Free prescription?-Evening Post

It can’t be easy reading all this political commentary. Everywhere you look, there’s the same old comments to be fired at you: The country is heading for the knackers yard; you can’t give up etc etc All in the name of Brexit, God help me! But and here’s the thing, there are many expenses that the Welsh Government can do without:

NHS can “no longer be used as buffet cart”, says AM, as universal free prescription policy reaches 10-year milestone 

On the day the Welsh Government’s universal free prescriptions policy reaches its 10th anniversary, Welsh Conservatives are calling on Labour Ministers to move towards a more “just and affordable” model.

Commenting, Angela Burns AM, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Secretary, said:

“Universal free prescriptions is a good and noble idea if you have a bottomless well of cash, but clearly this just isn’t the case for the Welsh NHS. Last year the health service in Wales spent a record-breaking £593.7m on free prescriptions – that’s a mammoth 45% rise on when the policy was first introduced by the Welsh Labour Government in 2000.

Well isn’t that stating the obvious?

Wales is skint, just like Scotland and for all this we are giving away money as if it’s going out of fashion. Why prescriptions aren’t mean tested? I can afford to pay for them and I’m sure many of you can afford it too. To hell with the beer and fags (I don’t have much choice where these two highlights of life are concerned, more is the pity) and nights out on the town: Pay for the prescription and to hell with it – never mind the paracetamol you can get it over the counter!

Angela Burns goes on:

“Put simply, people who can afford to pay for their medicine should pay, while those who cannot afford to pay, or live with long-term chronic conditions, should still be able to benefit from free medicine. The NHS can no longer be treated like a buffet cart.”

It’s a buffet cart alright, like just about every else in Wales. The principality is never going to pull itself out of this financial maelstrom come what may. The Labour Government must get a grip on things. otherwise it’s all going to be doom and gloom for everybody – and not forgetting the children and grandchildren. Where is the spirit of the 1940’s, where is the courage of its industrial might?

Up the spout, like everything else.

The Welsh must show its true colours, and fight to win. This way the expulsion of the European Union will mean absolutely nothing. We’ll eat the leeks and daffodils again, no matter what the European trauma throws at us!     

 

 

We’re skint!

It can’t be easy reading all this political commentary. Everywhere you look, there’s the same old comments to be fired at you: The country is heading for the knackers yard; you can’t give up etc etc All in the name of Brexit, God help me! But and here’s the thing, there are many expenses that the Welsh Government can do without:

NHS can “no longer be used as buffet cart”, says AM, as universal free prescription policy reaches 10-year milestone 

On the day the Welsh Government’s universal free prescriptions policy reaches its 10th anniversary, Welsh Conservatives are calling on Labour Ministers to move towards a more “just and affordable” model.

Commenting, Angela Burns AM, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Secretary, said:

“Universal free prescriptions is a good and noble idea if you have a bottomless well of cash, but clearly this just isn’t the case for the Welsh NHS. Last year the health service in Wales spent a record-breaking £593.7m on free prescriptions – that’s a mammoth 45% rise on when the policy was first introduced by the Welsh Labour Government in 2000.

Well isn’t that stating the obvious?

Wales is skint, just like Scotland and for all this we are giving away money as if it’s going out of fashion. Why prescriptions aren’t mean tested? I can afford to pay for them and I’m sure many of you can afford it too. To hell with the beer and fags (I don’t have much choice where these two highlights of life are concerned, more is the pity) and nights out on the town: Pay for the prescription and to hell with it – never mind the paracetamol you can get it over the counter!

Angela Burns goes on:

“Put simply, people who can afford to pay for their medicine should pay, while those who cannot afford to pay, or live with long-term chronic conditions, should still be able to benefit from free medicine. The NHS can no longer be treated like a buffet cart.”

It’s a buffet cart alright, like just about every else in Wales. The principality is never going to pull itself out of this financial maelstrom come what may. The Labour Government must get a grip on things. otherwise it’s all going to be doom and gloom for everybody – and not forgetting the children and grandchildren. Where is the spirit of the 1940’s, where is the courage of its industrial might?

Up the spout, like everything else.

The Welsh must show its true colours, and fight to win. This way the expulsion of the European Union will mean absolutely nothing. We’ll eat the leeks and daffodils again, no matter what the European trauma throws at us!     

