Blognote from Boris

Morning bloggers!

I am very sorry to have been so dilatory in my blogging, but as you all know by now, i am just a potemkin figurehead in this blog – the real star is of course Melissa.

I want to make three points today.

The first is that David Cameron offers the Tories a real chance of winning the next election, reconquering huge sections of the electrorate that think we’re a bunch of space cadets, and so on and so forth blah blah fishcakes (see last article).

The next is that we must launch a national crusade to save cottage hospitals. Across Britain there is an undeclared war to close valued local hospitals, such as the one in Henley. These institutions were created and funded by local people, usually out of public subscription. They were then of course nationalised by the NHS in 1948. Now people are finding that their hospital is about to be shut, and there seems to be not a damn thing they can do about it. I object to what is being done not just for clinical reasons, though these are powerful in themselves – it is very useful to have step-down hospitals, relieving pressure on the acute sector, and of course providing a local service for people who need immediate treatment. It seems insane to shut the smaller local hospitals, when so many beds are blocked in the acute sector with patients who shouldn’t really be there, and when we are still afflicted by waiting lists unknown to any other western society. There is a further point. It is an outrageous hollowing out of local democracy that a hospital built by local people, funded by local people, loved and treasured by local people, can be shut on the say-so of a healthcare hierarch who is ACCOUNTABLE TO NO ONE. It is time for people across the country to seize the initiative and stop this national campaign of demolition, and any interested parties can begin by coming with an Oxfordshire delegation to Downing Street on October 20, when we will present a petition to Tony Blair.

Last point: paternity leave. I can think of nothing more calculated to drive young fathers up the wall than to be required or otherwise pressured into taking six months off on the birth of a child. I can think of few things more maddening for small firms already struggling with regulation of one kind or another, than to be required first to fill in for these absent fathers, and PAY them during their absence, and then to make way for them again on their return. And frankly, folks, is it really in the interests of the babies that they should be incarcerated with their fathers, otherwise loving and doting men who will, I am afraid, be driven mad with cabin fever in an intensifying hell of milupa and perfumed nappy sacks?

Best,
Boris

52 thoughts on “Blognote from Boris”

  1. You’re absolutely right about Cameron of course. When I read today that Davis prefers substance to style it’s clearly all over for him. ACCOUNTABILITY – that’s the thing. And for hospitals read just about anything else – phone masts – housing development policy – etc etc

  2. Boris: “as you all know by now, i am just a potemkin figurehead in this blog – the real star is of course Melissa”

    Melissa IS a star, but you do have the option of making galactic history by being the first Tory MP to respond to comments!

    “David Cameron offers the Tories a real chance . . . reconquering huge sections of the electorate . . .”

    How exactly does a man who is 100 percent the product of a conventional, traditional education understand the real, modern world and conceptualize policies for the future? That’s the problem. Cameron is a young 38, going on 300.

    “a national crusade to save cottage hospitals”

    Bravo, bravo. Lead on MacBoris!

  3. I agree that paternity leave is not necesarily as biologically and socially important as maternity leave, but this does put a stop to discrimination against women of childbearing age in the workplace by giving men the same rights.

    I think pure economic factors will lead to it not being a problem though, what couple can both afford to take leave on reduced salary? I just looked up the amount on the DTI website and it is only

  4. Never mind the self employed Mark? What about the self unemployed? Why are they left out?

    Seriously though folks! Comrade Johnson has put his finger on a first rate example of what could happen in a ‘rights’ economy. It is not the case that everyone once had all these lovely rights and entitlements to all sorts of things that a really ‘caring society’ would provide, and it is only due to the cunning of capitalists, big and small, the wrong sort of government, the wrong sort of religion and so on that these rights and entitlements have been forcibly separated from the masses. All that is required is to give them back!

    No doubt there were exemplary maternity/paternity arrangements in Celtic Britain, China for over 5, 000 years and so on. Back on planet Earth, every extension of R and E has costs. The practical politician will be asking who gains, who loses and is it reasonable? In this case, and many others, the losers are often the small business person and her other employees, and possibly customers. People without children often find themselves picking up the bits in a crisis. Do the nannies of all the children of Labour ministers, camapigners for this sort of thing etc., get maternity or paternity leave?

