Toffs fiddle while homes burn

Now which of you should become our next Prime Minister?

You may not have noticed but we are being fed a diet of complete, self-indulgent, nonsense by the “news” media as half a dozen toffs examine their navels while they decide who they want to be in charge of the rest of us for the next god knows how long.

OK, that’s something of an exaggeration because there still might be more than six signed-up Tory party members, but they are deciding if they want us to have Tweedledum or Tweedledummer as OUR new national leader.

In the meantime, we are suffering, and they can rely on our news media to help us look away and become enthralled by their antics as though it was some kind of national democratic exercise.

Well, it ain’t!

They used to call this sort of malarkey, a media circus –

Covering who Boris Johnson abused today, what names his nondescript rival called him, how Hunt is going to slash Corporation Tax to ease the burden on the poor, how Johnson is probably not going to commit suicide by bulldozer over Heathrow, who has the biggest BREXIT muscles, how neither of them meant a word they have ever said, unless the Tory members want them to have said it, and so on.

Well, I’m afraid the rest of us can only take so much cant and hypocrisy.

I am reminded of a much-parodied nursery rhyme:

Tweedledum and Tweedledummer  set out to have a battle,

Appearing nightly on TV to treat us plebs like cattle,

But as they squabbled every day, to please the double-barrelled, 

So many voters passed away, we wondered why they quarrelled.

While this tiny number of supporters, of a minority party, work out which donkey they will graciously give us to run our “democracy”, I am reminded that in a constituency of three: namely one fox, one chicken, and one jackal, the democratic vote on what to eat that evening may not be all it is cracked-up to be!

I know, you want me to believe that the chicken is so Boris-like (charismatic, silver-tongued and without a thought for the next generation) that it convinces the other two to have an omelette, but I’m afraid I’m not buying it.

Anyway, let us leave the animals to their revelry and look at other things that are going on, or rather, going wrong.

Sentenced to a very early death

The UK infant mortality rate (IMR) has worsened for the third year in a row. That is the percentage of liveborn children who die within their first year of life. A terrible event in the life of any family that is becoming more, rather than less common. The difference is not huge, but according to government figures the infant mortality rate increased to 3.9 deaths per 1,000 live births compared with 3.8 in 2016, Furthermore, in 2014, it was 3.6 deaths per 1,000. The situation had been improving steadily until 2014, when it went into reverse. To be clear this equates to 2,600 infant deaths in 2017 in England and Wales.

Even more disturbing is the impact that deprivation has on these death rates. In England’s most deprived areas babies were almost twice as likely to die within the first year of life as those in the least deprived areas (5.2 against 2.7 deaths per 1,000 live births). The UK now comes 25th out of the 42 countries providing 2017 data.

The President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Prof Russell Viner, said: “To address the UK’s dismal infant mortality rates, it is paramount that the government take immediate steps to tackle social inequality and improve maternal and early years care.” Still what does he know?

Come on you oldies, you don’t need your last six months, do you?

It doesn’t stop there either. Men and women aged 65 can now expect to die over six months earlier than they did previously and the trend continues.

It’s not all bad news though – Insurance companies have realised that they may not have to pay out so much on future pensions. Phew! thank goodness for silver linings!

I’m guessing The Chancellor could get a bit of a windfall if it continues too.

You twenty-somethings don’t get away with it either

Death rates for those aged between 20 and 24 increased between 2013 and 2016 according to a recent Nuffield Trust report and that is also unprecedented.

So, let me spell it out for you. More babies are dying, more young people are dying, everyone can expect to live shorter lives.

So what is going on? I know, let’s see what either of the Prime Ministerial candidates have had to say about this at their “Hustings”. After all, Jeremy – no, not Corbyn, the other one, pay attention – was Health Secretary before he was moved to fill the catastrophic hole left by the other candidate at The Foreign Office.

Not heard very much, have we? In fact, HMG are blaming it on anything and anyone that isn’t them. It could, however, all be down to the most savage attack on our social support structure ever mounted by a government in the UK. Don’t you think?

Oh, they can dress it up and call it what they like, but Austerity, by any other name would smell as rank!

You may think this is pretty important stuff, so what are Tweedledum and Dumber doing about it? In three, rather hackneyed, words – “Not a lot”

They are both majoring on what would be a much more serious party disaster – the risk of defeat by Jeremy Corbyn. Think about that – they mean the risk of having to face the electorate, the risk of having to expose themselves to a proper democratic process. Clearly that has to be avoided at all costs.

Looking wider at the pronouncements of their supporters. They regard the risk of exposing themselves to losing their power to the Corbyn bogeyman as even worse than total financial collapse for the country! What is worse is that they seem to be unaware of what they are saying and our news media are not pointing it out to them.

Well, having to ask the rest of us what we think, might be a disaster for you posh boys, but it may not be quite so bad for us. However, we don’t count do we? At least not in this election, and you’re all doing all you can to make sure we don’t get any other kind.

As Nicola Sturgeon is reported to have said the other day, it’s like asking me if I would rather be run down by a lorry or a bus. Well, I’m having no truck with any of it!

I’m getting off my backside and onto the streets on July 20th in London’s March For Change.

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