Thursday, 29 April 2010
Tonight's the night of the third debate - but I bet no-one is going to put these questions forward :
To Cameron and Brown : What are you going to promise Nick Clegg to get him in bed with you?
To Nick Clegg : Can you trust either of these buggers to honour their promises?
First it's Labour, then you can't work with Brown, then you can again. It's not inspiring me with confidence...
I think we have a right to have these questions answered before we decide where to put our votes.
And just in case you need a lighter note, here's a cracking litte Clegg song I nicked off YouTube (Thanks to TommyReckless - nice one!)
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
"Well, it's all shite
'Cos we're coming to election time..."
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
It's bad enough that some brainless idiot in the Labour party even thought of using a children's cartoon character in their campaign in the first place, but to have two senior cabinet ministers talking such total bollocks in a press conference beggars belief.
If there was any doubt in anyone's mind that these clowns are unfit to govern, this should settle the matter once and for all.
Don't know about you, but I'm getting to the point where listening to all the parties droning on is beginning to get to me!
So come on guys, let's bring some colour into the campaign! Spice up your rhetoric! You know you can do better!
- Let me just pop something into your mental microwave and see if it defrosts
- The wheel's spinning but the hamster's dead
- We’re not cutting back, we’re just shortening the waste chain
- We've got to downsize our sloppiness
- We need to ensure we're all singing from the same hymn sheet before we push forward
- Scatter the ideas across the floor and let's see where the chickens scratch
- We will introduce a radical cost reduction action plan (C.R.A.P.)
- Unemployment is higher than it was in 1994, but not as high as it would have been if the others had been in power
- We will cut the deficit by ensuring that the increase in our rate of overspending is not as high as it otherwise would have been
- I'll do whatever I can to make sure that the future of this country becomes entrenched
- Frontline services will be protected but it may be necessary for some frontline services to be reclassified into the backoffice
- Government waste is running out of control and it is essential that we ensure that any future waste will not be unnecessarily wasted (sorry?...)
- Management is essential but we must ensure that these managers are effectively managed
- We need to increase National Insurance so that it is not necessary to increase taxes
- We need to deliver simplified contract management, effective service evolution and responsive scaling to requirement bringing cost savings by flexible services, control and balanced service levels
Monday, 26 April 2010
|"Old Sawbones" is an established consultant|
surgeon with many years experience working both
inside the NHS and private practice who cares
passionately about his vocation
An insider's view by "Old Sawbones" - our man in the know inside the NHSI admit to being an anti-establishment critic. I have written about 100 letters to broadsheets and medical journals over the past 10 years, but there has been little public reaction.
Off the record, many apparently agree with what I write, but they daren't put their head above the parapet for medico-political reasons such as conflict with their work on committees or private practice. Basically, the motivations are money, power and prestige -the self interest factor.
In it's present form, our NHS was unsustainable even before the credit crunch, but as a country in collective denial and with politicians of all shades terrified to say the unsayable, we muddle along. Cancer cure rates and other indicators of success in medical treatment are already near the bottom of the European league.
No other country has a Healthcare system funded purely from taxation alone. Our NHS is not free, and there are financial restrictions on what care we receive. Whilst emergency care remains free, dental care certainly does not, and many people still pay for prescriptions. There is a post code lottery, and "NICE" admits that it's recommendations over cancer drugs have to be influenced by the cost. Thus we don't necessarily receive the life prolonging treatments available in some other European countries.
We have been graded as low as 18th by the OECD in the European league, and while health care systems throughout Europe (and indeed the world) struggle to contain costs, the most successful ones had mixed funding. Sources include "top up" patient's private medical insurance (in some cases compulsory), "Social Insurance" paid by the employer as in France and Germany, and voluntary contributions. So, with rising costs from expensive new treatments for an ageing population, I see no alternative to some form of direct payment such as charging to see a GP - as in Eire.
Perhaps we should turn a blind eye to the European Working Time Directive, as already happens in many, mainly Southern, European countries which don't slavishly follow it in every detail. This may be politically unacceptable, but there is no reason why today's doctors cannot work a reasonable amount out of hours, as still is the case in many parts of the world.