    I don’t know what the answer is. But it seems to me to be easy to be right on and generous with someone else’s time, money and effort. It might help if the handout government gave a mention to all the extra unasked for work put in by others, over and above their tax, to pay for this.

  5. Never mind the self employed Mark? What about the self unemployed? Why are they left out?

    Seriously though folks! Comrade Johnson has put his finger on a first rate example of what could happen in a ‘rights’ economy. It is not the case that everyone once had all these lovely rights and entitlements to all sorts of things that a really ‘caring society’ would provide, and it is only due to the cunning of capitalists, big and small, the wrong sort of government, the wrong sort of religion and so on that these rights and entitlements have been forcibly separated from the masses. All that is required is to give them back!

    No doubt there were exemplary maternity/paternity arrangements in Celtic Britain, China for over 5, 000 years and so on. Back on planet Earth, every extension of R and E has costs. The practical politician will be asking who gains, who loses and is it reasonable? In this case, and many others, the losers are often the small business person and her other employees, and possibly customers. People without children often find themselves picking up the bits in a crisis. Do the nannies of all the children of Labour ministers, camapigners for this sort of thing etc., get maternity or paternity leave?

    I don’t know what the answer is. But it seems to me to be easy to be right on and generous with someone else’s time, money and effort. It might help if the handout government gave a mention to all the extra unasked for work put in by others, over and above their tax, to pay for this.

  6. Boris is correct about cottage Hospitals. I live in a town named Market Harborough in south Leicestershire and our cottage hospital has become simply an out patients dept whereby nobody can give birth there. If people are seriously ill they should keep ambilances here at Harborough but they have to come from Leicester which takes 20 minutes at the shortest

    Harborough has a growing population and needs it’s cottage hospital to provide services such as allowing people to give birth there

    More money saving at the expense of both the tax payer and the patient is i suppose the reason for these closures

  7. Boris, Boris, Boris. Have you not learnt? Clarke is the only one who can get anyone to listen even for ten seconds! He is the man to deliver the Conservatives the victory the country so badly needs. It doesn’t matter who is ‘the best’; it is all about getting our message across. As far as I and many others are concerned, there’s only one man capable of making people listen, and that’s Ken Clarke. The time when politics was about policies and beliefs has passed. It’s all about presentation these days. Cameron just isn’t going to win the election for us.

  8. Umm, Boris?

    Boris Johnson, in both Telegraph and blog, about the new paternity leave arrangements. Someone correct me here will you, but I thought that this leave was unpaid?

  9. Simon

    effusive and kind as ever – and you raise a challenging question

    Mark G

    I like your point – excellent

  10. Cameron does the ‘Michael Howard’ thing with the hands when he talks. That alone should disqualify him from being in any public office.

  11. . Gemmna was speaking about the institution of the ‘average’ Cottage Hospital, and in particular, her local establishment. Whereas at one time, in the dim distant past, these institutions stood for , at the very least , instant and friendly service in all areas of medicine, she appears to think that they are downgraded to mere A&E. “Mere A&E?”.. I do not think that the words ‘mere ‘and ‘A&E’ belong in the same sentence. A&E is the bulwark of the unexpected: unfortunately, today the unexpected has become too familiar. Many an area does not have, or at best has insufficient, A&E departments, due to closure for centralisation purposes; much to the detriment of the many patients whose after hours refuge they once were.

    Cottage Hospitals were originally founded in times before the advent of the NHS. They were seen as necessary additions to the amenities of the local community, where the local GPs could continue to treat their own patients . The practice of medicine was not so far advanced as it is today, where new treatments for ever more difficult diseases have become the norm. To run complete services in every Cottage Hospital would not be feasible, either in terms of finance, or in human resources. That would apply then, and probably more so now.

    Those areas not having such hospitals, ( such as mine), seem to be leaning towards the extension of the GPs remit of examination and possible hospital referral. It means making changes to allow for some lesser specialized work to be carried out in improved local surgeries, enabling minor operations; minor X-rays, and such other procedures to be carried out by an enhanced surgery staff, in enhanced facilities, thus lessening the burden on the overstretched hospitals. I welcome such a move.

