H. stayed up all night, watching the election results on television. I’d had an exhausting day, so collapsed into bed at around 11 pm. At 5 a.m., I woke up and went to the living room. “David Cameron is staying,” H. said. I didn’t reply for fear of waking myself up totally. I stumbled back to bed. On some level, I was hoping that it had been a dream. That when I’d finally wake up a couple of hours later, I could laugh about it over breakfast.
That didn’t happen. What happened was the confirmation of five more years of our country continuing on its downward spiral. I am only just beginning to snap out of my state of shock, of disbelief.
I am not and have never been politically-minded. I don’t understand politics and don’t feel sufficiently informed. I keep up with political news for the same reason some people follow the weather forecast. From a self-protection instinct.
Basically, I don’t understand how politicians think, or how the political machinery works. I don’t understand the real reasons behind politicians’ decisions. Frankly, I don’t care – and I don’t see why I should. The proof of the pudding is in the visible results of their decisions, and I can only truly see the result as it affects the people around me, and – let’s be frank about it – me.
My partner and I have had to move to Norwich because we could no longer afford London rents. We’re not the only ones. Rents in London have rocketed to an obscene level, and are disproportionate to the average London salary. Meanwhile, according to The Londonist, 61% of new London properties are bought by investors. Most of these investors are foreign and do not buy these properties for either living in them or letting them, but simply as an asset. Parts of London are increasingly becoming like a ghost town. I recently read an article about a woman who, after living most of her life in Notting Hill, was moving out because she felt uncomfortable living almost alone on her street after all the other properties had been sold to foreign investors who kept them empty. Landlords get away with charging exorbitant rents for places so small, they’re unfit to be lived in. In response to the plight of so many Londoners who are having to leave their families and friends and move away, one Tory MP said that if we couldn’t afford to leave in London, then we should get “on the trains and up to Manchester.”
Honestly, how dare he?
I don’t blame the investors, foreign or local. It is their right to do as they please with their capital. I blame our government for allowing this state of affairs. Is London to become a gated community for the super rich?
How much longer can you bear this?
When you rent a flat in the UK, most letting agents require proof of regular employment. If you’re freelance, they ask you either for an accountant’s report or to pay six months rent in advance. At the end of the six months, the process starts anew. Proof of regular employment, accountant’s report… or six months rent in advance. You then have to sign a document which is, in effect, your own eviction notice, where you guarantee to move out after six months. Oh, and if you want to fix extra picture hooks in the wall, you have to tell the letting agent exactly how many, and wait for the landlord to give permission.
How much longer can you bear this?
My eighty-year-old mother has been in and out of hospital and has had at least three spinal procedures. She is in constant pain. A few weeks ago, her pain got suddenly much more acute. She went to A & E and, after several hours’ wait, was X-rayed, told there was nothing amiss, and sent back home at eleven o’clock at night. For all her practically begging for an MRI scan, they didn’t do one. A few days later, getting worse, she was once again admitted to A & E. She stayed there for ten days before an MRI scan was finally done. She asked for a second pillow for her bed. The nurses said they didn’t have another one. During the ten days, one of her consultants kept sending word that she should be sent home because there couldn’t possibly be any more collapsed vertebrae. Clearly a psychic, since he formed the judgement without actually having seen her since her admission. But not a very good psychic. The MRI, when it was finally carried out, showed that, once again she had a collapsed vertebra. They operated on her spine on the Thursday and discharged her on the Friday.
I noticed the other day, that there’s a new response in vogue when you ask for anything to be done. Be it leaving a message with a doctor’s secretary, asking the doctor to call you, asking a junior doctor to find out who made such-and-such a decision regarding something, or even asking a sales assistant if they have in stock the shoes of your choice in a 5 1/2.
This response is: I can’t guarantee it.
People say it almost as a knee-jerk reaction. Before they even say they’ll try accommodating you. What is the matter with everyone in this country? Why is everyone so afraid of taking responsibility? Of standing up and being counted? Are we becoming a nation of evasive cowards?
They say if you throw a frog into a pot of hot water, it will leap right back out. But if you put it into cold water, and turn up the heat, you can boil it to death.
I don’t care under which government all this started. I just wonder how much longer you can bear all this.
I’m at the end of my tether.