How can doctors bear to simply shut up shop at the end of the day?
There is some truth in the aphorism that from being a vocation or profession, medicine is now just a job. It is no longer a way of life, and a privilege to practice. I fail to see why today's GPs cannot work out of hours on a reasonable rota or with acceptable cover. With regret, I suspect it may simply be that they haven't got the resilience, stamina and staying power to do so. The "new" GP contract must be rescinded. If motivation were a patient, it would surely be on its last legs!
Another controversial measure would be to allow direct patient referral to specialists as occurs in many countries world wide. Patients know or can find out with help from the internet what specialist they need to see. But the GP as the gatekeeper to secondary care has to validate this. Often this is a waste of GP time and, of course, money. Unfortunately, there are too many vested establishment interests at heart here and the BMA trade union exists to preserve them.
And then of course there is immigration with its attendant costs to the NHS, the myriads of managers and jobsworths, "health and safety", and the compensation culture to consider...
I don't see our health service surviving in the long run, it's time expired, but the public and politicians have a blind spot - and our devious deluded dissembling PM wants to "protect" it!
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Saturday, 24 April 2010
Friday, 23 April 2010
What do we care
If we get there?
Showing such flair
We're three men in a boat.
Thursday, 22 April 2010
"What'll I do now I am jobless?
And I'm living on the dole...."
I really would like some other suggestions for Clegg & Cameron - it just seems too easy to be hitting Gordon all the time. But then again, he's a very easy target and he deserves it.
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Tuesday, 20 April 2010
The rules are simple - people have to be real and alive, but other than that you can have anyone. After all, Gordon does it that way doesn't he? You can give reasons if you like for any or all, serious or satirical.
I will reward a generous prize for the winner. My decision is final. No appeals to the European Court will be allowed. The prize is 10p - so you can use it to phone someone who gives a shit...
Here are my selections for the Fantasy Cabinet. Let's see yours!
Prime Minister : David Cameron (a toff always looks good)
Deputy Prime Minister : Nick Clegg (lost the toss of a coin with Cameron)
Chancellor : Vince Cable (best man in the wrong party in my view)
Foreign Secretary : William Hague (no-one patronises foreigners quite like him)
Home Secretary : Nick Clegg (Labour used this post to keep people out of the way)
Business & Consumer Affairs : Esther Rantzen (obvious choice)
Justice : Norman Lamb (he's actually a lawyer, which I would have thought could be handy)
Environment : Dick Sawbridge (demonstrates practical knowledge in the field)
Transport : Jeremy Clarkson
Defense : John Prescott (no-one would dare attack us with him in charge!)
Speaker : Jeremy Paxman (if Paxo can't get them to shut up, no-one can)
Energy : Simon Hughes (one Nick got right)
Europe : Nigel Farage (talks bollocks, so should fit in well)
Health : Gerry Robinson (Is there actually a doctor in any of the three party teams?)
Pensions : Teresa May (I wanted Barbara Castle, but she's dead and it seems Dave got this one right)
Northern Ireland : Gordon Brown (with luck they may shoot the bugger)
Scotland : Alex Salmond (let's face it, he's got the job anyway)
Wales : John Redwood (did such a good job last time)
Education : David Laws (seems to me Nick got this one right too)
Chief Whip : Peter Mandelson (You need a nasty, sneeky underhand bugger in that job)
What do you think ?
Monday, 19 April 2010
Unfortunately, I don't get a vote!
"Rubbish!" I hear you all cry. "Of course you get a vote just like everyone else on the electoral roll." Not so. Let me explain this to you :
I live in a Tory safe seat. Before I moved here three years ago, I lived in an even safer Tory safe seat. So fair enough - I got what I voted for; a Tory MP.
"But I thought you said you didn't get a vote?"
That's right. I don't. The voting system in this country is so shit that votes like mine don't count. I'm going to get a Tory MP unless about ten thousand of us get arsey and vote Liberal which, frankly, isn't going to happen.
The future government is going to be decided in a small number of marginal seats. Not in my seat. That's why so far not a single election leaflet has passed through my letterbox. Not a single canvasser has knocked on my door and asked for my vote. I am treated with complete contempt. I do not count.
