It’s been a busy day on a global level, and even busier for me here. While the American and Iranian élites have been dealing with the straightforward business of trying to hide how much they loathe each other, I by contrast have been wrestling with the complex intricacies of vacuum cleaners, tacky doors made of mdf, and 24-hour timer clocks.
As so often, tonight’s survey of what went on while you were sleeping off Sunday lunch (or sliding about in the snow on your way to Sunday lunch) is largely down to the sharp eyes and ears of Sloggers. Rather than tip my hat in myriad directions on this occasion, therefore, I’m going to thank everyone while retaining their anonymity, and get on with it.
The first topic – although ostensibly about Gulf War Syndrome – is really one for the WASPI workers – and perhaps even more for their critics within the Establishment.
WASPI is a brilliantly run but underfunded and understaffed pressure group trying to persuade this fine Government of ours to withdraw from The Great Welch, and pay out to women pensioners what they persistently promised them year in year out every year from the Queen’s coronation until one mealy-mouthed White Paper in 1994 – a State pension at the age of 60.
While listening to the British Legion’s PR lady this morning (on various news channels) I was struck by two things. First, the propensity of every British government in history to try and deny its moral responsibilities to those in the armed services exposed to its murderous experimentation with dangerous weapons; and second, the legal promise it makes to all ranks that it will – and I quote – ‘ensure that no armed services personnel suffering the after-effects of war shall go without help’.
I don’t want what follows to be misinterpreted, but I do wish to state here and now that such is a preposterous promise. While I am opposed to all resort to war, that does not mean I lack respect for those who do their duty in war. But for the ‘regulars’, we need to get real: they signed up and were paid for a lifestyle within which other people using real ammunition might well to try and kill them was not so much a risk as written into the contract in very large print.
Of course every soldier, airman or sailor told that turning his back in nuclear tests and charging into chemical-weapon zones without proven protection was entirely safe should be the recipient of grovelling apologies, endless medical care and tons of money.
But my point here is a comparative one: the legally binding promise made to armed services staff to offer help with all the after effects of war is not only a crazy hostage to fortune….it does not sit well alongside the denial of a State Pension at sixty to women born in the 1950s.
The logic of the Government’s position is this: if you knowingly get paid for taking the risk of being killed in a pointless war, you deserve more care, attention and money than women paid nothing to bear the labour of childbirth….who then try – against all the populist media attempts to make their task well nigh impossible – to bring their progeny up as decent mem;bers of society….and then survive under an austerity régime for which they are blameless
The DWP’s position (in the light of the MoD’s) is utter tosh. Perhaps David Cameron should issue this line as his new slogan: ‘Make war, not good citizens’.
As the Junior Doctors’ strike rumbles on, news emerges of Virgin Care’s victory is securing the lucrative contract to run Sheppey and Sittingbourne hospitals.
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust thus loses its rights. It is one of the biggest providers of NHS community healthcare in the country with sites in Kent, London and East Sussex. I am unaware of any major Inquiries or cockups that might suggest this reallocation is necessary: however, I can tell you that the shortlist was dominated by NHS Trusts… but Sir Branson Pickle won the day.
This brings the total of former tax evader and ad agency bad-debter Richard ‘Toff’ Branson’s NHS contracts to a staggering 330. One of the first contracts Virgin won was for Surrey community health services….spookily enough, the constituency inherited by Jeremy Rhymeenge-Slange from his ‘distant’ cousin Baroness Frunt-Bottomley. She just happens to be the chief Lords spokesman for the private health sector.
But what you might not know is that Health Secretary Jezzer Seeyunex-Chooseday has been telling yet more whoppers in his bid to screw the 5000 hours per week Junior
slaves doctors into the ground on the issue of weekend working. Jeremy ‘misunderstood’ weekend work research findings suggesting that proportionately more patients died in hospital from strokes at the weekend….his unpleasant imputation being one of ‘neglect’ due to already knackered juniors not working Saturdays and Sundays as well in order to keep them sharp and refreshed to face Mondays.
In fact, the authors of the research have intervened to explain that Mr Shunt had ‘overlooked’ the statistically much higher likelihood of of stroke victims getting to hospitals on the weekend anyway. Shurely shomething to do with reduced Ambulance availability during weekdays?
Pretty much everyone is celebrating the Iran-US deal that was finally ratified today.
But I wonder how many people noticed who stepped out onto the podium alongside Iran’s foreign minister for the big press confernence jamboree?
Why, it was none other than our young Italian friend Federica Mogherini.
Contrary to the impression given, Moggie is not employed by NATO: her salary is paid by the European Commission….in return for which she is busy building the case for an EU Standing Army.
If ever there was a security gaffe in revealing where her real loyalties lie, this was it. But then, the word is that Signora Mogherini’s ambitions for high-profile power cannot be overestimated.
Anyway – hurrah: Tehran is now free to release billions of barrels of oil onto a world market not exactly gagging for more barrels of oil.
Jeremy Corbyn thinks we should keep Trident, but put Standard Fireworks Tuppenny bangers in the warheads on board all those submarines we have under the oceans of the World. His logic about the madness of nuclear weapons is hard to fault, but his reasoning on this one makes no sense at all.
The only sensible option with Trident – a joke defence system from a bygone age – is to scrap it completely, and give Britain fast-action capability via better planes and smaller weapons. But that would require investments in skilled staff, research, ground troops, equipment, and all the other things Camerlot sees as spawn of the Devil.
Corbyn’s daft ‘middle course’ on the issue is militarily stupid but – even worse – yet more evidence of just how much he is the captive of a confused, corrupt, split and splenetic Labour Party. Behind your back, he is doing deals. Behind his back, the Labour fatties stand ready as ever to do him down.
But what you might not appreciate is that Jeremy’s judgement in favour of keeping the submarines but ditching the warheads is part of grubby pressure placed on him by the TUC….whose sole concern (as ever) in this debate about whether to imolate the planet is….yup, saving unionised jobs.
Even pottier than this, however, was the reaction of one young Tory Sky News found to comment on this new Corbynista nuclear policy. He looked as if shaving was a challenge he had yet to master, but the string of jingoistic codswallop he came out with suggested that he might nevertheless have a bright future in the Conservative Party. From a standing start in Jezzer-bashing with ‘profound security risk’, the lad went through the litany of terrorist support, naive peacenik, handing over our sovereignty, pleasing Mr Putin, and then the ultimate weapon, “having a Prime Minister not prepared to use nuclear weapons”.
For once, the Sky anchor showed commendable skill in asking whether the willingness of any politician anywhere to launch nuclear weapons might not be cast-iron evidence of insanity.
“Well,” said Toryclone, “that’s as maybe, but um agh deterrent Soviet Union blah blah peace camps jolly well serve them right but that’s something for the voter to decide about woffle piffle Party line”.
Later in the same bulletin, former Conservative Minister Nick Herbert was interviewed as part and parcel of his role as the head of Tories for a Reformed EU which we are of course going to get because David Cameron is very much on the case. Such an outcome is, he said:
“….very much the view of most people – including the public”.
It was the high point of my day.