the brilliantly leaping gazelle

MC Hammer meets the NHS

It has become an unfortunate political truism that politicians, especially Conservative Cabinet members, are out of touch with the day to day reality of ordinary peoples lives. This most especially true when, as MC Hammer demonstrated today, that despite being within touching distance of winning the Conservative Party leadership contest, she felt the need to prove this with what she thought was an innovative and creative solution to the help with the cost of existing crisis.

Maybe it’s her estimated £8.4 million fortune, or maybe it’s her £155,000 parliamentary salary that causes her to think that her idea that, as ‘The Guardian‘ reported today

“GPs could write prescriptions for money off energy bills for the most vulnerable under a plan drawn up by the Treasury, as Liz Truss’s team signalled more help with costs now forecast to top £6,000 next year.

The unusual proposal would mean people could consult their doctor for an assessment on whether they are struggling enough to require help with their bills.”

Has she tried to get a GP appointment lately? In London getting a GP appointment involves having the perseverance of a snail combined with the patience of a saint and loads of free time. And I bet GP’s are thrilled with this, not having enough to do as we all know, for having yet another layer of bureaucratic nonsense to contend with.

But in the deluded mind of MC Hammer, this idea makes perfect sense, until of course it doesn’t, and is quietly dropped like the flaming turd it is and forgotten about.

Michael Winner meets James Brown.

This week two news stories, which are on the face of it wholly unrelated, to me represent some of the things that are wrong with modern Britain, symptomatic of the cultural bandwagoning to which it seems we are tethered. Or perhaps it is me that having failed to keep moving with the times, finds himself a values dinosaur, stubbornly clinging to outmoded attitudes, which grow ever more outmoded with every passing day. I think not, but in the famous words of Christine Keeler, “Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he?”

‘The Guardian’ among other news outlets carried the story that an advert for Crown Paints had resulted in 215 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority because it tells;

“The story of Hannah and Dave who met at an illegal rave four years ago, have settled down and are expecting a baby. It features them painting the spare room with a chorus of two dozen imaginary singers on their paint roller telling the couple’s story.

Dave wanted a baby and Hannah did not but then “one day out the blue” she did, throwing herself at Dave. The song continues: “Now the baby’s coming and they don’t know what it is. Hannah’s hoping for a girl, Dave’s just hoping that it’s his.”

Of course people were angry about this. Of course they were. They were so immediate with their complaints, with so many of them claiming the advert was ‘misogynistic’, suggesting that it implied ‘Hannah slept around’ and was ‘sexist’, ‘in poor taste’ and generally did something they found worthy of complaint, a cynic might imagine they were all members of the same Facebook group. Or being superbly over-vigilant in their interpretation of what ‘sexism’ was.

Maybe they’re not, maybe they feel that the advert devalues what it is to be a woman in todays Britain. If so, they might’ve been cheered by the response from Crown Paints, which said Hannah was “an empowered female character, comfortable in making her own decisions and in control of if and when she changes her mind”. Bear in mind that this is an advert for paint and that people are complaining about the portrayal of someone doesn’t actually exist in the real world. What does exist in the real world, is actually worthier of the charge of misogyny was the news, as widely reported as it was criticised, that a council had appointed a man as period dignity officer.

No, I didn’t know what one was either or indeed why one was needed, but recently the Scottish Parliament has passed the Period Product Act, which means in very simple terms, that every toilet in a building receiving public funds is now legally required to make period products as freely available as they do toilet paper. So it’s a good thing and when one pauses to think about it, long overdue.

But appointing a man? Really? The BBC reported that

‘Mr Grant is expected to lead a regional campaign across schools, colleges and wider communities to raise awareness of the new law and ensure that Scottish government funding is allocated appropriately.

The job advert said the suitable candidate needed a “successful track record of engaging and empowering a large range of people from a diverse range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, in particular young people who menstruate”.

Let’s ignore the nonsense of ‘young people who menstruate’ because we know that it’s any woman who hasn’t yet had the menopause who do that and instead consider what were the qualities that made him the best man for a job that should’ve gone to a woman. According to the BBC, he worked as an account manager at Imperial Tobacco, before becoming a personal trainer with his own business prior to being a wellbeing officer at Dundee and Angus College. And that’s it. Wow

If that isn’t an insult to women then I’m Henry VIII.

It’s really not that difficult to understand the purpose of a strike.