So I find myself on the horns of a dilema : Do I vote Conservative because I think they should form the next government or do I vote Liberal because they will change the voting system so that next time my vote does actually count?
And does it matter anyway because this is a safe seat?
HELP! Please tell me what you think I should do?
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Believed to have originated in the banks of Iceland, it threatens to engulf all economic activity for the foreseeable future.
The Government has stated that it poses no immediate threat and that it intends to carry on as usual, but opposition experts have speculated that it could start to dissipate as early as May 6th.
It was hoped that the emergence of a front of hot air over Manchester earlier in the week would help to disperse the cloud, but this has not proved to be the case.
Saturday, 17 April 2010
Well, I've been to Stratford to take in a bit of culture - that's the genuine stuff not wot passes for kulcher these days!
Anyway, whilst there I engaged the help of a friend of mine who communes with spirits (not the type that comes in bottles) and took him along to Shakespeare's grave to ask the great Bard himself what he thought of the goings on in our election campaign.
This is what Will had to say about it all...
Medium : Mr Shakespeare, how do you feel our election campaign is going so far?
Bard : To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time
Medium : Yes, it seems to be dragging a bit, but what about the the TV debate?
Bard : Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.
Medium : Unimpressed then. Let's turn to the manifestos. Labour first?...
Bard : And all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Medium : And the Conservatives?
Bard : Nothing shall come of nothing. Speak again
Medium : I'm sorry - a brief loss of contact there. I'll repeat - what of the Conservatives?
Bard : Done to death by slanderous tongue was the Hero that here lies
Medium : Yes, they certainly have been attacked a lot by Labour. Finally, the LibDems?
Bard : It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing
Medium : So you don't rate their chances. Any views on a hung Parliament?
Bard : What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet
Medium : And finally, if you were able to vote, where you put your cross?
Bard : I am hurt. A plague a' both your houses!
Medium : Thank you very much, William Shakespeare
Bard : I go, and it is done; the bell invites me
So there we have it. Quite clearly he is about as impressed with it all as I am.
Thursday, 15 April 2010
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
|The leaders shake hands on their historic agreement|
while demonstrating first hand the effects of their policy
The statement said "We have complete cross party agreement to introduce a new Gravity Offset Levy which will enable the UK to reduce its gravity by 10% in real terms. Reducing our gravity in this way will have the following immediate beneficial effects :
- Vehicle pollution will be reduced as everyone knows that lighter vehicles use less fuel. This will also apply to aircraft and diesel railway engines.
- Lower fuel consumption also addresses the growing unrest over petrol prices
- Wind turbines will spin faster as the blades will weigh less, thus improving their generating efficiency
- Everyone will be fitter as less effort will be required to walk, run and lift things
- Our newborn children will be less obese, as they will grow taller and thinner
- Our cricket team will win more matches as they will be able to hit the ball further
- Productivity will improve as everyday tasks will require less effort
Gordon Brown commented, "This is such an obvious new tax that I cannot believe I never thought of it before" whilst David Cameron added, "It's a fair tax as it effects everyone equally and everyone gets the same benefit."
For the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg added "It's not a new idea. We proposed it in our last manifesto but we are pleased the other main parties have finally adopted it."
Of course, not everyone is happy. The Green Party dismissed it as just another stealth tax masquerading as environmentalism, and Weight Watchers complained it would ruin their business.
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
I've decided that we should commemorate manifesto week with a musical look back over Labour promisses of the recent and distant past just to prove that nothing has really changed at all. Some of these posters are classics!
Who could forget that great manifesto of 1997? After all, don't forget that "Things can only get better"...
Suggestions for other songs I can butcher in my own inimitable way are always gratefully recieved
Monday, 12 April 2010
In February 2008, when taken to court by UKIP for not allowing a referendum over the EU treaty, Brown's barrister said -
"manifesto pledges are not subject to legitimate expectation"
This morning on BBC Breakfast Time when asked by Sian Williams whether the manifesto pledges on taxes were cast iron guarantees, Ed Milliband replied -
I am also reminded of a Newsnight interview in 1997 when Brown was asked by Paxman whether, in view of the promise not to change the income tax bands, he was proposing changes to National Insurance. Brown repeated replied "We have already said we have to plans to change income tax".
