Posts Tagged ‘Local Authority’
‘Wanna know a secret?’ has long been a catch-phrase on the allotments. It is hardly in the class of ‘Didn’t they do well’ but we lack the charisma of Brucie and the rest of the galaxy. It is usually a prelude to some world-stunning revelation about the price of something at the nearby Spar. But this time around, we are mulling over something rather more significant.
Time and again Andrew Lansley has blocked requests to publish the official government ‘risk register’ for the health and social bill. Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has now judged that the document must be published but Lansley is sitting on it, probably for another 28 days at which point he may appeal. Are we being paranoid in assuming that it contains comments that the Health Secretary believes may impede the final approval in the Lords of his ragtag of a bill that has been amended so many times that its logic would escape Einstein?
So those of us who worry about the fate of the NHS, given that Lansley has already implemented disconnected parts of his proposed reforms, can only guess at what the official risk-assessors have said. They will certainly have had plenty to go at since the bill is littered with risks. The biggest is that billions will be spent on another massive, rapid, ill-thought-out restructure that ends up more or less where we started but with staff demoralised and patients neglected.
And that is not just the view of a group of grumpy codgers. One GP commissioner has gone on record. “We were actually told we could choose the size of our consortium, so we went small so we could be flexible. Then we were told we had to be much bigger to have any impact, so we merged with other consortia, which was a huge hassle. Now we’ve been told we’re the wrong shape and have to mirror the local authority boundary”.
The GP consortia of Lansley’s dreams have now been renamed clinical commissioning groups. They in turn will report to ‘commissioning support organisations’, which are miraculously shaping up to be the same size as the primary care trusts (PCTs) they’ll replace. But Lansley has prematurely fired off large numbers of the PCT best staff, so management consultants such as McKinsey and KPMG are being called in. Up to a £1000 per day per consultant can be added to the handsome redundancies already paid to the departed.
And to compound all the chaos Lansley has now reinstated the waiting times he abolished to a fanfare of trumpets just twelve months ago. Baldrick could have told him that imposing £20 billions of cuts at the same time as allowing Trusts to forget targets was a recipe for disaster.
Come to think about it, the continued repression of the official risk-assessment report is somewhat undemocratic. The fact that this is being allowed is a poor reflection on MPs at large. The fact that they approved a half-baked plan, opposed by just about every clinician, before seeing an analysis of the risks tells us just about all we need to know about accountability!
The progress of the NHS was one of the few triumphs of the Labour administration. A few tweaks might have made things even better. Now a few twits have sent the whole shebang out of control! The pity is that we have now lost sight of what really needed attention. In many fields of medicine the NHS is ahead of the rest of Europe, but not in cancer. Now we see a sledge- hammer being prepared to deal with a specific. The head of health at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Mark Pearson, summed it up perfectly. “The NHS is one of the best performers in the world. But outcomes are not what you expect because there is a big reform every five years. We calculate that each reform costs two years of improvement in quality. No country reforms its health service as frequently as the UK”, he said.
SOME FAMOUS QUOTES TO MUSE OVER!; “I’m offended by political jokes. Too often they get elected”….Will Rogers “Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory”…..J.K.Galbraith “Government is to life what pantyhose is to sex”……P J O’Rourke “Mr Speaker, I withdraw my statement that half the cabinet are asses – half the cabinet are not asses”…..Benjamin Disraeli “Jeffrey Archer, is there no beginning to your talents”…..Clive Anderson “Tories are not always wrong, but they are always wrong at the right moment”…..Violet Bonham Carter “If there is anything a public servant hates doing it’s something for the public”….Kin Hubbard “There is nothing in socialism that a little age or a little money will not cure”…….Will Durant
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S MIDWEEK QUIZ; 1. 18 2. The Quakers 3. On a ship’s deck 4. Blackpool 5. Ashton Kutcher 6. Lotus 7. Postcards 8. Roald Dahl 9. Dr Livesey 10. Waitangi Day
As we tidied up after this morning’s encounter with the hordes of squabbling hens we suddenly realised that the time has come for our charity effort. Each year we try to raise cash for ‘Crisis’, the charity devoted to providing succour for the homeless. ‘Crisis’ estimates that there are tens of thousands of hidden homeless people in the UK. These people never show up on government statistics and exist in hostels, squats and squalid bed and breakfasts. They often lead miserable, isolated lives and often suffer from debilitating mental and physical health problems.