Although it seems various news outlets and politicians struggle with the idea of yes, there is a cost of living crisis causing hardship and misery to millions of people and that something needs to be done about it, but no, that something isn’t some of those same millions wanting better pay and conditions and withdrawing their labour until their employers do so. To them, the workers should ask nicely and being told no, should know their place and shut up about it.

The Daily Mail, which always takes a stance of principled neutrality in these matters, chose to sum it up in a headline that fulminated;

Fresh woe for passengers as train workers strike AGAIN and Grant Shapps blasts union bosses who are ‘hell-bent on causing as much misery as possible’

Not to be out done, with an almost weary predictability ‘The Daily Telegraph’ claimed,

Rail strikes: Britons face fresh travel chaos with only 20pc of train services running

Before helpfully putting the boot in by quoting Transport Secretary Grant Shats, who said: “It’s clear, from their co-ordinated approach, that the unions are hell-bent on causing as much misery as possible to the very same taxpayers who stumped up £600 per household to ensure not a single rail worker lost their job during the pandemic.

“Sadly, union chiefs have short memories and will be repaying this act of good faith by ruining millions of hard-working people’s summer plans.”

Am I missing something here? Of course the strikes should be co-ordinated. Indeed there should even more strikes, more co-ordination, until employers and the government realise that a pay offer well below the rate of inflation is effectively a pay cut. Those ‘millions of hard-working people’ who Shats cares about so much are realising that the strikers of today are themselves tomorrow. They’re in the same boat. And with timing that seemed impeccable, if not actually clairvoyant, today came the news that P&O Ferries will not face any criminal charges relating to the mass sacking, some by text, others by email, of 800 staff in March.

So while people will no doubt take to Twitter to detail the hardship endured by having to do this, or missing that, they might also reflect on the fact that everything isn’t always about them.

In fairness to The Daily Mail, not something I thought I’d ever write, it did add this from Shats. Although as it did come at the bottom of the piece, the word ‘buried’ leaps to mind,

He told Sky News on Friday: ‘What I do know and I can say for sure is if we can’t get this settled in the way that we are proposing, which is, ‘Please put the deal to your membership’, then we will have to move to what is called a section 188; it is a process of actually requiring these changes to go into place so it becomes mandated.”

Hats off Shats, cometh the hour, cometh the charlatan.

The exception that proves the rule.

Once in while, I learn of something that re-affirms my faith in human nature. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t happen very often, which makes it all the more joyous when it does.

Earlier in the week I saw a headline in ‘The Guardian’ informing me that the supermarket chain Iceland was going to introduce loans to help their customers to buy food and so help alleviate some of the pressures posed by the cost of living crisis. Being a tad cynical, I immediately imagined this to be yet another example of capitalism at work, but didn’t realise I was both right and wrong.

Wonderfully wrong, as it turned out.

In an an interview on Radio 4 on Wednesday, the CEO of Iceland explained that this idea had been three years in the planning, had been piloted in some of the most deprived parts of the UK for eighteen months and was designed and run in conjunction with a not for profit, government supportedcharity. Yes, he admitted, that when they ran the pilot interest was charged, but Iceland had subsequently decided to absorb that cost themselves. Yes, the loans would have to be repaid, but if customers struggled with repayments, the debt wouldn’t be sold on, but instead the customer would be helped and not harassed he said. With the truism ‘if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is’ running around my brain, I did a quick Google search and found this on the ITV news website:

“Customers can only take out one loan at a time, during six windows throughout the year that coincide with school holidays. 

This is to help parents keep cupboards stocked at a time when children on free school meals are at risk of hunger during the holidays.

By limiting loans to these periods, the supermarket hopes the scheme will allow customers to use them to smooth out incomes, rather than rely on them year-round.”

It just got better and better. I must confess to feeling a sense of optimism, that this might be a portent of a new way of doing things, that business would finally realise that it is a part of society, and not think of society as a revenue generator. This idealism lasted for all of less than a day when I learned of the tariff deficit scheme.

Ostensibly a way of keeping energy bills at current levels and avoiding the eye-watering price increases which are coming, it turns was soon revealed to be a scheme dreamed up by schemers. Energy companies and banks, whose motives were pure. Pure greed, that is. One website clarified exactly what it actually did

“ScottishPower and Eon discussed plans with ministers for a tariff deficit fund, supported by banks, that would be underwritten by a government guarantee.  

Such a fund could freeze the cap on annual energy tariffs at £1,971, which analysts forecast could otherwise rise to £4,000 next year, for two years. 