He subsequently increased National Insurance.
When asked this morning about whether Labour would increase VAT, Ed Milliband repeated relied "We have no plans to extend the scope of VAT"
I think we can draw our own conclusions....
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Click to play
Suggestions for other songs I can butcher in my own inimitable way are always gratefully recieved...
Embracing his Parliamentary Candidate to fight Gordon Brown in his Kirkcaldy & Cowdeneath constituency, Camerloon said "Gordon has a majority of 18,000 in this seat, but we are confident that with a candidate of this quality, he is beatable."
My money's on the chimp!
Friday, 9 April 2010
Now listen - in a former life I spent a quarter of a century making sure that IT projects performed properly. Some of this stuff I'm not even allowed to talk about in case the New Labour Thought Police come knocking on my door. Anyway, let's at least assume I might know what I am talking about....
This is how it works :
* Someone thinks they need a program written to do something, so they form a project team
* We sit down and make out a project plan. This goes something along the lines of -
- We know what day it is and we know when we want to start selling it, so the difference is the length of the project
- Item 2, write a specification. But hang on, how do we know how long the project is going to take if we haven't got a spec yet? Shouldn't we do this first?
- Third, decide how long a nominal, set team of programmers will take write the software to the spec we haven't written yet
- Now we know when the date when programme will be ready for testing, so the time taken is the difference between then and the launch date
This is because there was a bottleneck in the testing department not because the programme was delivered late and was written by a team of deaf blind monkeys somewhere in India, under pressure to get it done quickly with too few resources, in an unrealistic time scale to an ever changing spec! And, of course, on a fixed price contract...
In the exciting world of Government (bugger - I'm back to politics!), this is complicated by the fact they outsource the job to firms of consultants who hire in contractors because anyone with the skills and competence necessary to do the job most likely works for themselves.
Also, there is absolutely no incentive to get it right. Many firms I have worked for are not interested in doing it right because when the thing doesn't do what it's supposed to, they can charge their clients for fixing it. This is akin to paying fifty grand for a car which breaks down as you drive it out of the garage - and then being charged to get it going again. Unbelievable, but true!
And I'm not going to argue with this, because one of the main Government outsource companies for IT is owned by the same people who put a horse's head in your bed - so I'm sure as hell not going to name them here. We both know who you are...
So next time you are queuing round the block for a passport, trying to find your bags in terminal five or wondering where the hell your student loan has got to, remember - you heard it here first!
(And all this because the bloudy people who monitor the hits on this site kept telling me I had no readers - but you and I know better, don't we?)
Thursday, 8 April 2010
Today, petrol prices at the pump hit £1.20 a litre with a warning that it might hit £1.50 this summer.
Much has been said about the reasons for this, but here is the truth behind the main ones :
(1) Exchange rates : "The pound used to be as high as $2, but now its only $1.50" - True in it's own way, but not so long ago it was down to $1.15, so if the rate has improved, why have prices still gone up?
(2) The price of crude oil : "Brent crude is at a high of $86 a barrel" - Also true, but it used to be over $150 a barrel and prices weren't this high.
Strangely enough, one of the main contributing factors never seems to get mentioned : Tax.
In the last twelve months, Alistair Darling has added 6p a litre to your petrol bill - and that's without the extra 2p he's had to postpone until later this year in case it loses votes.
And, of course, let's not forget that there is VAT on top of those increases - so that's another penny....
At the 2005 General Election, your sitting MP Gordon Brown got a majority over the SNP of 18,216 so it would require an enormous effort to overturn this. But it can be done of you all pull together.
I must declare at this point that I do not live in Scotland, but I do urge you - whichever party you normally support - vote SNP.
You know it makes sense!
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
Seems our Gordon was greasing palms in an ASDA store on the first day of campaigning, when the young man he was sucking up to said "If you're looking for a job on May 7th, I'll put a word in for you here."
And who says the young are disconnected with politics?...
If you're as sick of it all as I am already after just one day, maybe this will cheer you up a bit.
