If one has been looking at the news on TV, it seems the festive season has been reduced to an orgy of binge drinking and bargain hunting and whingeing about the effects of the weather on our transport system.
All of these things are blamed on the incumbent government – but without doubt blame lies at the feet of several previous governments. Binge drinkers proliferate – mainly because Tony Blair gave licence to clubs to open all hours, and the present government haven’t got the balls to rescind the legislation. Further, the population is expanding so rapidly that the NHS and welfare state are unable to keep pace. Again Tony Blair opened the floodgates to immigration and the Tories are unable to close them. Doctors seem unable to cope with the care of the growing population in their catchment area – again Tony Blair gave the GPs a big boost to their pay without negotiating a corresponding increase in their opening hours. The sooner that self serving heap of ineptitude is called to books and exposed by the Chilcot enquiry, the better.
However, there are sources of amusement at this time of year. Isn’t it ironic that when we are never really prepared for our country to be snowbound in the winter, vast swathes of the media poke fun at our failing transport infrastructure? So I find it quite warming when a sudden spell of bad weather in the French and Swiss Alps causes a little inconvenience to thousands of holiday makers seeking the snow and trying to reach their destinations, while moaning inexorably at the lack of help made available to them. Snow is funny stuff you know: it can make travel precarious!
I was challenged in Ashford Market the other day to say something supportive about UKIP. This I find difficult, given that while I agree with some of their policies, on the whole the personnel presenting their ideas are quite off the wall and in some cases gruesome. I tried to watch Nigel Farage on the television with the upper crust B&B owners in Sandwich. But while it was undoubtedly amusing viewing it did not present Nigel as someone who is serious about transforming the culture of this country. I think he is little more than a rabble rouser and seems happy to desport himself on TV, no matter how ridiculous he is made to look. I find it difficult to accept him as a heavy weight politician.
Of further amusement is the announcement made by our “friends” in Brussels that obesity can now be treated similarly to a disease and those with the symptoms should be given corresponding benefits. What a joke! Which pillock came up with this idea and which bunch of overpaid, over indulged, brainless bureaucrats supported the idea? It really is pathetic. Of course there are people who are obese because of their their genetics and for those I feel sincerely sorry. To the rest I say: get off your arse, get a job, cook your own food and get some self respect.
I apologise for harping on about it, but the NHS is a problem not easily solved and without doubt is going to be the main battle field of the next election. Given that millions of pounds are spent each year by individual hospitals recruiting agency nurses and doctors on ridiculously high daily rates, why doesn’t the NHS set up its own agency? They’ve probably got enough staff strolling around with clip boards who could be usefully employed in the agency and this might well reduce the inflated levels of pay given to locum staff and cut out entirely the very high commission paid to various other agencies. The NHS is the third largest employer in the world and it seems incredible to me that it is unable to source its own full time and part time staff. Is that too simple or am I too simple?
Highly topical at the moment is the failure of City Link, which without doubt will leave several thousand hard working, decent people in severe financial straits. However, I find it deplorable that the union bosses and some MPs on both sides of the house are insisting that the government intervene. The business was failing and bought 18 months ago for £1. The present owner is an entrepeneur of considerable skill and expertise but was unable to turn a profit and in fact has blown £20 million.
The business model is obviously unworkable – there is no collateral and the only sensible course has been taken. We live in a market world where the strong survive and the weak can fail. I hope any slack will be taken up by existing firms of couriers and indeed some of the redundant staff may be employed elsewhere in the industry.
On the farming front, my sheep look well, my cattle yard is empty, my farm account is in the black and management continues to agree with everything I do! Something must go wrong soon. A very happy new year to everyone.