The Sunday Splash

Whatever you do, look after yourself

The recurrent theme in the Sundays today is one of caring past and present: does IDS care about those in his benefit cuts line of fire, do we care enough about our old people, how on Earth was Stafford allowed to happen….. a lot of trees have been used to create this gradually dwindling physical sector’s output today. But there isn’t much wood in sight.

The Observer (not a Coalition fan, and still displaying the fury of a woman scorned by Slick Nick Clegg) has a reasonable story – based on new charity data – showing that Iain Duncan-Smith’s benefits reform is somewhat lacking on the targeting dimension. It points out that those who will tend to lose out in the name of ‘fairness’, include 40,000 soldiers, 300,000 nurses, 150,000 nursery and primary school teachers, 510,000 cashiers, 44,000 electricians and 1.14 million ‘secretaries and administration assistants’.

The problem as ever with the Rusbridger Gleaner is that, in exactly the same way that the Dacre Mail looks for Croatian immigrant Dads with 37 children, three wives, and a string of paedophilia offences, so too Big G chooses a divorced nurse with multiple sclerosis and two children to bring up, but no money for childcare. They both tug at the heart, but almost certainly neither are typical. In this sense, both papers behave more and more like hysterical tabloids, still sniffily denying that they’re in that game.

The Mail on Sunday itself leads with the tale of transport minister Simon Burns spending eighty grand of our money on a daily chauffeur to take him from Chelmsford to London. Commendably for once, the Mail is very anti-troughing, and points out that while commuters are facing yet more rail price increases, Simple Simon is being driven just 35 miles at a cost of £400 a day.

Burns isn’t coming out of this very well so far. First up, he fibs about needing the car to comply with secrecy guidelines when reading official documents – but then then Civil Servants say rubbish, he’s allowed to travel by train. Then he tries to say it’s really just a pool car….but “a senior Whitehall source” ducks the minister in the excretia once more by observing that “his Avensis always seems to be on the A12 to or from Essex: the reality is that Mr Burns has effectively commandeered it”.

So this is good stuff on the surface. But then the Mail spoils it by giving George Osborne a page to himself so he can spout more “all in this together” bollocks:

This week my family will not receive the child benefit we’ve been getting every week since our children were born. Any household where at least one member is earning more than £60,000 will be in a similar position.

True, true. But our Squeakiest ever Chancellor omits to mention that he has draper-derived capital worth well beyond the wildest dreams of most folks, no mortgages, and an official car. My elder daughter with brand new baby and bloke at home playing house-husband is indeed in a ‘similar position’ taxwise, but a tricky one money-wise given her rail fares just went up, and hubby would have to earn a humungous amount to pay for decent childcare.

It’s all insultingly simplistic stuff. But then back comes the MoS with another ‘do they care’ story. Once again it’s a worthwhile dig at the State’s lack of respect; and once again, it may be misleading. It seems a new NHS survey ‘shows’ that vulnerable care patients say they feel at risk from abuse, are allowed to go hungry, and are often left unwashed. Further, one in three adults who are in residential care fear abuse or physical harm – and some say they receive so little food and drink, their health is suffering.

I have just come out the end of a long tunnel called Parents in Care Home. The first thing one learns (especially as a former market researcher) is that one can’t trust anything the average person over eighty says. Asked if they’d prefer to be at home, over 90% of care home residents say yes they would, but they’d blow themselves and their neighbours up within a week. Several times I have pitched up to see my late Mum in a double room (with Dad temporarily in the loo), asked where he was and been told, “Oooh, he’s dead luvvie. Been dead for years”. In walked dad five minutes later, and without missing a beat Mum would say “Here’s your father now, son”.

Neither of my parents were batty until right at the end, but along the way they both imagined victimisation that didn’t exist. Dad told me the food was “inedible”, but I ate lunch there a couple of times and thought it was actually quite good. Mum thought that the Home was trying to split them up. Both said the nurses were “not very nice” – by which they meant, “impertinent”. Old people are rarely gracious, and often mendacious.

Finally, the thing to remember here is that my folks were in the private sector, it cost a lot of money, and trust me, the Ritz it wasn’t. So the Mail was on much safer ground when it noted that ‘Charities claimed last night the survey showed the system was in  ‘massive crisis’ and warned that the problems could get even worse as cash-strapped local authorities targeted care budgets for further cuts’. In this sense the paper is right on the money: we are heading for a colossal crisis, and doctors, researchers, Sir Humphreys and politicians alike are in complete denial about the size of it.