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
|They're off! The main hopefuls test out their mounts for the big race...|
From a long line of thoroughbreds and owned by the Eton stables. Came second in it's last three outings but with a new jockey aboard, it's well fancied this time around. Could be a close run thing - watch for a strong finish
Oh My Gawd ridden by Gordon Brown sired by "Tony the Tory" out of "Boom or Bust" :
A well known horse but an untested rider. Owned by a consortium of Trades Unions. Gordon Brown has been around a while. He was a stable lad for "Tony the Tory" but is now getting a ride in his own right for the first time. Was well fancied but recent form has lengthened the odds considerably. Could be tight thing between him and Dave Cameron, although Dave is carrying a lot less weight
Yellow Bird ridden by Nick Clegg sired by "Diddy David" out of "SDP" :
Bit of an outsider this one but could be good for an each way bet. Should finish in the top three. This horse has has lots of different jockies in it's recent outings, but now has a regular rider in Nick Clegg. Form at this outing could decide whether he gets a ride next time.
Jack 'o' the Green ridden by Caroline Lucas sired by "Swampy" out of "Hug a Tree" :
Not well fancied although did show reasonably well in Europe last time out. Female jockey might attract the mums' votes.
HMS Independence ridden my Lord Pearson sired by "Kilroy's Silk" out of "Get Us Out" :
Rank outsider. Recent spats for the ride between Pearson and rival jockey Nigel Farage have done nothing to improve its chances.
Raving Loony ridden by Alan Hope sired by "Screaming Lord" out of "Sutch is Life" :
Lack of any sort of sensible training program takes this one right out of the running. Will probably do well not to finish last, but does get some support from the younger punters. I wouldn't put your money on this one although it always brings a lot of colour to the proceedings...
Rampant Nationalist ridden by Nick Griffin sired by "Skinhead" out of "National Front" :
Not a popular horse this, particularly disliked by the immigrant community due to it's attitude to employing foreigners in the stable. Will undoubtedly make a good show before the race starts, but will fade badly during the running.
One Trick Pony ridden by Esther Rantzen sired by "That's Life" out of "Maggie-the-Moron" :
A new runner from the Luton South stable. Enjoys a lot of local support and could surprise a few people by making a good showing.
Economic Miracle sired by "Tax and Spend" out of "Boom 'n' Bust" :
Still looking for a rider. Could one of the leading jockies dump his ride for this one?
Some of the other declared runners and riders :
Taffy's Pride ridden by Wyn Jones - we don't think he'll 'wyn' this one though!
Tartan Toughie ridden by Alex Salmon - finds the going better north of the border
The Shamrock ridden by Gerry Adams, trained by Martin McGuinness - one of the livelier overseas entries
Archbishop's Canter ridden by Peter Robinson - talks a good fight
Ree-Spect ridden by George Galloway - not one to be taken remotely seriously and could well fail to finish
The Lobbyist ridden by Geoff Hoon has withdrawn to avoid further embarrassment to the jockey
Terre Blanche will not be running having taken quite a beating recently on it's home course
Mandy is conserving it's strength for the next big race
Kelly's Eye has withdrawn due to the poor performance of it's owner/rider, Ruth Kelly
Duck House ridden by Peter Viggers, due to unforeseen problems with expenses
This promises to be a hard fought race with a big field, but has the potential to be a lot closer than the last three outings especially between the two joint favourites with huge purse money for the winner...
Sunday, 4 April 2010
So we are going to clean up MPs expenses are we? Well, maybe. But can someone explain to me why, since the publication of this report last week, not one of the major party leaders has said that his party will unreservedly adopt the suggestions of this 'independent' body?
Already IPSA has allowed it's recommendations to be watered down by political pressure - a prime example being it's stance on the employment of family members from zero to one.
Now we hear that the implementation of this report will be delayed until the next parliament. Well, how convenient. Let's get the votes in first, before we doctor it or chuck it out altogether!
Let's have at least one political leader stand up and be counted. If this body really is 'independent' then at least let someone have the integrity to say "As the next Prime Minister, I will implement these recommendations in full" and put an end to this faffing about...
