Thursday, January 04, 2007

John Brignall's Number watch Site

Number of the Month

January 2007

Alan Caruba has just sent me a copy of this. He despairs at what he sees in Blair's Britain today. So does author John Brignall, as do I, and probably countless millions of Britons.

The first dawn of a new year and the wintry sun picks out the lines of the ancient strip lynchets on the downs edging the Blackmore Vale.

A time of hope for many, but not for Soviet Britain, where the future is BBC (Blair, Brown, Cameron).


In Blair’s Britain

It takes some believing, even for those of us who live here, no wonder those Aussies are agape. Now you may bugger a sixteen year old boy, but you must not supply him with a cigarette.

Your bending author was recently discovered by that other grumpy old sod, the subject matter being the slow death of Britain’s small towns. Like Charles II, they have been an unconscionable time dying, but dying they are. The moves in the Blairisation of Britain are many and various, and you are hardly aware of it until one hits you in the face. By dint of Sod’s law, such an experience happens only at a time of stress; and so it was chez bending author. Oddly enough it occurred two days before this story broke.

It came about with a recrudescence of the lung infection that played such havoc with Number Watch at the end of last year. It came to a head on the Saturday before New Year’s Eve and it became clear that medical advice would be needed, so the obvious thing was to phone your local surgery (as you do). That is what we did when Mrs bending author had a scare last October and one of the local Wiltshire GPs came and ordered an ambulance for her to be rushed (well, actually, it took the ambulance five and a half hours to arrive, but that is another story) into the “local” hospital, which is now thirty miles away. Well, this time the call was diverted to an emergency service in Ringwood, Hampshire (home of the best ale on the planet). The young lady on duty said she would get a doctor to phone “but we are very busy”. At least she did not say “your call is valuable to us”. Five hours later a rather pleasant Asian gentleman phoned and after some discussion he decided that the case merited a personal visit from a doctor, who would be brought by a car based in Shaftesbury, Dorset. Some seven hours after the original call the doctor arrived and suggested immediate admission to the hospital, an invitation that was politely declined on the grounds of risk. As evinced by this piece, the patient has survived so far.

In the bad old days, the town had its own ambulance station, run by the Red Cross. They worked then on the principle that the health service was there for the well-being of patients and not for the convenience of bureaucrats. The idea then was to minimise the time to reach the patient. In fact, after standing for many years as a silent, derelict monument to health service past, it has just been acquired for private development. Only someone with the chutzpah of Tony Blair could argue that increasing the travel time for emergency cases by closing hospitals will save lives. The justifications come from Blair allies, such as IPPR, armed with figures of theoretical lives saved, which are obtained by careful data selection.

It is another sign of the times that the dedicated GP is a thing of the past. They now only work office hours. It is a story with all the usual modern ingredients – a diktat from the EU, hopeless negotiating by bureaucrats, determined negotiation by a powerful union and complete disregard of the cost to the taxpayer and the consequences for the victims. It is the same across the whole public service, particularly in education.

When bureaucracy comes through the door, dedication flies out of the window!

Here, for purely sentimental reasons and not artistic merit, is a picture of the old ambulance station.

Footnote: Why is it happening? See here.




Jeremy Jacobs said...

Blair/EU conspiracy to kill us all off?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you. I sometimes think the whole country has gone mad.

Thanks for the welcome. Had a look at that book you recommended on Amazon. Looks interesting. I may treat myself as a late Christmas Present. (wish my granny still sent me book tokens...sigh)

Are you on commision?