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I was a little amused after the event when some tourists came up to me and asked what it was all about. Amazing how the world has changed. Even in my childhood, no one would have been in any doubt.
Thanks to Sandra Davies for providing pictures.
Bruce Hutton has had a good idea. We often see fabulous pictures of our fabulous town on Facebook, and it is obvious that there are many talented photographers in the town. Bruce has suggested that the photographs should be given free to the town, turned into pictures and/or postcards and sold for the benefit of the town. How about it?
I gather it has had several million views, which puts Philip well and truly in the film star category! It made the front page of the Gazette, although I was surprised that the Journal seems to have ignored it completely, at least in its print edition – surely that counts as news, even if you don’t think it merits the front page. It certainly flummoxed poor old Paddy Pantsdown – the look on his face is classic.
Actually, Philip has subsequently admitted that he came up with the figures simply to show that, given 14 years, you can “prove” anything in economics by taking suitable starting points, which is what both camps in the grand EU debate have been doing.
Winston Churchill was one of several leaders of his era who wanted to tie Germany economically into the rest of Europe in the hope of preventing any more European wars. The theory was that you do not lightly go to war with a country with whom you have profitable trade relations. That may well be true, but the same argument does not extend to political union. The state once known as Yugoslavia provides an excellent demonstration of that. A bunch of nations having nothing in common, except proximity to each other were forced together and eventually came apart in a series of nasty, bloody wars. If anything, unwelcome political union seems to me to make it more likely than not that there will be war.
If you believe George Osborne, the chancellor of the exchequer, leaving the EU will cost every household in the UK around £4300 per year. Ignoring the fact that some households manage on less than £4300 per year, how did he get this figure? Well, he assumed that the British economy, that is Gross Domestic Product (GDP), would be 6% smaller than now. Of course, that assumption is open to doubt – the leave camp say GDP will be up by 4% over the same period. However, let’s go with George’s figure. He then works out what 6% of GDP is, divides this by the number of households in the UK and gets the figure of £4300. Simple.
Have you spotted the flaw in George’s argument? GDP and total household income are two very different values. There is some connection – if the country produces more, people are likely to be better off, but the correlation is not simple, and it is simply untrue that a reduction in GDP equates exactly to a reduction in household income. That leads to a disturbing conclusion. Either George knew this and was lying, in which case he is not fit to be chancellor of the exchequer, or he is so economically illiterate that he did not understand this, in which case he is not fit to be chancellor of the exchequer.
Unfortunately, the leave camp are also happy to play fast a loose with figures. Neither lot has the honesty to admit that they simply don’t know what will happen. For those who want us to leave the EU to do so would be a disaster, since it would play into the hands of the remain lot. So leave scare us with immigration. If you believe them, 400 million foreigners are slavering on our borders, just waiting to come in and steal all our jobs, laze around on unemployment benefit, throw towels on our pool loungers and probably beat us at football, to boot. The scoundrels! There’s something the leave lot don’t mention – the birth rate among our “indigenous” population (if that means anything) is so low that, without immigrants, future generations are going to have a hard time collecting their pensions. I’m OK, but, if you are, say, 40 or younger, you had better hope that there will be immigration. Otherwise, there will be insufficient people in the working population to enable you to retire.
For me, perhaps the biggest argument against the leave campaign is that it is supported by some of my least favourite politicians. Anything George Galloway and Michael “Nanny” Gove agree on must surely be wrong!
I just wish someone would give us unbiased facts. Normally, I would look to the government to do this. Instead they spent 9 million quid of our money producing and distributing a booklet which is not merely blatant propaganda, but not very convincing propaganda at that!
We have probably all heard that the Northern Devon Healthcare Trust has over-spent to the tune of more than £400million. However, I would like to know how they did this. Is the whole of that £400million real money or does it include projections for future liabilities? How much of the Trust’s money goes on management consultants, administration and bureaucracy? How much is down to the Private Finance Initiative (Gordon Brown’s brilliant idea to allow state organisations effectively to borrow money without it appearing as government borrowing)?
We must stop any move to restrict essential services at the NDDH before it has gone too far. How many people will die if we don’t?
Now here is an interesting website:
It looks as though it is what the NEW Healthcare Trust was thinking a few years ago. Note, in particular:
“Small Trusts like Northern Devon Healthcare can’t do everything. There are not always enough patients to sustain clinical standards and to justify the equipment, specialists and support that are needed.
This is evident especially in some hi-tech areas and in cancer care, where national standards are very high. There might be temptations in a small organisation to shave off services that appear uneconomic. However, reports from other hospitals show that if one part of a small hospital closes, it can have a knock-on effect on other parts of the hospital and ultimately result in its demise.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
What all of the administrators overlook is the cost to the public of having hospital services too far away. There is, of course, the risk that you might die on the way to the hospital if you have been so foolish as to fall ill in Ilfracombe or Lynmouth, for example. But also, there is the cost of getting you, and friends and family to and from the remote hospital. Given that it is well established that close contact with friends and family helps the healing process (this is part of the argument used to justify taking care back to the community), surely it makes sense to facilitate visits.