CARRY ON, DICK

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Erm, nice scarf.

The hapless Richard Leonard, seemingly always trying to get one over on the SNP, took to Twitter to elicit stories about NHSS.

The NHS crisis dominated today, I would like to hear your stories: good, bad or indifferent of the experience you, or a loved one, had with the NHS over winter.

Good bad or indifferent, he said, but it seemed to me that he was probably looking for bad stories, the better to beat Nicola Sturgeon around the head with.

And he got lots of comments.

But, as they say, one should always be a little careful what one wishes for. Because his very first reply was from Joe Kane:

Replying to 

I’ve a real shocker for you Richard. It’s difficult to imagine such exploitation in a modern health service, but Scottish Labour used the to line the pockets of rich tory shareholders. I’m sure you’ll mention it at the next

ar2
Ewww, er, Matron!

One of the reasons that the health service in our country is short of money is that we are paying for the hideously expensive PFI contracts signed by his predecessors. Joe pointed this out, as did several other people.

Wishaw hospital, for example, would have cost around £100 million bought and paid for, but thanks to Labour’s financing schemes, it will cost £800 million. And who is pocketing the £700 million extra?

These contracts were repeated all over the country, and not just for NHSS facilities. (We know about the PFI schools so badly built that they fell down!)

Richard wasn’t any luckier with his second respondent.

Replying to 

We had a terrible time in A&E in October with my sister’s knee injury, after the initial triage we waited SEVEN hours, although the target is to be seen within 4. She was in a lot of pain, it was awful. This was in Wales. You’re lucky that you live in Scotland.

He must have been salivating as he read the first couple of lines. Then smack! The punchline hit him The guy who was talking about poor treatment was actually from Wales, and he was referring to treatment his sister received at the hands of  NHSW.
Of course, there were good news stories too. 
£1
Replying to 

Virus affected my asthma, got emergency appointment with GP same day. Antibiotics and referral for X-ray. Seen at Wishaw General within 1/2 hour. Back to GP for results the next week. Great service, but hey, that’s not what you’re want to hear, is it Richard?

No, probably not, but he did ask!

Replying to 

Cardiology appt today 11:30am seen immediately and out 15 mins later ,Dr couldn’t have been better

And…

Replying to 

Phoned surgery AM, got appoint AM, seen by Doctor on time, walked to Chemist got my FREE prescription all before 11.30am. Excellent Service, love my Scottish NHS.

And…
Replying to 

Three family experiences in last three weeks. One at A&E. all excellent experiences. I hope you read this out at FMQs.

Replying to 

Vascular ward at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary absolutely first class over winter including Christmas Day. Staff from all over the world contributing. I wish your party would stand up for them or there will be a real crisis.

Or…

Called GP first thing, hurt knee, couldn’t walk. Was collected that afternoon, seen, diagnosed and offered to be taken home, via chemist (for my free prescription). 5⭐️

In the hashtag, as far as I read down, I couldn’t find one critical comment of NHSS.

That’s not to say it doesn’t have its faults and that there won;t be some negative comments as the day goes on. It would be weird if there were not.

Indeed the FM has accepted and apologised for delays.

My own family’s experience this winter has been, as most of you will know, the absolutely first class treatment my mother received at Ninewells in Dundee. Also, another family member had a baby in the same hospital just after Christmas, and again they reported nothing but total satisfaction with the way they were treated at the time and in the aftermath.

The UK’s health services are short of cash and they are short of staff. Scotland’s may be less so than the others, but it is a UK wide issue.

As well as the massive repayments of PFI debt that Mr Leonard’s party left us with, as a union we spend a good deal less than we should on health.

!NS

I remember somewhere back in the early part of this century, that Tony Blair promised to bring UK spending on health, as a percentage of GDP, up to the EU average. (I thought it strange, given how superior Britain thinks itself, that it wasn’t the other way round.)

Whilst progress has been made, we still fall behind most other G7 countries and much of the EU.

Brexit, as in so many other areas, must take some responsibility here too. European doctors, nurses and other staff are unsure of their careers in the UK. Recruitment from the 27 is sharply down and some people are returning home as they doubt the stability of their future here. They may be allowed to stay after Brexit, but as aliens, with no rights. People don’t want to do that on a long-term basis, and certainly not as they settle down, buy houses and have children.

An ageing population means that there is more need for hospital treatment, and people may need to stay longer in hospital.  Sad truth is it takes longer for older pople to recover than for younger. This was something which could easily have been planned for. All these older people didn’t suddenly appear out of the blue, after all.

Of course, throughout the UK, this winter has seen a particularly virulent flu virus which has doubled the numbers of people requiring beds.

No one pretends that it’s easy to run a health service. Not here, not in England or Northern Ireland, Wales or indeed anywhere else. But with limited funds, Scotland is doing better than most, and certainly all the other UK health services.

I suspect that Richard Leonard wanted to pick some choice complaints for next week’s First Minister’s Questions and for any interviews he might be able to give to the Press or TV in the meantime. And he may yet get some.

But I trust that any comments he makes in the chamber next Thursday will reflect the stories, good and bad, he is getting about the current situation, along with criticism of the utter waste of money that was and still is, PFI.

Feel free to share your stories, good or bad, with Mr Leonard, or with Munguin.

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TRUMP…JEEEEZ

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It’s hard to find the right words to describe Trump…

I mean, he’s nasty, cheap, ridiculous. He’s dense, or at least seemingly unable to articulate deep thinking on any subject. Indeed even fairly shallow sentiment seems to be beyond his ability. He’s a vulgarian, and a proud sexual abuser as the “pussy” tape showed very clearly. (I’ll happily accept further suggestions!)

