Election Blog (10)
'Excellent little poison darts of tart and pertinent observation'
- Troubled Diva
The problem with writing a blog is that it doesn't leave you much time for reading other blogs, so when I do I have to perform a rudimentary form of speed-reading. So when I first scanned Mike's comment on my election blogs (above) I thought he'd called me a poisonous tart. That may well be true of course, though few have ever stated it so bluntly.
But when I read it properly it conjured up an image of myself in Outer Samoa, sporting nothing but a fetching loin cloth and all aquiver. Sorry, I meant with a quiver full of poison darts to bring down any passing wildlife with lethal accuracy before returning to the tribe to engage in strange and primitive sexual rites that would make Saturday night at Heaven nightclub look like a vicarage tea party.
But enough of this, before someone with a PhD in Social Anthropology writes in to say that Samoans don't use poison darts.
(Don't bother. This is a blog, not a fucking scientific journal).
Good to see that the Monster Raving Loony Party is still going strong. They launched their manifesto yesterday. One of their key policies is not to try and join the Euro but instead to persuade the rest of Europe to join the pound. I thought that was rather good until I remembered that it's probably on the hidden agenda of either UKIP or Veritas. And we hardly need the Monster Raving Loonies when we've got Kilroy Silk's gang.
One of the Tory health policies is to pay half the cost if someone has an operation in the private sector. They manage to make this sound quite sensible and to the benefit of both patients and the NHS. The debates about it on television have been quite difficult to follow. So here's my simple, if not impartial, guide:
Let's say an operation costs £10,000 in the private sector. The Tories will pay £5,000 and you will pay £5,000.
Now let's take three different types of patient:
a) Someone with loads of money, possibly a multi-millionaire. They can pay the full cost without even noticing but the Tories hand them £5,000 of taxpayers' money.
The Tories justify this by saying that they've already paid for the NHS through their taxes but are now saving the NHS money by not using it.
It's a novel idea that if you don't use State services or benefits the Government owes you a credit. I've never needed Child Allowance or put a child through State schools, so I look forward to receiving a substantial cheque from the Treasury.
b) Someone who can just about scrape together £5,000 but not the full £10,000. This person gains because the Government will give them £5,000 to jump the NHS queue. They will do this using money that could have been invested in the NHS to reduce queues in the first place.
c) Someone who doesn't have £5,000. This person has to wait in the NHS queue. One of the reasons the queue is so long is that patients (a) and (b) are being operated on in the private sector with the help of taxpayers' money that could have been invested in reducing NHS waiting lists. Furthermore, they may be being operated on by an NHS surgeon who is earning extra money by working a few hours a week in the private sector, despite the fact that he or she has a long NHS waiting list and has been trained in a State Medical School at huge cost to the taxpayer.
I was thinking this morning that, 2 weeks into the election, I'd had only one election leaflet. But then a leaflet from my Conservative candidate dropped through the letterbox.
The slogan given greatest prominence is "Put more police on the streets and they'll catch more criminals. It's not rocket science, is it?"
No, it's complete nonsense. Plausible nonsense, but nonsense nonetheless. Research has shown that a policeman plodding the streets is likely to apprehend someone committing a crime only once every 8 years. And for their presence to act as a deterrent you'd have to post one permanently on every street corner in Britain.
There are 12 photographs of our Tory candidate but none of Michael Howard. The only well-known politician he's pictured with is Boris Johnson who, as everyone knows, is as mad as a goat - and seemingly as horny as a goat too. You'd hardly stick him on your election leaflet to promote family values.
But then I found my favourite picture. It shows a young teenage boy wearing a mask kneeling between the candidate and another man. Both the smiling men have a hand on his shoulder. Good grief! Has he decided to give us an unprecedently honest glimpse of his private life? Or did he email the wrong picture from his hard disk to the printers?
Then I read the caption: "Campaigning for action on crime".
Silly me! Everyone knows that teenage burglars wear pantomime Dick Turpin eye masks like the ones you get in Christmas crackers. Some of them probably also carry sacks marked SWAG. Which makes you wonder why the police don't catch more of them. If they're running round dressed like that, it's hardly rocket science, is it?