    Cases within the described limited capability of the facility, would be dealt with in situ, whilst other patients are better served in larger, better equipped establishments, and transport thereto, where clinically necessary, should be provided, without the delay mooted.

    Germany, for example has used this or a similar system, very successfully, for years

    Maternity hospitals offer all specialist services, including the premature baby stations, and it must surely be to the benefit of mother and child to have access to such facilities .

  12. Boris,

    I reckon you are slightly incorrect. The Paternity Leave for men is paid for two weeks, but the proposal is for six-months UNPAID Paternity Leave!

    Writing as a father of three adult kids, I can think of nothing worse that sentencing the average man to six seconds of trying to cope with a squalling child! Where do these people get their weird ideas from?

  13. Whilst I’m sure there are ‘new’ men out there, most of the young mothers I know consider their husbands as behaving little more than big kids themselves. Surely while the novelty is still fresh, looking after one child full time is enough? Sometimes a mum needs time to adjust too and needs some ‘mummy’ time. Or are there going to be government rules for allocation of parental time with the new offspring?

    Why don’t we just nationalise all industry and have job share so mummy and daddy can clock in and out? Fair’s fair.

  14. Out of sheer curiousity, why is okay for women to be pressured to take time off to look after a child whilst being steadily driven up the wall (you only need look at the vast numbers of women medicated for post-natal depression), but it’s not okay for a man? A little bit last century don’t you think?

  15. We’re told the camera lies but is it also the case that “D. Cameron never lies”?

    After his performance on Question Time I’m even more convinced he isn’t a serious candidate for the highest office in the Tory Party and I don’t believe he will win against David Davis.

    As for cottage hospitals, obviously Boris has a little local difficulty and is making damn sure they don’t have any local “Save Our Hospital” candidate at the next election. I thought they had all been done away with years ago to tell the truth.

  16. Damn, missed Question Time – was Cameron really that bad? Or even worse – mediocre?

    Off Topic: Happy Birthday to me
    I’d like inheritance tax abolished, Boris Johnson as PM, and enormous er sorry, forgot world peace.

  17. The thing about DC is that even though I think he has a lot of qualities that I think would make him a great leader for the party, I think his skills at answering questions from non Conservative leaning interviewers leaves a little to be desired.

    Don’t know who here saw it, but just after the reshuffle he was on The Daily Politics. Andrew O’Neill asked him about five times if he was going to run for the leadership and David got himself worked up into a right tizzy. Oh well.

  18. The problem with David Cameron is that he won’t admit to taking drugs (if he did).
    A lack of clarity on the one issue that has offenders filling our prisons makes the very inexperienced MP the least suitable person to lead the party.
    It is a BIG mistake to move away from the one nation Conservative line, so from the current crop of contenders, the only person likely to lead the party to victory will be Ken Clarke!

  19. “The problem with David Cameron is that he won’t admit to taking drugs (if he did).”

    As far as I’m aware, hasn’t Ken Clarke also refused to answer the question?

    I see your point though.

  20. He did Heather. He said this week:

    “…and in case anyone is interested I didn’t take cannabis”

  21. Jaq –

    Happy birthday and I hope your wish for a huge boost to global development comes true.

    Melissa –

    “I didn’t take cannabis” Isn’t that a poltician’s answer? There lots of other stuff in the medicine cabinet!

    Cameron’s position seems to be unravelling as we speak. He doesn’t have to answer of course. But it is his credibility that is being chipped away with each refusal to answer. And once again it is his privileged background that is providing a negative context for this discussion. People are beginning to think: does he feel he doesn’t have to answer because he’s part of the drug-taking upper classes who feel it’s one law for them and another for poor kids on council estates? There was a comment to this effect on the Neil programme last night.

  22. Field

    I wish he would free up a bit on the issue as it was painful to watch the Question Time programme – he could claim to have come across drugs but never got very involved. Why not be more relaxed and open? and condemn cannabis as a gateway drug killer

  23. Melissa –

    My feeling is that there’s probably a very good reason why he can’t be more open – which is why this is a credibility issue.