I mention the private care thing mainly because it is habitual right-wing press behaviour to suggest that ‘things would be better’ under a privatised care system. Not only is there no evidence for that at all, the commercial dimension of private aged care is already being revealed as riddled with short cuts, abuse, unmotivated staff, and poor conditions. Taking another tack, the Sunday Telegraph  looks for some Labour-bashing by delving back into the past. Unable credibly to argue that things would be either better or affordable in a future privatised health service, the Sarkistas give us a less than gentle reminder of life under New Labour’s gesture policies.

The target is an excellent one: Stafford Hospital. The Telegraph has been leaked a copy of the long-awaited Francis Report into why 1,200 people died needlessly in appalling conditions there, revealing that it ‘will call for an overhaul of regulation to ensure poor managers are weeded out, and better training for nurses and healthcare assistants’. In fact this is complete woffle and tosh. The patients died there because a culture nastier than any carefully grown lab virus was allowed to become dominant  – a culture in which doctors falsified death certificates, people lay on A&E trolleys for hours until they expired from dehydration, mental patients pitched up and wandered about ignored, and coroners covered up incompetence on an industrial scale.

The ‘management’ in turn lied to the media, the Minister Andy Burnham approved the hospital’s application for NHS Trust status, and spin doctors worked 24/7 to smear complainants and rubbish accounts of abusive incompetence. But none of this stops the Torygraph from observing that ‘The chairman, Robert Francis QC, is set to deliver a damning verdict on the whole of the health service. He will warn of a “culture of fear” from Whitehall down to the wards, in which pressure is heaped on staff to put management demands before patients’.

The agenda is very clear again: the NHS is a heap of crap, and needs privatising. The ever-dissembling Jeremy Frunt-Bottomley is quickly in evidence at the start of the piece, protesting that the events at Stafford, and a series of failings at other hospitals, represented “the most shocking betrayal of NHS founding values in its history”. This would come much better from a bloke who hadn’t said (and authored a report in similar vein arguing) just four years ago that the NHS should be blown up and erased from history as one of Britain’s greatest mistakes. There are myriad faults and profound problems in the NHS, but Mr Taiping-Errah’s slithery hypocrisy on the issue is beneath whatever comes beneath contempt. Disgust perhaps. The surface, definitely.

*unt too gets his own microphone elsewhere in the Telegraph, calling the NHS failings of recent years “simply not worthy of a civilised society” in which – it seems – the donors and drivers of healthcare will be people like Richard Branson, and the tumescent insurance companies hanging around the stage door of this appalling farce. That same civilised society will in turn (one assumes) be one in which his cousin Virginia Bottomley would get all her private health-sector mates lined up to bid 57p for the hospital infrastructure left when Lansley’s pernicious hospital budget ‘strategy’ has finally rendered most of them insolvent.

Anyway, it’s just another Sunday in which 3-D bollocks are there for all to see, and the big issues – NHS mutuality, the dependency culture of Stafford as a town, and what to do about longer life-spans – are nowhere to be seen at all. Elsewhere, the Sun reports that David Cameron wants to serve in No 10 until 2020, proof positive yet again that most comedic narratives are based on the difference between human aspiration and likely achievement. The Mirror goes ‘inside on the sleazy world of internet sperm’ to reveal that some bloke has ‘fathered six children in this way’, but his name wasn’t Seaman Staines. The Sunday Express says the private equity division of RBS has expressed an interest in acquiring struggling bed retailer Dreams, but has no plans to rebrand it Nightmares in honour of 659 scammed SME customers.

And finally, as Alistair Burnett used to say, the Sunday Sport (tagline these days, ‘The world’s funniest newspaper’) guarantees 100% inaccuracy in its coverage of enhanced man-boobs, sitings of Bin Laden at the January sales, and Abu Hamza’s bumhole becoming ‘a bullseye for sex-starved lags who have placed a bounty on the strict Muslim’s war-ravaged arse cherry’. Peculiarity predictably beyond belief is nevertheless trumped for sheer idiotic banality by the one vaguely true feature on board the SS, Ten Things you never knew about 2013. It begins with ‘2013 will be the first year to be denoted by four different digits (ie 2, 0, 1 and 3) since 1987’ and closes on ‘Phones which you will be able to roll up like paper will become available. Which will make it all the easier for you to shove one up a loud commuter’s arse when they blether’. Beware: the unfunnily illiterate barbarians are at the gate.

