You Couldn’t Make It Up…

A veteran (Conservative) member of Parliament has taken to the newspapers lamenting the fact that he finds it difficult to ‘manage’ on his salary of £81,932 a year. ($111,300)

Tory MP reveals grim reality of living on just £82,000 as he asks for payrise

He compares himself to qualified family doctors, who currently earn more than £100,000 a year from the NHS. ($136,000) He forgets to mention all the years of study at university, medical school, and post-graduate qualifications required to be a family doctor in the UK. The only qualification a member of parliament needs is to get enough people to put a cross next to his or her name on election day.

This is without considering his expenses allowance of course, which is currently an average of £150,000 a year for each member of parliament. ($204,000)
(Family doctors do not get expenses, but he didn’t mention that)

That expenses figure (often greatly exceeded) is supposed to allow for a residence in London, secretarial help, entertainment, and travel. And on top of all this, they get access to a very generous pension scheme, a subsidised restaurant in the Houses of Parliament, and long holidays each year when the parliament closes.

Compare that to the national average salary, which at the moment is estimated to be £29,000 a year. ($39,500) And consider those working on the national minimum wage of £8.91 an hour, ($12) equating to an annual salary of £18,500 for a 40-hour working week. ($21,140)

These parliamentary parasites make me sick to my stomach, and interviews like the one featured in the link go to show that they have no concept of what life is like for ‘normal’ people, and no regard for those living on low wages, or struggling to survive at the bottom of the social ladder in Britain.

I would make them all live on the national average salary, not a penny more. You would soon see them campaigning to increase salaries and hourly rates of pay.

The Taliban and The Saudis

I have just been watching the lunchtime news on BBC The British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has announced that the UK will not recognise any Taliban government in Afghanistan, and we will have no diplomatic relations with whatever they end up calling what we formerly knew to be Afghanistan. I can see why that might happen.

The Taliban has a terrible record when it comes to human rights, and the brutal imposition of their kind of fundamental Muslim Rule of Law has long been criticised by most other countries in the world. Let’s look at some of what we know about how they operate.

*Women are second class citizens who have little or no rights.
*Public executions are the norm. They include stoning, beheading, hanging, and shooting.
*Punishments for minor crimes include chopping off hands in public.
*They do not believe in a wider kind of education for children, only religious schools.
*Their form of government is based on extremist religion only, and is not democratic.

In the 21st century, this is unacceptable to us in the West, and borders on barbaric.

But hang on a minute…

Many of the same rules apply in Saudi Arabia. That is also a country dominated by religion, and ruled by a dynasty that accepts no protests against its rule.

But the UK not only recognises that country it also considers it to be a great friend of the West, and of Britain in particular.

So, what’s the difference between the Taliban and The Saudis?

Yes, you guessed it. Oil.

Neglecting A Blog

I am guilty of neglecting this blog for most of 2021. As a result, I have had no views on here for the past seven days.

With Covid-19 and Afghanistan dominating the news, I have been reluctant to add yet more to that.

I appreciate everyone who is still following, and hope that I will be back posting on here in the near future.

Falling On His Sword

So Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary and government minister, has had to resign.

During his chaotic handling of the Coronavirus pandemic, even some Conservatives in his own party criticised him. It emerged that he had shares in various pharmaceutical companies, and was awarding contracts to supply PPE to companies owned by his friends.

The aborted Test and Trace scheme wasted billions of pounds of public money, and there is speculation that he deliberately held back on adequate support for Care Homes, hoping that the virus would kill off a significant portion of the elderly.

He did not support early vaccination for younger people with disabilities or learning difficulties, but was an advocate of the ‘herd immunity’ idea that probably cost the lives of thousands of people.

Yet none of this forced his resignation.

He continued to enjoy the unqualified support of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and was frequently praised by his Cabinet colleagues in government for his ‘hard work and dedication’.

His downfall came, as it so often does, because of his attraction to a female adviser that he employed. An old friend from his university days, this woman was employed as an independent adviser at a time when the Civil Service had many well-qualfied and salaried advisers already in place capable of doing her job.

Gina Coladangelo was already a millionaire when employed in that unnecessary role, and married to a multi-millionaire retail shop magnate. Hancock employed her to work for just 20 days in one year, at a fee of £15,000. That’s £750 a day. Not a bad pay rate at all, but she really didn’t need the money.

The real reason was to get her close to him. Very close. He spent public money so he could have sex with a woman he knew.

Unable to keep his hands off his lover during working hours, he was caught on camera kissing and fondling her. Nobody cared that they were having an affair outside of their marriages. What upset everyone was that this was at a time when grandparents were not allowed to hug their grandchildren, and people were dying alone, deprived of the last embrace of a loved one. Families were restricted to meeting in low numbers, and only ouside in a garden, and relatives were forbidden from visiting residents of Old People’s Homes.

Yet the smugly entitled government minister was happy to cuddle up to an ’employee’ who was not in his social bubble, and do a lot more than shake hands with her, or bump elbows.

Even faced with this uproar, he only managed a feeble apology, and asked that his private life be his own affair. But the media and the public were not having it, and the uproar continued, despite Boris standing by the philanderer. That left him with no alternative but to resign.

Good riddance.

Iran, Britain, And The Scandal Of The Tank Deal

In the late 1970s, the British Government sold a number of tanks to Iran, at the cost of £400,000,000. The former Shah of Iran paid in advance, and awaited delivery of the tanks. But then he was overthrown by the ayatollahs, and Britain decided not to send the tanks after all. To rub salt in the wound, they sold the tanks to Iraq instead, getting paid twice for the same weapons.

The question of Britain returning the money to Iran has often been raised, but consistently ignored by every British government since 1979.

