Forest of Dean & Wye Valley

MODERN TIMES: THE DINOSAUR COLUMN

In Dinosaur on February 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Someone there to take care of us:

It seems like the National Health Service has always been there for us. Some of us may feel we don’t need it – well, not just yet, anyway – but are glad we have it , just in case we do. It deals with our illnesses, with accidents, and with a host of bodily problems that often happen when we least expect them.

As I grow older, I find I’ve become a more frequent visitor to our local health centre – for check-ups, or occasional treatment when I find something isn’t functioning as well as it used to. In a way, we’ve come to take it for granted. We pity those poor Americans who have for so long been denied a proper health service, and where the system’s all about profit. And we’ve come to respect those who work in the NHS – the nurses, doctors, and all the rest who do their best to patch us up or keep us ticking over.

So, perhaps, Cameron’s “shake up” of the system should be a wakeup call for all of us. Our health is important to us all – and so is the NHS. We don’t want it handed over to the private sector. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to sleep walk into a situation where we suddenly discover that American rules apply, and everything we valued about our health service has faded away.

* * * * * * *

Whilst I’m sort of on the subject, I wonder how those TV hospital soaps we love to watch will tackle Cameron’s plans for health care? In particular I’ve been thinking about the BBC’s stablemates, Casualty and Holby City.

I still watch Casualty, and admire the dedication of those who work in the A & E department – and I appreciate the various shenanigans that take place each week. Though with all that blood around, I’d rather not have to be admitted!

Casualty has in the past touched on changes in the NHS structure – such as the conflicts caused by the imposition of new management structures. But if, heaven forbid, Cameron’s new deal for the health service is implemented, surely Holby will never be the same again. I wonder how that veteran, Charlie Fairhead, who’s been in more instalments of Casualty than some of us have had hot dinners, would react?

Regrets? What me?

Well, the bankers’ bonus culture is still with us, it seems. Any notion that they may have learned their lesson must by now have dissipated like dew in the morning. They still believe they can give themselves fat pay-outs from our money which they have wantonly gambled with.

All this became clear when Bob Diamond, the new boss at Barclays, appeared before MPs on the Treasury Select Committee. It seems he’s likely to receive £8.5 million for his services this year – and when asked by MPs whether David Cameron or George Osborne had asked him to show restraint over any bonus he may get, he said “no”.

The time for remorse is now over, said Mr Diamond. Now, by implication, it’s back to the old “loadsa money” world for bankers. It’s almost as though the crash of 2008 never happened for them. Never mind the toxic debts – that’s all in the past. Let’s get back to the party.

But times have changed. Under our Con-Dem government we’re all going to have to pay for the bankers’ extravagance. Meanwhile, I wonder what top bankers do with all those millions that they receive each year? What can they spend it on? And with that sort of money, why on earth should they want so much more?

Recalling Harper?

An interesting notion was put forward in a recent issue of Private Eye. In a column devoted to the Government’s plans to sell off our forests, the magazine turned its attention to the “HOOF”campaign in the Dean.

It noted that Mark Harper believes that the forest sale is “an example of Dave’s Big Society in action as it would allow local people to buy and manage things as they see fit.” But as has been pointed out, folk in the Dean see the forest as theirs anyway. Why should we buy it if we see it as ours already?

The article concludes: “If Harper disappoints his constituents, he could become the first victim of another coalition brainwave: the “right of recall” which enables voters to recall an MP if they lose faith in him or her. This would be ironic. When Harper isn’t calling for the sale of his constituents’ natural environment, he is the minister for constitutional reform responsible for… the right-to recall policy!”

Dinosaur

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