 

 

Andrew RT Davies

The Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, had this to say as part of his speech at the Spring Forum of the Welsh Conference:

“The Leader of the Scottish Nationalists Union wants to tear that union apart. With each passing day she wants and sounds more and more like the man she reviles the most. She wants to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall…….and sadly the Scottish people who pay for it. Well I’ve got the message for the SNP and other separatists across our isles. The United Kingdom that we cherish is not a thing of the past. It remains- as ever-the world’s greatest family of nations

Nicola Sturgeon, take note: This Union is here to stay.”

Well now, is this a sparkle of hope? Of optimism? In all the chaos and retribution that pass us by on a daily basis? Or is it a misreading of the true intention of Nicola Sturgeon? Could it be that since she was 15, independence has been the only real political intent that she can rally around?

As far as Sturgeon is concerned, now is the time to swipe this conspiracy theory come hell or high water. It’s time to thump May where it really hurts.

She is going against the popular vote (that’s if you believe all the London commentators) and against the will of the Scottish people…..but so what. She wants an independent Scotland so let her have it. Duff economy and all – what about the Health Service, the economy, education etc etc, All in a trifle mess. I don’t know what you readers think, but I am getting fed up with hearing the ‘independent’ clichés on a daily basis regardless of whether one is pro or against the Brexit argument. Its population is about 5.3 million, so let the Scots to get on with it and see what happens.

As if you need to be told this.15 billion is already the Scottish debt, so what next? I’ll leave this to you.

The Prime Minister has no choice but to wait until the negotiations for a leaving of the European Union are finished. Sturgeon might be flying high (and taking a huge risk) in the pilot’s seat but wait and see – Teresa May might well be doing the same thing. It’s all about something or anything but we shall just have to wait, just like Donald Trump across the deep blue sea – and it really is deep too!

The politicians are clueless and so are we, not much to hope for is there?

And Plaid Cymru is asking for Wales to have a say on things too. Being British is a complicated thing, isn’t it just!   

   

  

A Singer

I want to tell you a story. It’s a true tale, with plenty of vivid excitement along the way – I’m not joking, I’m serious. So don’t laugh!

It was in 1937, a gentle time with the wizards of dance and music and the popping of champagne corks – well, for some anyway. Everyone was enjoying themselves and people just glanced at a war that was never going to happen to them. Hitler was churning up discord in a foreign land and that was that. Good for him.

Now in this realm of peace and quiet, a boy of thirteen stood in front of a crowd that was polite and it could be said, expectant. He stood there, straight backed and proud, his vocal glory about to dismiss any snorts of insult and wanton despair – he was the Silver Songster, a master of contralto genius.

The music played, it’s bounced around the pillars of acting deliverance looking for somewhere to hide, somewhere to hang its head in shame. The boy reached into a place that only God knew, and let the sound that made angels chuckle and seraphim’s reach for mercy at God’s right hand. It was shameless, it was beautiful. It made the crowd stand still and wish they could stay here forever.

The young lad finished Bishop’s ‘Lo! Hear the gentle lark’ and remained still. There was a silence and suddenly the theatre exploded in clapping and “Bravoing!” Britain’s Greatest Boy Soprano had done it again, he had silenced the audience with a voice that could not be stopped. It was wonderful. It was bold and the whispers from other times screamed out of the shadows.

He raised his small arms in supplication and gratitude to the audience who loved him so much. His smallness suddenly grew to a mighty force, a singing charisma. He had won.

The Welsh Boy who was billed at the London Palladium as ‘Britain’s Greatest Boy Soprano’, is alive and well today. Living in his own home, he still remembers the fame of his early days.

My father-in-law is active and still had has a rare comment to make, all unknown to the younger generation. Sometimes the things we have experienced are realised just by ourselves, perhaps that’s the way it should be.

Perhaps.

Memories get more sensitive or a trifle sterner and as we grow older, a bad or a good thing? No one yet has been able to answer this.

        

 

 

The Welsh lanuage

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member and Chair of the Assembly’s Culture Welsh Language and Communications Committee, Bethan Jenkins, has demanded equality for Wales from the BBC following the Corporation’s decision to award a large increase in funding for BBC Scotland, including the creation of a new Scottish based TV channel.

