Month: October 2011

It is time for a republic and the UK to grow up

As a result of the English Civil war all three episodes (1642-1651) we managed to lead the European world at that time by getting rid of the Monarchy and replace it with the rudiments of a republican democracy. Unfortunately a few years later in 1660 we let Charles the 2nd back from exile and started the Royal merry-go-round again which continues to this day with the clear threat of another Charles ascending to the throne probably in not so many years – but gives us the opportunity at least to finish the whole thing off with another right Charlie.

I was reading an article in a broadsheet newspaper the other week about some very minor achievement of the young royals in the military when a particular line struck me. That this current service (on some ship busting some druggies) was good preparation for when ‘he’ would be ‘head of the armed forces’.

This was alluding to the ‘fact’ that this limited young man would one day be unquestionably head of the country as King – and that this was going to be the case in some thirty of forty years. This was putting down without question, no critique, the notion that for all time in this little twopenny country we would still be lumbered with the Lords Ladies and assorted Princesses, Princes and Kings and other time wasters for at least a few hundred years more. Continuing the fine tradition of adding no value to our lives other than gracing the pages of some tacky celebrity magazine. The same sort of thing came up just after the last royal wedding with the balding pilot and the unemployable Sloan Ranger that the new Mrs Windsor would one day be apparently queen!

A sort of continuity was being posed in the article that left no room for doubt that in the established view this royal continuity was to take place without question. A similar thought occurred to me when considering the ‘citizen’ test being proposed here in the UK when new citizens will have to swear fealty to the Queen – what absurd nonsense. The institution of class and the stultifying class structure in this country has embedded a culture of deference an obedience into our people that has led to an unquestioning acceptance of all that is handed down from on high – at least in the older generations – and one of the key tools that the establishment uses is the perpetuation of a Royal family at the top of the structure offering (apparently) a unifying figure around which to rally.

What does however worry me is the lack of any critique from any quarter (or perhaps not well publicised or suppressed even). What is needed is a grown up discussion of what this country should look like – a few more republicans should come out of the closet and the rest of us stop worrying about getting a gong from HRM for services rendered (I know you have ed.) as our Brucie did the other day.

I did notice an uncanny resemblance between Charlie to a certain Col Gaddafy – I did not know they were related:

The landrover Diaries – the story of breakdowns

Last Time on the Disco Diaries

Breakdown on M26 with ‘teas up’ and no coolant and three separate parties: the breakdown man, the cops and the little man from the Crawley garage add to my woes by confirming my worst fears about my foray into Discos with lots of epithets about crap cars, unreliability and won’t touch that with a barge pole etc.

The story continues…

Anyhoo … I get a call from the garage next day, ‘Hello Mr Morgan I am afraid I have some bad news – we can repair your car (damn it!) as its only the cylinder head that’s cracked’ – ‘happens quite a lot.’ ‘Oh you must have forgot to mention that when you sold the car two weeks ago so what’s this going to cost me?’ ‘Oh no worries its on a six month guarantee and we can fix it for you no probs – take about 7 days before we get this crock of **** together.’ ‘OK cheers I guess we will have to be patient and I’ll have to get the bike out as that daft idiot ‘er indoors forgot to include a replacement car on the insurance.’ Any chance of a courtesy car? ‘Oh sorry mate more than my jobs worth’ (Arghhhhh! – expletives deleted ed.) … so we left it like that and I went down the pub to mourn the loss of my Beemer.

Two weeks later I take possession of Blue Disco – for the first couple of weeks I ventured no further than the local shops and station car-park. Unfortunately I had to get over to Reading Barracks for a meeting – couldn’t be avoided – so off I set into the sunrise on the M4 to Reading. And nothing happened! – well at least I got there in one piece – it was on the way back the problems started.

I was pootling along at sixty miles an hour in the outside lane when this impatient jerk bombs up behind me and begins flashing and waving his fist at me – cannot think why – anyhoo I put my foot down to pull ahead and over – and nothing – clouds of black smoke and I actually slowed down – I got even more waving fists and flashes I can tell you. I managed to get over to the middle lane and the power picked up again. And that’s was the way of it – if I put my foot down too much I lost power and black smoke – foot off power restored.

I made it to the reading services parked up and hunted high and low for the recovery phone number – yup could find the bloody thing – rings ‘er indoors. She was on the phone to her sister as I found out ten minutes later and I ask for the recovery phone number. ‘Why do you want that and isn’t it in the car? ‘If it was in the car I (expletives deleted ed.) wouldn’t be calling you would I – and I’ve bloody well broken down again!!’ I called the number and waited … about an hour later another little man turns up. I explained the fault and he pops the hood and stares at the engine. I start up the engine as commanded and he continues to stare at the engine. After about ten minutes of staring failed to shed any light he pipes up, ‘Well bugger me mate I have no idea what’s wrong’ – ‘I don’t know much about Discos’ – ‘But I have the special Disco recovery service and you don’t know much about Discos – why did they send you?’ ‘Can’t be helped mate there was no-one else on so it was me or nothing.’ ‘But if you want I can tow you back or if you drive slowly back you should make it – which in the short of it was what I decided to do.’

