Today’s Independent leads with the news that tens of GP’s surgeries all over the country have been closing recently, forcing 160,000 patients to register at another practice. This must be rather disappointing news for Dave C, whose already slightly spurious claim that he will somehow create a “seven-day NHS” now seems totally implausible. Shame, because when he previously pulled a cool £ 8 billion out of the back of his sofa during the election campaign, he had everyone convinced.
Putin seems to be throwing the most extraordinary tantrum, by banning what seems like a rather misinformed list of the top echelons of British government (Nick Clegg was included – (I bet he’s chuffed!) – from ever going to Russia. This reminds me of our immigration debate: there are very few people simply lining up to get in; it’s not that great a holiday destination, as beautiful as some parts of Russia undoubtedly are. Why Putin thinks this will be taken as a serious rebuke for Europe’s apparent mistreatment of him, rather than as a laughable, irrelevant gesture that secures his image as an unreasonable petty-tyrant, who can say.
Finally, the Independent seems to have belatedly woken up to the fact that Britain is a vastly unequal country, where wealth is not shared fairly amongst the populace, and that the situation is getting worse; I base these comments on a series of articles (“COFFEE SHOPS AND FAST FOOD CHAINS FAIL TO PAY LIVING WAGE”; Yasmin Alibhai-Brown’s latest enlightened crusade: “GOD KNOWS I’VE TRIED TO UNDERSTAND THE RICH, BUT I JUST CAN’T” and “INEQUALITY HARMS GROWTH – BUT THE CHANCELLOR IS GOING TO DELIVER MORE OF IT”. As justifiable as these comments are, and as timeless, they sound strange coming from a paper who recently backed a continuation of the Conservative-Lid Dem coalition to win the general election, probably on the advice of its non-dom oligarch owner, Evgeny Lebedev. If this newspaper really cared so much about social justice, why did it back a government which seems intent on getting rid of what little remains, and writing half-arsed, neo-fascistic policies on the back of a fag packet?
It seems like every day another ill-thought through and ideologically inconsistent policy gets flushed through the pipework. The increasingly authoritarian policies of this government are at odds with its “self-reliance” rhetoric. The community can push people around and listen to their phone calls, but members of the community can’t enjoy mutual financial security? This is the rankest form of Toryism, without any of the kind-of-redeeming features of pre-Thatcher paternalism. In this brave new world of a “snooper’s charter”; twinned with a law to restrain the government, should it ever feel the insuppressible need to raise taxes, from engaging in such lawlessness; the hypocrisies of the Conservative Party have been inflated to idiotic proportions.