    Incidentally, cannabis isn’t just a gateway killer – it is a cause of early death in its own right and the link with psychosis is now firmly established. In many ways it is a worse drug than some others. It seems to be particularly dangerous in combination with cocaine.

    BY the way, I am personally in favour of the legalisation of drugs as the best method of control but that is quite a complex policy area. A lot of things would need to be done to facilitate that but I am sure one spin off would be a reduction in crime associated with the illegality of drugs and a deglamourisation of the subject. Coupled with a strong educational approach (Sweden has I believe been quite successful with that) and a well policed age limit, I think legalisation could work.

  24. Thanks for the info Melissa – I must have missed that. Being out of the country for two months kind of makes you do that, unfortunately!

    Liam Fox said something along the lines of “I’ve seen too many young people come into A and E dead from overdoses to support the liberalisation of the drug laws in this country”, and for once, I agree with him. Just my personal opinion.

    field – I do think it’s interesting though that you mention the glamourisation of the subject, though, because in those terms I agree with you. It needs to be stopped.

  25. Field –

    I’m not sure legalisation would deglamourise drugs, alcohol is legal and amyl nitrate is legal so I understand. I’ve heard an academic belittle my views, supported by personal experiences, recently and have never felt quite so naive. But the world is not just made up of big men and powerful women. Why is my life not important just because some younger or ‘better’ experience the same without complaint? Drugs should be banned, along with sex education in schools and free contraceptives to underage girls. Where has all this liberation got us? I disagree with the nanny state but legalising something that can be fed to someone WITHOUT DETECTION is a bad move in my opinion.

  26. As I understand it, the thought behind the often discussed legalization of certain classes of drugs being sold, presumably on prescription, from authorized centres, is to reduce the incidence of the crime of drug dealing . Everyone should be aware that , whilst supposedly removing the Mary Jane dealers out of the chain, those are the same dealers in the other, more potent, stuff. The crime of selling class C drugs might vanish, but illegal Class A drugs would still be for sale , the couriers would still have their jobs, delivering the wraps of smack and other delicacies, and everything else would stay the same. Holland tried that route, and trafficking continues.

    The only way to completely rid the system of the crime of drug trafficking would be to legalize all drugs ; surely a road that no-one wants to follow.

  27. Looks like it’s blah blah fishcakes to Cameron’s campaign – which could have been titled Things Go Belly-up with Coke.

    Osborne has a lot of explaining to do about the photo of him with the lady of not much repute with the white powder and Osborne is Cameron’s campaign manager we are told. Cameron refuses to be open about his own drug taking in his youth, if indeed there was any. It’s a mess. And to make matters worse, I would say that nine out of ten members of the public couldn’t tell the difference in appearance between Osborne and Cameron so whatever are Osborne’s misdemeanours they will also – unjustly I admit – cast a shadow over Cameron.

    So I am pleased to say to all you Cameronites I told you so, that I wasn’t taken in by the Cameron hype and that Davis remains the best, if not the perfect, candidate for the leadership.

  28. I personally don’t see what the fuss is about with this Paternity leave. They won’t be forced into taking it off. It’s mearly an option.

    If men hate the idea of it then they can just go back to work… much in the same way that WOMEN can just got back to work after child birth if they want.

  29. Emotional blackmail – if they can and don’t it could be levelled at them that they don’t want to be involved or don’t care or are just selfish.

  30. This drugs thing with Cameron is ridiculous.

    Is there some insinuation that, if someone took cannabis at university, they are now a heroin addict and therefore unfit to be in politics? Utter tripe!!

    Yes, there is evidence that using cannabis may exacerbate psychosis. There is no evidence that it actually causes it. As to the gateway drug claims, heroin addicts have the type of personality that makes them heroin addicts. Yes, they may have taken cannabis before they took heroin. They also took nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine before that! Beware of “reverse engineering” an argument!!

    Most people, myself included, have, at some point, tried cannabis. Most people, myself included, are not now heroin addicts.

