I don’t want to snuff out anyone’s candle, particularly those who have just received an honour from the queen, or fans of said recipients, but I couldn’t let yet another list of “the great and the good” or whatever, go by without sharing the fact that I am yet again sickened by what I consider to be “this nonsense”.
The first thing I noticed was that despite the new Brit prime minister railing against the system that had been so sorely abused by her predecessor, and promising that it would never happen again, there are, none the less, several political honours, including rewards for crass incompetence, or for simply being in Mrs May’s Home Office.
There are knighthoods for Conservative MP Julian Brazier, Labour MP David Crausby and former minister and ex-Liberal Democrat MP Steve Webb. Presumably for turning up and doing their very well paid jobs. I’d only heard of Sir Webb before, so heaven knows who the other two are.
A number of party donors are recognised, including Dominic Johnson, associate treasurer of the Conservative Party and now CBE, who gave the Cameron family somewhere to stay when they left Downing Street in July. Aww, that’s nice. You can now get a CBE for letting a multi-millionaire with several homes, live in your house. Sweet, but it does rather devalue it, doesn’t it?
David Ord, who has given nearly £1m to the Conservative party received a knighthood too. It shows you what a million quid can do for your status. David boy, you probably should have given a little bit more for the seat in the House of Peers!
There is nothing wrong with giving people some sort of recognition for work they have carried out on behalf of the state. Most countries do. But like everything else in this country, the whole thing is rigidly class-bound and corrupt.
For example, I was listening on the radio to a list of people who had been knighted or ‘damed’, or made companions of honour for being “stars” of sport or stage. Ray Davies, of the Kinks, now Sir Ray, for example, or Sir Ken, the tax dodger, Dodd. Well, that’s very nice for them.
People like Sir Ray have done a job they loved using talents that they were born with. And they have made a very good living at it. Like Sir Paul and Sir Mick and Sir Tom and Dame Shirley or Dame Julie, they aren’t short of a bob or two. And the laugh is most of them don’t live in the UK anyway, so they don’t spend a lot of that money back here.
The newscaster went on to say that a lot of the honours had been for people who helped in their communities. Well, that’s good, I thought. Then he cited an example. It was a guy who was now in his 80s and had worked for 55 years with the Samaritans. 55 years of service, and no jet-setting lifestyle out of it, like Sir Mick and Sir Tom. And what did this man get? An MBE, the lowest honour going. Why did he not get a knighthood?
Of course, I’ll never be offered an honour, but I can promise that if I were, I would do what Lynn Faulds Woods did and turn it down. I don’t want anything from the British Empire (Where is it anyway? Guernsey?), and even if I once had, the kind of company that you’d have to keep would make me want to hand it back.
Or rather, that’s the price of ASDA.
There have been a variety of scary headlines in the press about the dire state of the Health Service. With the BBC and some of the papers, this means the Engish Health Service, as largely the BBC don’t make distinctions and papers that don’t bother, or don’t bother much, with Scottish Editions are the same.
Overcrowded corridors full of patients on trollies waiting for beds; all non-emergency operations cancelled; beds blocked by elderly or convalescent patients because they have nowhere to go; doctors on strike…
So, we see that since 2009, when the bankers broke the country and were punished by the removal of a knighthood, the percentage of GDP spent on the NHS has dropped with a small exception of 2016, and is set to drop again until 2020 and a general election.
For UK, read England and consequential for other nations.
The UK seems to come somewhere about the middle of the range for spend as a percentage of GDP, on around the same level as Finland, Slovenia, Iceland, Australia, but lower than Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and France. (These are 2013 figures and the first table shows that the spend is likely to drop. However, given that the GDP may well also drop, the question is will the percentage stay the same?) The disparity in % between the tables is likely to accounted for by the second table including private healthcare.
NOW, HOW CAN WE EXPLAIN BREXIT?
What happened was that Americans were fed up with the way their country was run (a bit like the Brits were) as you can see in the first picture.
So, unlike in the UK, it is possible to change that. Shake a stick at it (see second box of cartoon), by electing someone from the left field (OK, in this case, the right field). Someone totally different; someone with no Washington DC experience, Senate or House; someone with no State experience, Governor, or local government; someone with no military or legal experience.
Someone, in fact, with the world’s weirdest hair. Someone who is Orange and lives in a Las Vegas-like tower of glitter and gold. Someone who makes Liberace’s taste look cultivated. Someone who is racist, sexist and pokes fun at people who are disabled. Someone who despises gay people brags he can get off with any woman, and sends himself congratulatory tweets before he’s even in the job.
There, that should do it, or not, as you can see in the third box of the cartoon.
In the UK, Scots had the courage to throw out a lot of dead wood. People who had been lurking around the back benches for years, getting fatter by the day, and some who thought to stride the world stage as statesmen, mighty leaders. And they replaced them with lawyers, doctors, surgeons, estate agents, all brand new to this House of Commoners lark… and threw in a rookie 21 year old who had to get a day off for graduation and turned out to be a star.
On the other hand, England decided that Ed Miliband looked a bit of a dick when he was eating a bacon sandwich and voted instead for a man who actually was a bit of a dick, who thought that really all that mattered was standing up straight, wearing a good suit, doing up one’s tie and singing lustily “God Save the Queen”. A man who was so conceited he thought he could talk Joe and Jo Soap into voting for the EU, after he and his ilk had spent the last 40 years blaming everything that went wrong on that very thing, with the help of their odious mates in the gutter press. A man who failed, however, to convince people, and having done so, slid out the back door and off to make a fortune following Blair round the world selling himself like an exclusive rent-boy in a good suit and straight tie singing “God Save the Queen”.
And thanks to him we have the singularly inept “Mayhem” of a prime minister, leading a bunch of third raters and, with probably the most momentous thing to happen in the UK since WWII about to befall us, she has placed our futures in the hands of a clown and a couple of mindless drips with no understanding of…well, anything.
I dunno who is worse off.