Appalling though that is, it is not new. What is new, and equally appalling, is the plight of vast numbers of the housebound elderly and frail. When the coalition enforced huge cuts in local authority funding it did ‘ring-fence’ the money allocated for social care. However, it did niothing to enforce this and right across the country councils have slashed the amounts allocated for what is laughably described as home-care. The result is that many councils now have reduced the time allowed for a home visit to 15 minutes and axed travel expenses. The result is that paid carers – doing tough and unpleasant work – rush from one house to another, can’t cope, and many are giving up in despair.
A report due this week by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (ERHC) will put flesh on the anecdotal evidence so far available. It will report on evidence of elderly people being left in filthy nightwear and bedding, of being left without a wash for several weeks, of being put to bed at 5.00pm and not helped to get up until 10.00am the next day. The picture that emerges is straight from the darkest episodes of Dickens.
Someone being supposedly cared for, and without family help, can lie for hours in their own mess, cold and frightened. They can be confused and haven’t taken their pills. They feel ashamed. They feel angry. It could be many hours before someone lets themselves in and washes them. The victim – for that is what they are – hopes for conversation but a carer with just 15 minutes to spare is hard pushed to even complete the basics. As quickly as they entered, they are gone. Silence, despair, all hope gone in an age where even the neighbours are often unknown.
Without doubt there is now a huge social problem, yet we hear little of it. These people can’t go out on the streets to march in protest, or camp outside a cathedral, or strike on November 30th. They are rarely mentioned on television, or interviewed on the Today programme. Anyone in a position of authority is much younger, has children at school and is desperately worried about their own job-security and financial survival. Frail old people are not even good vote-winning material. No one cares. Yet even if only for financial prudence they should, because inevitably this new hidden crisis is resulting in more and more elderly and neglected people being admitted to hospital, there to stay at high cost unless a beleagured social worker can find a solution that the meagre budget will facilitate.
I noticed a small paragraph in one of today’s newspapers. It describes how a pensioner spent two nights trapped in a cold garden shed after a fall. he had ventured that far in search of fuel. It was two days before anyone heard his cries for help and ambulance staff said that Ron Rogers from Rednal, Birmingham, was close to death after succumbing to hypothermia. Proud to be British? I think not.
Of course, now that the disgraceful situation has come under a spotlight the political blame game is underway. Paul Burstow, the care services minister and a LIb Dem MP, is demanding to know why councils are failing to pass on the funding allocated for the care of the frail and elderly. They are, he says, “clearly failing to act in the best interests of their residents”. They must, he thundered, “be held to account”. Indeed, two councils already have been. Sefton (Merseyside) and the Isle of Wight lost High Court cases to cut back on care for elderly and disabled adults. But should we really leave our hidden sufferers to the mercy of the Courts and posturing politicians.
At the last election the then Labour Party leadership demanded, during the televised debates, cross-party talks aimed at protecting the vulnerable from austerity measures. They saw the danger in this becoming an exercise in point-scoring. Andrew Lansley and David Cameron refused this. Now Labour is repeating the appeal and it must be heeded.
How can a society that once prided itself on care and compassion continue to spend huge sums on debatable projects, such as high-speed rail, whilst leaving vast numbers of those who, through no fault of their own, now lie forgotten and ignored?
We codgers realise that promoting the welfare of old ‘uns is not a popular activity. We realise too that some old folk can be difficult, and that there are many other vital priorities. But now the situation has been allowed to spiral out of control, and we are all unwittingly allowing suffering on a scale that has not happened in these islands for almost a century.
The only punch-line we can offer to the politicians is don’t just talk, for mercies sake do something!
There was a time when our allotment shed crackled to the sound of leftie rhetoric. In those days heroes such as Michael Foot made their voices heard, and I well remember arguments raging. Everything commercial should be owned by the state was the cry of some of our long-gone pals. Today, with the Labour party’s policies barely distinguishable from those of the once hated Tories, such talk is no more, now merely a distant echo. Now the idea of free enterprise is the staple diet of everyone who bothers to even discuss politics. In the recent past there was something of an upsurge of hostility to the idea of the private sector taking over the last bastion of state control, the NHS, but, the Lansley bill having been approved, even that is fading, albeit in a mood of trepidation.