Last night at The Slog: Labour still seeks the triumph of statutes over Star Bars


85 thoughts on “The Sunday Splash

  1. “….to reveal that some bloke has ‘fathered six children in this way’, but his name wasn’t Seaman Staines.”
    Master Bates then?

    Another day above ground, start it with a smile I say.

  2. “Beware: the unfunnily illiterate barbarians are at the gate.”

    At the gate indeed. So, how long before Rome burns one must ask? And as you have so consistently, and eloquently pointed out John, there appears to be an awful lot of fiddling going on…

  3. Actually, the reason for the somnambulist RBS interest in the struggling bed retailer (oxymoron alert) is that, having failed so magnificently to look after money with new technology, they want to acquire some mattresses in order to see if the old ways might perhaps be the best after all.

  4. Come to think of it, we could be seeing the dawn of a whole new model for retail banking. Imagine, henceforward all bank branches will appear to be showrooms full of the aforementioned sleeping appliances; when you go in to make a withdrawal or deposit (it’s usually that way round these days) the sales assistant, formerly cashier, will take you to your mattress, lift it, make the appropriate transaction, and voila we can all rest easy..

  5. And then, TPTB will be able to feel even more justified in calling us a bunch of layabouts – it’s quite brilliant I tell you. Stop me somebody please, it’s starting to hurt, perhaps I should go and lie down now.

  6. Good article John, With regards to the Private Residential / Nursing / Care home sector. I would Like to make two points and offer a short anecdote.

    Firstly I think we should all be alarmed by the fact that a great deal of venture capital has moved into the sector in the last decade or so. Not just UK based VC either This has happened because a great deal of money can be made from the running of private residential / nursing/ care homes.

    The net effect of this is that costs have spiraled, whilst standards have plummeted.This isn’t just a UK problem, there was an article last week, I believe in the Daily Mail, high-lighting the fact that Germany has been shipping it’s pensioners off to Eastern Europe and indeed the Far East to keep costs down.

    My second points is that, there’s a really unhealthy relationship between this government and some really big venture capital companies, That’s something someone in the main stream press should be investigating and ‘putting the pieces together’ on. Government spending policy is being shaped by this relationship.

    The anecdote is as follows:

    My wife worked at a very ‘exclusive’ and breathtakingly expensive care home near Godalming in the 2003-2004. Residential fees ranged from between £800 and £2600 per day. The amount of money spent on meals across the board for every resident was £2.65 per day. Everything was own brand, 50% of the staff were on the minimum wage, and the majority,but not all of the nursing staff came from the Far East, predominantly the Philippines. The ‘clients’ staying there were managed not particularly cared for.

    We need a complete revolution in care for the elderly in this country, before things go too far and we are all seen as commodities whilst we can work and wasteful burdens, on the state, to be drained of all value, once we eventually retire.

  7. The misery of others has always presented the best opportunity for profit. War has become so ‘difficult’ – neglect attracts less attention.

  8. Your comment about the financing and profitability of care homes is spot on, Capital is always quick to spot an unregulated (and probably unregulatable) sector in which to invest. Lovely big profit opportunity. Years ago, I looked into this and the then ‘regulatory’ body was recommending that return on capital employed for a care home should target 12%, with very little risk! Would that it were so low… My guess is that most are in the high 20’s, and that their costs are held to the minimum because the effort required to move someone elsewhere is large, and the elsewhere’s are just the same. The poor old inmates are suffering in a lot of cases from downright neglect, which is disgraceful when there is so much money in the system. Or indeed at any time.

    We are very weak at regulation in the UK, probably because few able people are prepared to be sufficiently determined to make any difference. Their careers depend on acquiescence. They just take the big salaries and… who regulates the regulators? Nobody, in effect. Quango is as quango does. Where are our MP’s when we need them?

  9. A good article.
    One of the points it proves is that the MSM are a series of restaurants-each has one good dish each day (if we’re lucky), none has a totally good menu and the trick is to realise which is serving something good. None are totally good or totally bad.
    Once upon a time (presumably in a galaxy far, far away), I think most peole understood this. And then came along Big State which said it would everything better-and couldn’t. And then came Big Private and said it could-and couldn’t.
    The reality is that only Small Private can do things well and that only on a personal level as long as that particular person can do it and is interested in doing so.
    So life back to what it always was in reality-individual judgement.

