07 December 2017
Diary of a Corbynista
Trump and May show us what leadership is all about
by Don Urquhart
I attended the premiere of John Pilger’s film “The Coming War on China” – a must see for anyone interested in world peace. You don’t have to agree with his conclusions. However, the evidence is incontrovertible that the USA used the Marshall Islanders as guinea pigs for H Bomb experiments. And the current hostility of the people of Okinawa to the American missile bases also cannot be denied. There is much to demonise in North Korea but after watching Pilger’s film you can appreciate why they might feel as intimidated by the Americans as so many other states in the Pacific region appear to be.
Sergei Lavrov accuses the Americans of goading Kim Jong-Un and asks what they are trying to achieve. He thinks they should talk to the Rocket Man. Donald Trump yesterday retweeted some anti-Muslim messages put out by the Britain First organisation. He might want to reinforce his Muslim ban policy and, fair enough, it doesn’t matter that he upsets some fairly insignificant government on the edge of Europe, but it does appear that he has no interest in or understanding of the “moral high ground”.
Sir Lancelott Spratt was the formidable consultant of Doctor in the House. He appeared in the wards every now and then to receive tribute from obsequious patients, nurses and junior doctors. How we laughed! Recently a young acquaintance of mine was, in his first week as a qualified doctor, confronted in A&E with a condition he did not feel qualified to treat. He reached the on-call consultant who was out to dinner and told him between mouthfuls that it was up to him, the man on the spot. The CQC reveals that a Portsmouth hospital has used unqualified staff to interpret X-rays. There is a 23,000 item backlog over 12 months awaiting review by a qualified clinician. The CQC identified 3 cases where lung cancer had been missed.
Trump will soon be able to claim his first legislative success – a taxation bill has passed the Senate by 51 votes to 49. It makes some cuts to income taxes but, most notably, reduces corporation tax from 35% to 20%. Democrats fear that countervailing cuts in Medicare and Social Security will follow. They are hoping the electorate will wise up come next November’s mid-terms.
Alan Milburn and the other three remaining members of the Social Mobility Commission have resigned on the basis that the government has failed utterly in this area and has no plans for improving its performance. Theresa May stood on Downing Street’s front step in July last year and told us that her mission was to redress the burning injustice of inequality. In response to the resignations a spokesperson said the government was committed to fighting injustice “and ensuring everyone has the opportunity to go as far as their talents will take them”.
Owen Paterson reassures us: “Once we have taken back control we can really enjoy the advantages.” I do not want Mr Paterson controlling anything to do with my life. He might be a perfectly charming man but what I have seen of him on TV has me thinking he would do even less for deprived people, foxes and the planet in general than those of his party who currently warm the front bench.
Will the Irish border issue give May and Juncker indigestion at today’s lunch?
The General Secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) expresses the view: “The private train companies are laughing all the way to the bank.” In January, train fares will go up by an average of 3.4%. But it’s all OK. The Rail Delivery Group explains that in the next 18 months, services around the country will be improved with more trains and better services and stations.
Just how generous is the public appetite for bland assurances? Arlene Foster’s is nugatory. It’s hard to see the current impasse being resolved in the traditional manner – shovelling money into the DUP coffers.
As Robert Mueller closes in on Trump’s alleged collusion with the Russians, what better way of averting the world’s gaze than to firebomb the Middle East peace process with a plan to move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. As a result no one is talking about his Russian connection for the time being. In a very different manner our own leader is in danger of laying waste the Good Friday Agreement through a heady mix of incompetence and obstinacy. I suppose you could say that Brexit is May’s diversion from the carnage she is visiting on Britain’s poor.
I am praying that Jeremy gets through PMQ’s without mentioning Brexit. Nothing he says on the topic can make the PM’s position worse.
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