So, politics aside, it is perhaps time to ask ourselves whether we really trust the private sector to manage our health services which, after all, are crucial to every family in the land which lacks the wherewithal to pay for private treatment. It has to be said that, political ideology apart, there are very good reasons to worry about our lives beng transferred into private hands!
The ‘One Society’ has produced some data on pay differentials. It has found that private firms whose main income came from the public sector paid their chief officers far more than the highest paid public sector emloyee. For instance, Serco, which receives over 90% of its business from the taxpayer, paid top boss Christopher Hyman £3,149,950 in 2010. This is six times the highest paid public servant and eleven times the highest paid NHS or local authority chief. Should we as taxpayers really be happy with this?
Perhaps even more imortant is the issue of trustworthiness. In just a few days following his Commons ‘triumph’, Lansley has let it be known that hospital closures and takeovers are on the way. One of the many discussions between the Department of Health and proposed private saviours is with German health group Helios. The spin is that they have the ability to “tackle the performance improvement of English hospitals”. Put aside the question of how the public interest is served by paying huge salaries which in turn demand huge profits which in turn threaten the priority of patients, and merely seek reassurance that this company is of the ethical standard that health provision uniquely requires.
Helios is part of the Fresenius Group, which was fined $82 million in the USA in May for having “recklessly disregarded federal law when billing the US taxpayer for dialysis supplies and equipment”. Although the over-billing itself occurred just before Fresenius bought up the companies involved, Fresenius itself was accused in relation to the case.
Nor was it the German group’s first brush with the law. Ten years before, Fresenius settled the largest ever healthcare fraud case with civil and criminal penalties aproaching $500 million after making fraudulent claims from Medicare and paying kickbacks to get work referred its way. Then in 2005, another arm of Fresenius admitted its role in a pharmaceuticals cartel in South Africa, designed to “manipulate prices for pharmaceutical and hospital products”.
There is nothing to suggest Fresenius’s record is much worse than those of other private health companies with hungry investors to satisfy and it reasonable to assume that the record of the whole industry is somewhat short of reassuring.
Thanks to the supine Lib Demmers, Lansley is close to getting his chaotic and much amended bill through and the NHS as we have known it is heading for the file marked distant memories. Now that we are getting a closer look at the people who will take over, the prosect looks bleaker than ever.
You don’t have to be a leftie to believe that once the profit motive becomes the driving force the needs of the patient come second. Throw in dubious ethics, massive salaries and dividends, and the wonderful tomorrow outlined by Cameron and Lansley looks anything but!
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S MIDWEEK QUIZ; 1. The Teletubbies 2. Lynda La Plante 3. Michael Howard 4. Doug. 5. 1980s 6. Karen Slater 7. Jeremy Guscott 8. Robson Green 9. Father Aidan 10. John Fashanu
A relative of George, one of my fellow chicken-fanatics, has for many years worked in the South of England as a mental health social worker. He has just been made redundant from a service that was already struggling to cope with the care of people suffering mental health problems. Over the years we have often heard of the degree of dedication, long hours and sheer frustration of a vital role which would tax the toughest. But the local authority has run out of cash as a result of funding cuts and more staff have to walk the plank. And to crown the nightmare the staff have been told that their redundancy pay will be the absolute minimum, in the case of George’s nephew under £10,000.
Sad and unfair, but we are all in this nightmare together. Wrong! There are two versions of redundancy; the fate of people regarded by the coalition government as dross and the magnificent rewards being handed out to their fat-cat friends. You don’t believe that? Then examine what is happening to the people involved with Quangos such as the Regional Development Agencies created by the last government. Described by the coalition as wasteful and bureaucratic, these bodies are being scrapped. Rightly so for it is hard to find any evidence that they achieved anything that could not have been achieved by the already bloated structure of local government. But despite their uselessness big slices of public money are being handed over.
The Quango chiefs are making a fortune out of their dismissals. As each discredited agency is wound up the leading figures are walking away with at least £250,000. And it isn’t only the top dogs who are smiling. To date 15 officials have trousered over £100,000 and the amount handed to 799 staff totals around £24 million.
Many officials have leapt at the chance of voluntary redundancy. At ‘One North East’ the director of communications, Stacy Hall, received £120,890. At ‘South West RDA’ the enterprise director, Stephen Peacock, landed £113,701. At ‘ Advantage West Midlands’ corporate director Tim Gebbels received £109,512 and an as yet unnamed official carried off over £200,000. The list goes on and on but one thing is clear; it is not the value of your job to society or your dedication that counts, it is the old truism of who you know rather than what!