  10. I know it’s an old one but….

    Let’s put the seniors in jail, and the criminals in a nursing home.

    This way the seniors would have access to showers, hobbies,
    and walks, they’d receive unlimited free prescriptions, dental
    and medical treatment , wheel chairs etc. and they’d receive money instead
    of paying it out.

    They would have constant video monitoring, so they could be
    helped instantly ,if they fell, or needed assistance.

    Bedding would be washed twice a week, and all clothing would be
    ironed and returned to them.

    A guard would check on them every 20 minutes, and bring their meals
    and snacks to their cell. They would have family visits in a suite built for
    that purpose.

    They would have access to a library, weight room, spiritual counselling,
    pool, and education.

    Simple clothing , shoes, slippers, P.J.’s and legal aid would be free, on

    Private, secure rooms for all, with an exercise outdoor yard ,with gardens.

    Each senior could have a P.C. a T.V. radio, and daily phone calls.

    There would be a board of directors , to hear complaints, and the guards
    would have a code of conduct, that would be strictly adhered to.

    The “criminals” would get cold food, be left all alone, and unsupervised.

    Lights off at 8pm, and showers once a week.

    Live in a tiny room , and pay $5000.00 per month and have no hope
    of ever getting out.

    Justice for all.

  11. The care home sector was just too good for the privateers to ignore. Simply buy a large amount of them and stuff the business to the gills with debt. Payments are so bib because they then have to service the debt.

    In the meantime that debt is being used to rinse and repeat the previous excersise. Oh my, jolly efficient the private sector.

  12. Sir I refer you to the item I posted recently with regard to interserve buyout of advantage health .
    I was please to see in the item plenty of financial information concerning its share value and expected profits from the deal .
    Since the nature of the business has something to do with the elderly and care homes I was concerned the item would be about the consideration and well being of its customers .fortunately there was no information on this matter had there been so then it would confirm to me that this. Proud country was overrun by communists . Good to see the item was well balanced in its construction and had its priorities right as elderly care is a growth market and shouldvbe treated as such.
    Signed sir reginald psycho path (Mrs)

  13. It is indeed a chillingly paradoxical fact that nobody in their right mind would expect to get away with treating a convicted felon in the same way that some unfortunate and very vulnerable old folks are experiencing. Even if Terry Pratchett and Attila the Hun had collaborated, it is doubtful that they could have made that one up.

  14. I think I know the place. On the A3100 at Peasmarsh between Guildford and Godalming? Very expensive but I heard they were well looked after compared with the run of the mill home.

  15. It is American owned I hear and they poach the best staff for their places in the US. The poor mugs don’t realise they are better off here.

  16. Seniors in the US are committing crimes so they can be sent to jails where they get free medical care. In fact they have so many geriatrics in jail that they have nursing home wings now.

  17. ”Whatever you do, look after yourself”
    Of course this is the day to day answer, with strong and dedicated family in support.
    We lived on the vast plains of Africa for generations, and were brought up to expect to dig our own graves in the searing heat, make a mopane wood cross and paint the rocks white in advance of finding death. Often a revolver or bottle of brandy would be considered an appropriate exit over a certain age when the going got too tough. All this with the Bible in hand and draped in the Union Jack. Those WERE the days.

  18. I see Guy Hands (Willie Vague’s mate) and Terra Ferma have moved into the granny farming business. O dear!

  19. I must say they run some pretty good pubs here in Surrey. Sunday lunch is a treat with some African game to be added to the usual roast beef etc.

  20. Is it a he or a she? A Boer or colonial Brit from a bit further up? A free lance p.r. consultant in Holland or something deliciously sinister? Whatever, it’s a good game played slowly as my granny used ter say.

  21. You mean Fat Bastard, the guy (ha ha) who dare not touch down in mainland Britain without being hit by HMRC who dispute his Guernsey residence whilst his family lives in Kent.

  22. I have often wondered why Johns’ favoured idea of mutuality doesn’t come in to play here. Pensioners in homes are often asset rich and cash poor. So sell the assets and buy the home you are cared for in.

