A Society In Conflict

It is now over ten months since voters in the United Kingdom elected, by a very small majority, to exit the European Union.

It is said that a week is a long time in politics, so ten months must surely be an eternity. Indeed, for UK citizens residing in other member states of the EU, the last ten months has been a period of great uncertainty regarding their future rights and benefits, and at the time of writing, nothing has changed. After the fiasco over the resignation of former Prime Minister David Cameron, the country has been led by Theresa May, a woman who claims to follow Christian principles yet is showing scant regard for the welfare of the poorer in society and the hundreds of thousands of her citizens living in other European countries.

The PM steadfastly repeated that there would be no snap election and that parliament would run its course under the Fixed Term Act. Furthermore, the government promised that voting rights would be reinstated to UK citizens who have been living abroad for over fifteen years and are currently excluded from a vote, prior to the next election. So what does the PM do? She promptly goes against her word and calls a snap election for 8 June 2017 and those without voting rights will continue to be left in the wilderness. It has become quite apparent over the last eight months of her reign that Prime Minister May cannot be trusted in anything she says or does. She claims that the election is needed to give her a stronger mandate for negotiation of the withdrawal terms from the EU and repeatedly says that Britain needs a strong and stable government. Whilst there are countless members of the ruling Conservative Party who oppose Brexit at any cost, they are frightened to step out of line and support their leader in her misguided decisions. May states that she wants to listen to the electorate and is a committed constituency MP so it’s ironic that she is totally disregarding the wishes of her own constituency where some 94% of voters wanted the UK to remain in the EU. Although she doesn’t broadcast the fact, May was also an advocate of EU membership, but her rise to power has seen her become little more than a dictator and society is becoming ever more divided by wealth and the lack of it. Irrespective of people’s wishes, she has already decided the direction in which she is taking the country.

The UK is anything but strong and stable, with huge economic and social problems, many of which have amassed during the last seven years of Conservative administration. Just as in the EU referendum campaign, statistics have been manipulated to cover the truth, and employment figures are a prime example. Whilst banners and the Tory press may proclaim some of the lowest unemployment figures in decades, the reality is that thousands of people are only in part-time work or engaged on zero hours contracts with low wages. The National Health Service (NHS), once the envy of the world, is constantly being reinvented and employing bureaucrats on obscene salaries, yet the stark reality is one of diminishing nursing staff, a reduction in beds, excessive waiting times which often lead to premature death, and very low morale. Apparently there is no money for nurses who have to endure minimum wage increases, yet unnecessary tiered management can be paid six figure sums simply to asset strip and prepare for privatisation via the back door. The private sector has long been the goal of the Tories … under Margaret Thatcher, the country witnessed the privatisation of all the utility companies, telecommunications and the rail network, and one only has to subscribe to these to witness poor service and very high costs. In fact, many of the utility and rail companies are owned by European giants, either private or government-controlled, who rake in the profits that, otherwise, would be reinvested in the respective businesses.

Following the vote for Brexit, the country has become more socially divided. There have been many reports of racism directed towards fellow Europeans, and citizens of other EU countries living in the UK now also fear for their long-term future. The government has already given directives for some to leave the country, resulting in the breaking up of families and potentially denying children of a parent. More and more people are having to rely upon food banks to make ends meet, violence is on the increase in some of the largest cities, and the poor especially are becoming more vulnerable. Our Christian Prime Minister has made little or no comment about the social fragmentation of her country but dogmatically reiterates the need for a strong and stable government. What about a strong and stable society?

Although achieving a small majority vote from those who voted, Brexit only represents some 34% of the UK electorate. Because of the aforementioned ban on British citizens across Europe being able to vote in EU referendum owing to living overseas for more than 15 years, three million people were denied their democratic right to vote on their own future. This is ironic given that they some of the most likely to be adversely affected by the outcome. Once again, these three million will be silenced in the upcoming General Election. No amount of MPs and a larger House of Commons majority will make the slightest difference to the eventual terms of Brexit as these will be agreed by governments and not individuals. Therefore, it could be construed that her arguments for this election are futile to say the least and no matter what the outcome, May will still have to negotiate with the 27 remaining EU member states.

Sadly, not all British overseas residents voted to remain in the EU. For some inexplicable reason, especially those residing in Spain, they do not regard Spain as Europe and think they have special status and rights to live here. By and large, it is the more uneducated members of society and those with more money than sense who supported the Brexit cause although there were many who were simply influenced by lie upon lie that life would be better outside the Union. People would do well to remember that rarely is the grass greener …

Of course, standing by a referendum that bamboozled, deceived and lied to the electorate is another matter entirely. Regardless of the result, any PM worth his or her salt would have spoken to the nation explaining reasons for its annulment and then laying out the full benefits and disadvantages for all to see. There would be no visible campaigning allowed and people would simply be given time to digest the facts before casting their vote. As things stand, the United Kingdom may well find itself isolated in what is becoming a very violent and turbulent world, and at least a generation have been denied unrestricted movement and career opportunities.

It just remains to be seen what the final outcome of Brexit will be once May assembles her strong and stable government. One thing is certain … she will not be acting in the interests of the majority irrespective of the election result as figures now reveal that more British people are supportive of EU membership than not since the referendum campaign lies emerged.

How To Fix The Economy

With a General Election imminent in the United Kingdom, and the economy very much at the top of the political agenda, this tongue-in-cheek solution was seen on social media …

An open letter to our political leaders. Here are some practical solutions to fixing the UK’s economy!