Small wonder that John Redwood and others yesterday demanded that the government halted the hand-outs and insisted instead on transfers to other public sector vacancies. It all adds up, said Mr Redwood, to “a nasty leaving present from a group of organisations which, in many parts of the country, did not do any good and represented poor value for money”.
But of course the government will do no such thing. They must look after their own and the probability is that right now plans to dish out gongs to the departing fat-cats are well under way. As for people like social workers; wrong class of people old boy!
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S QUIZ; 1. In the blood 2. Potato 3. UB40 4. Chinese 5. Stephen Fry 6. Will Young 7. Portsmouth (2005-06) 8. Dukes of Bedford 9. A fruit 10. Clockwise
We hear a good deal too much about Health & Safety on the allotments. One of our crowd, Tony, works as an assistant in a local authority H & S department and has become caught up in the madness. His enthusiasm remains undiminished despite regular rebuffs from my pals who reject all talk of wearing masks when cleaning out the hens, goggles for use when handing spitting chooks, and so on. A few days ago Albert jammed his fly zip and, having no coat, was worried at the thought of walking home with things he should have done left undone. Ever resourceful Tom found some large safety pins, the kind that one uses to secure nappies, and Albert proceeded to make temporary cover. Tony was aghast and demanded to check if the pins complied with BSI standards. There was, he told us solemnly, a real Health and Safety risk. But Albert used them and, to the best of my knowledge his manhood is unpunctured, his voice unchanged. Just one daft example of how obsessed the disciples of H & S have become.
Clipboard-clutching fools have provided us with a mass of examples over past weeks. They made a major effort at preventing street parties and, but for the intervention of the prime minister, would have succeeded on the William/Kate big day. They have ordered Butlins to prevent their dodgems bumping into each other, and made a determined effort to make snowballing without goggles illegal, likewise conker contests. The council in Carlisle has stopped cutting the grass outside the castle because of the slope. In fact the list is near-endless. Everywhere you look there are examples of things that have happened since Adam being declared dangerous.
The truth of the matter is that H & S has become a wonderful excuse for Councils not doing something. To be fair there is another angle, those who delight in seeking cash via non-working methods are using the legislation to sue. The result is that even enthusiastic authorities are nervous of providing any service that could be said to create risks. And that means virtually every single one of them.
This lunacy accelerated under the Labour government which allowed H & S to become an industry. Everyone one meets has a tale to tell, only last week a lady told me that her community raised the cash for a ‘Watch your Speed’ sign and have now been told that it cannot be erected until someone has attended, and passed, a course on using step-ladders. Will anyone stop this nonsense once and for all?
It seems that the answer is YES. Chris Grayling, the Employment Minister, has announced a crackdown. In a statement issued yesterday he said that it has got to end. “Health and safety should be a positive force to do good”, he says. “It should be there to protect people at work, not to penalise people at leisure”. He plans to cut red tape and to confine H & S law to businesses in high-risk areas, like construction. He even provides some examples himself of the lunatics at work. “We can’t wrap children in cotton wool by stopping them playing conkers, preventing them from pinning the tail on a donkey at parties or telling them they musn’t throw snowballs” said Mr Grayling.
The Minister has promised to “rip up the rules” and that will be music to many an ear. It is not before time for it is not just the silly, petty rules that irk. The 7/7 inquest heard victims were left to die in pain because H & S protocols prevented firefighters from rescuing them. In our patch two PCSOs failed to attempt to rescue a drowning child because H & S rules forbade them to enter water without back-up.
Of course politicians are experts in the art of making promises, less so at actually doing anything. But there is every indication that Chris Grayling means what he says when he commits to slashing the estimated cost of £35 billion arising each year as a result of the new age of H & S madmen.
If he delivers he will deserve a medal. Not one with a non BSI approved clip of course!
