Scrapbook for November
16.11.2016 – Envy-of-the-World™ – again
Our piece on the NHS (a.k.a. Envy-of-the-World™), its funding, management and its quality problems could have been updated with new horrors almost every day since it was written last March. A piece today by Anna Racoon, an experienced customer of the NHS, reminds us of what a dark place the Envy-of-the-World™ is for those who are thrown on its mercies:
Other than a couple of days last week, I have been in hospital for the past three weeks. First Sepsis, then the effects of the attempts to cure me of that. I am now the original Christmas Turkey – being fattened up so that I can die comfortably of the cancer. The irony is not lost on me.
Last Tuesday, I sat in a wheelchair in the hospital, waiting for a bed to come free. Unable to stand or walk, unable to move from facing the wall in front of which I had been put, unable to reach the bottle of water which was in a bag behind the chair, and in gob smacking pain, pain at a level of which I had no idea existed…
I learnt, as I sat on a shattered and bloody bowel, on a bone hard wheelchair (do not try this at home children) waiting for a horizontal surface in the ‘envy of the world’ that…
The most remarkable thing about her account is that it is an aside to the main subject of her posting.
14.11.2016 – Snowflakes of the Month
Donald Trump's election victory in the USA has buried us under masses of snowflakes – just too many to mention. Glen Reynolds finds some tortured souls in the US 'higher education' system.
With puppies, Play-doh and coloring books, safe spaces and therapy sessions turn universities into a joke.
The response to the shock has been to turn campuses into kindergarten. The University of Michigan Law School announced a ”post-election self-care” event with “food and play,” including “coloring sheets, play dough [sic], positive card-making, Legos and bubbles with your fellow law students.” (Embarrassed by the attention, UM Law scrubbed the announcement from its website, perhaps concerned that people would wonder if its graduates would require Legos and bubbles in the event of stressful litigation.)
Stanford emailed its students and faculty that psychological counseling was available for those experiencing “uncertainty, anger, anxiety and/or fear” following the election. So did the University of Michigan’s Flint campus.
Meanwhile, even the Ivy League wasn’t immune, with Penn (Trump’s alma mater) creating a post-election safe space with puppies and coloring books.
11.11.2016 – Back to the palace
On the way back to Kensington Palace, loaded down with cheap and tasty wholefood products for her prince, doing her bit to 'alleviate poverty worldwide'.
It must be such a relief not having to criss-cross the Atlantic several times a week in economy class just to be able to steal a few moments together.
Soon there will be a fairytale wedding. After a few years of Qinoa, mung beans, knobbly knees, gender equality and self-empowerment there will be a divorce – she is, after all, an American woman (h/t John Cleese) from California (h/t John Cleese) with a therapist mother (h/t John Cleese). She will get half of the crown jewels, Kensington Palace and £10m a year to keep her in whole foods. Her ex-husband, after realising that he is now one of those worldwide poor, will shack up with a cheerful gal with only three aims in life – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and will never have to stare at a pair of knobbly knees ever again. Never mind: these events will contribute greatly to the gaiety of the British nation.
11.11.2016 – Pointless polling
10.11.2016 – North gets it – not really
For some months now we have left that great thinker Dr Richard North to continue his psychotic ravings unremarked. There have been so many much more interesting things to write about.
Now, after scribbling millions of words, thousands of pages of his beloved Flexcit over nine(?) versions, twenty(?) manifestos(?) and daily blog rants, something finally dawns on him. North being North, that something takes 20 paragraphs of pompous propounding before it finally gets to glimmer above the horizon, but there are some take-aways among the bombast:
If, as is being widely held, Trump's "unexpected" victory in the US presidential race was "Brexit plus plus plus", then there is an argument for suggesting that the referendum we held on 23 June wasn't actually about Brexit.
Late learning from the man running a website called 'EU Referendum'. He should have listened to the hated Nigel. The sneering use of quotes in '"unexpected"' is classic North, implying that only others have been surprised by that victory: he, of course, knew Trump would win all along.
But if the election of Donald Trump was a protest vote along the same lines as our EU referendum, then it reinforces the view that the referendum itself was not specifically against the EU. Rather, since the EU was supported by the "establishment", a vote against it became a proxy for a more generalised anti-establishment expression.
Yet we didn't really need the US election to tell us this. So many people know so little about the European Union that they would be hard put to it to describe specifically what is was that they so disliked. Asked what laws he was most looking forward to losing, one antagonist was hard put to name any.
Another 'argument for suggesting', another view 'reinforced': Sir Humphrey would beam in admiration. North's mastery of the passive voice to assign stupidity to others whilst implying his own omniscience is finely honed but too tedious to detail here.