If he was the bloke in charge of your local supermarket he would be beyond the pale. As president go, he’s simply indescribable. Never has anything so ridiculous as his election happened.

If the American people wanted something different, they sure got something…erm, different.

I feel sorry for them. Personally, I thought that virtually everything he promised was pie in the sky… bringing back manufacturing jobs to the USA (to be done by people who expected salaries ten times and more than the current employees were getting with far higher conditions of employment), was never likely to be more than a dream. Muslim bans in a country with a constitutional requirement to accept religious freedom…silly. Walls across the southern border. Mad. Ridding America of affordable care. Horrific.

In any case, in his first year, he has achieved almost nothing except a few humiliations in the early days where his decrees were overturned by courts. Much of the rest of the time has been spent replacing members of his administration who walked, some after only days in post.

atrump3

I felt vaguely sorry for the Maybot today.

Vaguely.

Faced with Trump’s moronic retweeting of unverified hate messages from the utterly repugnant group ‘Britain First’, May was left with no alternative but to offer mild criticism of his actions. She would have preferred not to, but the demands from too many people in the UK were too great for her to ignore.

At the same time, of course, she is aware that she must keep in with him, because in the increasingly unlikely event that he is still president when Brexit occurs, she will desperately need his promised trade deal, no matter how injurious it is to the UK.

In this case, a bad deal will be better than no deal.

So given that he is a fractious, ill-tempered, childlike character, she doesn’t want to be seen to do other than flatter his ego and hope that he won’t be too demanding.  atrumpy

But of course, he doesn’t like being even mildly rebuked in the most polite and respectful way possible, so when she indicated in a statement that she thought he was wrong, he immediately, eschewing the normal channels of communication between governments,  tweeted a snarky comment back to her.

Unfortunately, despite spending about half his life playing on Twitter (the other half is spent on the golf course) he appears not to have got the hang of this tweeting lark and so he managed to send his message to another Theresa,  from Bognor Regis or somesuch place, who has 6 followers.

atrump9

And this is the man with a finger on the nuclear button!

Much has been made of the altercation today. Trump has been castigated by politicians from all major parties, and it has even been suggested that the invitation to a state visit should be withdrawn. That, of course, is almost impossible to do. Much though we might want it, that level of insult to a head of state of a nation that Britain desperately needs to keep in with, is a step or six too far.

Of course, the truth is that it should never have been issued within the first few weeks of his presidency. It never has been before, with presidents who were at least in some ways presidential. To issue an invitation to such a controversial figure within the first weeks of his incumbency was yet another of the Maybot’s idiotic misjedgements.

joke3

Let’s hope that Trump is sentient enough to realise that even if the Queen has no option but to accept his presence here, the public is under no such obligation and that should he make the visit, the protests of ordinary people will be at a level designed to utterly humiliate him.  Hopefully that will be sufficient to persuade him to postpone his coming until his …erm…second term! Bwa, ha ha ha ha ha.

HOW ABOUT THIS ONE, RUTH?

Ruth Davidson tweeted the other day about the education situation in Scotland. She wondered what the SNP would do to distract people’s attention from  the subject.

Of course, as far as I can see, they have done no such thing, but I ventured to suggest a variety of  embarrassments for the English Tories, including Boris being hauled over the coals by Tessy; Tessy herself on bended knee to the Saudis; the strikes on Southern trains causing unrest among crowds of commuters in London, and a raft of statistics about the appalling health service run by the still unsacked heath minister Jeremy Hunt, who is just itching to get these foreign doctors sent home.

I’m sure Ruth is a regular reader of Munguin’s New Republic. So instead of tweeting her yet again about it, and because I’m sure she never reads the Guardian, I’ll just leave this here for her so she can  contemplate  how awful the Scottish government is, although we are happy to help her government out. Certainly for the benefit of the poor kids who have been so badly let down by Hunt.

Not quite sure i like the tone of “exiles” though, Guardian. It’s hardly Siberia.

TOO MANY TWEETS MAKE …WHAT WAS IT AGAIN, DAVE?

ruthtrump

As far as I can tell, this is a genuine tweet.

Now I love Twitter, I really do. I remember Sophia Pangloss extolling its virtues years ago, and me thinking, nah, but giving it a bash anyway …and finding just how interesting it was (and what a challenge to get all your thoughts into so few words).

But the maximum character limitation does give people the opportunity to, in a very short time, possibly without much pause for thought, batter something out into the night that, depending on your audience, may reach millions of people. And that can be embarrassing in the cold light of day, and without the rosy glow of a couple of glasses of whatever your tipple is.

I bet most users, including me, could find a tweet that they would, on reflection, have preferred not to send.

But that’s OK for most of us. We’re not the regional manager of a  political party, and we don’t aspire to higher office. In fact, we’re not public figures of any sort (at least not most of us). And most of us don’t have a vast number of followers.

So maybe it would be a good time for people who are in that position to reflect for a while on their use of Twitter. It’s genuinely in their own best interests to do so, and to remember the “wise if somewhat naive” pronouncement of David I’m So Cool Cameron only a few years ago.  Erm, Lots of Love!

**********

I read on the self-same Twitter this morning that the  results of the American election are as follows.

Eligible voters: 231,556,622

Trump %: 25.5

Clinton %: 25.6

Non-voters: 46.9%

(Presumably the other candidates got 2%.)