The cost would be paid back over a decade to 15 years through surcharges on bills or taxes under the latest proposals. “

So, instead of a windfall tax or any other socially responsible undertaking, banks and energy companies, in collusion with the government, have maintained their own self-serving greed, and trying to con us into thinking they’re the ones doing us the favour into the bargain. I know, shocking right?

That would be the banks who the taxpayer bailed out after the global financial crisis. That would be the energy companies that post obscenely large profits. That would be welcoming plans for yet another government bailout when faced with the Covid crisis in the form of the furlough scheme, a furlough scheme moreover that has saddled the taxpayer with huge debt, but when faced with a crisis that threatens their bottom line, they have concocted a fix whereby the everyone except for the taxpayer benefits. Fix it certainly is.

Talk about having your cake and eating it.

Can the police be charged for wasting police time?

Well can they? I’m mean, I’m not so stupid as to try myself, but I’d certainly contribute to a fund to help pay for someone else to launch a private prosecution. I’ve grown up both hearing and believing that no-one is above the law, and if indeed that is the case, then shouldn’t that apply just as much to the police as anyone else? Additionally we’re meant to take some comfort in the assurance that we’re policed by consent, although quite when that consent was ever asked for or given escapes me. And given that the claim is made by both the police and the very people who make the laws the police enforce, it’s not exactly a comforting thought, is it? Well, maybe to you it is.

I was ruminating on this point this morning to try and focus on something other than the noise one of the neighbours was making as he was sweeping up his patio’d garden at 7.30 am. Thankfully, I was already awake. His daughter, who I presume is a toddler based on the fact she utters no sounds that could be interpreted as words, compensates for this by sounding like a very loud and very angry Donald Duck. She began her animated ear bothering at 7.20, her parents having thoughtfully opened their garden doors, clearly unaware that other people might have a tinsy-winsy problem with this. But as she’s be doing it some months now, and no-one has yet succumbed to the temptation to record their daughters dulcet tones and play it back to them at midnight, they must think not.

Anyway, I wasn’t thinking of infanticide. Instead I was thinking about Darren Brady, who was arrested for sharing a meme on social media that had caused someone to feel anxious. Even though it isn’t an offence in England and Wales yet, the police did what they always do – in my experience anyway – when challenged to legally justify something for which there is no legal justification, they simply made something up. So basically, someone had reported this, and instead of the police not saying ‘go away’, they dispatched two officers to visit him twice, the first time to tell him someone had complained, the second to arrest him. Between those two visits you would’ve hoped that sense would prevail, that the police would see the trumpery moonshine for the trumpery moonshine it was.

But no. It was either a slow day or it was nearing the end of the month and someone hadn’t reached their arrest targets, but either way, the police were wasting their own time. It got me thinking of angry Donald. She makes me anxious. If I wake up and if it’s early morning and I can’t hear her, I know it’s a matter of ‘when’ and not ‘if’.

One of the ‘whens’ being when I’ll hurl the contents of my chamber pot at her.

Nothing pleasant about ‘The Pleasance Theatre’

The news that The Pleasance Theatre has cancelled Jerry Sadowitz’s Edinburgh Fringe shows because of complaints from staff and customers, would itself be ironic, were it not for the fact that it comes but days after Salman Rushdie was stabbed when appearing at literary festival. I’m sure everyone reading this knows who Salman Rushdie is, why he had to go into hiding and quite possibly why someone thought it acceptable to try and kill him

But while issuing a fatwa and putting a bounty of $3 million on his head is the sort of thing liberals like to criticise to prove exactly how liberal they are, it seems that if you do the same thing that Rushdie did – offend people – but don’t do it in the right way, then all bets are off. Not that getting cancelled is going to harm Mr S. any. I’m sure tickets for any forthcoming shows will sell out faster than Nick Clegg. Or that as a result of getting cancelled he’ll be forced to live a half life, forever being on his guard, never quite feeling safe.

However, The Pleasance’s director, Anthony Alderson, said: “The Pleasance is a venue that champions freedom of speech and we do not censor comedians’ material.” No, instead they prevent him from performing the material they don’t censor. Carry on!

“While we acknowledge that Jerry Sadowitz has often been controversial, the material presented at his first show is not acceptable and does not align with our values.” We had no idea when we took the booking what type of comedy he performed and we don’t want our customers and more importantly our sponsors to think we are the sort of venue that tolerates tolerance. Well not that kind, anyway.