Instead of giving billions of pounds sterling to banks that will squander the money on lavish parties and unearned bonuses, use the following solution which we will call the Patriotic Retirement Plan. Currently there are some 10 million people over the age of 50 in employment. Pay each of them £1 million in severance for early retirement with the following stipulations:

  • They must retire. This will create 10 million job openings therefore solving the unemployment crisis
  • They must buy a new British-made car. That’s 10 million cars ordered and thereby fixing the decimated car industry
  • They must either buy a house or pay off their mortgage. This resolves the current housing crisis
  • They must send their kids to school, college or university. This will keep them off the streets and drastically reduce the crime rate
  • They must spend a minimum of £100 a week on alcohol or tobacco products. There’s your money returned in duty and tax

It really can’t get much easier than that! However if more money is needed, get all members of Parliament to repay their falsely claimed expenses and second home allowances.

Now for some more radical solutions:

  • Put pensioners in jail and criminals in nursing homes. This way, pensioners would have access to showers, hobbies and walks
  • They’d benefit from unlimited free pres rioting, dental and medical treatment, wheelchairs etc, and receive money instead of having to pay it out
  • With constant video monitoring, they would get instant help if they fell or needed assistance
  • Bedding would be laundered at least twice a week and all clothing ironed and returned to them
  • A guard would check on them every 20 minutes and bring their meals directly to them
  • They would enjoy family visits in a purpose-built suite
  • They would have access to a library, gymnasium, pool, education and spiritual counselling
  • Simple clothing, shoes, bed attire, slippers and legal aid would be free on request
  • Private, secure rooms for everyone with an exercise outdoor yard and landscaped gardens
  • Each senior could have a television, radio and computer, as well as daily telephone calls

A board of directors would oversee matters and handle any complaints, whilst the guards would have to adhere to a very strict code of conduct. Meanwhile, the criminals would have to exist on cold food, live in isolation in a tiny room and unsupervised. They would have a weekly shower and pay £600 per week for their accommodation with little chance of ever enjoying freedom.

Now for another point of contention. It seems amazing that during the mad cow disease epidemic, government officials could track a single cow from its birth and subsequently identify its calves yet are incapable of tracking 125000 illegal immigrants wandering around the country. Maybe they should each be given a cow!

Yours

A Grumpy Old Man

A Pigging Dilemma

A light-hearted view on the nonsense of agricultural grants and Government bureaucracy!

Dear Secretary of State

My friend, who is currently farming, recently received a cheque for £3000 from the Rural Payments Agency for not rearing pigs. I would now like to join the ‘not rearing pigs’ business.

IPiggy 2n your opinion, what is the best kind of farm on which not to rear pigs, and what is the best breed of pigs not to rear? I want to be sure I approach this endeavour in keeping with all government policies, as dictated by the Common Agricultural Policy.

I would prefer not to rear bacon pigs, but if this is not the type you want not rearing, I will just as gladly not rear porkers. Are there any advantages in not rearing rare breeds such as Saddlebacks or Gloucester Old Spots, or are there too many people already not rearing these? As I see it, the hardest part of this programme will be keeping an accurate record of how many pigs I haven’t reared. Are there any Government or Local Authority courses on this? My friend is very satisfied with this business. He had been rearing pigs for forty years or so, and the most he ever made on them was £1422 in 1973. That is, until this year… when he received a cheque for not rearing any.

Piggy 1If I get £3000 for not rearing fifty pigs, will I get £6000 for not rearing a hundred? I plan to operate on a small scale at first, restricting the business to about 4000 pigs not raised, which will mean about £240,000 for the first year. As I become more expert in not rearing pigs, I plan to be more ambitious, perhaps increasing to about 40,000 pigs not reared in my second year, for which I should expect about £2.4m from your department. Incidentally, I wonder if I would be eligible to receive tradable carbon credits for all these pigs not producing harmful and polluting methane gas?  Another point: these pigs that I plan not to rear will not eat 2000 tonnes of cereals. I understand that you also pay farmers for not growing crops. Will I qualify for payments for not growing cereals to not feed the pigs I don’t rear?

I am also considering the ‘not milking cows’ business, so please send any information you have on that too. In view of the above, you will realise that I will be totally unemployed, and will therefore qualify for unemployment benefits.

I shall, of course, be voting for your party at the next general election!

Yours truly

A FARMER

Forget the Election…

Below is some worldly advice to pet owners should they ever risk doubting their local veterinary surgeon…

A concerned animal lover took a very limp duck into her veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest. After a few moments, the vet shook his head and uttered the words “I’m sorry, but your duck Cuddles has sadly passed away.”

The distressed woman wailed “Are you sure?” to which the vet replied “Yes I am sure. Your duck is dead”.

The woman continued to protest saying “How can you be sure? You haven’t done any tests on him. He might just be in a coma or something.”

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. A few minutes later, he returned with a black Labrador Retriever. As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table, and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. The dog then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet patted the dog on the head and led it out of the room. He returned a few minutes later with a cat, which promptly jumped upon the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, miaowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet turned to the woman and said “I’m sorry, but as previously stated, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.” He turned to his computer terminal, and with a few keystrokes, produced a bill, which he handed to the woman.

The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill. “£150!” she cried… “£150 just to tell me that my dear duck is dead!” The vet shrugged “I’m sorry, but if you had simply taken my word for it, the bill would have been £20, but with the Lab Report and Cat Scan, it’s now £150.”

A possible moral of this story is… if in doubt, say nowt!