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?"



Friday, 3 April 2015

The Leaders' Debate - Farage on Health

In last night's debate, Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader was the only one of those present to question whether non-British citizens should be treated by the NHS. All the others present, and seemingly much of the audience, seemed to feel that it was quite all right to treat all and sundry who happened to manage to make their way to a GP or NHS hospital.
Possibly Farage made a mistake in highlighting the cost of HIV treatment which seems to be, for some, a rather emotive issue, but even so, it is a very expensive issue which needs to be addressed.

However, I simply can't understand why people are apparently upset by Farage's desire to restrict the use of the NHS to our own citizens; they complain about inability to get GP appointments, they complain about waiting times in A&E, they complain about the time to get an operation, they complain about the shortage of doctors and nurses, yet, it would seem, they are happy about foreigners being treated here at our expense.

Farage highlighted HIV because it is one of the most expensive illnesses to treat, some £25,000 pa per person. And as they are probably unfit to work, benefits come on top of that!  There are millions of cases of HIV in Africa, any of those individuals who can manage to get to Britain gets treatment and manages to stay here because it is "against his human rights to send him somewhere where he can't get the necessary medical care".

Is this what we want? At at time when people who have paid taxes all their life are being declined certain drugs for cancer, at a time when we can't afford proper care for our elderly who are being treated worse than animals in some so-called care homes. Do we really want to provide drugs at £25K pa for life to any HIV sufferer who manages to get into this country? If the individual survives for 40 years, that's a million pounds for drugs alone, it doesn't count the cost of the doctors, hospitals, tests and any other treatment needed as in indirect result of the disease.

That's just the HIV sufferers, but what about our maternity services? This country seems the destination of choice for pregnant females; it's also another way of staying here. The child becomes a British citizen, so you can't deport its mother! When our grandson was born in the local hospital, there was only one other mother on the ward who's native tongue was English. My daughter was pushed out of the hospital the following day as she had a home to go to and her bed was needed.

But it's not only the third world we are treating. A friend working at a hospital near Heathrow tells me that they often get US citizens, particularly ones with heart problems such as the need for by-pass surgery. Apparently they don't have the necessary health insurance at home and the airfare is a cheaper option!

Farage is right; we should not spend taxpayers' money on treating non-citizens except in an emergency. All legal incomers should be required to have suitable insurance, proof of which should be provided for Border Control. Illegals, should be detained as a minimum until they have been checked for contagious diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and if infected should be deported.

Our own citizens must come first, there is a limit on both money and facilities, and our own citizens should get the treatment and care that they need, whether is is cancer treatment, hip replacements or just simple GPs appointments.

An afterthought!
Perhaps the cost of all the non-citizens being treated here should be charged to the Foreign Aid budget, after all, that is what it is!

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Part Time and "Zero Hours" Work

Our politicians, as usual, don't seem to know what they are taking about when it comes to part time or so-called zero-hours work.
Labour, in particular, seems to believe that everybody who wants to work should be in full time employment and that anything else is bad.
But why? These working arrangements suit many people. Both of my married daughters are working part time as they prefer it that way; in fact they had considerable difficulty finding suitable part time work as their employers would have preferred them to work full time. I've "retired" friends who work part time or zero hours, not so much for the money but in order to do something useful where their knowledge is appreciated.
I've worked a zero hour contact, although it wasn't called that at the time. It was as a stand-by paper boy; if one of the regulars didn't turn up, one of the others came banging at the door with the message that I was wanted. As far as I can see there is nothing wrong with this concept as long as the contract does not tie you to a single employer, something that this government has already stopped. I'm aware of several ladies who "help out" in local shops; that is they are occasionally called in when needed. It suits both them and the shopkeepers.
I know one could not earn a living wage on this basis and clearly any government should aim to ensure that full time work is available for those who want it. But even so, my reaction is that the Labour party is currently making a mountain out of a molehill; companies will find it harder to find people for such work as employment prospects improve.

