There the UK is. Punching above their weight all over the world. Being important. Being respected by some and feared (LOL) by others (quotes from David Cameron when he made a brief visit to Scotland to tell us we were Better Together). Actually, could anyone hazard a guess at who exactly fears the UK?
Today I read on the BBC website that kids in England and Wales are going hungry. They have, and I quote: “grey skin, poor teeth, poor hair; they are thinner”. They are stealing food from the school dinners and putting in their pockets to take home. They are noticeably hungrier after the weekends, and some schools reported that they stayed open during the snow because it was the only way the kids would get something to eat.
The report was about England and Wales. It came from a teacher’s union meeting in Brighton. I imagine, though, that there must be kids in that situation here in Scotland too. We all live under the same social security and tax systems.
And again, in England, doctors are reporting that even after the winter period they expect still to be operating at emergency levels, failing to reach waiting time targets. In short, the winter crisis is a year-round crisis now. Our health service is better organised and better funded, but it too is straining at the seams as the amount spent on health across the UK is considerably less than in comparable countries.
And that’s before we start on the state of the police services, the roads, the railways, the infrastructure, etc, etc, etc.
Fortunately, none of this is interfering with the expenses of doing up Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and finding millions for the security at Harry’s wedding. (Note: this came from the Express and comes with a dubious accuracy warning.)
How long can Britain continue to pretend that it is a leading rich nation when it isn’t providing the very most basic of services?
And once again, I have to ask: the people at the top in London, the queen, the prime minister, the top cabinet people, swear that they are devout Christians and that Britain is a Christian country.
What part of Christianity did I miss at school which says we should buy nuclear weapons and decorate palaces at the expense of children having enough to eat and old folk getting some decent health care?
Was it before or after walking on water and passing through the eye of a needle?
Aye, well. I think the UK has just been shown without any doubt that having cake and eating it is the stuff of fairy stories and princesses with golden hair. And that, indeed we are just like other countries.
“EU27 wants the UK as a close friend and partner and will enter talks on the future with an open, positive mind. But, given UK red lines, only an FTA is possible. It will be the first FTA in history to loosen, not strengthen economic ties. Drifting apart is the essence of Brexit.”
So goes the Tweet from Donald Tusk.
It is worth remembering that the Scottish government’s assessment (roundly rubbished by the London government at the time, but then shown to be accurate by subsequently published UK figures) estimated that the Scottish economy could suffer by £12.7 billion a year.
So bravo UK. You put all the red lines there. Now we’re supposed to sit back and suffer?
And for all those who are blaming the EU for being harsh on poor little Britain, here’s a comment from Hugo Rifkind:
You guys warned us that we wouldn’t be able to use YOUR money. You would put up border posts on all the roads crossing between our countries. You wouldn’t trade with us. You even told us that pensions we had paid into for in some cases 50+ years would stop.
OK, we know you lied, but given all that, I think the EU is letting Britain off lightly by comparison.
Still, I’m sure that the Queen, Charles and Maybot all sucking up something wonderful to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia today, will be making up for all the lost opportunities. Just think of all the weapons you can sell them so that they can go on playing puppeteer in the Middle East Proxy Wars!
I noted that in Mrs May’s Christmas message to us lesser beings (painful to watch as she tries to emote), she wanted to remind us that this is a Christian country.
She said: “Let us take pride in our Christian heritage and the confidence it gives us to ensure that in Britain you can practice your faith free from question or fear”.
She is, of course, the English/female version of the Gordon Brown “son of the manse”, the “vicar’s daughter”
I managed to avoid the Queen’s Christmas message (well done. Tris) but I’d lay a pound to a penny that she reminded us that in her long reign she has always tried to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. After all, she tells us that every year.
And we all know that the real power in the country is held by an unelected Christian fundamentalist, who apparently believes that the world was created by God 6,000 years ago and that he laboured for 6 days doing it, and took the seventh day off. And you mustn’t call her a dinosaur because there never was such a thing!
And yet these three women, strong advocates of Christianity, oversee a country where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
It’s a mean cruel little place in which a woman who is going to marry into the royal family can spend £55,000 on a dress for a photoshoot, parliament can spend tens of billions on doing up its own buildings, Buckingham Palace gets extra money for repairs… and at the same time doctors are prescribing food to patients who are ill because of malnutrition and we see the return of Victorian poverty illnesses like rickets.
And that’s BEFORE we leave the EU, which now all but a few predict will be an economic disaster for Britain at least for the foreseeable future.
The following came from readers comments in the article above. Just how inhuman do you have to be to put this kind of regime into operation?
