Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Plaid Cymru’s ...

... Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd said
"... water exports could be a valuable source of income, and said the Welsh and UK governments should ensure that future transfers from Wales to areas of England hit by water shortages result in extra funds for Wales."

... he also said:
"The population of the south-east is set to increase by 40% by the 2030s ...... there is going to be huge pressure."
... presumably he sees the little people of the south-east as fair game in his separatist agenda.

He does of course refer to the South-east that circles London that generates the surpluses that governments of all colours use to subsidise the economic deficits found elsewhere in Britain, the regions that need more money than they generate.

I wonder if this larger than life caricature of good British politics (Elfyn Llwyd) intends to include the £billions contributed by the south-east in his politics of division, will there be a discount for decades worth of contributions ?

Monday, 27 February 2012

Carwyn, do you think we are ...

... all so stupid that you can spin such rubbish !

He said ...
... businesses were kept afloat and thousands of jobs protected by the more than £350m of subsidies Wales receives every year through the Common Agricultural Policies.
 ... and then compounded the  fo politics by adding ...
... the billions of pounds of EU structural funds paid to Wales made a "huge contribution", particularly during the down turn.
This money, every single penny, came originally from British taxpayers via the EU, of course the EU skimmed a little as a commission for the commissioners.

... not unlike the bankers asking for a fee upfront to arrange an unaffordable loan for the unwary, but unlike a bank loan the money belonged to each and every taxpayer;  until we gave it on loan to you politicians to make the life of everyone just that little bit better, safer, more certain.

Fat cat feeding ...

... of bankers, or lawyers, or doctors ....

(part of an independent image)

... by politicians at the expense of the little people without a voice !

Why Wales ?     .... it's no different.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Plaid on Sunday Politics ...

... are as together as granulated sugar:

The candidates on Nuclear:
  • Leanne (switch the lights off) Wood.
  • Lord (the lights are on with Wylfa ) Elis-Thomas
  • Elin (what lights) Jones
The King is dead, long live the Queen (of Plaid), happy days ..............

oops, I'm sure ...

... I said "under no circumstances is he to be returned to Jordan, ................ you say the RAF dropped Abu Qatada off at Amman, ................ and his family were with him, ................ its always good to have company on a long flight."

The "oops" factor has been lost to British Politics, is it time we cast off some of the trappings of civilisation and used this mechanism to re-balance Britain ?

Malaysia used the oops factor when Hamza Kashgari was returned to Saudi Arabia recently, the 23-year-old columnist, sparked outrage in the oil-rich kingdom with comments posted on the Prophet's birthday a week ago that led some Islamic clerics to call for him to face the death penalty.

............ oops !

Saturday, 25 February 2012

The fears of ...

... HENRY IV, the life of England's self made king by Ian Mortimer.

There are times in life when standing back from the cut and thrust of the 21st century brings a certain relief.  This week, whilst recovering, it was my week to look back at the 14th century at the life of the first duke of Lancaster.  The book which begins with the full horror of the tyranny of Richard II's final years in power, contrasts with the chivalric fervour of Henry's early life. As the sole grandson of Edward III and the first duke of Lancaster, he was one of the foremost warriors of the 14th century, and possibly the greatest tournament fighter the English royal family ever produced.

Mortimer finishes this literary monument to a great king with only a single memorial (on the east end of Battlefield Church, near Shrewsbury) ...
... he [HENRY IV] is lying by the fire, covered in blankets, dying.  He is in great pain.  But as he lies there who can doubt that his career has been the most phenomenal success.  What has he not achieved?  The King of Scotland is a prisoner.  The Welsh revolt is crushed.  The French are in disarray as Clarence rides at the head of an army all the way to Gascony.  Henry's throne now will pass unopposed to his eldest son, Henry of Monmouth, who is at his bedside, reconciled to him.  Despite all Henry's fears, despite Richard's bitter hatred, despite all those rebellions, plots and arguments in parliament and in the council chamber, he will die in peace, a respected man and unvanquished king.

Few men confront the basic tenants of society in which they live and try to change them.  Very few of these are successful. And even fewer survive to reflect on their success. Henry IV was one of these very few.

... were that our political leaders in the 21st century as great as this man.

Monday, 20 February 2012

European leaders do not trust Greece ...