ANSWERS TO YESTERDAY’S EGGHEAD QUIZ; 1. Lord Monteagle 2 Simone de Beauvoir 3 Carbon 4 The Days of Pearly Spencer 5 The Maltese Falcon 6 66 7 Hungerford Massacre 8 Lahore 9 Marc Bolan 10 The Great Dictator
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Which denomination of Ulster banknote featured George Best? 2 What was the middle name of Wallis Simpson, later Duchess of York? 3 Which greedy giant was created by Rabelais? 4 Who is the elder – Tony Blair or Pierce Brosnan? 5 What is sorghum? 6 From what is the writing material true vellum made? 7 What is seperated by the oval window and the round window? 8 Whose presidential hopes were ended by model Donna Rice? 9 What fraction of a gold object is a carat as a proportional measure? 10 What is a killick?
Dear Reader. I have many more ‘thoughts’ available for listing. Do you enjoy them. Should I continue? D
This time last year we would have described this morning as cold. Everything is relative and, after the coldest December since Adam was a lad, we felt it to be quite mild. Just as well for today we were joined by Barry, who is new to the self-sufficiency lark, and so rare are new members that we have to hang on to them with might and main. Barry has been made redundant by the local authority and has decided to produce his own eggs. That sounds daft so I will rephrase it. He has decided to keep chickens. A few days ago his first self-assembly coop arrived.
Even those of us used to the perils of MFI kits tend to struggle for up to two hours with coops and we usually enlist the help of a friend. Not Barry. To our astonishment he had finished within 30 minutes. There was however a snag, he had several pieces left over and they happened to secure the floor section. Albert, not a candidate for the diplomatic service, was quick to rabbit on about more haste less speed. Bill poured oil on troubled waters by suggesting that Barry was no worse than the coalition.
When as a team we had eventually reassembled Barry’s prefab, we retired to the hut for the last of the Christmas sherry. Bill enlarged on the coalition bit. Unlike the rest of us he had read the front page of several of today’s papers and the unfortunate story of the much lauded ‘bonfire of the Quangos’ which warmed our anti-bureaucracy hearts soon after the election. You may remember the PR. Under Labour a zillion unelected Quangos had been created and the whole land was creaking under the weight of a million orders. Even worse the empire of the uneleceted was consuming billions of the national purse. They were all to be abolished within the first four months of the new Cameron/Clegg wonderworld. And before we read today’s reports of the Commons public admistration select committee that is exactly what we imagined had happened. The whole pile of red tape and waste had been hurled on to the bonfire, and good riddance.
But it seems that, as in many other things, the coalition acted with undue haste. The chairman of the committee which investigated the Clegg version of Guy Fawkes night is Tory MP Bernard Jenkin, and he had nothing good to say about what has happened. He says that “the whole process was rushed and poorly handled and should have been thought through a lot more. This was a fantastic opportunity to help build the big society and save money at the same time”. The whole project says Mr Jenkins “has been botched”.
And he hadn’t finished at that. He added that “in the short term the reorganisation will now cost more than it will save. This was put together on the hoof and needs to be much improved for future reviews”. Not surprisingly the Labour members were quick to join in the latest Clegg bashing. John Tricket talked of chaos and an irrational, unaccountable and expensive mish-mash of proposals which will do nothing to improve the quality of services.
Today’s report is profoundly critical of the Quango-vetting process used. It claims that the criteria used to test whether a Quango should survive were conflicting and inconsistently applied. An example quoted was the decision to make art funding independent of government yet film funding went the other way. This report won’t make good bedtime reading for the head muppets, the summary is best left until dawn. For it confirms the committee’s view that the project will not deliver savings or result in greater accountability.
At some stage of its work the committee called the head of the Civil Service, Gus O’Donnell, to clarify the supposed cost savings. Despite being given time to go way and organise an audit Mr O’Donnell was obliged to confirm that he coudn’t prdouce an analysis of any net savings which is probably Sir Humphfrey speak for ‘there ain’t any’.
Add this fiasco to the news that we are cutting up for scrap brand new ships and planes and it is hard to escape the conclusion that the deeds of government are straight from the script of Monty Python. And one cannot exclude the previous administration from that since they created the said Quangos, ships and planes in the first place. But we are now in a bigger mess than ever for we have work carried out by Quangos now lying unattended and we haven’t saved so much as a quid in the process.
The prime minister will probably respond to the select committee by ordering an Inquiry which wil take several years to reach a conclusion by which time the Miliband family will be ready to reinstate the Quangos. How else will they find jobs for their favourite uncles?
The next time there is talk on high of bonfires someone should perhaps suggest that they are checked for content before ministers strike a match!
ASHES TRIUMPH CHEERS THE NATION!