It's Easter Sunday, the family are all coming round for lunch, then perhaps we'll all settle down to a nice game of Monopoly. You remember - that good old property trading game we play at Chistmas and family gatherings. It teaches our kids how to handle money and helps hone their bargaining and social skills...
Well, guess what? - they've updated it!
Now I can understand that the money values on the notes might need to be increased a bit, although I think that taking the top value from 500 to 2.5 million is just a little over the top - even by New Labour's estimates of inflation - but replacing roads with entire cities seems just a little excessive to me!
But that's not the worst of it! They've done away with the money! There is now a version where you deal with a plastic card and the bank is just a crappy bit of electronic shit that sits around doing not a lot -although this is admittedly a lot like real banks....
So why the hell have they done this? How are our kids supposed to learn to count change and do simple adding and subtraction? Well this is what the makers, Parkers, have to say about it :
"Players will instead use a Visa mock debit card to keep track of how much they win or lose" - so not like real life where the only winners are the card companies. And what about the other card companies? Why are they not represented?
Well that's because "It is part of an international deal between Parker and finance giant Visa, which designed the mock debit card and its electronic machine" - or, in other words, "We got it for free to promote their product."
"The new electronic Monopoly reflects the changing nature of society and the advancement of technology" - so we brainwash the kids into using plastic instead of cash. After all, a recent survey of 6th formers revealed that over 80% thought a credit card never had to be paid off! That should be good for Visa's profits!
"The new version follows a YouGov survey of 2,056 adults which showed 70% used cash less often than they did a decade ago" - well, we kind of guessed that the government had a finger in there somewhere.
Now we get to the real reason : "Monopoly Here and Now Electronic Banking costs around £24.99, compared to £12.99 for the standard "cash" version" - so basically it is nothing to do with the aforementioned claptrap; it's about making an extra 12 quid a shot for the same product...
Anyway, in the interests of fairness, here are 20 suggestions for the 'chance' and 'community chest' cards in the next version of Monopoly - all in the interests of reflecting the reality of the modern world, you understand :
- "The Russians have bombed Berlin, fall back to Paris"
- "Suicide bombers have destroyed your station. Pay £1m for repairs"
- "You have only paid the minimum balance on your credit card. Pay £100 interest" (Oh! Sorry! They already used that one)
- "You have been issued with an ASBO - so get out of jail free"
- "You are pregnant and lose your job. Receive £50,000 compensation"
- "You are elected to Parliament. Claim £10,000 expenses"
- "Minister agrees to represent your lobbying group. Advance to Go"
- "Stock market crashes. Recieve £20,000 from your Hedge Fund"
- "Prime Minister declares support for US - Go immediately to Kabul, do not pass go or recieve equipment"
- "Your pension fund matures. Recieve sod all"
- "Bank profits down! Recieve £250,000 bonus"
Recieve student loan £2,500" (Sorry, that's just too unbelievable!)
- "You retire from Parliament. Recieve golden goodbye of £63,000"
- "Pay road tax on your 4x4 of £960"
- "You buy a million pound house. Pay £50,000 stamp duty"
- "Your ageing mother needs to go into a care home. Return one property to the bank"
- "Your boob implants leak. Receive £25,000 compensation"
- "Budget announced! Go immediately to a different country"
- "You bet £5,000 on England losing the World Cup. Recieve £10 winnings"
- "You have spoken out against the Government. Go immediately to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not recieve fair trial"
Saturday, 3 April 2010
Has anyone noticed the remarkable similarity between our Right Honourable Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling and that lovable, cider swigging, country bumpkin singer Pete Budd of the Wurzels?
In view of the tax changes in the budget, surely they are not related?
I think we should be told....
Friday, 2 April 2010
Thursday, 1 April 2010
|The court jester with his puppet |
- or should that be the other way round?
- The Care Quality Commission has been given the powers to fine Trusts if their hospitals and services are not up to scratch. So, basically then, we are going to have to employ extra people to improve services, employ extra people to monitor performance and produce yet more meaningless statistics so that if the targets are missed, the Government can fine itself.
- All of you people who took advantage of the scappage scheme now know where the funding is coming from - the new showroom tax brought in today.