A faint memory of the great sage's earlier appeals to murder those in authority reappears like Marley's ghost, but this time it arises from everyone else's stupidity:
One suspects that, rather that [sic] have exit negotiations, some activists would prefer to see a latter-day version of the Nuremburg trials – complete with the execution of the lead players in the development of the EU.
So the great doctor finally realises, five months after the fact, why the nuances of 'Directive 15(2003).§12.iii.b' interested so few people during and after the EU Referendum campaign. Perhaps he also realises why the venom he spat at the uninterested ones led to both his person and the pomposity of his magisterial humbug being comprehensively ignored during and after the campaign. Probably not, though.
Today the US election is yawningly and obviously significant for him as a popular protest. But only the day before, his interest in this pointless event was pompously dismissive:
Sadly, it is almost impossible not to know that there is a US presidential election in progress, with the winner likely to be apparent by the time this nation wakes from its sleep.
As to any [sic] preferences, one if [sic] minded of Dr Johnson's comment that there was "no settling the point of "[sic]. Both candidates seem equally ghastly, only in different ways – illustrating once again the strange inability of developed nations to select people of quality for [sic] to lead their governments.
'People of quality' - I wonder who he could mean?
09.11.2016 – Nigel Farage
We continue to be astonished at the tactical surefootedness of Nigel Farage. It was he who during long years of battle, mockery and setbacks forced the odious David Cameron to hold a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU. It was he, largely, who won it because it was he who sensed the disaffection of many British people, particularly and unmentionably over immigration. The political and media classes are, even today, trying to minimise the importance of his role in that revolution.
After the EU Referendum he bravely and very publicly aligned himself with Donald Trump. Now that The Donald™ is on course to become the next President, if we can still speak of a 'Special Relationship' between the UK and the USA, it is because of Nigel Farage. The President will not forget the loyalty of those who remained loyal when loyalty came at a cost.
09.11.2016 – Trump: change and hopes
The Donald™ has landed on the peak of the mountain, his wings slightly singed but intact. Thus it looks as though we who had few hopes have the change we wished for.
Let's savour the deep pleasure of watching the self-assured leftie establishment writhing in torment like elver in a fishmonger's tray. But only briefly: unlike our opponents, we right-wing knuckle-dragging thugs are not vengeful people. We must consider our hopes for this President:
He must surround himself with good, steadfast, untainted people. All other hopes follow from that.
These are not predictions, merely hopes. If in his first term he achieves only one or two of the above he will count as a great President, a President of change.
08.11.2016 – FoS website restructured
The monthly sections 'Quote of the month' and 'Image of the month' have been moved into their own page. This will help pudgy fingered laptop and smartphone swipers as well as stopping search bots bursting into tears each month. The quote page and the scrapbook will always appear in the first and second positions respectively in the monthly menus.
01.11.2016 – All Saints' and All Souls' Days 2016
The Women's Institute here has a stall opposite the cemetery selling decorations. A chrysanthemum in a jam-jar and a candle just don't do it these days.
Small country, Switzerland: you have to pack 'em in tight.
01.11.2016 – Emailing for dummies
An email server is set up through which the incumbent of one of the highest offices in the government of the United States can shuffle emails – personal, private, government, confidential, secret and top-secret – whatever she feels like sharing. She is too busy and too intelligent to learn to master an official computer, preferring to keep on using her unsecured Blackberry. The limitations of a hand-held device for handling emails mean that a large number of them – perhaps a majority – are printed out on paper. Just to make sure this sensitive email traffic remains secret, the domain is called clintonemail.com. No one will ever work that out.
The now former-incumbent's personal assistant also shuffles many of these emails around on her personal account at the extremely obscure server yahoo.com. She uses this account on several laptops, one of which is shared by her husband. His taste for sexting and photographically exposing himself on social media to young women and inadvertently the rest of the world had already ended his political career and caused much hilarity – shame, however, is an emotion which only little people feel. It is clearly unreasonable to expect the very senior personal assistant to avoid sharing a laptop with a sex-addicted serial flasher whose most recent contact that we know about was a 15 year-old girl. The shared laptop – containing emails and Heaven knows what else – is now in the care of the FBI.
The leader of the campaign for the election of the former-incumbent to the office of President of the United States was formerly a Presidential Chief of Staff and Counsellor – a true 'Washington insider'. This senior and experienced man prefers to use that other extremely obscure server, gmail.com, for his email correspondence. No one will ever work that out. The recent publication of thousands of emails from that impressively secure account is clearly the work of skilled Russian hackers. The details from the years of backroom machinations, of donations from those who are prepared to 'pay to play', will take a long time to digest.
They should have taken a lesson from their super-intelligent, super-cool President, Barack Obama: just play golf and if necessary lecture us all from a couple of teleprompters – no one can touch you for that. Writing emails is for dummies.