    That way the staff would be directly reponsible to the residents, not those of remote greedy shareholders. On death the share would be sold to the next patient.

    Am I being a bit simple here? A private sector solution with no profit motive.

  23. @Hieronimusb.
    A lake you say..oh, I used to lie awake at night(after having gravel for dinner) in our family ditch, dreaming of living in a lake.

  24. @H
    Brilliant observation (as usual)!
    You brighten my dark days almost every day and for that I thank you.

  25. What big story? Depardieu gets Russian passport from Putin, Jailbreak cat caught in Brazil prison, Civil unions O.K. for Anglican Bishops, my T160 Trident engine is leaking oil…………what is so imfamous about today?

  26. Help us out fer chrissakes; some of us, foolishly perhaps, don’t bother much with MSM anymore. Personally speaking, I haven’t bought a newspaper since about 18 months after May 1st 1997 – there was a reason, can’t quite remember it now… don’t watch any TV and R4 is becoming too toxic. If you’ve got something, please share..

  27. @H
    As Mr Pratchett once quoted: “We live in interesting times…”
    We are still effing doomed though…

  28. @Chewie
    I told you to hang in there, Mate.
    Go have a look-see and realise where Interserve gets most if its sites from…I guess that neither you nor JW nor any multiple-synapse Slogger (sadly, I recall some of the Trolls from last year so need to differentiate…) will be overly horrified to learn that they are mainly ex-NHS brown-stuff-that-hits-fans sites…I kid you not. Convlusion? Privatised shit is better than state shit…LMFAO

  29. Hey johnny, T160? Always liked ’em – respect. If it’s head gasket, I recommend taking it out the frame… unless you have at least three hands to sort the pushrods… doubtless you know all that anyway! Never seen an engine with so many bits. Bonne route :)

  30. …and Dad used to whip us sleep wi’ ‘is belt: tell that to the young folk today, they won’t believe yer…

  31. @Ghost
    Where are you and what have we missed? Dying to know…
    …ugh,pghbjf, croak, gone…

  32. @Bill
    I do not normally “do” sarcasm but I fear that you have (rather well i should add) answered your own question.

    I told my Father-in-Law, just after Lehmann Bros collapsed, that I would rather be his age than mine. He asked “Why?” to which I responded “I would rather have my future behind me than in front of me.”
    Are there any other Sloggers feel the same as I do?

  33. @WAD; Ironically this is something I have been mulling over for a while now, and I’m not sure of the answer, I suppose if push came to shove, I would agree with you.

  34. WAD/Kfc: That’s very fatalistic. We, the people, not of any one nation are more resilient than you’d think. We’ve survived black death, ended empires, beaten so many diseases……don’t write us off yet.

    There may be a real shit storm approaching. It’ may be close and unprecedented. But down through history, how many imminent and nasty shitstorms have we weathered?

    I’m 37 and wish I was 17 again. If only to get a second crack at all those lovely young ladies that rebuffed my advances the first time around!!!

  35. Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men,we didn’t have any kind of prison.Because of this,we had no delinquents.Without a prison,there can be no delinquents.We had no locks,nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves.When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse,a tent or a blanket,he would,in that case,recieve it all as a gift.We were to uncivilized to give great importance to private property.We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth.We had no written laws laid down,no lawyers,no politicians,therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another.We were in really bad shape before the white man arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these funamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.
    John Fire Lame Deer – 1903-1976 Sioux Lakota.

  36. Today a private navy was formed operating in International waters,not signed up to any UN agreements,not libel to any National or international laws,outside of any National agreements,not signed up to human rights,paid for out of unpaid taxes whilst states reduce their armed capability,not answerable to any electorate,corps that can keep their private navy armed,whilst underpinning any national state they deem

  37. @Superf
    Well, if you put it that way…
    Seriously though, most of my life is behind me and, good or bad, I know what it was like. For the last 4 years first time on my life, I think and worry about the future…

  38. What we call ‘progress’ is so often something quite different, and far less positive, when examined in the context of knowledge which has been around for millennia but has become inconvenient to modern living. It is always worth remembering that we forget what we already knew in order to perpetuate an illusion.