    The media making a fuss over this issue is just an indication that Cameron MUST be the man for the job, otherwise there would not be such a concerted effort to discredit him.

    And if anyone knows WHY cannabis is actually illegal (when alcohol and nicotine AREN’T), i’d love to know. It’s hardly an anti-social crime, and, whilst it does nothing for me, I don’t really see the harm*.

    (*=Before anyone mentions health risks, i refer you back to alcohol and nicotine!)

  31. Psimon –

    Contrary to what you say, most psychiatrists do now seem to accept that there is something claled cannabis psychosis which is psychosis induced in people who otherwise show no predisposition to psychosis.

    You seem to accept that alcohol can cause harm, so I don’t see why it should be so difficult to imagine that cannabis could cause harm.

    None of the above is an argument for saying that
    any of these substances should be banned. I am actually for legalisation of all the well known illegal variety because I think one could build a better health policy on that basis. (Paradoxically, although there is no point in trying to ban trade in these substances, there might well be an argument for actually criminalising personal use. But that is perhaps a subsidary issue.)

    As for Cameron, I presume you are not saying that he has a right not to tell us about any illegal drug taking he might be indulging in now. So the issue is purely one of whether it is sensible to have an age cut off point beyond which he is entitled to his privacy. Personally I don’t think that is a credible approach. But what age would you put it at? The allegation against George Osborne is that he was snorting cocaine at age 22. Should that stay private? What about at age 25? 30? 35?

  32. So Cameron’s team has learnt to spin already – we are being played like fiddles me thinks.

    What am I insinuating? Oh come on people!

    No publicity is bad publicity right?

    I’ll be delivering leaflets wrapped in rizzlers at this rate because I’m young and that’s okay. Hey, great idea: rizzlers with our logo on the side like a banknote watermark.
    Me stumbling along sniffing to myself. Hey man pass the manifesto would you..yeh. Our leader has got some good stuff to say if you not what I mean man. He’s really smokin brother. We’re the New Tories, we’re not bad oh no…we’re really bad!

    Wake up everybody please! Ken Clarke is the ONLY leader in this contest – the rest are good party people in various stages of undressed modesty and fake humility. I could be wrong…errrr.. no I just checked and I’m not.

  33. I see that P. Lilley, a so called senior Tory MP has announced his backing for Cameron, stating , “He has shown that he will not cave in under pressure”.

    The Russian mini-sub, so recently in trouble from outside influences, did not cave in either, but that didn’t stop it having to be rescued by outside parties.
    I disagree with that Cameron is the man for the job, because he refuses to face up to his past, whatever that might have been , which does not augur well for any future he may have in high office.

  34. well said Mac. Legalisation? Not for me. The reason cannabis is banned methinks is because it makes you high and is dangerous stuff. Doesn’t do anything for you Psimon? Well one sip of wine won’t make you drunk!

  35. Jaq…

    I agree, one sip of wine wont make you drunk. But, then, wine isn’t illegal.

    I know a few people who smoke pot. I know a few people that drink. I know which of them is most likely to cause social problems. And it’s not the smokers.

    As to pot making you high and being dangerous…many things are dangerous – but why is “getting high” a crime? It’s just something that puzzles me. The majority of laws are to protect people and property from other people. The drug laws seem to be more about government interference in peoples private lives. Surely, like drinking and smoking and growing a beard, or shaving your legs, etc, it’s a personal choice? As long as it does no harm to others!!

    I think my point, vis-a-vis DC, is that it should not be an issue anyway.

    Did you know, incidently, that Switzerland had LEGALISED cannabis? I understand it is the only country to have done so. The government is making a pretty penny in taxes, and the dealers all went out of business (or legitamised and paid tax on their produce and profits). No imports allowed, and you must be a swiss citizen. It would be interesting to see some figures (crime, health, and economic) for before the legalisation and now.

    Please understand, I am NOT advocating the use of drugs!!! Except, maybe, in the capacity of a pseudo-devil! ;0)

    (I’ll refrain from mentioning recent published research that suggests that cannabis use may enhance intelligence, or how harmful a “thinking” electorate would be to the government!!)