“This type of material has no place on the festival and the Pleasance will not be presenting his second and final show.” We won’t host him and we dare anyone else too. They won’t, not unless they want the anger of the Twaterrati unleashed on them, that is. We are the arbiters of what is and isn’t permitted, and we have a duty to protect people from themselves

It’s not like anyone just happened to wander past the venue, wondered what was going on, and decided to check it out on the off-chance. Apparently the posters outside the gig warned of there being material which likely to cause offence, and if people still went in, well then it’s their fault they were offended. Most people, if they know him at all, know him from playing ‘Ebeneezer Goode’ in ‘The Shamen’s’ video for their 1993 No.1 of the same name. Which was also banned from Radio One, incidentally.

Both cases represent the same attitude, one of ‘we don’t like it, we’re offended, and what we feel takes priority over everything else’. Admittedly, one is more extreme than the other, but that is what makes the other so insidious, an example of preventing others from making their own minds up, because yours is made up already. But the same basic instinct, the same faux concern and sadly, the same hypocrisy.

A hypocrite writes….

Yes, I am a hypocrite.

Which rather begs two questions. Firstly, what is it exactly I’m hypocritical about? Well we’ll come to that soon enough. Secondly, is it better to be a hypocrite and know you are, or to be a hypocrite and not know? Or, in the what is hopefully the last century in which our species can wreck whatever havoc it can on the planet before we consume ourselves into extinction, is it better to be a hypocrite and not even care?

For an answer to that last question, we could try to ask some of US oil executives who featured in the recent BBC documentary series ‘Big Oil versus The World’, which shocked exactly no-one by revealing that ‘Big Oil’ knew conclusively that the burning of fossil fuels was causing the planets temperature to rise, with increasing dire ramifications for humanity if unchecked. And how did they know this? Because they funded the very research that proved it. In much the same way that ‘Big Tobacco’ knew of the link between cancer and smoking, “Big Oil’ sought successfully to discredit science that they knew to be true. And got obscenely rich in the the process. $3 billion obscenities. Daily. We could ask them, if it weren’t for the fact that some of them are dead and those that aren’t, are dead inside. Which brings us neatly onto the hot weather we’re experiencing.

‘Experiencing’, not in a gap year students way, but in the same way an innocent man ascends the gallows. So the news that hosepipe bans and wildfires are increasingly this summers attractions isn’t really a shock to anyone, neither should be the news that the UK water industry loses 2.4 billion gallons a day due to leaks. Equally, it will come as a shock to no-one to learn that these loses haven’t affected boss’s pay, with the boss of Thames Water trousering £3.2 million last year. Makes you really grateful for privatisation, doesn’t it?

But increased water consumption only happens because there are more people to consume it, and one constant theme of my blog is that there are far too many people than the planet can support. That not only should there be euthanasia, but that the government should encourage it as a public good. Posts with such titles as ‘We are breeding ourselves into extinction.’, and references to children as ‘vermin’ and ‘locusts’ may have given the game away. But that didn’t stop me from congratulating my niece when she announced she was pregnant. I have no doubt whatsoever that she’ll be a superb mother, showering her child with love and affection, striving to ensure that her child wants for nothing. But therein lays the problem, the inescapable fact that simply by becoming a parent, one consumes more, uses more, ones priorities change, and that by becoming a parent, one is helping to facilitate our eventual extinction. Don’t think you can get a New Baby’ card that says that.

And if there is a sliding scale of hypocrisy, then hopefully I’m at the opposite end of the scale to Boris’s Johnson. But a hypocrite nonetheless.

Glass houses v stones.

A long time ago, when I was at school, the only newspaper allowed in library was “The Guardian”. I never saw anything else, noting else was permitted within its confines and as I think about it now, no-one ever questioned why this was the case, which was in essence censorship. Of opinions that our teachers objected to and to which we therefore never to pollute our fragile minds. Every other newspaper had an owner and were therefore, we were told, subject to following the owners political or business agenda. “The Guardian” was different, because it was owned by the Scott Trust. I’m sure the explanation given as to how this was a surer guarantee of of journalistic freedom must’ve made sense to me at the time, but like most of the maths and all of the classical history they tried to cram into my head, I promptly forgot it.

Still, the irony of a supposedly liberal paper being spared the fate of all the others by an unelected oligarchy only dawned on me years later. The point I’m trying to make is that for years after I left school, I believed that “The Guardian” was what I was always been told it was, a fair minded paper, full of impartial quality journalism and well, the best of a bad lot.

