organisations like the United Nations, which is not much of a recommendation as the UN itself is hardly free from corruption.

That was in 2013, and this year Cameron adopted the UN aid target which required a 30 per cent increase in the UK aid budget to £11.5 billion. Whilst this has been ignored by most of the world’s major economies, our government is pressing ahead and it seems that our officials are just giving away money by the bucket load without thought, simply to spend the budget on schedule.

No doubt ministers will be going to the UN patting themselves on the back at having spent money that the country hasn't got to meet a UN target simply plucked out of thin air. Or perhaps someone is expecting a nice sinecure with the UN when he doesn't get re-elected next May.


Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Ebola Arrives in Britain

Ebola has arrived here, well at least to Scotland, having been carried to this country from Sierra Leone via Casablanca and Heathrow by a returning female health worker.

She was admitted initially to the Unit for Infectious Diseases at Gartnavel Hospital and a statement was issued saying that because "she was diagnosed in the very early stages of the disease, the threat to others is low". "Queen Nicola" issued a statement saying that “Scotland has been preparing for this possibility from the beginning of the outbreak in West Africa and I am confident that we are well prepared.”

Just how well prepared Scotland was for this eventuality is demonstrated by the fact that this morning the BBC news informed us that the patient has been transported from Glasgow to Northolt Airport by the RAF and taken in an RAF ambulance to the Royal Free Hospital in London which has Britain's only facility for dealing with highly infectious diseases.

So both the statements from Scotland appear to be untrue. I don't think if patient was in "the very early stages of the disease" she would have been transferred to the Royal Free Hospital in such a panic overnight, nor is "Queen Nicola's" statement that Scotland is prepared for such an eventuality, unless you consider that "being prepared" means having made arrangements to shift the problem to London.

On the surface, the Scottish NHS appears superior to that in England, but it is becoming clear that whilst it may appear superior to the majority of users in that it provides free prescriptions, free car parking and the like, it is clearly not investing in the modern high-tech facilities which are necessary if the service is to provide a full range of treatments for all types of illnesses. I just wonder whether any other types of cases are being transferred to English hospitals because suitable facilities are not available in Scotland. I just hope the English NHS and the RAF charge the Scottish NHS for the costs incurred in transport and treatment, or is this a further hidden subsidy to Scotland by the overtaxed English?

There are lots of questions to be asked about Britain's reaction to Ebola.
First and foremost is why our only centre for the treatment of infectious diseases is at a hospital in the heart of London? Surely, it should be as far away as reasonable from major population centres and certainly not in a very busy general hospital. If I was given a routine appointment at the "Royal Free", I'd probably turn it down! I would have thought isolation facilities should be at a secure site such as Porton Down where they study infectious diseases and are routinely used to taking extreme precautions against infection.

What happened to the airport checks on people coming from infected countries? This person apparently flew into Heathrow and then transferred to a BA flight to Glasgow. How comes it that the much publicised airport checks didn't identify the problem?

Other questions to be asked are about what efforts are being made to sterilise the aircraft involved and contact the other passengers. If the female concerned used the toilet during the flight, there would seem a high probability that anyone else using it could have picked up the infection. What about things that she touched, cutlery, glasses, etc which could also be infected and which is unlikely to be removed by a low temperature wash in a dish washer? What about the aircraft air circulation system? For once I hope that the appropriate trade unions are making a fuss on behalf of their aircrew members.

Now I have the greatest respect for all the health workers who are prepared to go and work in these hell-holes in Africa but the way they return is totally unacceptable. We need a proper quarantine centre somewhere in that part of the world, and all returning workers should have to spend an appropriate time there before travelling home.