    :o)

  36. Oh, one more thing…

    I used to be a carer, looking after a 50 year old man with MS. Up until his death.

    Of all the different drugs that he was fed (and we are talking 10 or 12 different ones a day) only one ever helped him.

    No matter what (and there is talk of re-classifying cannabis to class b again) IT MUST BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR MEDICAL USE.

    Just saying.

    :o)

    Psi

  37. If it were administered under medical supervision, then the use of the cannabis could be legalised. It isn’t and therefore , any nut can indulge, without knowing precisely what it is he/she is imbibing. That is the difference between smoking,drinking alcohol, and drug taking, whatever the drug, you pays your money and you takes your chance on purity of product;( The introduction of cheap counterfeit cigarettes is causing even more concern than before).

  38. I think we should all listen to some Bill Hicks to get an idea on whether smokers are more likely to cause social disturbances or not.

    Try and start a fight with a smoker… it’s IMPOSSIBLE. Try to start a fight with a drunkard in your town centre on a saturday night and it’s too late because he has already knifed you in the ribs.

    However, i wouldn’t like to see it legalised, that would lead to taxation and I wouldn’t want other way for Blair to get his hands on my money and waste it.

  39. Try to start a fight with a single mother with PMT – not a good argument really UNLESS YOU WANT OPPRESSING TOO!! (giggles)

  40. Boris

    Would you be supporting David Cameron if you weren’t in the Bullingdon together? Was a drunken white tie bash in The Elizabeth the Tory equivalent of the Blair-Brown Granita meeting? Are YOU his anointed successor?

    @ – go on, ask the boss these questions, won’t you? I’m dying to hear his answers!

    kisses

    Merkin
    x

  41. Hi Merkin

    Am taking up your challenge mate.

    1st question: they are in the same gang

    2nd: I’m sure they have been at many bashes

    3rd: Cameron’s best friend is Osborne so HE must be the anointed one

    Keep interrogating Merkin!

  42. I am not ashamed to say that I wanted Ken Clarke but we must accept it and move on. The big question now is whether we, the members, will actually get a vote in this thing. Clearly I should learn to manage my expectations a little better but Michael Howard was a shoe-in and now we are threatened by another. Do the members matter or should we just be grateful? If the MP’s do another ‘deal’ then what are we all here for exactly? Strawberry Teas and putting on a posh accent when the MP walks in? I think I’ll set up a support group for disenfranchised members. I will call it the TA – Tories Anonymous. Fingers crossed for a choice after all – please. Come on Boris do a bit of tactical voting to give the membership something to do.

  43. Richard Shepherd – am totally with you on the “we must move on” sentiment.

    I also hope that the membership will get a say on the voting for new leader, as I’m sure we will.

  44. My view on paternity leave is that it would be far more appropriate to schedule it in for when the child reaches 13. During the early months most fathers are clueless, whereas fortunately most mothers instinctively know what to do. It’s in later years that the child really appreciates the extra dimension a father can bring and if paternity leave during summer holidays for fathers of teenagers is an incentive to keep couples together then I’m all for it.

  45. I’ve just had a belated read of the above. As far as I can see cannabis should be legalised because as soon as it becomes a legal business then it will have to cope with taxation, antidiscrimination rules, maternity and paternity leave. Dealers living at the top of Victorian terraced houses will have to provide lifts. Any one sufferring ill effects will be able to sue. Unable to cope the dope industry will go the way of so many other small businesses.

    Next – legalise murder with appropriate health and safety and quality standards. Zero tolerance – phooey!

  46. You know, I really HATE these @#*!’s that post their adverts on bulletin boards like that.

    I’d much rather they came round my house.

    Then I could explain to them why not to do it.

    As painfully as I can make it.

    Literally.

  47. I hesitate to say this , but we should ” stand up ” in protest about the unsolicited crap these people post. It’s not just the pruduct per se; it is this particular product’s subliminal implicit message that irks.

  48. Boris,

    i hear ur future leader is into snorting coke while banging call girls.

    never thought i’d say it, but….wow….a Tory “in touch” with the common man

    Lucky fella

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