When Tom and I reached the allotment gates this morning, we were somewhat taken aback to see a long queue of cars snaking past the lane. For a moment we wondered if hen-cleaning live had become a Sky spectator sport, but one of the drivers yelled an explanation through his open window. We are taking the advice of old Maude, was the gist of it. The queue stretched down to the petrol station some quarter mile away, and the idea of anyone following any advice given by Angus Maude struck us as daft in the extreme. But they are doing so, and later we say several geezers carrying cans of petrol to store in what the Cabinet Secretary referred to as outbuildings, clearly not realising that the average family’s outbuilding is a wooden shed rather than an empty set of stables!
It is only the fact that Cameron is equally daft that stops one wondering how he came to leave a key interview on the possibility of a petrol delivery driver’s strike to Maude. Both men hail from another planet, and it showed. Those close to the negotiations believe that there is a good chance of a settlement on the health and safety issues in dispute. And, in any case, any strike is at least two weeks away. Only Eric Cameron and Ernie Maude could have managed to launch a hoarding crisis today. Already social service and NHS emergency teams are running out of fuel, which would be guaranteed should a strike actually happen.
Surely no one could match their stupidity. Oh yes they could. Take a bow Andrew Lansley. Having defied almost every medical body in the land to bring in his Reform Bill, that wizard has now realised that GP practices, to whom he plans to hand the NHS budget, are private businesses many of which hold financial interests in private healthcare firms. The realisation that we now have a classic conflict of interest has finally dawned on the hapless health secretary who has ruled that GPs thus affecetd must stand down from commissioning decisions. Since that means almost all of them, we are back to a revamped Primary Care Trust structure. That is also a problem since most of the key personnell have already departed, clutching giant redundancy packages.
Meantime Mr Lansley is probably pleased at the rapid progress being made by his private sector friends. Yesterday I received four emails from private health insurance companies, all warning me that I must either take out insurance or face very long waits for treatment under the NHS.
I quote verbatum from one; ”Can you afford to be without Health insurance? The NHS waiting lists are out of control and the NHS reforms are creating chaos and uncertainty. It’s no surprise millions of UK residents are now protecting themselves with medical cover”. Another said that “over 250,000 are now waiting for over 18 weeks..you should get access to immediate access and high quality facilities now”.
So now we have the Maude Lansley recipe for a happy life. Build you own fuel stockpile, and buy into medical insurance without delay. Come to think about it, Eric and little Ernie would have done a better job!