Tag Archives: Politics

My view of my world

Why would they think this is what we want?

They say a society is judged by the way it treats its elderly…

Vulnerable person for political rant
Photo by Chalmers Butterfield

but should it not be measured by the way it treats all its vulnerable people, young and old?

 

Young boy for post about vulnerable people in society
Photograph by Lewis Hine

I am probably stating the ‘bleeding obvious’ when I say that many cut backs intended to increase efficiency, do precisely the reverse. The result is that we are letting down disabled people, those with special needs, children from poor backgrounds and any other vulnerable person you can name.

You may have noticed that I was in hospital quite a lot, a couple of years ago. Nothing sinister, just a series of unfortunate events. Hospitals took the brunt of my frustration at the time because despite the best intentions of the caring and overworked staff, my experience was awful. Mainly, it seems to me, as the result of cut backs and consequent inefficiencies.

Foot in plaster

 

At that time, a Magicbhunkshire A&E had been closed and its ambulances diverted to ‘The Saville’. Continue reading Why would they think this is what we want?

I should know better by now

Crikey, I haven’t written here at all this year. It’s not that nothing has happened, more that too many things have prevented me from putting text on screen. Today however I have been moved to write. Something happened that illustrates a) how bad I am at keeping my mouth (fingers) shut, and b) how little thought people give to what they are posting on social media.

Continue reading I should know better by now

The Scottish Problem

Is it me or is anyone else, who thinks themselves British-English, a little hurt by the apparent hatred many Scots seem to feel for us? I’ve always thought of myself as racially tolerant, and actually, perhaps this is the problem, I never thought of the Scots as a race. I thought they were one of us. Not English, but British.

What surprises me most is that they seem to think they are the only people frustrated by our government. Every person in the country must, by now, feel disenfanchised by some action or other. Lucky old Scotland has the luxury of opting out. Not so the rest of us.

One thing I haven’t heard mentioned in all the debate and rhetoric, is whether their proposed Scottish government will be any better? Will they have only one party to choose from i.e. The State? If they go for the multi-party system as we currently have, how will they prevent short term thinking? If PR then how will it work?

I am saddened that so many want to leave, but if they do go then as far as I’m concerned, they’re on their own. No sterling, no help, a foreign country. When the oil runs out, Scotland, please don’t come running back, and don’t blame your poverty on having to pay your share of our joint debt.

 

I’m wound up – again

Yes. Very. And of course when that happens I pick up my virtual pen and ramble.

Wound up about morals in politics

Today’s grouse is about the fact that the people who lead us don’t seem able to do the decent thing any more. Our council tax is to rise by 1.99%. This, according to the council, is the maximum it can rise without having to call a prohibitively costly referendum (no cost benefit). The council will raise £3m from this rise. It could have raised £2m from the government by freezing the price of council tax, and, if it wanted more money for specific projects like road improvements, it could have received a further grant. Apparently the government doesn’t want council tax to seem to go up, so it funds councils through the back door via our other tax payments. Either way we pay. I don’t mind paying for necessary overheads, what I object to is the lack of transparency, and the complexity of the system.

I don’t understand why funding is so complicated. Indeed why do we need to pay council tax at all? Isn’t the administration of council tax collection ‘prohibitively costly’? I’d like to see some kind of algorithm, based perhaps (and this is off the top of my head) on the number of residents and their ages (children need schools, older people need care), miles of road and weight of traffic on those roads. multiply this by a figure and hey presto, the amount councils receive to administer on behalf of their residents.

ON THEIR BEHALF. There’s a novel idea. When did People ever win over Mammon? HS2, cutting up swathes of beautiful countryside. Nobody wants it apart from some business people. In Pebbleditch and Robinghood, 122 new houses planned that will create havoc on our already over-stretched, bottle-neck of a road and our recently extended school, extended to accommodate a previous huge estate built on a former cement works (I’ve no objection to this apart from the fact that a miscalculation by our council meant that there were not enough school places planned and we have hardly any leisure facilities). The planning permission for the first 42 new houses has already been approved and I have no doubt, despite very valid objections, that the other 80 odd will also get built. The government wants more houses built to ease ballooning house prices and high unemployment. Councils have been targeted with building more, but nobody seems to care where they are built as long as the council reaches its five year target.

Money, not quality of life, drives decisions, but the point is, if we, as a country, want more money, the only really valid way of achieving it is to bring in foreign currency. I suppose you could argue that by improving transport routes, we will enable businesses in the north to be more successful. I don’t accept that at all. Where’s the evidence? Having worked in British companies and in the public sector for 40+ years, I think the problem lies partly within. Managers make decisions based on departmental budgets rather than the interests of the company of as a whole. Managers make decisions based on keeping their own jobs at the expense of the mental health of those under them; COST BENEFIT being the driving factor in all decisions, regardless of the needs of the workforce. Can we detect a parallel between business management decisions and short-term government decisions? What ever happened to benevolence, philanthropy, moral high ground? Don’t say we can’t afford it. Isn’t it what life is really about?

On Snow, Education and Duty

You may have noticed that here in the UK we have had unusual quantities of snow this year, reducing the southern counties of England to a stand still. There is much debate about whether the authorities should have been better prepared to get us back on the move again with claims from the Federation of Small Businesses that the lack of road clearing, and so on, has cost the country in the region of £3 billion (There was no detail about how the figures were arrived at). My own opinion is that councils can’t be expected to store equipment to deal with a snowfall such as this when it occurs only once every 20 years or so.

I was telling Mavis, aged 9, about cold winters I had known in the past and she asked if I had ever missed school because of snow. Continue reading On Snow, Education and Duty