But when politicians talk of work being available for all those who want to work what exactly do they mean?  I read in the Mail today about the man who has fathered forty children by 20 women, all living at the expense of the taxpayers,  obviously he doesn't come into the category of those who want to work. No doubt the Mail is seeking out such individuals, because only a few days previously they reported on another man, aged just 29, who had managed to father something like 15 children by various women who, together with their "families", are all living on benefits. Then we have the grossly obese woman who could hardly move from her armchair and who requires two carers to get her in and out of bed and presumably feed her, all paid for by the taxpayer as she is "disabled". These may be extreme examples, they may be few and far between, but nevertheless, few of our politicians are willing to address the issue of what to do about those who don't wish to work even when work is available.

No doubt in the course of the election campaign other "new" problems will be brought to the fore, mainly, I suspect, to try to hide the fact that our politicians of all parties have no real idea what to do about so many of the existing problems.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Political Party Manifestos

Any time now our political parties will be publishing their manifestos, but are they worth the paper that they are written on? I'm just going to consider the Conservative party's manifesto, as logically with my education and lifestyle I should be a core Tory supporter.

Whilst I never read the actual Conservative manifesto before the last general election and relied upon reports in the media, I am far more concerned about what the manifesto doesn’t contain.

I don’t recall the Tories mentioning anything about Gay Marriage in the 2010 manifesto. Whilst I can appreciate that a manifesto can't cover every possible contingency and that events might make it necessary for any government to introduce unanticipated legislation, this was not so in the case of gay marriage. There was no reason for the hasty action with minimal consultation and it could have waited until the forthcoming election and been included in the party manifesto. But, in my view, the party took the cowardly approach, didn’t consult with the majority population, and pushed it through hoping that most of the electorate would have forgotten by the time of the election.

Nor did the manifesto mention entering foreign wars for the sake of regime change. Again the government rushed into action without any real thought. If it hadn't been for the rare event of Parliament acting to prevent the government going to war against Assad in Syria, we would now be fighting alongside the evil ISIS who happily decapitate any non-believer without a moment's thought. However you look at the situation, Assad is by far the lesser of the two evils.
Then, of course there is Libya. Our aerial intervention was designed to prevent civilian deaths resulting from the fighting between rebels and the forces of Gaddafi. Here, again we opted to support the rebels and the media rejoiced at Gaddafi's death, but has this improved things? Seemingly not, as we now have two "governments" in Libya busy fighting each other and civilian deaths, either due to fighting or starvation are never ending. And Cameron claimed this was a great success - I wonder what would have had to have happened for him to feel that we had failed?

Then what did the manifesto say about our military? Did it propose cutting them to the bare bones and relying on a part time army of reservists? Did it mention scrapping the Harrier. Did it mention aircraft carriers with no aircraft? I'm sure it didn't as I don't remember any coverage of the subject in the media at the time.

And then there is Scotland. Were the English offered any say in the decision to give extra powers to Scotland whilst leaving England at Scotland's mercy in the event of a coalition?

That's what the manifesto didn't say, now let's look at what it did say.
The most important promise for a majority of the electorate was to reduce immigration and Cameron even said he wanted it reduced to tens of thousands. This has been totally ignored with the current political line being that immigration is good for the country. Tell that to those trying to buy houses, get their children into English speaking schools or waiting for treatment on the NHS. I'm sure they will all believe that immigration is good for us!

What will I be looking for in the manifesto?
One priority is to ensure that Christians in this country are able to practice their faith without interference. Seemingly, you can be of any other faith, or even no faith, and can claim that you are being discriminated against if you are not allowed to practice it and wear its symbols in public. Yet Christians are being sacked because they wear a cross or are asked to carry out work which is contrary to their beliefs, such as assisting with abortions or registering gay marriages. This article in Breitbart is worth reading.

Another is the issue of unbiased and independent policing. The failure of the police forces in both Rotherham and Oxford to do anything about gangs of Muslims grooming young white females for fear of being called racist is symptomatic of the political correctness of our police. The "Police and Crime Commissioners" have done little, if anything, to change the situation as many are political hacks who failed elsewhere. One, who has now resigned, was actually a councillor in Rotherham whilst all the abuse was taking place! Even now the police seem more interested in historic crimes committed by so-called celebrities rather than dealing with present day abuse. Today's reports of the “closing down” of police investigations into a child sex abuse allegations in Cyril Smith’s time is clearly a scandal, and needs urgent government action, although, unlike gay marriage, I doubt if it will be seen as a Cameron priority.

