|LETTERS FROM LONDON
|REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
8 December 2019
|Exit Stage Right
Hmm. Curiously the media has not reported that a senior British diplomat in
Washington, Alexandra Hall Hall (huh?) has resigned. And no, not because of
any inappropriate advances from Donny – that we know of – but because she
has said she can no longer “peddle half-truths” on behalf of the government she
can’t “trust”. She wrote a scathing letter – something diplomats just don’t do.
And who is she exactly? The lead envoy for Brexit at the embassy. She has
accused ministers of “misleading or disingenuous” claims regarding the Brexit
exit. She said her position had become “unbearable personally and untenable
professionally.” Blimey! Foreign Office comment? None naturally.
Suffered through the two idiots in their final TV debate? Both lied. Both made it
shockingly clear they were both unfit for office. Both bored us to death. Both
made us fall into despair. Jezza was stiff, Boris was smug. Irony of ironies, that
when John Major and Tony Blair urged voters to vote tactically to deprive the
Conservatives of a parliamentary majority. They reminded us that a vote for
Boris was just sooo wrong. They reminded us of how pathetic JC and Al are.
Even John and Tony looked good!
Hide and Seek
Ah yes, the endless coverage of Boris. The “I never tried to deceive the public”
Boris – more “I don’t need to try. It comes naturally.” No name-dropping for
Boris. No the Don…the Donald…Donny…Mr President. Boris was having none
of that. He couldn’t take the chance of association – all part of Cumming’s
stratagem: to reduce the guilt-by-association, to stay as hidden as possible until
12 December of course. Oh dear oh dear. Not even a personal handshake on
the steps of No.10, no joint press, no hugs, no back-patting, no hair tips
exchanged. He left Donny and his plus one standing outside in the cold. Oh
Boris. Where are your manners? Laugh here.
Possibly ‘secret’ meetings? “Yo Bro. How ya doin’?” “Good. Good. Well Bro,
time to make more plans for you to take over the NHS. All that profit!” “Yeah! All
that profit! How’s Health for Profit. Huh?” “Amo illum!” “Huh? Did you say ‘amo’?
Like ammunition?” “I said I love it!”
But. He was caught out smirking and then looking over at the camera when that
circle of the playground gang, or locker-room - oh, right – that included
Princess Ann, all had a laugh over mocking Donny. Trudeau led the way and
now it’s all out retaliation from Donny who took his toys and went home soon
after. Meant to be a significant moment of the significant 70th Nato summit but
Boris’ significant other left an hour before he was to speak.
No Neil-ing down for our Boris. Sorry, but hard to resist – as he has defiantly
resisted. Will it make any difference that Al has refused to meet Andrew Neil
face à face, mano a mano. Not a chance. Sigh.
Nonetheless, Neil has spoken straight to the camera as he listed questions he
wants to ask Al. Some of what he said: “That is democracy…We’ve always
proceeded in good faith that the leaders would participate, and at every election
they have. All of them. Until this one…We have been asking him for weeks now
to give us a date, a time, a venue. As of now, none has been forthcoming…But
the prime minister of our nation will, at times, have to stand up to President
Trump, President Putin, President Xi of China. So we’re surely not expecting too
much that he spend half an hour standing up to me.”
Neil continued to rant with a series of “questions of trust” he would ask Johnson,
including whether his promises on the country's health service, Brexit, austerity
and a trade deal with the US can be believed.
“Critics and sometimes even those close to him have deemed him to be
untrustworthy.” Ouch! Hid from ITV’s Julie Etchingham’s interview as well. Just
the kind of person we would want as PM….evidently. A pathological liar/coward
with no morals. Perfect.
The Numbers Game
Jezza revealed the usual: more Tory leaked documents. In a press conference
he held up that leaked assessment which expects economic disaster for
Northern Ireland but across the UK as well. The numbers? An additional cost to
businesses equivalent to 400,000 jobs. Cheery that.
OK. Details? The government report confirms that the 'unfettered access'
between the UK and Northern Irish markets that Al has repeatedly promised to
UK and Northern Irish businesses is impossible without breaching EU law.
Funnily he didn’t notice that. Previous analysis found the administrative cost to
business of these checks could be as high as £11.2 billion a year. Come on:
Cash and Carry
So on to the NHS. I know, I know. Really? Just a reminder – or two – or three
or…. Donny has never given the NHS a single thought: “Never even thought
about it, honestly…we want nothing to do with it.” That’s why there have been
two years of secret negotiations...why US companies expect “full market
access” of their drugs – additional £27bn a year or £519m a week if you’re
counting…and the scariest bit is that the US companies could make legal! (note
here) action to enforce trading conditions. Experts say the annual NHS drug bill
of £18billion will rocket by £27billion to £45billion – or £500million a week extra –
if it has to pay US drug prices.
Comments in 2016 made by Larry Renfro, then chief executive of Optum the
healthcare services of the biggest US private health insurer, UnitedHealth Group,
now Optum’s managing partner, told investors three years ago: “We’ve been
planting seeds. We are getting stronger with the Minister of Health, as well as the
Secretary of Health.” Japanese Knotweed perhaps?
Oh there is more. Always more. Last month a document written by the US
Chamber of Commerce and Coalition of Services Industries exposed that they
are waiting to take action once we leave the annoying, interfering EU.
Not depressed enough? Well, the US is here to help. Massive greed-driven US
health corporations as well as hedge funds and private equity-firms are in
control of the UK mental-health sector. Deep breath in here. The NHS would no
longer have permission to use its own information unless it paid to do so.
Otherwise it could be sued. No! Really! Accounting firm EY has already valued
this information at £10bn a year.
Documents aren’t just about price increases, they are about the flow of
information from the UK to the US. They show “the free flow of data is a top
priority” for the US in trade talks with the UK. Translation: this “free flow of data”
could result in US companies getting unlimited access to UK patient health
The report also confirms the “United States will seek rules that prohibit, across all
services sectors, discrimination against foreign services suppliers and
restrictions on the number of services suppliers in the market”.
The actual statistics are naturally in-take-of-breath shocking. If you dare to read:
Acadia, a Tennessee-based health giant, spent £1.3bn buying the Priory Group
and now gloats over their earnings of more than £188m in just three months from
British public services.
At Cygnet, owned by another huge US firm, show operating profits have surged
to £45.2m due to deals with 228 NHS purchasing bodies after it bought a rival
group last year. Time for a small rant. Its US boss is reportedly the richest chief
executive in the hospital industry, adding more than £39m in one year from pay,
bonuses and stock to his bank account(s).
Yet another company, Elysium, is already earning revenues of £61.2m from at
least 55 units in the last three years. A study by the Rightful Lives campaign
group has found these three firms alone own 13 of the 16 mental health settings
judged “inadequate” by the Care Quality Commission watchdog. Oh now that’s a
surprise. Just a few US companies have managed to abscond with nearly £2
billion! So far.
After that you’ll require counselling surely. But maybe not. All those horror
stories of suicide, solitary confinement, self-harm, degradation, abuse, forced
injections, inappropriate restraint might keep you away from US mental health
care. NHS not for sale? It’s already been sold.
OMG! I think Giri/Haji (Duty/Same) is one of the very very best dramas ever. So
brilliant. So innovative. So clever. So cool. So emotional. So unpredictable. So
amusing. Just brilliant!!!!!
Joe Barton, the creator, writer, executive producer said it’s a show about misfits
– broken people lost in a big city, trying to put themselves back together
again…It’s been the best creative experience of my life.”