  39. The past is a comfortable place because we know what happened- yes, that is trite-but also true. The future is a worry for everyone and particularly now when there is nobody alive with real experience of similar situations to those we now endure.
    Somewhat off topic but could I direct readers to an essay on the Libertarian Alliance blog entitled “Is Capitalism just Fraud” by David J Webb. (sorry can’t do the hyperlink thing and in any event this is JW’s turf and I’m always conscious we are guests).
    I don’t agree with the entire essay but the point about the loss of trust in our modern society seems spot on.

  40. Well I suppose its about time someone did something about the ongoing situation off the coast of Somalia. Its incredible how impotent the west has been in dealing with a bunch of third world pirates.

  41. @bill40 I think the kind of mutual residential care home that your advocating already pretty much exists at least in the public sector.
    Its called ‘The House of Lords’.

  42. I’ve worked in prisons – believe me they are not nice places. Just because a menu looks nice doesn’t mean the actual food is (it isn’t – it’s garbage). They are alkso extremly viuolent places where just lookig at someone the wrong way can cost you one of your eyes. They only get minimal dental care. The guards are more interested in keeping them quiet. TVs in cells is a predominantly private-run prisons thing where there are even fewer guards to prisoners hence the greater need to keep the prisoners quiet.

    Be a volunteer visitor and see the inside – it will stun you. They are nowhere near the holiday camps the press make out.

  43. @Hieronimusb, it’s leaking from the oil pressure switch, when I changed it I didn’t replace the copper sealing washer, just re annealed it, it is not very std., I put it into a T140 frame for a start and then took it out to 930 + loads of other details, I have a customers T160 I have just rebuilt and typically it leaked not a drop until he took delivery of it and guess what its weeping around the front left of the head gasket, hopefully re torqueing the head should solve that; as to the push rods, lots of sticky grease and getting them as level as possible is the trick it’s always the exhausts that are the b*st*rds and as for the pistons into the block………however there is an easy way to do that as well.

  44. I was physically assaulted at Stafford Hospital after I was sent to St Georges Psychiatric Hospital (one of the places I was abused at as a child) for child abuse “therapy”. My GP (who has colluded with Stafford Police and Social Services to try to cover up the abuse I suffered as a child by ILLEGALLY altering my medical notes, but they did such a poor job of it that I spotted what they had done straight away, a complete idiot could have spotted it) sent me for therapy there, even though I kept begging for another venue, I kept telling them over and over thats one of the places I was abused at as a child, but it fell on deaf ears, so I went there for councelling, and ended up collapsed on the way home, I had a massive panic attack after basically having to talk about all the horrible stuff at that place, then having to walk past Stafford Prison and that house of horrors, St Georges.

    I made a statement about how I had been assaulted at Stafford Hospital. They treated me as a time waster, and threw me off the trolly so hard my leg got cut, and they were laughing at me for about 20 minuites as I lay on the floor, that was in the A and E, by the big desk. In the end an old lady and some students helped me, they took me to Stafford Police but I think the duty sergeant thought I was on drugs, as I was still feeling very poorly from the panic attack and assault, the panic attack had affected my speech so it sounded like I was drunk or drugged, anyway nothing was done, but the next day I wrote to complain to Stafford Hospital, about the assault and I demanded an apology. I got a letter back from Martin Narey which was just no good. I wrote back and said that all the assault would be on the CCTV cameras.
    I made a statement for Leigh Day and Robert Francis phoned me and said he would not be using my statement as my case was “not cost effective” those were the exact words he used. Other people were barred from giving statements at the enquiry, even though Robert Francis said on the very first day that no stone would be left unturned. All I wanted was an apology and an assurance that no-one would be ever treated like that again.

    I feel scared of the police, the health service and pretty much all the mental health services now. I know they sent me to that place on purpose, and I think they wanted me to commit suicide, to cover up the abuse, but I wont ever commit suicide, not ever so that plan wasw a waste of time. I feel very angry about these endless enquiries that just make big pots of cash for law companies, and shut some people up. Julie bailey is a nice lady but she knows the horrible way I have been treated, I felt like the smelly kid who noone wants at that enquiry.