I await the manifestos with interest, but I doubt if any of those from the major parties will dissuade me from supporting UKIP.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

"Jihadi John"

It seems rather strange to me, but there seems to be some sort of campaign in the media to rehabilitate "Jihadi John".  One of the leading lights of the organisation CAGE, which claims to be supporting human rights, describes him as a "beautiful boy", whilst school teachers and the like describe him as a model pupil. The BBC in particular seem to be leading this campaign to have us believe that Emwazi is somehow deserving of our sympathy. The approach seems to be that his "radicalisation" is all the fault of our Security Services.
If one follows that argument and considers the number of criminals in this country who have been stopped by the police and even convicted of crimes on numerous occasions, the country should be full of radicalised criminals who would seek nothing more than to be able to go around chopping of the heads of police officers! "It's not my fault, it's all the fault of PC Bloggs who questioned me about my bag of loot"

But let's look at a few details
Why did the Emwazi family had come to Britain from a rich country like Kuwait?
They fled Kuwait and claimed asylum here because they were suspected of assisting Saddam Hussein's Iraq.  Kuwait had just been invaded by Iraq and British troops were sent there as part of a coalition to oust Hussein's forces. So our immigration officials allowed a family into this country who had sided with our enemies. Why? As we were on the same side as Kuwait we should have refused them asylum - you don't give asylum to your enemies or even your friend's enemies.

But not only did our system aid the enemy by giving the family asylum when it should have extradited them to Kuwait, it also gave the family home after home in some of the most expensive areas of our country, together with benefits, which must be worth millions of pounds over the years. Then rather than sending them home to what is a friendly country, we gave this family, who were suspected of helping our mutual enemy, full British citizenship.

I believe our Security Services did the right thing in questioning Mohammed Emwazi about his activities, it seems quite clear from his upbringing and origins that he was very likely to be an enemy of this country.

If there is to be any enquiry into this matter, it should be into the actions of our immigration officials and of the Home Office who granted the family asylum and the subsequently allowed them British Citizenship.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Failures by the NHS, Councils and Police

Two reports have been published today into the failings of state organisations.
The first is into the failings of the NHS maternity care at Morecambe Bay Hospital which led to the needless deaths of a number of babies.
The second is into the failings of Oxfordshire County Council officials and the Thames Valley police who refused to take child sex abuse cases seriously.

In the first case, according to the Telegraph, the inquiry found that a band of midwives, who dubbed themselves the “Musketeers”, failed to call doctors when they were needed, in their determination that women should have a “natural birth” and then colluded to cover up critical blunders. In spite of some 19 deaths, of which 12 should not have occurred with the right care, no one has been prosecuted or struck off, although six cases are due to be heard by Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) later this year. One would have thought that colluding to conceal or give false evidence at an inquest was perversion of the course of justice, a criminal matter.
But even more appalling in many ways was the failure of those at the top of the NHS Trust to be aware that anything was wrong, and that the Care Quality Commission along with various other Authorities were either unaware of the situation or failed to take any action.

In the second case, also reported in the Telegraph, both the Police and Social Workers ignored the grooming of an estimated 370 girls in the Oxford area over the past 16 years. The police in some instances took the view that the victims were “prostituting themselves” and “deliberately” putting themselves at risk, whilst the Social Workers took the view that they should be "non-judgemental" about the girls' activities. Again there seems to be failings at the top of both the Police and the Oxfordshire County Council in that they failed to take any action. Whilst seven men have been jailed for child sex offences, there does not seem to have been any disciplinary action taken against either the individual policemen or council officials who ignored the problem. Why not prosecutions for failure of duty in a public office?

The thing that I can't understand is how those at the top of the NHS Trust, the Oxfordshire County Council and the Thames Valley Police can get away with saying "I didn't know" or "Nobody told me" that these things were taking place. Surely it is their job to know.

