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?"

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.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Lets look at some non-UKIP politicians!

The media immediately latches onto any minor discretions of not only UKIP councillors and politicians, but even those of ordinary UKIP members

To balance the situation, Bloggers4UKIP have produced a "Round-up of LibLabCon, SNP and Green racists, fraudsters, sex offenders, perverts, drink drivers and general crooks in 2014".

It is worth just reading the subject titles listed to see what a load of crooks and perverts that have been elected to positions of power

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Longer Ambulance Waiting Times

We have been told in the news that we are likely to face longer ambulance waiting times in an emergency, and the impression given to the media by the NHS authorities is that this is due to a huge demand for the service.
But is this entirely true? Or is it a matter, as I believe, of one hand not telling the other what it is doing?
Locally, our nearest hospital's A&E has been closed. The distance from my home to this hospital is about 5 miles as compared with some 16 or so miles to what is now the nearest A&E. So however you look at it, many journey times are going to be at least three times longer than what they were last year. Not only that, but the old A&E was within a few hundred yards of the bus station, so for the "walking wounded" it was always possible to catch a local bus. Contrary wise, to get to the new A&E, you first have to catch a bus to the bus station and then the once an hour bus to the alternate hospital.
So it follows, that not only will there now be more users of the ambulance service, but each call will take considerably longer to complete, and will, of course cost more as well as putting the patient at risk for far longer than previously.
The local NHS Trust closed the local A&E to save money, and it is possible that this might be achieved because as far as I can ascertain there have been no improvements at the "new" A&E to cope with the additional work load.
The ambulances are run by a separate Trust; they will of course now have to spend far more if they are to provide the same service as before; ambulances are having to travel further which in itself will cost more and if they are to provide the same level of response, there will need to be probably twice the number available as required previously.
This seems typical of the Civil Service style of management which I experienced when I was working; Do everything possible to reduce your departmental costs and don't worry if your actions increase the costs of some other department, that's their worry, not yours!

Finally, a short story about a friend who was taken to the hospital following a bad fall when she twisted her ankle and banged her head, and in view of her age they decided to keep her in overnight for "observation". In the morning, she phoned another mutual friend and asked him to come and collect her. "Are you mobile?", he asked. "Yes, I am b***** mobile, I've been lying on a trolley all night and have been pushed from one place to another every few minutes, get me home so that I can have some sleep".

This is our "best in the world" NHS.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Nigel Farage at his best!

I liked this latest piece by Nigel Farage on the subject of Juncker
Note that for once some of the MEPs are clapping, not listening in stony silence as in the past.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Police Protection

In October, following a decision by CPS not to take criminal proceedings against a number of men for sex grooming in that they did not consider there was sufficient evidence, Birmingham City Council obtained civil orders against the 10 men barring the men from contacting a teenager and from approaching girls they did not know.
This followed an incident when a vulnerable teenager was found at a hotel with different men at different times, prompting social workers and police to investigate.
It has since emerged the 17-year-old girl who was sexually exploited by men in Birmingham is pregnant.
Both the Council and the Media would like to publish details of the men concerned but the police and lawyers for some of the men have objected to the release photographs of those involved because they said "they feared reprisals, embarrassment and suffering for their families".

Mr Justice Keehan expressed his surprise and commented that "The surest way of eradicating or ameliorating the risk of misidentification is ensuring the fullest possible details of each of the (men), including photographs, are made public and given wide coverage by the media".

The police said the men's details would be "shared in the right places with the right people" and that "We also have a duty to consider the impact of releasing the men's images on innocent family members, which include their partners and their own young children".

Just who do the police think they are protecting, vulnerable teenagers or these perverts and their families? What about others in the community who might be mistaken for those involved, what is the risk to them? Once again, the police seem to have got all their priorities wrong.

Fuller details in the Telegraph which shows a picture of three of those involved outside the court.

Incidentally, I haven't described those concerned as "Asian", as has most of the media, as I believe this is an affront to many decent people who come from that part of the world and are not representative of two particular counties having less than 10% of the total Asian population.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Labour's Election Strategy

According to a well-leaked party document, Labour party strategists are advising their activists to steer doorstep conversations away from immigration and on to healthcare and housing, in an attempt to win back UKIP waverers next May.