Perhaps the many ways that “The Guardian’ has changed out of all recognition from those more innocent times is why I feel such a sense of disappointment. Yes, things change and I hope that some of my views and beliefs have changed since then, in the same way that the newspaper industry has changed and the values of the society in which it operates have. But the changes “The Guardian” has undergone in the type of stories it covers – and therefore by extension the ones it doesn’t cover – seems to have been increasingly driven by its readerships values, not editorial ones. And given that most people now access “The Guardian” online, and because there is so much competition online, it has aggressively pursued pandering to those people.

Quality has been abandoned, replaced by clickbait journalism. Mind you, “The Guardian” of my schooldays would question exactly whose idea of ‘quality’ it was, and why they were so keen to preserve it. It would do the same now, but it would not only also tell you who they were and why they wanted to preserve it, but they would run endless opinion pieces banging on about how outmoded such notions were.

But in the same way that polite disagreement of differing views to one’s own, a basic acceptance of the fact that were some truths which were both fundamental and inconvertible and the frankly absurd notion that feelings were just that, feelings and that sometimes, they got hurt, those days have long since gone. I’ve had cause many times to reflect on this over recent years, mainly when “The Guardian” has chosen to frame an issue or to take a stance on a story which is so painfully right-on, that you wonder who on earth could possibly agree with it?

Well, if some of the revelations that emerged following the resignation of Guardian Media Groups former C.E.O, Annette Thomas are to be believed, more than 900,000 people do. Enough to pay £5 a month to be told how everything is the fault of someone else, and chief amongst those someones was Boris’s Johnson. But not enough to be told that despite leaving the job after only 15 months, she was given a £795,000 one off payment when she left and that was on top of her £630,000 salary. That’s nearly £1.5 million or to put it another way, what she got for every one of her 15 months, a senior teacher nearly 4 years to earn.

But not to be outdone, the editor-in-chief of “The Guardian”, Kath Viner was rewarded earlier this year with a pay rise of 42% – £150,000 -taking her annual salary to just over £500,000. It’d take a nurse a newly qualified nurse more than 18 years to earn that.

Yes, that would be the same editor-in-chief, who is seemingly at ease with her newspaper regularly running stories bemoaning what it considered what she considers to be derisory pay offers to public sector workers.

These pay deals are but small fry when compared to of the eye watering large salaries and renumeration packages other C.E.O’s are given, yet still for a newspaper that never passes up an opportunity to criticise’s what it deems excessive pay for some while lambasting below inflation pay rises to others, the word hypocritical leaps to mind. But what else did we expect? This, let us not forget, is a newspaper that saw no contraidiction whatsoever for supporting the idea of a second referendum, because the result that the first one produced wasn’t the one they wanted. The newspaper that claims to be ‘the world’s leading liberal voice’. Being liberal isn’t the same thing as being democratic, it seems, but it is about doing exactly what you denounce others for doing.

“They’ve collapsed!”

Yesterday I had my haircut. Dispiriting isn’t the word. Not that any blame for this should be inferred as being the fault of my hairdresser, the frankly wonderful Julie, who is actually my support worker, but handily for me has some hairdressing skills.

No. In fact the blame doesn’t lay with anyone at all, but instead with one of life’s greatest misfortunes, one that is as cruel as it is inevitable. Ageing, getting older with every passing second. The fact that we can do nothing whatsoever to alter that fact only adds to the tragedy. Compounding this is another fact, the folly of youth, which never once gives us cause to consider that we may not always be young. One of the ironies of youth is that even as one is enjoying it, it is being used up, and that that we are too busy using it up to notice it’s passing.

Which is where hair comes in. When I was young there were many follicle follies in my youth. The perm, the wedge, the highlights, to name but three. Granted nothing was bad as the skinheads my mum made told the barber to give us when we were both at primary school, just weeks before there was a spate of tabloid articles denouncing skinheads as the most dangerous of public menaces until the next one. But whatever, I was safe in the knowledge that my hair would grow back, just as thick and plentiful as it always had. Sure, it’d take time, but being young, time wasn’t something I ever thought about. My hair would grow back, the seasons would change, and the sun would set in the west. All was good with the world.