Now I worked as an Electrical Engineer, and our Chief Engineer made it very clear that he expected to be told about anything that might result in him having to answer questions from either the media or any of the Board members. He had maybe a hundred or more projects under his control, some outside the UK, and he expected all the project engineers to keep him fully informed of any aspect of the project which might give rise to any enquiries. Woe betide any project engineer who hadn't ensured that he had information about a problem should he find out about the problem from any other source. This is what he was paid for, controlling the projects, being aware of any problems and if necessary taking steps to correct the situation. Because of this, all the project engineers took a similar approach. I wanted to know from my staff immediately there were any problems in order that I could both inform the boss of the situation and tell him what was being done.

This was project management, what we were being paid to do, and it was no good any of us saying "Nobody told me", it just wouldn't wash. So why do those at the top of Social Services, the Police and County Councils get away with "I didn't know what was going on". Surely that is their job, a job for which they are very highly paid, a job where it should be their duty to know what is going on. The head of the NHS Trust should have known what was going on at the Morecambe Bay Hospital because the Head of the Hospital should have told him. The head of  Oxfordshire County Council should have known what was happening because the head of the Child Protection Services should have told him. The Chief Constable should have known what was going on because the various Chief Superintendents should have told her.

It's time the Government ensured that action was taken against those at the top in these cases; those at the top have failed all those mothers whose babies died and all those vulnerable girls who were groomed and abused. An apology is simply not enough; they should accept full blame and resign; if they are unwilling to do so they should be subjected to disciplinary proceedings and hopefully be fired. We've had more than enough enquiries, we want action.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

HS2 - Something Different?

I was intrigued to read about the proposed Hyperloop passenger transport system and that a prototype is to be built in California next year. It is being backed by Elon Musk, the PayPal billionaire and is being crowd funded. Available details are sparse, but a description is given in today's Daily Telegraph.

The basic idea is for the trains to run in tube from which the air has been partially evacuated, at speeds of up to 800mph, although the short prototype track will only allow them to reach about 200mph.

Whether it is feasible or not, only time will tell, but if it is, it seems that the Americans will have an entirely new type of ground transport whilst we are still arguing over HS2. We were the inventors of the steam railway and led its development all over the world, but it seems that now we have lost all appetite for new innovations and are happy to build our new high speed line using technology which is already considered out-of-date in Japan and China.

I wish the Americans good luck with this project, it is nice to see that innovation there does not depend on government funding and that people are willing to put up money to give it a try. Clearly the pioneering spirit is still alive.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

UKIP - Media Hypocrisy


The latest Facebook posting by one of the UKIP branches has produced more synthetic rage from politicians and the media.

Ukip's Newport branch was blasted for an 'abhorrent' Facebook post likening the EU to the Nazis with this Swastika graphic

Apparently the main cause of offence is the Swastika which, we are told by the politically correct, must never be used as it is a symbol of evil. We are told that its use will do nothing to promote "community cohesion". To me the EU is a dictatorial organisation which makes a pretence of being a democracy when in fact it is run by non-elected officials and where the so-called parliament has virtually no powers. 

In view of the mess that the EU has led us into with its meddling in the Ukraine, perhaps we should be glad that, as yet, it's not the Russian flag instead of the EU emblem.

The outrage here follows an attempt earlier this week to link Nigel Farage to racism by publishing  a photograph of him (taken some time ago) with one of the alleged racists involved in the incident on the French Metro. Unlike the major parties, where everyone who meets the leaders is checked in advance, the UKIP leader meets all kinds of people whilst out canvassing.

Meanwhile, the media says nothing about the election agent for Peterborough Labour Party, Andrew Palmer, being a convicted paedophile. Or about some Labour and Conservative Winchester Councillors resigning over a High Court judgement which found the council guilty of acting unlawfully over a redevelopment contract. Or even about a Leicester Labour councillor who has been convicted of intending to pervert the course of justice. Details are on the Bloggers4UKIP web site

Whilst the UKIP posting might be considered by some to be in poor taste, that is all that is wrong with it; no laws have been broken but nevertheless it has been well publicised by main media outlets. The hypocrisy is that the very same media outlets prefer to ignore those cases where the law has most definitely been broken by both Labour and Conservative party members.