Maybe I am wrong, but I have the impression that people are much nastier than they used to be. The idea that one could disagree with someone but still like him or her seems to be a thing of the past. Continue reading
It’s a bit like Marmite. You can’t really tell who likes it or who hates it. True, on the whole, those on the Left in politics tend (though not all of them) to be haters and those on the Right tend (but certainly not all of them) to be likers. Continue reading
I wasn’t on that train. I could have been, the line is one I use every day. But I wasn’t. I can’t possibly guarantee that I would have behaved well if I had been. I hope I would have done, but, though I have dodged bombs in Belfast during the troubles, I have never been in quite the situation those commuters were faced with last week. Would I have panicked? Would I have done the things I am about to describe? Again, I say I hope I would not. But, and it is an awful thought, maybe I would have. Continue reading
This is the story: a Tory MP, Bob Stewart, has reported that his son had to cope with his teacher telling his classmates, during the last election campaign, that they should not speak to him because his father was a Conservative. Continue reading
The Labour Party, which, in government, has made prodigious use of delegated legislation, has suddenly discovered a great distaste for statutory instruments. The SNP, the Welsh Nationalists and the Liberals are equally outraged that a government Bill should contain what we now have to call “Henry VIII clauses”. Rather more worryingly for the government, several pro-EU Conservative backbenchers, some, like dear old Ken Clarke, who loved them when they were ministers, have also declared their extreme dislike of statutory instruments.
Poor old Henry. He is blamed for the present government’s intention to use secondary legislation because those who are opposed to Brexit think it sounds good to accuse modern politicians of behaving like a Tudor king who kept chopping people’s heads off. Continue reading
Fanatical supporters of the EU decided to give out many thousands of its flags to people going to the last night of the Proms. They hoped to convince the rest of us, once we had seen all those flags, that we should reconsider our decision to leave the European Union. Continue reading
Those of us who live in London have, if we read the Evening Standard, to put up with little George Osborne jumping up and down with delight whenever he discovers anyone, however obscure, who predicts bankruptcy for the UK as the inevitable result of Brexit. OK, I know Osborne is not tiny, but he can’t help always seeming to be a titch. Continue reading
Laura Pidcock, a new and very young Labour MP, has declared that she will never make friends with any Conservative MP. All Tories are the “enemy”. There are two types of Tory, the ones who have always been “privileged” and have no idea of what it is like to be destitute (they, it goes without saying, are dreadfully evil), and the ones who genuinely, but stupidly, think capitalism can produce answers for the working class. Her reasons for refusing to make friends with the latter group are not immediately apparent. She doesn’t seem to accuse its members of being evil, as she does the other group. She just thinks they are deluded, but genuine. Still, she is determined that she will never befriend any of them. She will be pure for her entire career in the House of Commons. Continue reading
Ludlow Hospital in Shropshire, like most NHS hospitals, is desperately in need of funds. Fortunately, a group of local people has raised money for the hospital every summer for the last thirty years. It organises something called the Ludlow Bed Push, which takes place on a day in June. Men dress up in nurses’ uniforms and run round the town asking for donations. They used to wheel a hospital bed through the town, but they don’t do that any more because the beds have become too expensive. Nevertheless, they still manage to raise reasonable amounts of money for the hospital. This year’s bed push produced £2,500 (to be used to help purchase an ECG machine).
Rather cheerful news. Until you discover that the NHS Trust which runs Ludlow Hospital has refused to accept the money donated by the people of Ludlow. It disapproves of men dressing up as women, They demean “health professionals”. The Trust is no longer prepared to dirty its hands by accepting money raised in such a disagreeable way. It would rather do without a new ECG machine than be thought of as approving men dressing up as female nurses. Continue reading
Professor Hawking, a brilliant scientist, has accused the government of cherry-picking studies which support its view that there should be more medical cover in hospitals at weekends. He has also asserted that the Conservatives are proposing radically to change the funding of the NHS, to move from taxpayer funding to insurance funding. The Secretary of State for Health disagrees. Social media commenters have decided the professor is right and Mr Hunt is wrong.
Why does every contributor to the Twitter, Face Book etc. think Hawking is right and Hunt is wrong? The answer seems to be, and I have read hundreds of posts on this subject, that Hawking is brilliant and Hunt (despite his first class degree) is not. I have yet to see any other argument advanced. It goes further than that. Hawking is held out as being a sort of pagan god. He is constantly described as being a “national treasure”. To suggest he is capable of being wrong about anything at all is to be guilty of a sort of modern blasphemy. Continue reading