Like you, I am not particularly political and will support anyone who can actually do some good or deliver on promises which brings us to the NHS. It would be wonderful to have all these new GPs we are being promised but where will they come from? You can hardly put an ad in the local paper and get a flood of applicants. At present there are very stringent checks made on anyone applying for any type of specialist training her, GP or otherwise and my fear is that in the eagerness to reach the promises increase, these checks will become lax and we will be left with even more problems.
I’m so sorry about your mother – her unacceptable treatment is a result of many things within the NHS. However, I question that it is a lack of funding, more that money to the NHS does not always go where it is needed but is spent on new ‘initiatives’ and the advisors who are paid a great deal to think them up.
I do hope your mother is recovering and is receiving support.
Thank you, Liz. My mother is in excruciating pain, and caught up in a jam of red tape and “procedure”.
You’re quite right about promises, though. I always wonder where the money for all these “promised marvels” is going to come from.
It’s interesting to note that Canada’s last federal election(a few years ago), produced the reaction by the medias that the people voted back the right party. At that time, the other choice wasn’t that great and it seemed the old adage of “who-you-know-is-better-than-someone-you-don’t”. Provincially, it was the same thoughts as the person we hoped would be out-voted came back with a landslide. Go figure! We will be heading to the polls again and this time, it may well be a surprise who returns.
I’m truly sorry your Mom went through so much. And as others have commented, I had no idea how bad things were–we often heard good things about your health system but it seems, one has to live there to really know. Please take good care–you and H– and keep well.
Thank you, Judee.I’m tearing my hair out. The saga with my mother continues.
The country is fearful and angry. That is why the SNP did so well, they do care about Scotland and the People of Scotland. Devolution will help eventually. But do not be old or poor in this country. My love to your Mum and apologies for the unkindness and incompetence. I presume the specialist was not of the female gender but there would have been no guarantee that things would have been any better if it was. I just hope so. But very few women get to that position. I hope your MP reads your blog.
Thank you for your kind words. I think it’s sad – and dangerous – when people’s sense of (however justified) disappointment and frustration leads them towards extreme measures. The specialist is, indeed, a man but I really don’t feel that he’s a representative of other male doctors. I have met wonderful, caring and sympathetic male health professionals, as well as, perhaps paradoxically, patronising and “I’ve-studied-and-you-haven’t-so-I’m-superior-to-you” female doctors. And the other way around.
Sadly, my lovely MP lost his seat. Here hoping the new one has his heart in the right place – and the chops to see things through.
I’m terribly, terribly sorry, I didn’t know things were so bad there. London has some of the same glamour about it as New York and Paris, but I suppose I should know by horror stories about New York apartments that it must be similar. I simply wasn’t thinking. I’m also sorry to hear about your mother, and I hope her surgery helps her to feel better. We too are up for elections soon, and I’m not really sanguine about those either. All about David Cameron that made its way over here after the election was what a “surprise” it was that he won again. Go figure! I do hope things improve for you and H. wherever you are, and that you can find some way to make peace for yourselves in what sounds like an impossible situation.
Thank you, Vicki. Things are actually quite grim in the UK. The problem is, we’re really good at sweeping things under the carpet. The political arrogance of this country is substantial. And yet I understand we have the highest rate of teenage pregnancies and child malnutrition, in Europe! We’re also 20th in the world as to the quality of our schools. That says it all, really.
I’m sorry to hear what your mother had to endure, which must have been exhausting for your too.
I don’t think politicians ran things, it’s conglomerates who support the politicians that best serve the interest of their shareholders. The frog story is disturbingly accurate.
Yes, you’re probably right. Some of our politicians simply don’t look intelligent enough to make their own decisions.
Thank you for commenting.
Thanks for yer post…couldn’t agree more [Cameron governments invented the diaspora….or as Bullet Tooth Tony once opined: “you should never underestimate the predictability of [political] stupidity…”
Thanks for your comment. My grandfather, who was a diplomat when he was young – used to say, “After handling money and politics, wash your hands.”
Do you think they’re stupid or genuinely wicked? Can stupidity reach really reach such levels?
Most of the politicians in these United States of Amnesia have a reductionist lexicon: “re-elected” [and serve any interest that will fund that]…
Funny, that’s exactly the attitude of our lot.