Fine tuning our affluence

Ed being statesmanlike
Ed being statesmanlike

Here’s Ed Miliband getting slated for his rubbish conference speech, on the entirely correct grounds that he’s a miserable bugger pretending that Britain is a gloomy non-functioning disaster area, where nobody is happy:

…if Scotland’s nationalist surge showed anything it is the political force of hope—and to find any in the Labour leader’s miserabilist diagnosis you have to believe he is uniquely able to bring the enormous change he promises to his ruined land. Hardly anyone does. Only a fifth of Britons—including fewer than half of Labour voters—consider Mr Miliband up to the task of being prime minister.That is the humiliating context in which the Labour leader’s increasingly dreich analysis, mawkish sentiment, outlandish promises and murdering of the English language (“Together says it is not just the rich and powerful whose voice should be heard!”) are being received, even by his own party.

Fine article, crap speech,  is Britain really that terrible though?

Likewise, still my favourite referendum snippet:

It is unfortunate, but too many people in Scotland do not seem to know the difference between the reality of freedom and the illusion of freedom.

Because of course, Scotland languishes under an invisible English yoke, horribly oppressed by it’s…er…own parliament and…er… a generous financial uplift per capita compared to the rest of Britain.

A little perspective seems in order.

In the NHS you meet all sorts of people. In the last three weeks, I had s0me interesting encounters, purely by chance. For example:

The Nigerian doctor who is from the relatively safe south of the country. She lives in a one bedroom flat, patiently doing her language qualifications etc (because she’s not an EU citizen), while her academic husband works nights in a local nursing home. She will take any NHS job that she can get, and she is grateful for the chance. Back in Nigeria her father, a doctor, was kidnapped and the family had to pay a substantial ransom, or he’d be dead by now.

Which is actually the third kidnapping I’ve come across in colleagues. One was another Nigerian, whose father was kidnapped by a gang lead by his own nephew (now murdered), but the dad escaped, and also a Pakistani surgeon in his fifties who was kidnapped for a week. The ransom was paid by selling his entire practice in Lahore. His nephew was kidnapped and murdered. The family fled here as asylum seekers. The old man does junior locums to make ends meet.

As my Nigerian lady doctor said: “I do not understand why the Scots want independence, this is not oppression, they have a wonderful life compared to the rest of the world”. I think she may be right.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi doctor who came here after Gulf War 1, as a 10 year old refugee was telling me that things were much better under evil Saddam Hussein, compared to now. He wasn’t making a political point, just a comment on everyday life, like being safe in the streets, food in the shops, freedom of worship etc. This is not a homage to the old dictator, merely to point out that the necessities of a peaceful existence matter more than some people seem to realise over here in the UK.

Just last night, the man who sells me my kebabs, who is an Iraqi Kurd, was updating me. His brother and cousin are Peshmerga, fighting – proper combat fighting – the IS maniacs in Iraq, right now. He hopes that they kill a lot of them, but his own relatives’ lives are obviously at risk. Everything that we take for granted here  is at stake over there.

UK politicians are bad enough, but the armchair activists are even worse. Take a look at the drivel of the losers (#45 on Twitter) of the Scottish referendum. Zero insight, the insanity of the unthinking affluent herd.

Likewise, the ludicrous theme cooked up by overreaching ambitious clowns like Andy Burnham, that everything – the NHS, the economy – is going to the dogs, with untold human suffering, is simply embarrassing. Ed Miliband, and others like him, don’t need to wander round Hampstead Heath harassing the citizenry to find out how terrible Britain is, because it’s not. If instead they talked to some of the true asylum seekers who’ve made it to these shores, they might have the grace to realise the truth.

As Goethe pointedly said:  “there is nothing so terrible as activity without insight”.

Bruegel the Elder, The Blind Leading the Blind, Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. 1568
Bruegel the Elder, The Blind Leading the Blind, Museo di Capodimonte, Naples. 1568
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