In 2016, a woman named Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested in Iran, and accused of spying for the Bitish government. She was there visiting her parents, taking along her baby daughter for them to see for the first time. Despite her being a writer, married to a British man, and holding dual nationality, the Iranian court convicted her, and sentenced her to five years in prison. Since then, a vigorous campaign has been going on to try to get her released.

In March this year, her sentence finished. She was then re-arrested on charges of ‘Spreading propaganda’. Today, she was sentenced to a further year in prison.

This is all a game of course. Nazanin was arrested as little more that a ‘hostage’, in the hope of securing payment of that old £400 million debt. The British government could have easily secured her release in 2016, by acknowledging the debt to Iran, and arranging to pay it. But they chose not to. Last month, they coud have stopped her being arrested again, simply by paying the outstanding debt from 1979. They chose not to.

Government ministers think it is acceptable for this young woman to spend six years in prison in a foreign country, and for her baby daughter to grow up without seeing her mother, just to save them the embarrassment of admitting the debt, and actually paying it.

Shame on them.

Shedding No Tears

The media in the UK is completely overwhelmed by the unsurprising news that Prince Philip has died at the age of 99.

For me, that is nothing to cry about. Since 1945, the man lived a life of privilege. He never had to do a real day’s work after the end of WW2. He spent his time driving Carriages, shooting pheasants and other birds and animals, and walking around next to the Queen.

If he got so much as a toothache, he would be hurried onto an exclusive private hospital, and given the best medical care available in Britain.

He travelled the world on a Royal Yacht, exclusive aircraft, helicopters, and even a Royal Train. He could own and drive any car he desired, and choose to live in any of the numerous Royal residences around the country.

His life was one of comfort. Probably part of the reason he lived to such a grand old age.

The Prince was never shy to court controversy, often outspoken, and occasionally racist too. Unlike politicians or celebrities, that didn’t cost him his ‘career’ though.

A 99 year-old man died today, as no doubt did many other 99 year-old people.

As far as I am concerned, he deserves no more respect than any of those others.

Royal Tantrums

Unless you have been hiding in a cave, you cannot have missed the constant news coverage of the split between Prince Harry and his wife, and the British Royal Family.

The Prince has gone to live in America, and made allegations against the British media for racism and harrassment, and his wife has talked about bad treatment at the hands of the other Royals.

Now they are to be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, threatening to ‘tell all’. This follows a much-publicised interview between the Prince and James Corden, shown here as ‘News’ on every channel. It has been reported that over 200 TV networks will be showing the Oprah Winfrey interview around the world, making a small fortune for CBS, and a similar cash pile for Ms Winfrey, no doubt.

The scramble for early snippets to report is unseemely indeed. And it is strange that the TV companies in America, and many Americans, seem far more interested in the comings and goings of our Royal Family than we do.

Oprah has told reporters that the Prince and his wife are receiving no fee, and there is no donation being given to any nominated charity either.

Looks like they missed a trick there. (If that’s true of course)

In Britain, Royal press people are already preparing to counter any allegations by leaking reports of Meghan’s ‘bullying’ of staff employed by the Royal household.

It seems to be coming down to taking sides. Who do we believe? Who said and did the worst things? Is this interview going to open up a can of worms at long last?

For my part, I couldn’t care less. One bunch of over-privileged wealthy royals sniping against another bunch is of no interest to me whatsoever.

People here and in America are still dying from Covid-19. That’s what should be on the news.

Health care workers including nurses are being offered a derisory 1% pay rise, after all their tireless efforts during the pandemic. That should be on the news.

Or perhaps the news that all of the British Royal Family are going to pack their cases, and go to live in California near Harry.

I would watch that report.

Covid News: Who Can We Believe?

It is becoming increasingly difficult to make any sense of conflicting reports about the current health crisis.

Take this exchange, found today on Twitter.

@bbc5live
· Jan 1

“It was minimally affecting children in the first wave… we now have a whole ward of children here.”

Laura Duffel, a matron in a London Hospital, tells Adrian Chiles about the Covid situation in hospitals.

Radio @BBCSounds.

@CheungRonny

I’ve been the on call consultant in a london children’s hospital this week – this is simply not true, and irresponsible in the extreme – frightens parents, fuels covid-deniers. Covid is rife in hospitals, but not among children. We have enough to deal with without this garbage.

Twitter reply, January the third.

Nightingale Hospitals: The Great Lie

Given the recent spike in Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions, the news reports are full of stories about overwhelmed hospitals. Seriously ill patients are being driven from one county to another in the hope of finding a hospital bed for them.

Understandably, the question has been asked. Why not use the purpose built Nightingale Hospitals? They were built in record time earlier this year, with the assistance of the Army. Every bed had access to a ventilator, and they were specifically designed to accommodate Coronavirus patients, thereby allowing other hospitals to continue to see other patients who did not have Covid-19.

The one in London at the Excel Centre cost tens of millions of pounds to convert and equip.

Journalists went there, to see how it was coping with the recent rise in cases.

They found it had been dismantled. It is now mostly an empty building, guarded by security staff who are supposed to stop people finding that out. But they told the reporters anyway. This is what they said.

It has no hospital beds inside.
It has no ventilators or oxygen inside.
It has no operational medical staff inside.

The equipment has apparently been ‘redeployed’ to other areas of the NHS.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/covid-patients-england-nightingale-hospitals-b538294.html

Yes, it was all a great lie. Built with the help of the Army, and equipped by companies owned by friends of Boris Johnson and his cronies, only to be stripped out at the earliest opportunity. Don’t forget this, when the next election comes around.

Five hundred Intensive care beds just removed without public consultation, at a time when they are needed more than ever before in history.

Boris and his pals should be hanging from lamp-posts.

But nobody seems to care.

I do though.