The funding announcement for Scotland comes a day after the BBC announced extra money for BBC Wales, but far less than the recommended £30 million per year. Bethan Jenkins AM said:

“Today’s announcement once again goes to show that the BBC treats Wales very differently. Although extra money was announced yesterday for BBC Wales, it was significantly less than what was recommended by our committee, by Welsh Government, and the Institute for Welsh Affairs. 

Bit of a sticky wicket here, wouldn’t you say?

Wales has its own Welsh language radio station, its own TV channel and everything else written in Welsh as well as English.

So, what’s all the fuss about?

The Welsh language has been poetical, written and snapped up in a delicate script for 2000 years, no doubt it will go on and good luck to them – unfortunately, I don’t speak a word of the Brythonic tongue but there we are. We can’t all be multi-lingual experts in so many tongue twisting languages!

Plaid doesn’t do itself any good at all by hailing the Welsh language flag – there are enough ‘flags’ being raised at the moment eg Gt Britain, the Netherlands, Germany, France etc. Let people come to the language by their own free will. I am positive that by using this method they would arrive at a conclusion that is far better for everyone concerned.

The Welsh Government and the Institute for Welsh Affairs (I’ve written an article for this bastion of Welsh deliberation, didn’t go down too well come to think of it!), need to try an exercise of gentle persuasion to bring the Welsh language to those who are resistant to it, let’s see where it will get them? It would take the fire out of mischievous mockery wouldn’t it?

There is also the sense of history, economy and population to think of. Scotland has its own unique history, an economy and is more than twice the size of Wales. TV channels are all very well, but only as pictures jumping up and down on a screen. Some call it a great demand on the eyes of a population, just as internet foolery is another – I’ll not get into mobile phones, they upset me too much.

Being a standoffish sort of fellow, at least I speak to a few people. I wonder if the members of political parties and institutions manage a detailed conversation on the likes or dislikes of the Welsh language.

I don’t think so somehow.         

  

 

Women!

You know, I reckon there are plenty of women out there who could be first class operatives in the murky world of national security, particularly when it comes to interrogation. Take my wife for example. Every time I go out to meet a friend, of the masculine variety God forbid, upon my return, it’s:

‘How is he? How is his wife? How are the children? Did they enjoy their holidays? Etc etc

Now, sorry to disappoint girls (actually, I’m not) but men’s brains just don’t operate along the same lines as women’s. If I started asking a pal all these questions, he’d think I’d lost the plot once and for all.

The matron even asks me what I had to eat, what the grub was like and so on. What do I say?

‘Fine. Everybody’s fine,’ and then proceed to disappear into my study knowing full well that she is going to seethe with irritation at my total lack of detailed response. Good, isn’t it? You see, we men do have something up of our sleeves after all, when it comes to balancing the scales of female dominion over all things.

And do you think the missus is going to let me get away with this? Not likely. Women always have to have the last word, in fact they’ll fight to the death in order to make sure they do. An hour or so later, in she comes full of steam and fury:

‘You’re so rude, do you know that?! I was only being polite!’

The thing is, when men are on their own being polite isn’t an option. It’s usually all about foul mouthed exchanges of insult and how great it is to be away from the diktats of female tyranny!

That’s men for you.

And another thing, God I’m full of ‘other things’ today! What’s all this fuss about women and equality? As far as I’m concerned, they’ve won the match, game, set and all. Two Prime Ministers, Chief Executives of Companies, Sports Stars, Heads of Organisations, Members of Parliament and any number of senior positions you can think of. Moaning and groaning from the side lines but where does choice come into all this?

Choice to have a brood and bring them up your own way? There’s provision for child maintenance (and the old man has time off as well), provision for this and that, and heaven knows how many other thing come to think of it.

Political thinking is all about the decisions we make. What’s good for us and what’s bad. Surely, women should be allowed to make this choice and good luck to them. There’s nothing to stop a woman from sitting in Parliament, so in which case why doesn’t that Holy of Holies keep its mouth shut and let women decide which direction they want to go in.

I’ll be quiet now!        

 

 

Good cheer!

That’s Christmas and the New Year out of the way. Thank heavens for that! I can’t stand the way we all stretch our pockets until they are empty – my wife has been pushing and pulling mine until they are jangle free of any coins let alone notes. That’s marriage for you.

