Well I see that the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is having talks today with football administrators and medical experts over the possibility of allowing top class English football to return next month behind closed doors and at neutral venues. Now nobody would be happier than me to see football’s return – so long as it is safe for all concerned. Indeed yesterday the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, was gushing about how the Premier League’s return could ‘lift the spirits of the nation’. Wow it only seems a few days since Matt Hancock publicly pilloried top flight footballers for their wealthy lifestyles and shaming them into making a bigger contribution towards the cost of the NHS (that is in addition to the heavy tax they pay on their massive earnings) which many were already doing privately. It makes you laugh doesn’t it. The Government targets easy scapegoats but with 30,000 covid-19 deaths already on their watch (the largest in any country bar the USA which does have 4 times our population) they are suddenly in need of those overpaid footballers to take the attention and the pressure off them. And people accuse me of being cynical. Pah
I almost forgot to mention the other thing that really got my goat up with the Minister for Health’s pronouncements this week. Basically we all wanted his answers to two key questions:
when will the NHS staff in all positions of the service get their essential personal protective equipment?
when will we have sufficient stocks of testing equipment available firstly to carry out essential tests on all NHS staff and then on the general public to meet and if possible exceed the target of 100,000 per day?
and as I’ve made clear in the earlier posting he couldn’t give any clear reassurances on either. But to deflect attention he then proceeded to play to the public gallery and vilified footballers for not accepting substantial pay cuts at this difficult time, when many people are being laid off etc. It’s such an easy target and I thought it was a really cheap shot.
I heard from a friend and colleague last night that they were struggling to get home after a recent holiday in Lanzarote as a result of the flight ban caused by the volcanic ash plume spewing its way from Iceland. The last I’d heard they were en route to the French border having left Barcelona some hours earlier. Heaven only knows how and when they’ll get back and at what cost. This morning I checked into the news channels to see what the latest situation was, especially as the flight ban had been lifted late last night. It wasn’t terribly reassuring. Continue reading →
The man who wrote the words for the great communicator was answering questions before the Iraq Inquiry yesterday and gave nothing away. Well Alistair Campbell did reveal that PM Tony Blair had written to President Bush before the invasion of Iraq to pledge his country’s support, militarily and diplomatically, to ensure the removal of Saddam Hussein. Well talk about a shock revelation. Who’da thunk it? How surprising that the former Director of Communications to the PM’s office was able to answer questions for hours on end without saying anything which could be regarded as even remotely incriminating. What were they expecting – that Campbell would speak with complete honesty and openness? What is it about politicians and their advisers that prevents them from every answering a question directly?
Yesterday was the final day for getting UK tax returns into HM Revenue & Customs. You’ve seen the ad with the message ‘Tax doesn’t have to be taxing’. That’s a lie I’m afraid because it is more difficult than quantum physics. I used to get a local firm to do it for me – and that’s when I was on PAYE. It used to cost around £150 and it was worth it not to have to complete that dreadful, complicated form. But they wanted £2k to do it now that I have my own company. I felt sure I could do it myself…. Continue reading →
I was reading in the Independent today that the President of Indonesia, one Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (top name!), has composed a whole album of romantic ballads, entitled My Longing for You. How cool is that? What’s more his anticipated opponent at the next General election, the former army chief General Wiranto, has also recorded an album. Now it got me thinking that we should have more of this in British politics. How much less bitter would it have been if Tony and Gordon had recorded an album of songs to celebrate their political fortunes over the last 12 years or so. It’d be a cracker ….