... to keep their promises, insulting or a taste of reality ?
Confidence in the ability of Greek politicians to keep their promises is so low that eurozone finance ministers are likely to demand that a special protected account be set up to receive funds from the second bailout that they aim to agree today.  (as reported in today's Times).
In a sign of the lack of confidence in that leadership, some eurozone ministers will push today for all bailout funds to be safeguarded in an escrow account dedicated to paying off Greek debts. There will be many more conditions to the handout, which comes after a rescue package of €110 billion two years ago, including a team of experts stationed in Athens to monitor austerity measures.
If I were a German taxpayer I would want every transaction from the escrow account on-line with an explanation as to exactly why it was made, although it might be less of a German taxpayer burden if the politicians ate crow and let Greece float like Russia did after its default.

I think Carwyn Jones is ...

... right to raise questions about "low carbon energy".

Speaking ahead of today's meeting of the Joint Ministerial Council :
Mr Jones said: “There are tremendous prospects for low carbon energy investments in Wales and that is why I am determined that we have the right tools available to us maximise these opportunities.
... he also said :
Meetings such as this are an opportunity for the Welsh Government to raise our concerns and fight for Wales’ interests.”
I hope he has the answers to questions we should be asking, and we hope the Joint Ministerial Counci intend asking, such as ...
  1. what prospects have you in mind ?
  2. what tools have you in mind ?
  3. what are your current concerns ?
  4. what are these "interests" that need fighting for ?
... or is this just another example of    fo politics ?

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Vince might think radical; we say rational ...

... thought would not disenfranchise a young person, the example :
A pupil (.............the leveller ...................) with 13 A* grades at GCSE, five A grades at As-level and three A*s predicted at A-level, Kanter was turned down last year by four leading British universities. He did not even get an interview.

The 18-year-old, now studying abroad, was so keen to study medicine that he had organised work placements in GP surgeries and hospitals, and helped at camps for children suffering from cancer. 

Surprised by his rejection, he contacted professors and doctors from the Russell Group universities to which he had applied and asked them to look personally at his application. “I was told by two that it was inexplicable and they could not understand what was going wrong,”
 Vince Cable is expected to announce his favoured candidate Les Ebdon, vice-chancellor of Bedfordshire University,to head up the "Office for Fair Access (Offa).  Ebdon is on record as saying he intends to be "iron fist in a velvet glove", he wishes universities to admit "poorly" or "un" qualified students else he intends to penalise the institutions by denying permission to charge fees of more than £6000.

Vince Cable once again demonstrates a poor thought process whereby universities are required to dilute the talent moving through its doors, the message is :
*unless from a disadvantaged group, as approved by the Dept. Social Engineering (Sunday Times 19 Feb 2012)
The liberal traditions would be to raise the education of all the children of Britain so that the most able are not left at the door of advancement through talent, the prefered principle that all people are equal and deserve equal rights and opportunities should be championed, we do not disadvantage some because they entered the world with familial advantage;  if Zak Kanter did not deserve entry to the 4 leading British universities, there would be no case to answer, but .........
.... professors and doctors from the Russell Group universities to which he had applied responded to questions by Zak "I was told by two that it was inexplicable and they could not understand what was going wrong,"

....he told The Sunday Times last week.

There are serious flaws in the system that are allowing hard-working students to consistently fall through the net.

Zaks problem, replace ...
A pupil (.............the leveller ...................) with 13 A* grades at GCSE, five A grades at As-level and three A*s predicted at A-level, Kanter was turned down last year by four leading British universities. He did not even get an interview.

with ...
A pupil at City of London, a top private school, with 13 A* grades at GCSE, five A grades at As-level and three A*s predicted at A-level, Kanter was turned down last year by four leading British universities. He did not even get an interview. 
Vince Cable, closet socialist, as most Liberal Democrats, once again undermines British excellence on the grail of dumbing down society.

In Wales there is a different system, yet the aspirational nature of self improvement through education is hampered by dogma, a dogma that refuses to acknowledge excellence and worth where there is a hint of familial advantage.  Might the local Liberal Democrats (of Assembly fame), those obsequious flatterers of Vince Cable, send a message to Westminster that it is bad to disadvantage any young people because of circumstances outwith their control.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Very odd lookers, could they ...

... be related ?

DNR, do not resuscitate ….

