I had to visit my local gp today here in South West France. The sole purpose of this visit was to renew my regular prescription. I booked an appointment for 3.30 pm.
I was still in the waiting room at 4.20 pm. When he called me in; there was no apology for the 50 minute delay. He was clearly not in a good mood. We started off in English, but when I replied in fluent French he switched to that, only at 1500 mph.
He took my bp. It was well above normal. “Your bp is high” he said.
“Yes it is,” I replied, “because I’m late for my next rendezvous”.
“That will be €23,” he said.
“Do you take cards?” I asked.
“No,” he answered, “give me your carte vitale”.
He took it, as I explained that I didn’t have any cash with me, but I’d go to the nearby town and get some.
“OK,” he said.
“Can I have my carte vitale please?” I ventured.
“When you return with the money,” he responded, “I will return your card”.
“But,” I replied, “Without the carte vitale I can’t pick up the prescription at the pharmacist”.
When I got to the local town, thanks to the delay at the doctor’s surgery, the post office was closed. So I couldn’t buy the stamps to post the letter I’d printed off to a very old girlfriend in England.
I went to the cash machine and withdrew the cash. I returned to the surgery. I had to sit and wait another half hour before he emerged again. I gave him the cash. He did not say thank you.
All up, a round-trip process I expected to take an hour took from 3.15 to 6.00 pm….and only 33% of the mission had been accomplished.
I don’t mind doctors with a calling thinking their time is more important than mine: it very probably is. But I do mind having my schedule messed about through inconsiderate arrogance – and I especially mind being branded untrustworthy because I’m British. Above all, I abhor bad manners disguised as professional necessity. Politesse is at the core of what is best about French culture.
But then, my gp is Belgian. Belgium is the country 71% of whose economy last year was related to the administration of the EU. My Belgian gp works in France because his own country is falling apart. If Britain exits the EU, I will lose such health and welfare benefits as I have here. But I don’t care about that: I think merely that we should vote Leave because self-important functionaries run the bloody thing; and they have no commercial perspective, respect for the citizen, manners, community spirit, creativity, warmth or humanity.
Think on this as you remember that the likes of Harriet Harman, Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Leon Brittan, Tony Blair, Andy Burnham, Jeremy Hunt, the CBI, Lord Rose, ‘Sir’ Richard Branson, Mario Draghi, Wolfgang Schäuble, Angela Merkel, Nia Demokritia, Marion Rajoy, Charles De Gaulle, Adolf Hitler, the SNP, the US State Department and almost every US multinational tax-evading omnivore either is or was in favour of The Great European Project.
Then vote to leave the EU. Ignore the scaremongering: we can do without them, but they can’t do without us.