  45. They have been trying to cover bad stuff up so hard, but all its doing is costing lots of money which big law firms are only too willing to grab, and causing resentment and, worst of all, wrecking the NHS.
    Julie Bailey has been blamed in Stafford for trying to wreck the NHS. But all she’s been trying to do is stop people being going through terrible suffering and abuse at one place where they thought they might actually be safe. I didnt get put on the Liverpool Care Pathway like Julie Baileys mother and other old people did, but I did taste first hand the sort of cruel treatment that they must have been subjected to, and in my case it happened in front of many other people, there must have been at least 40 people witnessed what they did to me in front of the big desk, ifr they could do that to me in front of lots of people in broad daylight I dread to think how they treated people in the dead of night with no-one to witness, it is frightening to think of what was going on.
    I dont want to smash up the NHS and neither does Julie bailey, or any of the other Stafford Hospital abuse witnesses, but like with the Pindown and Secret Family Court abuse no way am I going to pretend something didnt happen when it did, because what they did to me at Stafford Hospital was cruel, unnecessary and illegal and it wouldn’t have taken 20 minuites for me to give my evidence at that enquiry and recieve an apology!.

  46. Sorry, not Martin Narey, the other Martin, the one who was in charge of Stafford Hospital at the time, Martin Yeates, thats who I had the letter from sorry

  47. @johnnyrvf: Ah, always tempting to reuse them. Sounds like yours might have a few Norman Hyde bits? Always fancied a Rob North or Slippery Sam.. Good luck with the customer’s bike, hope retorquing the head does it! My Commando has had a weep around the pushrod tunnels since I built it – confess I’ve just lived with it, will get around to it some day. I often visit an old biker friend who lives near Flers – you far from there?

  48. @zoompad: Fighting a system with its head on backwards is not for the faint hearted; many who read your words will feel for your predicament. What you say about the lawyers is undoubtedly true – their sense of ‘entitlement’ is simply staggering. However, what has been done in the name of ‘care’ is beyond most people’s imagination. Good luck.

  49. @Hieronimusb: Nope P&M (Peckett and McNab) bits, its got the lot, H.O. pump, Bob Newby Manx Norton clutch c/w external belt drive primary, Carrillo rods, Omega pistons you name it, less the race cams and bigger carbs as it is a street bike, If you want a Rob North I know where there is a really nice T150 powered one for sale to full, modern F1 spec, but like all Northies its up for 16k minimum, I have a 6500 SS dommie on the bench and compared to a Commando I hate it, bl**dy tin primary drive cases!!! If you are talking about Flers near Caen, I live much further south, down in la Bastide region. ( not too far from JW’s summer retreat)!

  50. @the ghost; great. Now perhaps, the pirates will get the correct penalty for piracy on the high seas. Good. Piracy, like hi-jacking, will then be unfeasible, and will dwindle away to nothing.

    There will never be another successfukl hijacking onboard a commercial airliner because every able-bodied man on the plane will look at his partner or children, and assume that the airliner is on its’ way to the nearest high building. The passengers will immediately combine the hijackers with the carpeting, so there won’t be any more successful hijacks.

  51. @johnnyrvf: P&M were locals, as was Dave Degens (I think they used to work for him); I now live near Twickenham and seem to remember that they were in Brentford at one point; your Trident is great fun I bet. When I think of P&M though, I think of Phelon & Moore – I have 2 Panthers, ’29 and a ’48 Dowty/rigid. The North T150 sounds bien interessante but only if you were going to race which is not possible for me now – never mind the 16k! Primary tinware can be a pain, often made not to fit, but at least the engine and most other spares are easy to get from the likes of Les Emery and Mick Hemmings etc. Yes, my mate is up by Caen – you’re obviously down in the warmer bits! Happy riding…

  52. @Hieronimusb P&M started out in Arragon Road Twickenham, I first went there as a lad aged 19 in ’76, they then moved to Brentford where they have been since I believe ’79, they may well have made parts for Dresda but Richard Peckett’s stuff always made Dresda’s look amateur, remember Degens won a 24 hour race (maybe 2 ) in the sixties with his Tritons but P@M won the ’78 F1 world championship with John Cowie on a P@M Kawasaki. I grew up in West London and I still know it well alas apart from Reg Allen and Bill Bunn all the old bike shops have gone, even the Graveyard in 4th Cross Road might no longer be there……. I have never owned a Panther, I have a clients genuine Catalina Goldie DBD 34 that I am converting to 12 volts in the workshop which is much more my type of single. I was a race mechanic with Jap stuff for years but somehow fell into working on Brits over here, get a smattering of modern stuff though, which is like going on holiday after a recalcitrant Brit. I am in W/London for a good pals second wedding at the end of this month, perhaps we could meet up?

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