... written on the patient notes, the patient could be our beloved NHS, or might it be Wales Education, do you get my drift, those elements of government that do not work as intended.

Could it be time to cut off the life blood to failure and let others provide alternatives.  Our Labour led government have demonstrated they the ability to discard failed (embarrassing) organisations, funding to the All Wales Ethnic Minority Association (Awema) was cut off with alacrity just a few weeks ago; can we look forward to those who failed to heed warnings, and gave such poor oversight, falling on their sword, somehow I doubt it.

Those working at the sharp end of the NHS in Wales are echoing the words of David Cameron when he describes our health service as failing.  Those hard working nurses who deliver care are worried for their futures, and should we be surprised, how many times have they been reorganised since devolution, how many directives requiring a diversion of energy and effort have been imposed upon them, how much money was delivered by Westminster yet not delivered by WAG, it's about half a £billion this year alone.

When Carwyn Jones, and other left leaning politicians, turn their back on the very experience that generates the wealth used to fund the public services, I wonder whether the DNR label might not better be attached to the Assembly and all those that sail in this very sorry excuse for governance.

Middle class Londoners ...

... are  jaded, venal and blind to the life of the have-nots, "Capital" a novel by John Lanchester ...

... a literary editor thinks it is a good read.

I believe the reality is the middle classes everywhere are "jaded, venal and blind to the life of the have-nots".

Friday, 17 February 2012

The House of Lords agrees with me, ...

... Labour's Baroness Jay, said: "We are firmly of the view that any referendum that is held must be a straight choice between full independence or the status-quo".

"A third 'devolution-max' option is clearly something every part of the UK must have a say in as it has the potential to create different and competing tax regimes within the UK."

Yet SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said Scotland's constitutional future could only be decided by the people who live in Scotland.  He said: "The position is very clear - the Scottish government achieved an overwhelming mandate from the people of Scotland to hold the referendum that is exactly what we will do."

Of course he is correct, but he should be minded that the constitutional future of Britain belongs to all the peoples of Britain ........ not just to the SNP cabal.

Yesterday the ...

... Prime Minister visited Edinburgh to discuss the forthcoming independence referendum, in a surprise move, he said in his speech that "Holyrood could be given more powers if Scotland votes no in the referendum". Salmond responded to this with "Where’s the beef?" (the answer might have been "under your chin fool"), the offer of a straight referendum on independence was clear, in response Salmond was reported by the Times as "being in the weeds making lots and lots of arguments about processology".

The most telling response of the day from Salmond was his "We’ve been through this before in Scottish politics. What’s the old saying, "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me" Scotland, I don’t believe, will be fooled twice", an appeal to those with short memories, for history is littered with success and failure from all quarters. 

Salmond also wants children in the voting booths, no doubt he and his loyal followers have calculated the effect that having 4 years worth of children schooled in the tales of  William Wallace, warrior of the First War of Scottish Independence hung drawn and quartered by Edward I (Longshanks), best not forget the highland clearances where Scots landlords cleared the lands of poor crofters.  Will teachers remember to tell of the flamboyant Alexander Ranaldson MacDonell of Glengarry who portrayed himself as the last genuine Highland Chief while his tenants were subjected to a process of relentless eviction (Robert Burns wrote a satirical poem about Glengarry in the Address of Beelzebub).

In response David Cameron might have repeated the call of the Japanese Satsuma clan who said "there is no history, history will start tomorrow", it wasn't an insult to who and what has gone before, rather a call to look forward to a future strong devolved union of equals, but very equal, peoples of Britain.

The growth of a strong feeling in the rest of Britain that the Union is tiresome to defend and expensive to maintain is something that the Prime Minister needs to counter reports the Times, at least part of his day was aimed in that direction, but the most difficult job for Cameron, say the political pundits, will be to prevent Salmond from successfully insisting that Scots be allowed to vote on further devolution at the same time as they vote on independence without coming across as a bully.

It's not really difficult, "devolution needs to become a level playing field with the fullest measures applied to all regions of Britain", how could the Scots disagree ..............

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Carwyn could do better setting aside ...

