Tests are to be carried out on human remains found in Russia to see if they could be crew members from a sunken trawler, Humberside Police say. …read more
Chancellor is told that low-carbon economy will save people money in the long run …read more
Tens of thousands join world leaders at a rainswept memorial for South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, with Barack Obama hailing him a “giant of history”. …read more
Students say they never took courses that an east London college’s records show they achieved passes in, thus netting substantial funding from the government. …read more
Former footballer Stan Collymore has received “a number” of racist tweets, Staffordshire Police says. …read more
‘Tis the season to be jolly but there was a marked reluctance to follow the old carol’s urging this morning as we codgers cleaned out the hens. Yesterday a friend of Bob in the Midlands suffered what at the time appeared to be a heart attack, and the prompt arrival of blue lights was a welcome sight for his wife. The ambulance set off with blaring sirens and was outside of the nearby A & E department within minutes. And there it stood for over an hour as a sense of panic engulfed her.
It seems that such delays are rapidly becoming the norm, indeed there have been many instances over the past few weeks of delays of up to four hours. It goes without saying that patient’s lives are being put at risk, and the distress that is triggered is the stuff of nightmares. The reason for this disastrous deterioration in emergency services is easily identified. Andrew Lansley was allowed to play theoretical management games with the NHS, and he not only created organisational chaos but imposed £20 billion of ‘efficiency cuts’ at the same time.
The result is that right across the country the number of consultants and nurses in A & E have been slashed and, at peak times, the arrival of more than one ambulance triggers a long queue. Forget political spin and talk of austerity, this is a national disgrace. Our dear leader did fire Lansley but it was too late. Everyone should be concerned at the possibility of being parked awaiting treatment when an emergency strikes. As a nation we should bow our heads in shame for tolerating this, the ultimate failure.
And it seems that there is also cause for shame in other directions. Britain has a proud record of giving to charities which represent hope for people who see no light at the end of their tunnels. Tonight Panorama will reveal that many of our largest fund-raisers are not what we imagine them to be. A former employee at Save the Children reveals that a public condemnation of gas price rises was spiked “bnecause, I was told, I would upset British Gas who were major donors”. Comic Relief, we learn, has invested in funds that bought shares in the alcohol, arms and tobacco industries. And, worst of all, we learn of big salaries and bonuses more in keeping with the banks than organisations that talk of every penny counting.
Many of those who work tirelessly for charities will be feeling disillusioned and cheated. We codgers do our bit but this morning we feel vindicated in supporting small local charities where what happens is exactly what it says on the tin!
Come to think about it almost everything that heightens our sense of injustice relates to cost-cutting. It wouldn’t feel quite so bad if we could believe that so much sacrifice was really leading to the economic miracle described so vividly last week by Gorgeous George Osborne. But a poll out today shows that most families are seeing no improvement, whilst figures from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors show that house prices are set to rise by 35% over the next six years with private rents rising by 39%.
We are, say the pundits, facing the prospect of an entire generation being tenants for life, with taxpayers facing the need to pay billions in housing benefit for workers who can’t afford to pay the rent. Meantime the tax-avoidance industry continues to flourish.
There must be some good news to match this morning’s blue skies but it is hard to find in a trawl of the news media. Insurers and brokers are said to be “burgling” pensioners through excessive fees on retirement plans. Cancer services are said to be a lottery with some areas failing to remotely match the guidelines calling for 10-day urgent appointments. More than 500 eminent leading world authors, including five Nobel prize winners, have called for action to tackle the scale of state surveillance revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Savers are reported to be closing savings accounts at the fastest rate for 40 years, whilst 2.5 million are planning to borrow from PayDay loan companies to heat their homes over Christmas.
Never mind, we have the annual Sportsperson of the Year awards to come at the weekend. Hopefully footballers will be conspicuous by their absence given the emerging evidence that some of them might announce the results of next weeks matches!
THOUGHT FOR TODAY; “God help us if our sense of fair play is not the strongest of all our feelings!”……Bjornstjerne Bjornson, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1957
Changes are needed to improve the treatment of laboratory animals at one of the UK’s leading animal research centres, a panel of experts has concluded. …read more
Senior figures from five major sports are invited to a Whitehall summit following allegations of fixing in football. …read more
The trial of radical cleric Abu Qatada, who left the UK in July after an eight-year fight against deportation, is due to begin in Jordan later. …read more