Until, that is, things started to change. Imperceptibly so to begin with, as changes often do, so for a while I didn’t notice that changes were afoot.Then I began to notice what was falling into the cape the hairdresser would wrap me in. Or to be exact what wasn’t falling into the cape. There would always be slightly less and what there was, wasn’t as thick as it was. And it was starting to change colour. Again, imperceptibly at first, but unmistakeable once I began to look for it, bits of grey here and there, but ‘speckled’ is a euphemism for ‘starting to to go grey, and once it starts it doesn’t stop.

Losing one’s hair is one of natures the practical joke that awaits all of us, one that is as as inescapable as it as so blindingly obvious such that no-one ever mentions it. Well, certainly not when you’re young anyway. In the same way that no male relative ever took me to one side and said, “Look, you may not believe this, but one day your testicles will drop. They may like two apples wrapped up tightly in a bag now, but one day the’ll look like the pendulums on a grandfather clock. It will happen and there’s nothing you can do about it.” It’s almost as if there’s a conspiracy of silence, an on-going and mean one, whereby no-one ever tells the young that this will happen, a sort of ‘well it happened to me and no-one ever told me about it, so why should I tell you?’ mindset. I confess to being not only amazed and appalled by this sudden turn of events, but also fascinated, so much so that I invite my house-mate to bear witness to this. “They’ve collapsed, look at them!”, I exclaim, just as intrigued by this as I am by her frankly insulting lack of disinterest. I hasten to add we were once more than house-mates a long time ago, almost as long as my elastic gonads are.

And if it’s happening to men, it follows that it must be happening to women. But everyone else is well, other people. I’m me and this is happening to me! Me!

So I wonder what other japes no-one has told me about, what other ‘delights’ getting older has in store for me?

Perhaps my pubic hair will turn grey. Wouldn’t surprise me, way things are going.

Let the Games begin!

The various strikes that have happened over recent weeks, are taking place today and are planned for later this week could easily have been the the latest in example of the worrying modern phenomena of Meism. Meism is the unhealthy delusion afflicting large swathes of the population whereby everything is viewed through the prism of individual self-interest. Of how a particular thing affects me, how I feel about it. No matter how far removed from someone’s actual lived experience – or in fact precisely how far removed it is – the more people appear to want to make it all about them.

It could have, were it not for the fact that millions of working Britons, who depend on tax credits and food banks to survive, are themselves facing the same higher prices and lower wages that the strikers are striking over. They recognise that one day in the near future it might be them, and they won’t want people crossing picket lines. That the strikers are just like them, face the same challenges they face, have to cope with the same privations they do, want the same change they do. But as Basil Fawlty said, “It’s not the despair that kills you, it’s the hope.”

Which brings us neatly on to Stinking Richy and Liz unTrustworthy. During a quick-fire round of questions on the televised debate on Monday, both were asked if they’d ban strikes on ‘essential public services’ Without hesitation they both said “Yes”, so at the very we can expect the definition of ‘essential public services’ to be massively widened to include nanny’s and massage       ’therapists’, to name but two. Why this should come as a shock – although not to massage ‘therapists’ – to anyone who’s been paying attention to governmental introducing legislation to better suit their aims is a mystery.

In 2015, the Conservatives passed a law that for a strike to be legal, not only would 50% of the unions electorate have to have voted, but of those that did, 40%would have had to voted for strike action. Of course, it wasn’t seen as brazen hypocrisy that a government that had only managed to secure the support of 36.9% of those that had voted, were keen to hold others to a higher standard than they had failed to meet. Remember the quote used about Hitler that as relevant to Thatcher? Using the letter of the law to subvert it? No surprise then, when faced with growing unrest amongst public sector workers because of derisory pay offers well below the rate of inflation and a cost of living crisis, the government recently introduced legislation which made it easier for employers to hire scab labour agency staff.

Actually, it isn’t a cost of living crisis. That’s just something that the media have concocted, which newspaper editors and TV bosses can commission earnest and sincere articles and programmes about, safe in the knowledge that their comfortable salary’s will protect them from the reality that their stories unearth. No, it’s a cost of existing nightmare, not a cost of living crisis, because no-one who depends on food banks and goes without meals so their children can eat, buys their clothes from charity shops and can’t afford to pay the bills, is living are they?

So good luck the rail workers that are going on strike. Here’s hoping it causes travel chaos on the railways, resulting in loads of empty seats at the Commonwealth Games, long delays in getting to and from work and generally inconveniences as many people as possible. No-one goes on strike hoping that things will continue as before, that nobody notices. What’d be the point of that? The only people who don’t agree with strikes are those that will never have to go one.