Apropos of Nothing Much … Some Open Mind Thoughts

Thinking Aloud: (3rd January, 2020)

For reasons I have spent many years fathoming (and still cannot quite come to grips with) we still blame outside forces for most of our ‘wrong thinking’.

We are very reluctant to take responsibility for our actions. We much prefer, it seems to me, to blame ‘someone else’. He looked at me – you know what I mean.

However, we now (as of January 2020) have the chance to actually ‘show’ that most of what is likely to happen to us and this country going forward is going to be someone else’s fault.

I have no idea why, given their track record on austerity, lying, ‘the hostile environment’ (ask an SS Windrush passenger what that means, or an EU nurse), we now have an openly hostile, however, well dressed, booted and suited they might be, government in charge of matters Brexit and beyond. And this is mighty intimidating.

I remember a saying my dad used a lot – “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely …” So …

I have decided to keep an eye on the promises this Johnson-led government have written into their manifesto, simply to see if it all adds up and they follow-through on their promises (as in spaffing up the wall, Johnson’s so quaint phrase)!

So, hopefully, we will be able to gauge precisely how well their fatuous words match up to their stated aims of reuniting the UK – despite Northern Ireland wanting to ‘Remain’, along with Nicola Sturgeon’s Scotland in the EU.

Who am I to point out that selling one of our major arms companies is not so much about taking back control as selling stuff off and, err, actually losing control? Little things like railway companies 1, energy production, car manufacturers, ship building, aircraft, health and pharmaceutical services, little things like that… you’d almost believe Mrs Thatcher was back in charge.

  1. Ref: Railway Franchises – owned directly, or who are major shareholders, the States of Germany, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Italy – all EU states, plus Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect “owned by Heathrow Airport Holdings (which) is a consortium, 41.88% of which is owned by the sovereign wealth funds of Singapore, China and Qatar” (rmt.org.uk).  Taking Back Control …

Manifesto Promises:  These are some manifesto issues, to do with the NHS, as a start. 

  • 40 New Hospitals to be built, and many upgrades :- actually,”Only six, existing, hospitals in England are actually getting money for building work at this point. These are upgrades to existing hospitals, not extra hospitals. Other hospitals are being given money to develop plans for upgrades after 2025″ £100 million for planning and consultancy – nowt for bricks … https://fullfact.org (accessed 03.01.2020)
  • The Nuffield Trust – https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk suggests that there are (using 2018 figures) 40,000 nurses short (midwifery and nursing). In point of fact, between July and September 2018, the Trust tells us there were 94,000 full-time equivalent vacancies in hospital and community services. Given that Brexit has led, directly, to the haemorrhaging of thousands and thousands of NHS staff (the hostile environment was particularly successful in being hostile), Johnson’s promise to fill 50,000 posts during this Parliament (5 years) is going to look a little pale and wan; like a poorly patient waiting to be seen by a non-existent doctor or overworked, underpaid, AE nurse …
  • Mental Health sufferers will receive the same urgent treatment (for their MH) as physical health sufferers and will have “…greater control over their treatment and receive the dignity and respect they deserve…” (2019 Conservative Election Manifesto, p11).  Shhh … just don’t ask what they have been getting for the last 10 years – I think this kind of talk is cheap and whoever wrote it couldn’t think of anything salient or useful to bulk out the vacuous thinking behind such a mealy-mouthed statement. Having spent thirty plus years in working in mental health and Special Ed needs, I know there is no money, no staffing, no plan, no policy and very little in the way of philosophy or outcome planning. Dear God, someone voted these people into power.
  • We will address the Tory view of ‘social care’ in the next blog-post.

In the meantime I am very grateful to Full Fact; to the Nuffield Trust; the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and any number of other helpful, thoughtful and trusted websites for whom cant and political shystering are unknown. People who tell the truth unto people and for whom there is little or no future to be found in bluffing, lying or being ‘economical with the truth’

Paul Avard, MA, FRSA, FRSPH