That's all right by me.

Lets start with healthcare and talk about the number of immigrants using our local hospital and particularly the maternity services. Why if you visit A&E, the majority of those awaiting treatment appear to be immigrants, probably there because all the local GP's lists are full.

Or perhaps they'd like discussion about housing and why we are having to build so many new homes on greenfield sites to house the ever increasing population brought about by immigration.

And perhaps if they've got some time to spare, we could move onto schools and why English speaking pupils are being held back due to the number of non-English speakers in the class.

Somehow, I don't think they would want to talk to me!

Sunday, 14 December 2014


The use of torture to extract information from terror suspects and their associates has been headline news for the past few days following an American report on the actions of the CIA. Numerous well-meaning people have supported the premise that "Torture is Wrong".

When I was younger, I would have fully agreed with this statement; However, as I’ve got older I’ve become less idealistic and less certain that the statement is true. Since the end of World War Two, there hasn't been any time when there hasn't been a significant conflict taking place somewhere in the world often with appalling atrocities being carried out by one side or the other, the most recent being ISIS who are prepared to execute someone simply to produce a propaganda video.
Sayings such as “fight fire with fire” and the biblical “eye for an eye” seem to have increasing relevance to me when we are up against such evil organisations. Should we opt out of  activities which our enemies are perfectly willing to use? I am aware of the arguments that if one uses the barbaric methods of such people that one then forfeits the moral high ground, but retaining the high ground is no use if you lose the war.

So I now hold the view that there are circumstances under which torture can be justified and blanket statements such as “Torture is Wrong” are themselves wrong. I believe that it is justified when lives are at risk or it can be shown to be for the greater good. There are times when we simply have to trust those who are in charge of protecting us, and trust them to do what is appropriate at the time.

Ideally the invention of a so-called “truth drug” would solve the problem – or would it? Would it be torture to give a captive such a drug against his wishes?

Such a question in itself shows that there is no clear definition of torture; I read today that British troops have been told that when interrogating suspects they must not shout or bang the table! To me this is total madness! The way we are going, we may be morally correct, but the enemy is going to win.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

A real defector, a plant, or just on the make?

A scandal at UKIP - or is it?
UKIP's General Secretary, Roger Bird, has been suspended over allegations that he made improper approaches to a potential female Asian candidate.
Surprisingly, the media hasn't made such a fuss about this as one might have expected and one wonders whether this is because there is "more in this than meets the eye" and they don't want to take any risks with possible damages claims.

The female in question is Natasha Bolter and she was first seen at this year's UKIP conference when she was on the platform as a Labour defector.

She is described by the media as being a single mother of five children, Her maiden name was Ahmed, so one assumes that she was married at one time although the media has not mentioned an ex-husband. So she's hardly a single mother, she's either divorced, separated or widowed.

Roger Bird has taken the rather unusual course of publishing all her text messages that she'd sent him, and she hardly seems to be a reluctant participant in whatever happened! Roger is single, so there is no reason whatsoever why he should not pursue any woman of his choice provided that he does not offer her advancement within the party in exchange for sexual favours.

Her claim claim of a top degree in politics, philosophy and economics from Oxford University unravelled yesterday when the Wadham College (she spelt it Wadam) took the rare step of denying she had ever attended the institution.

So what was she, a real defector, a plant or just on the make?
I don't think she was a plant; if she'd come from the Tories, I would probably have taken that view, but some how I don't see it as a Labour tactic. Was she a real defector, I'm inclined to say no, as if she had been, she wouldn't have resigned from UKIP at the start of this saga but stood her ground.
I tend towards the belief that she was "found out" by Labour and realised that she would never achieve candidate status and so looked for another home. She picked UKIP as a suitable choice,  knowing, quite rightly, that as a female from an ethnic minority she'd be welcome if only to prove that the party wasn't racist or anti-female. Perhaps Roger Bird realised this and rejected her as a candidate with the resultant harassment complaint.

Time will tell, but as usual in cases like this, no-one emerges smelling of roses and the innocent party (if there is one) invariably suffers with the guilty.

