Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Candles for the NHS & Army

Hay was bought one of these expensive, scented candles for her birthday by a work colleague - the ones that come in a glass tumbler with a metal lid and the whole thing is intended to be thrown away when the candle is finished. It was presented in a very expensive, company emblazoned paper shopping bag. Must have cost at least £15 of thereabouts for something you can buy in IKEA for a quid, sans the tumbler. It exemplifies the scandalous waste that's prevalent in our throw-away culture. The tumbler will be reused once the candle has expired, but in the aftermath of Christmas I saw so many of these objects in the recycling (our neighbours all put their recycling outside our house, as the lorries don't have to negotiate a tight bend in the lane behind us). Damned thing sets off my asthma too,

We were chatting about how society has become obsessed with the self over the years and community spirit is not as prevalent as it once was. To me, this seems to correlate with the rise of the welfare state, whereby we shifted the responsibility for looking after the less fortunate (and indeed our own) to a faceless 3rd party. That's not to say the welfare state is a bad thing, but it's a trade off - many that would have fallen through the net of community spirit are now cared for, but we've become meaner spirited as a result. Or have we? Is it possible that those lacking community spirit now would still have lacked community spirit 100 years ago, which is why so many died in poverty or of hideous diseases?

We were watching some TV programme about incredible operations in the NHS. A doctor commented that he is doing operations today which would not have been contemplated a decade ago, let alone 20 or 30 years ago. The NHS is under financial pressure, and it's hardly surprising when you consider the medical advances made - and the consequent rise in costs coupled with the fact funding per person has levelled off.

I saw the BBC news item last night about a hospital in the NE and its stretched staff. Not an immigrant in sight, except as hospital staff. The patients were all, with the exception of one child, elderly.

A senior general has said we need to spend more money on the armed services to maintain our capability. Well, that's what senior armed forces personnel say all the time - it's in their interests. However, in this case I agree. Excellent argument for an EU Army, if you ask me. NATO comprises 29 countries, or which several are not in Europe (that includes Turkey). Any one of those countries can veto a NATO action. The veto problem could similarly affect an EU Army, but that could be addressed in its formation by use of majority voting. Additionally, the EU has greater ability to ensure member countries hand over budget than NATO does.

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