Examples of Benefit Sanctions
“One case where the claimant’s wife went into premature labour and had to go to hospital. This caused the claimant to miss an appointment. No leeway given”
“It’s Christmas Day and you don’t fill in your job search evidence form to show that you’ve looked for all the new jobs that are advertised on Christmas Day. You are sanctioned. Merry Christmas”
“You apply for three jobs one week and three jobs the following Sunday and Monday. Because the jobcentre week starts on a Tuesday it treats this as applying for six jobs in one week and none the following week. You are sanctioned for 13 weeks for failing to apply for three jobs each week”
“A London man missed his Jobcentre appointments for two weeks because he was in hospital after being hit by a car. He was sanctioned”
“You’ve been unemployed for seven months and are forced onto a workfare scheme in a shop miles away, but can’t afford to travel. You offer to work in a nearer branch but are refused and get sanctioned for not attending your placement”
“You are a mum of two and are five minutes late for your jobcentre appointment. You show the advisor the clock on your phone, which is running late. You are sanctioned for a month”
“A man with heart problems who was on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) had a heart attack during a work capability assessment. He was then sanctioned for failing to complete the assessment”
“A man who had gotten a job that was scheduled to begin in two weeks’time was sanctioned for not looking for work as he waited for the role to start”
“Army veteran Stephen Taylor, 60, whose Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) was stopped after he sold poppies in memory of fallen soldiers”
“A man had to miss his regular appointment at the job centre to attend his father’s funeral. He was sanctioned even though he told DWP staff in advance”
“Ceri Padley, 26, had her benefits sanctioned after she missed an appointment at the jobcentre – because she was at a job interview”
“A man got sanctioned for missing his slot to sign on – as he was attending a work programme interview. He was then sanctioned as he could not afford to travel for his job search”
“Mother-of-three Angie Godwin, 27, said her benefits were sanctioned after she applied for a role jobcentre staff said was beyond her”
“Sofya Harrison was sanctioned for attending a job interview and moving her signing-on to another day”
“Michael, 54, had his benefits sanctioned for four months for failing to undertake a week’s work experience at a charity shop. The charity shop had told him they didn’t want him there”
“Terry Eaton, 58, was sanctioned because he didn’t have the bus fare he needed to attend an appointment with the jobcentre”.
Added to this they removed £30 a week from the sickest people, they are in the throes of rolling out a system for benefits (Universal Credit) that does not work (still!) but not in Cabinet ministers’ constituencies, and amongst a list of other miserable mean minded policies aimed at saving money at all costs, most of the people of Grenfell Tower (the building that burned down because the richest council in England couldn’t be bothered putting proper insulation on it because it was populated by poor people, and for whom there was recently a big service in London, with bigwigs including Charles and William and the Maybot herself), are still homeless, and May laughed off the notion of child homelessness on the basis that kids weren’t actually sleeping on the cold streets in the open air…as many adults are. All fur coats and no knickers!
In England, NHS trusts are cancelling non-emergency operations as their health service falls apart for lack of money, staff and someone to manage it. Schools in some areas are washing kids’ clothes and taking parents to food banks or feeding them in breakfast clubs, while at the same time begging for money for books from richer parents. Prisons in England are in many cases privatised. The staffing levels are ridiculously low and the population ridiculously high. Violence is rife and riots are frequent.
I could go on, through other areas of public life: ships that are letting in water and that were built to carry aircraft we haven’t bought, Cabinet ministers falling like ninepins because they lie to the prime minister… the lowest pensions in the developed world to show how little we care about our elderly population (unless they are royal or lords) and the total mess that is Brexit deteriorating by the day…but by now you’re getting bored.
So that is the Britain which hails blue passports as a major achievement.
That’s the Queen’s idea of a Christian society.
That’s Mrs May’s idea of Christian government.
I’m not a Christian, but I was forced as a schoolboy to go to daily Christian services at school in England and made to do two lessons a week of Bible Study, so I know a few things about the basic principles of Christianity after all these years.
Either our teachers were lying, or the people who oversee this mess, Liz, Arlene and the Maybot don’t even begin to resemble Christians.
I find it irritating that we are supposed to make the case for Scottish Independence to No voters yet they don’t bother their arse trying to make a case for the union to us. I mean look at the state of the UK, it an absolute f*****g cringeworthy embarrassment.
And he’s right.
At the so-called top, we have mega rich members of the royal family with their money (personal money that we grant them through the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall, in addition to their state grants and private incomes) tied up in offshore trusts and dodgy companies that scone the poor.
We have ministers at all levels that can’t keep their trousers around their waists or their hands out of other people’s undergarments.
We have some ministers that brag about hard work that they have done, only to admit when told by parliament to produce it for scrutiny, that, in fact, either through laziness or incompetence, they didn’t bother doing it at all.
We have a minister that breaks every rule in the book and risks security in order to try to do an illegal, dodgy, so-called “humanitarian” deal with a foreign army not known for its humanitarian actions, and who then lies about it, and a Foreign Secretary who makes such a mess of his job that a British citizen held in an Iranian has her sentence doubled because of his stupidity… and still the fool fails to apologise.
And we have a prime minister who watches it all happen and does almost nothing except getting her statue in the waxworks! Maybe Madame Tussauds should have the real one and Downing Street get the dummy?
If this is strong and stable; if this is broad shoulders; if this is pooling and sharing, then frankly, no thanks. We’d have been a lot better off independent.
But we should remember that not all of our politicians are greedy self-serving, incompetent morons.
Famously English Labour MP, Dave Nellist, gave away half his salary. Scottish Socialist took only the average wage when they were in parliament. And SNP and some Scottish Labour MPs either refused to take the massive pay rise they were given a few years ago or arranged for the amount of the rise to be given to local charities.
Alex Salmond, criticised by some for his Fringe show which he took on the road, donated the profits from it to charity. Nicola takes only her 2008 salary, donating the rest the money to the Scottish government.
…that with a 66% increase in their benefits, one or two of them might crack an actual smile.
But look at them. Mrs Parker Bowles isn’t even looking at the people who provide her more than comfortable lifestyle. Charlie looks like he lost a pound and found a penny. Kate Middleclass is at least making an effort, but goodness it’s a fixed rictus smile. One bairn looks like it’s teething and the other like it needs to pee. William and Harry look irritated or bored. Phil looks vaguely bemused. Fortunately, Ed the lad is obscured from view. And, needless to say, the queen looks her usual grumpy self.
Some benefit claimants are just NEVER satisfied, no matter what you do for them.
I’m looking forward to the next time that the Daily Diana or the Daily Heil come up with an oversized working-class family that gets thousands in benefits from hard-working families up and down the country, and which needs two council houses to live in.
I wonder if, unlike the upper-class one that fits the same descriptor, THEY will crack a smile…