Whatever the outcome, the party will have learnt a valuable lesson, be wary of new members who join the party and rapidly seek a position of importance. UKIP is going to have to be somewhat more professional in vetting its candidates for all posts where they could harm the party.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Farage on breastfeeding.

Certain elements of the media are castigating Nigel Farage for suggesting that women should be more discrete about breastfeeding their babies in public.
"Nigel Farage says breastfeeding women should sit in a corner" screamed the media and all the feminist tweeters and blog sites. No he didn't, he merely suggested that some people feel very embarrassed by it, it isn't too difficult to breastfeed a baby in a way that's not openly ostentatious, perhaps by sitting in a corner.
To me this was a reasonable suggestion, why not be discrete and try to avoid upsetting anyone; surely this is simple good manners.
When our children were young, some forty years ago, we would have been refused entry to many restaurants if they were with us, and, even if we were allowed in, we would be seated where we weren't easily seen by most diners. We were staggered when we went to Sweden for a holiday and tentatively entered a restaurant to be met by a waiter who immediately rushed to get a high chair for our youngest and produced a children's menu. At that time, such things were unheard of in England!

There are times that I wish things were still like that when you have to put up with some of the children nowadays. Last week we went to a normally peaceful pub for Sunday lunch, but it was ruined by two boys, probably about 5 or 6 years old who were playing some chasing game in and out of the tables, and when they weren't doing that, they were shouting at the top of their voices. Their parents seemed to see nothing wrong with this and I was about to say something when another customer did so in far more forceful terms than I would have done. The parents looked visibly shocked. Why should anyone object to their boy's games? You don't expect boys of that age to sit quietly at a table, do you? My answer would have been  "Yes, I do". My grandson, six years old next month, can be taken to a restaurant and will sit still and behave at the table. We quite enjoy taking him out, and whilst he's a terrible chatterbox between courses, it's not so loud as to disturb other diners.

Unfortunately the attitude of a few, seems to be to question anyone's right to be offended by their actions and so they see no need to consider whether what they are doing might offend someone as their own needs are paramount. Farage is right, people should be show more consideration for others, unfortunately these days "rights" seem to be more important than "responsibilities". Oh for a return to the so-called "polite society".

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Former councillor charged with defrauding council she sat on

I'm a week late with this item, but did anyone read about this in the MSM or see it on television?
Can you guess what party the councillor belonged to?  Perhaps, quite reasonably, you will have concluded that it wasn't a UKIP councillor as, if it had been, it would have been headline  news in much of the media and on BBC TV news.

But it wasn't UKIP, so the news went no further than the local paper as the ex-councillor was a female Labour councillor who had falsely claimed an allowance for child care .whilst carrying out council duties.

We wouldn't expect the BBC to mention such a trivial matter as UKIP wasn't involved!

In "Wigan Today"

Monday, 1 December 2014

What if . . . . . ?

The news lately has been about the language employed by Andrew Mitchell towards the policemen who were guarding Downing Street and it seems that the word "pleb" was considered  far more offensive than the attached swearword. What a strange world we live in when swearwords no longer seem to offend and have almost become part of everyday language.
We also have had the case of David Mellor ranting at a taxi-driver and it seems that this wasn't the first occasion when he had done something like this.
Now if these had been unimportant people, it would still have been wrong, but one was a senior politician in the present government, the other had held a senior posts in a previous government.

These are people who might have easily represented this country at international meetings in the presence of world leaders and the world media. What would people think of this country if one of our politicians, one of our representatives, lost his temper and launched a foul-mouthed tirade at some unfortunate underling, or perhaps worse, one of the other delegates.

Let's stretch our imagination a bit further. Suppose either of them by some mischance had managed to become Prime Minister at a time when international relations with, say Russia, were at an all time low. Imagine one of their fingers on the nuclear button, and Putin saying something disagreeable on the phone. Losing his temper, he announces that he is going to fix that F----ing Russian for once and for all and presses the button.

Perhaps I've got too much imagination, but however you look at it, people who can't control their temper and abuse subordinates should never be allowed anywhere near government.