... the baggage of "only public service allowed", it just doesn't fit with life in the 21st century, a life that should be a reflection of the following letter in today's Times :

Sir, As head of radiology at a Glasgow teaching hospital for 23 years, I was very much in the front line of financial problems. Of course the NHS has been a success, much loved by the British public. But it is a huge monster devouring every penny it gets. The service could be fitter and slimmer.

On retirement, when working in Sydney, I was most impressed with the emphasis on service. All staff realised that they were in competition with other groups; the practice income and their pay depended on the quality of their service. Patients were examined that day or the next and left with a typed report — no delays for CT scans. Indeed, seeing the need for a scanner this group arranged its own funding; no need for endless time-consuming committees and layers of bureaucracy.

Patients were covered mainly by State insurance, some privately. If the practice did well, the income increased and staff were better paid. No obscure “Clinical Excellence” Awards there. Not only that, the practice handled a workload similar to that of UK hospitals but with fewer staff and a better service.
We must get away from political dogma — enterprise, ability and good service at all grades must be rewarded. Whatever else, the founding principles of the NHS must be preserved, free healthcare for all based on clinical need. Dr J.K.Davidson Glasgow Sir, Ian Rogers (letter, Feb 14) suggests that Clinical Excellence Awards for senior doctors should be scrapped because “hospital doctors undertaking the same responsibilities and workload should receive the same payment”. ............ letter in full £
Dr Andrew Bamji, Rye, E Sussex 
How might the experiences of Dr Bamji be applied to the NHS in Wales ?

Over the last 6 months or more I have had a very personal and direct association with our NHS doctors surgery (practice) and our local Health Board (Aneurin Bevan), what have I learned ?
The story...

Initially the practice diagnosed a probable meniscus tear to the left knee although I was told it could be arthritic, I had an x-ray within two weeks, followed by an MRI scan two weeks later, and an appointment with the consultant surgeon two weeks following.

At the appointment with the surgeon he was surprised that both x-ray and MRI scan results were in his hands, he explained that it was usual for the diagnostics to be requested by him, our practice had cut 6 to 8 weeks from the period of diagnosis.

Things got a little complicated, after a week off work the company I work for convinced me to return to work (light duties), this was probably a mistake, the pain at times when I was in the warehouse was pretty bad, some of the staff can be a problem which puts me on my feet and walking.  I was losing condition, muscle, I put it down to the knee pain.  During a visit to family during October, my sister in law commented that I "looked frail", not an expression I had heard before, it played on my mind.  Worried I visited the practice, not many questions asked, none to do with the knee, answers "Yes" to each question, the doctor smiled at me and said "join the club, its a royal club, you have diabetes".  There followed a week of tests and the first diagnosis that I had Type II diabetes.  During the following month medication and diet was modified until it seemed my Blood Glucose had stabilised.

The diagnosis was important to me, but unknowingly it would set back treatment for the knee.  Mid November a letter arrived to attend a Pre-Admission Clinic for knee surgery, happy days, not so happy, the newly diagnosed diabetes would put back surgery until such time that both my diabetic medication and Blood Glucose had stabilised.

During November and December we worked on the diet so as not to need further modifications to the medication, by early January I felt everything was looking good, so booked an appointment to see the diabetic nurse who arranged for a series of tests to confirm my feelings, I was right but it was better than my feelings, cholesterol both good and bad had dropped to normal readings, my 3 month average Blood Glucose was better than my readings (better test).  An angel, she was straight on the phone and followed everything up to the surgeons team by letter, a week later a letter of appointment arrived for 26th Jan, it was just a test for nasties the surgical team preferred not to come into their theatres.  A couple of days later a letter for surgery 3rd February.
How does my little tale help Carwyn, well, it could be any business dealing with departments, but it is also a description of a business dealing with another business['s], in my case 3 [4 including post operative therapy] enterprises...
  • General Practice
  • Diagnostic services
  • Surgery
  • Therapeutic services ()
 At present the departments are evaluated through politically set targets, what do politicians or their familiars know of the realities of medical process.

Dr Bamji might offer Carwyn the benefits of his experiences in Australia as it might be applied to Wales, Carwyn might also consider the need to devolve tax raising powers for health to give greater control, he might convince the voters to contribute more, Carwyn might consider the need to devolve wages to NHS businesses, not to cut salaries, but to enable salaries to rise in the wake of greater customer satisfaction, and a by-product of that satisfaction, greater productivity.

Just thoughts ........