So excellent was the England performance down under that it is probably unfair to single out individuals. This was truly a team performance and bowlers and batsmen alike demonstrated just how far England have come under Flower and Strauss. Even the loss of Stuart Broad failed to derail the team and, by the end of the Sydney Test, the Aussies were lining up to describe the England standard as well above their own.
Sadly the series marked the end of Paul Colligwood’s Test career. And he went out on a characteristic note when he flung himself like a circus acrobat to snatch the edge that did for Ricky Ponting in Perth. Paul was a world-class fielder and a gritty performer with bat and ball. He is a man of great self understanding and has used his abilities to the fullest extent possible.
Of course we all realise that Australia are no longer the greatest, in fact they are way behind both South Africa and India. But we should relish the moment. England will surely never travel to those famous grounds again and come away so utterly triumphant.
FAMOUS CRICKET ‘SLEDGES’; Steve Waugh was arranging the field for Nasser Hussein who had just arrived at the crease. He placed Ponting at silly point and said “I want you right under his nose”. Ponting replied ” that would be anywhere inside a three mile radius”. Sadly Nassar laughed so much that he was dismissed the next ball.
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. The Cruel Sea 2. 1977
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Which British daily newspaper closed down in March 1971? 2. Of which country was General Yakubu Gowon head of state?
We allotmenteers are beginning to feel as if we are stuck in a Dr Who vortex. Day after day we start afresh on exactly the same conditions and by dusk have everything unfrozen and every path made usable. We drag ourselves home, slump in the chair, go to bed and wake early to return to the animals. And lo and behold, in true Dr Who style we are back to exactly the point at which we started yesterday. It would be nice to borrow the Doctor’s time machine and be transported any place where the sun shines. Preferably not Australia though, we’ve heard enough crowing to be going on with! If come the Spring I am back on my bandwagon about the magic of an allotment site please remind me of my winter moans!
And as officially accredited Victor Meldrews we are not short of other things to moan about as the second ice age continues. We are running short of feed and the roads to our usual supplier are still deep in snow and ice. Today we enquired of the local authority when, if ever, it is going to tackle the side roads. We were advised that no such action is envisaged. It seems that there is an acute shortage of salt and all councils have received a letter from transport minister Norman Baker instructing them to spread it more thinly. Due to an “oversight” the 250,000 tons of extra grit/salt was ordered late and the suppliers cannot arrange supply until “early in the new year”!
The president of the Automobile Association, Edmund King, yesterday spoke for us all when he said that he was completely baffled by such incompetence. The emergency stockpile was a key recommendation after last year’s snow chaos. Why, Mr King asked, was the recommendation not implemented? Most people can answer that. We Brits are creative, inventive and artistic but when it comes to organisation we are incompetent beyond words. Nothing works. Perhaps this explains why the government is selling off every public service to overseas companies. People across the developed world love us for our eccentric ability to cock-up all that we administer. In the true tradition of Margaret Rutherford and Alistair Simm we never fail to sustain our reputation. But sometimes, if you actually live here, it becomes a little wearing.
Those of us who are hardly fans of the Cameron/Clegg bunch would happily castigate them for the fact that everyone is stranded everywhere. But that would be unfair, for the previous government managed to make the same mess last winter.
Perhaps that emergency stockpile will arrive in time for next winter! One thing is sure, if the government and its allies in the local authorities organised a booze up in a brewery the police would have no need for breathalyzer equipment!
AND HERES ANOTHER THING!
Irrespective of public opinion the coalition is hellbent on privatising the Royal Mail and it will not rest content until the French bidders are in charge. That in itself is stupid enough but now we learn that whoever drafted the Bill forgot to make the presence of the Queen’s head on every stamp a legal requirement!
Now ministers are rushing around like headless chickens in an attempt to pursuade us that no one in their right mind would leave out such a vital marketing tool. But that assumes that the buyers are in their right minds. It also assumes that they will not take delight in putting their own president’s picture on instead.
Have we no national pride left? And where is the opposition on this? In bed with the coalition, that’s where! The whole lot of them will not rest until there is not a single British institution that is owned by Britain.
As Tiny Tim would have said God bless them one and all!
YESTERDAY’S QUIZ ANSWERS; 1. 97 years old. 2. West Germany
TODAY’S QUESTIONS; 1. Whose daughter did ‘Anastasia’ claim to be? 2. Which prince took his seat in the House of Lords?