So I crawled back around the M4 and M25 at about forty miles an hour tops and limped back to the Disco Garage. ‘Oh Hello Mr Morgan back so soon – anything wrong?’ Yes there is something (expletive deleted ed.) wrong – this absolute crock of s*** has conked out again can you look at it for me.’ No probs leave it over night and we will get it seen to first thing tomorrow.’ ‘Can you drop me back home seeing as I am carless again?’ – ‘Oh sorry (sucking through teeth) I have no-one spare at the moment but you can use the phone if you like and call up the missus to pick you up.’ Right … ten minutes later I get through … ‘sorry luv I was on the phone to my sister’ (grrrrrr!) – ‘do you want me to pick you up?’ ‘No I thought I would call you just for the hell of it to let you know I walking back in the pouring rain!!! ‘OK OK keep what’s left of your hair on I’ll be there in ten minutes.’

NHS Fail Again in Heath Care – no wonder the Americans want nothing to do with this approach

So we see again in the press that too many hospitals in England are falling short in the most basic care they are giving elderly patients. The Care Quality Commission carried out unannounced visits at 100 hospitals to assess dignity and nutrition standards and identified concerns in 55 cases, describing the findings as “alarming”.
Patient Care in NHS

A few months ago I saw an article on sky news about a specific instance of poor care and it struck a chord with me when my mother died in a hospital in a NHS Trust Newport Hospital a few years back. Apparently in the case sky highlighted officials from the South London Trust have apologised to the family of Derek Sauter, who later died in hospital of pneumonia (no doubt lessons have been learned!!). The 60-year-old patient did not receive a “proper and professional standard of care” when he was admitted with a chest infection in June 2008. A formal investigation was conducted into his death, after it was found his oxygen levels went unchecked for 11 hours and were 35% lower than recommended.

Ruth Sauter, the patient’s daughter, said she was disgusted by the treatment her father had received. She told The Daily Mail: “His condition was not life threatening, and nurses had specific instructions to keep close tabs on him. “‘But their appalling lack of care, and cruel behaviour killed my father…It’s so much worse knowing that he died alone, thirsty and scared on that ward.”

Well this sort of treatment is not that uncommon four years ago I was in the same situation. I turned up at the Hospital to find my mother had been placed in a geriatric ward (she actually had a blood disease and should have been in haematology) with four other old ladies left in their soiled bedclothes in a rather drafty backwater of the hospital. There was poo on the floor and the wash basin stank through lack of a disinfectant. When one of the other patients started screaming a hassled nurse came out of their rest room where they were watching TV to shout at this patient to ‘f***ing’ well shut up. No shame there were dozens of visitors present in the neighbourhood. Tea came around and boiling hot tea was tipped into a mug and handed to my mum who could not hold the cup as her hands were very bad by then. Fortunately I was there that time to hold the cup but she told me that many a time she was thirsty and could not get help from the ‘feckless idle bunch that passed for care staff on that ward’.

So it happens and we all listen to the excuses, apologies and the lessons learnt but know that nothing will change and what has happened will happen again … and again … and again until the NHS is sorted out.

Man thrown onto tracks at London Bridge Station

Ever wanted to know the full details of an audit recently carried out on one of your competitors in the Crawley area – Its easy take the train – and listen to the person carrying out said audit – which I assume was confidential – broadcast the entire results to a full train load of passengers by shouting into his mobile – this time on the Three Bridges to Victoria service last week (incidentally the company failed the audit).

How many times do I have to hear about deals being closed, holidays planned, lovers trists being arranged (ok I made that one up) – judging by recent experience lots. Now I know some people want everyone else to know the ins and outs of a cats backside ref their personal business – but personally I could not give a rats arse. Take the guy talking to his mate on the phone so loudly the other day that everyone – and I mean everyone on the train – heard everything! From the details of his sex life including his rapid fire technique to the next date he had planned. If the results of the last were everything to go by he should not hold out his hopes too high.

Now psychologists know this phenomena well – if the line is a little unclear or the other person on the phone has just been declared brain dead as a result of listening to a load of crap – then the person shouts ever louder. We talk louder the worse the perceived signal/reception is. The English man on holiday syndrome I call it when the bloody natives can’t follow your drift you need to talk louder and more slowly to get home your point into the dim witted foreigners head. YES BRIAN I AM ON THE TRAIN WE’RE NEARLY AT THE STATION NOW – yes all 200 of us know and are plotting to push you out on the tracks if you don’t shut up.

We don’t want to know, get a life, we are not interested … (neither am I so that’s enough rant ed.)

Top Ten Woody Allen Quotes

1. “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.”.

2. “I believe there is something out there watching us. (Unfortunately, it’s the government)

3. “There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?”

4. “Love is the answer, but while you’re waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty interesting questions.”

5. “A fast word about oral contraception. I asked a girl to go to bed with me, she said ‘no’.”

6. “Basically my wife was immature. I’d be at home in the bath and she’d come in and sink my boats.”

7. “I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

8. “I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose.”

9. “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.”

And to sum things up, here is the last nugget of wisdom to go by… however, whenever, and wherever we may be.

10. “The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don’t have.”