So, what’s this Christmas all about then? A child being born in a manger, forget the ‘immaculate birth’ and so on, and three strangers turning up with diverse and various presents. All good stuff, particularly for those of a religious inclination. Jesus being born is what Christmas is made of, exactly when is a point that stretches the imagination but who cares?

Now, does anyone think of this when their out spending their cash (or credit) as if tomorrow never comes? The answer must be an unequivocal no. I heard nothing about it in my home and the same goes for the family reunion in Devon – I’ll never do this trip again, seven hours to get back and a right royal mood it has left me in! Next year they can all go, well you know what I mean.

Christmas is a fine excuse to make money, full stop. The shops glitter, stalls blabber with amusement and everybody makes a tidy living – well, not everyone. It’s the one period of the year when everyone can go nuts and spend the following year paying for it. Crazy.

Next year, I’m spending the festive period at home. Being miserable and fed up with it all.

And quite right too! I’ll bet there are some of you out there who feel the same way.

150 Words

Talking of Devon, we arrived in all good humour and happy that it was Christmas – well, I’m good at hiding my feelings, comes from writing you know. Everyone got on well, and my lot didn’t upset anyone. The food filled the belly (no turkey is sight) and believe it or not we played some board games to get shot of the evening hours – forget TV, its all board games and reality shows, why people bother with Sky is beyond me. Come to that, why bother with TV at all?

The Matron cheated, that’s what you’d expect. Needs a close eye does the wife, pulls a stroke before you can say ‘Blackjack’. Anyway, all went well and we left after saying ‘Goodbyes’ and ‘Thank you’. Somehow I can’t see the hosts doing it again, I wonder why?

Think about it.

150 Words

I live in a semi-rural location. I was out for lunch and overheard (I don’t do this often) some lady on the next table saying how horrid the place was. The poverty, the lack of opportunity for the young etc etc. I’ve not found it at all like this but there we are, differing opinions and so on.

I’ve lived from north to south and I can say that on my return to Wales I’ve not been disappointed. My wife can drive 15 miles to work without having stop once and well, the people are friendly and welcoming.

It’s not all that bad, that’s if you ignore education, health and the economy. It’s alright if you’ve got a few quid too – far be it for me to comment on this. After Christmas, well——-no opinion now Julian!    

        

Swansea Bay Tidal?

The Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon? A monstrous hole of extraordinary power. At least that’s what the officials want us to believe, and wait a minute the Welsh Government has to have a say otherwise it’s all watery nonsense.

Will they or won’t they, its politics all over again!

I’m not a betting man, but I hesitate to guess that the Welsh Government will pass it, albeit that Cardiff has the investment and money but there is a chance that the Government will let it go and to hell with the consequences. We’ll see.

Swansea is in need of the jobs it will produce, more boozers on a Friday night to add a certain symphony to the decision, and innovation is the name of the game. Its original name was Sweynesse (granted in a charter between 1158-1184), heaven knows but there’s a bit of Nordic in there somewhere, all to do with trading apparently.

‘Trading’, this a key word. The lagoon will add more trading and commercial might to this small town on the West of Wales. Good on you I say. What with Brexit taking all kinds of turns and political intransigence is a right mess (I’m talking of the Labour Part here), where do we go from here?

The lagoon has it right, left and centre. Hopefully politics will not interfere and the working man can get on with it. Where these will come from has yet to be seen, but its employment full stop and we have yet to see what Theresa May is going to with our voted expulsion of the European Union.

Friday nights in Wind Street, Swansea? You had better watch out for the police meat wagons! Never mind the swimming and yachting, if you’re that mad you want to do it!       

Christmas and the bloody New Year!

That’s Christmas and the New Year out of the way. Thank heavens for that! I can’t stand the way we all stretch our pockets until they are empty – my wife has been pushing and pulling mine until they are jangle free of any coins let alone notes. That’s marriage for you.

So, what’s this Christmas all about then? A child being born in a manger, forget the ‘immaculate birth’ and so on, and three strangers turning up with diverse and various presents. All good stuff, particularly for those of a religious inclination. Jesus being born is what Christmas is made of, exactly when is a point that stretches the imagination but who cares?

