People who lose their sight – macular degeneration

The world is going dark for thousands of elderly people because we won’t let clinicians make independent decisions

What has gone wrong with our priorities, when we can allow comparatively affluent people to have essentially cosmetic operations on the NHS – wart removal, tattoo removal, varicose veins – and yet we cannot find the cash to save an old man’s sight?

and it is … wrong that life-prolonging medicines of all kinds are available free in Scotland – subsidised by the taxpayers of England – and yet are denied to the English on grounds of expense.

How can Hewitt turn a blind eye?

Imagine the terror of going blind.

Think what it must be like to lose the most vital of your senses, and to lose it rapidly. First it becomes difficult to judge distances, and you have to give up the car. Then you can’t quite make out the newspaper as well as you used to, and then you can’t read it at all; and then even the television becomes invisible, and you can no longer see your wife; and you must be able to see her because apart from anything else you are her chief carer and she is severely disabled.

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UK-France Euro Route

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You may say I’m a dreamer, in the words of the poet Lennon, but I’m not the only one. It was back in the 1980s that EuroRoute proposed a magnificent scheme to the British and French governments, backed by such names as Barclays and Trafalgar House. The EuroRoute involved both a road and a rail link, and it strikes me as tragic that we didn’t choose it

Time to reconquer France

Even as I write these words, I can hear the anguish in the voice of my constituent. Every morning she gets up and looks at the mist rising from the meadows of Oxfordshire; and every morning she dreads the bulldozers biting through the hedges and the habitats, and in her mind’s eye she sees the rabbit-hutch housing filling the fields, and in her agony she turns to me and wonders.

Of course she wants homes for British families, she says; but is there no where else they can go? And as house prices rise and the traffic gets ever slower, and as the clamour mounts for water and sewerage and space and gardens, and as ever more young couples go miserably to their MPs to say they cannot afford to get on the housing ladder, it is time for real bravery and radicalism.

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Exam Grade Inflation

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As I fell off the mountain, I learnt all about grade inflation

Nah, I thought, this can’t be right. I looked over the edge, and scrabbled like a beetle on the lip of a huge white bath. This can’t be the piste, I whispered to myself, as the wind whipped up thin dusty flurries of snow around my skis, and the sweat of fear chilled instantly on my brow.

I had just slipslid along a snake-like defile on the top of an 8,000ft peak, and now the route required me to launch myself down the slope.

Except that this wasn’t a slope, so much as a rash of hideous round protuberances on the wall of a precipice. These moguls were not your normal manageable moguls, like gigantic lumps of mashed potato. They were freakishly hollowed out on the uphill side, like waves frozen in the act of breaking, and as I stared at them I could just imagine how their jaws would catch the edge of my skis and flip me out and down into the void, and – aaargh.

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