Now, does anyone think of this when their out spending their cash (or credit) as if tomorrow never comes? The answer must be an unequivocal no. I heard nothing about it in my home and the same goes for the family reunion in Devon – I’ll never do this trip again, seven hours to get back and a right royal mood it has left me in! Next year they can all go, well you know what I mean.

Christmas is a fine excuse to make money, full stop. The shops glitter, stalls blabber with amusement and everybody makes a tidy living – well, not everyone. It’s the one period of the year when everyone can go nuts and spend the following year paying for it. Crazy.

Next year, I’m spending the festive period at home. Being miserable and fed up with it all.

And quite right too! I’ll bet there are some of you out there who feel the same way.

 

Talking of Devon, we arrived in all good humour and happy that it was Christmas – well, I’m good at hiding my feelings, comes from writing you know. Everyone got on well, and my lot didn’t upset anyone. The food filled the belly (no turkey is sight) and believe it or not we played some board games to get shot of the evening hours – forget TV, its all board games and reality shows, why people bother with Sky is beyond me. Come to that, why bother with TV at all?

The Matron cheated, that’s what you’d expect. Needs a close eye does the wife, pulls a stroke before you can say ‘Blackjack’. Anyway, all went well and we left after saying ‘Goodbyes’ and ‘Thank you’. Somehow I can’t see the hosts doing it again, I wonder why?

Think about it.

I live in a semi-rural location. I was out for lunch and overheard (I don’t do this often) some lady on the next table saying how horrid the place was. The poverty, the lack of opportunity for the young etc etc. I’ve not found it at all like this but there we are, differing opinions and so on.

I’ve lived from north to south and I can say that on my return to Wales I’ve not been disappointed. My wife can drive 15 miles to work without having stop once and well, the people are friendly and welcoming.

It’s not all that bad, that’s if you ignore education, health and the economy. It’s alright if you’ve got a few quid too – far be it for me to comment on this. After Christmas, well——-no opinion now Julian!    

        

Room enough!

It’s all going berserk, isn’t it? America’s President-elect is riding a storm of will he or won’t he and the European Union is one minute trying to stop us from leaving and the next minute saying, “ Get out of here, you’re a pain in my posterior anyway!”

The media are tearing themselves up, all in the prospect of ‘truth’ and the joke is, no-one knows anything about what will Trump do and what Therese May has planned. It does cause amusement.

Here is one that’s fair game though:

Conservatives “cannot be trusted on devolution”. So Baroness Jenny Randerson, of the Lib Dem Government relations said. Conservative MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, Chris Davies, has called for Westminster to have the power to place the Welsh Government in “special measures” withdrawing powers from Welsh politicians. In respect of the PISA 2015 results, Baroness Jenny Randerson clams:

“I’m astounded that Chris Davies MP has the audacity to suggest that the politicians in London know better the Welsh teaching profession………..the best people to make decisions about our schools and our children’s education are the people of Wales, not bureaucrats and the people of London. The Tories clearly cannot be trusted to roll back the tide of devolution.”

Well now Baroness Jenny Randerson, the comment might just have arrived after the worse PISA results yet. Maths and English are at an all-time low, the lowest in the UK, so what is your response to all this? Reform may take some time but how long have you got before another generation hits the deck?

The suggestion that must be made, is England doing better that Wales? The answer is an unequivocal yes – come to that it’s a ‘yes’ to the economy and the health system. Chris Davies does have a point. Tony Blair regretted devolution, and he’s right. Splitting the nation has done no good at all, look at all the chaos that has resulted from it. How can 3 million people in Wales decide its own future….against a population of 65 million?

Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Business, the Economy and Finance, Adam  Price AM has responded to the publication of the latest GVA (Gross Value Added) figures for Wales by calling on the Welsh Government to hold an emergency summit to address the “deep structural crisis” at the heart of the Welsh economy. “These are amongst the worse figures we have seen since 1954.” 

Well, need I say more?All the parties are in a flux about the way the country is going – although, I would remind you about my historian, opportunism and pessimism. Whilst they tear themselves up over difficulties, we the people carry on as always, with a grin and a smirk.It’s all part of daily living you see………..well I take that back, partly living. Pessimist or opportunist? The words of the historian still linger in my mind. 

As Andrew Marr said, “Brexit, Trump, what next?”

I don’t know. Politics is moving in directions that we know nothing about.