Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Hot and Cold Running Holidays

There is probably a way of blogging on an iPad, and Idle will do his best to find out how to do it. Otherwise this organ's regular 2013 output is going to run into a bit of a cul-de-sac for a fortnight, for two very good reasons.

Today, frost allowing, the Olympics of jump racing roars into action. Idle will have to watch the first four Tuesday races on the office telly, but on Wednesday and Thursday he will be sinking Guinness almost as fast as that fat Cockney Irishman Guido Fawkes and improving the lives of Betfair shareholders and a few select on-course bookies. Leaving Cheltenham in profit shouldn't be that hard, but I manage to cock it up every other year. Now I think about it, I was about even last year, so 2013 could go either way. Maybe I'll win my annual golf match on Wednesday morning on a frozen Cirencester golf course and be a tenner to the good that way.

On Thursday evening, Idle had better find his car and an unpatrolled highway to Sussex, or the biggest stewards' enquiry of the week will be underway; Lady Idle, born and brought up in the tropics, goes into a SAD decline round about mid-January and the snow and mud of this winter caused an acute attack, solved only by Idle booking nine days in the Caribbean. So it's Bridgetown instead of Gloucestershire on Friday morning, and Long Run will simply have to regain his crown without me. Or maybe Bobs Worth. Or another one (see how decisive I am at this betting game?).

I'll be somewhere near Mullins Bay if you need me.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Ten Minute Bonus

E-K, who blogs with a regularity that South West Trains can only envy, invites comments on his blog to a quote from Esther Rantzen: "I would rather have ten minutes with my late husband than ten more years of life."

I wondered what her children and grandchildren would make of it.

However; what would the idle readership choose if granted a bonus ten minutes? Maybe a chance meeting with a young and impecunious Bill Gates, and saying "fair enough, I think you might be onto something, I'll give you ten grand for ten percent".

Or to be a junior A&R man at Decca and pipe up with "are you sure guitar bands have had their day? What are they going to buy instead - Val Doonican? I say we should sign them".

Or Hirohito's stand-in valet perhaps: "surrender with honour, Sir, but best do it today".

In truth, Idle would like ten minutes back at any stage in January 2000, with someone he trusted and admired saying: "sell all those tech stocks and buy a few small flats in Chelsea".

Friday, 8 March 2013

Health Cheque

There was an excellent article in the Speccie two weeks ago about the abuse of the NHS by health tourists. Cue predictable outrage from UKIP and just-as-predictable flannel from lefties, saying it is our duty, we are a wealthy nation, our terrible Empire raped the world, yadda yadda.

The problem, as we all know, is that the NHS is owned not really by 60 million patients, but by 1.4 million NHS staff. Reform is almost impossible, and impossible to judge (‘good’ reform being stymied by stubborn NHS management or medical staff will be made to look ‘bad’, obviously). Electorally, it is suicidal to propose the sort of radical reform it really needs. Furthermore, the Hippocratic Oath is something we all respect and even one wretched suffering African being shown the door for failing to produce a valid credit card would be too many.

Happily, a Mr Tom Roberts from Derby has solved the problem for us. He has written to the Speccie and suggested that all we need do is meet the cost of the use/abuse of the NHS by foreigners and health tourists from the Overseas Aid budget. Genius! We know they find it very hard to identify enough credible uses for their huge budget. Let the Overseas Aid budget meet the cost, and close down the unnecessary International Development ministry (1,700 civil servants, if you can believe it).

One day, many years from now, we won’t have an NHS which treats the sick of the world, straight off the plane at Heathrow, with the British taxpayer picking up the bill. That will be because the NHS has imploded and the British economy has turned into Albania c1975.  We could avoid this happening by having a proper debate about the size of the state and the security of our borders, but I can’t see that happening in any meaningful way whilst the current lot of jokers run the Tory party.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Stafford Strangler

Idle had his monthly letter in the Telegraph this morning, on the subject of the NHS management supremo who is better at reducing paperclip use and stacking blankets than he is at, um, running a health service that stops people dying unnecessarily in a soiled bed and with no drinking water.

How is it possible for Sir David Nicholson to keep his position and his title?

The lack of accountability with the NHS

SIR – One of the reasons that Sir David is refusing to contemplate resignation might be his belief in "jobs for life". He gave such a promise to all the staff of his first NHS trust in the late Eighties.
A------- O-----
West Sussex

But in case Idle was to get carried away by his own journalistic brilliance, Stephen Glover makes a much more important point in the Mail:

This Tory-led Government has missed the opportunity of placing the blame squarely on Labour for its past mistakes, and it finds itself in the absurd position of being associated with shameful events over which it had absolutely no control. You can’t score a more monumentally stupid political own goal than that.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Memo to Osborne

"All that is needed for economic growth is peace, easy taxes and the tolerable administration of justice".

Adam Smith

Monday, 4 March 2013

Eight Out of Ten Imbeciles

March 4th, 2013
LAB has “best policies” on Europe according to new Ipsos-MORI poll. See chart. twitter.com/MSmithsonPB/st…
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) March 4, 2013

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Is Ipsos-MORI not embarrassed even to have asked the question? They must be a bit embarrassed at the answer, surely, for no sentient being with an interest in politics could be unaware of the fact that the Labour party has no policy at all on Europe, and for good reason – the majority of Britons with an opinion want OUT, so the Europhile Labour leadership, who love the whole Big Centralised Bureaucratic Undemocratic Thing, quite sensibly are keeping shtum. If anyone is ‘ahead’ on Europe, it is the Nat’l Assoc of Fruitcakes, Loonies and Closet Racists, aka UKIP. We all know this.

When the talking heads on telly bang on about Dave and the Tories ‘failing to connect with ordinary people’, we should give the party a break. ‘Ordinary people’ are quite extraordinarily thick, as this latest poll demonstrates.

I think we would all be wise to ignore polls until a day or two before the next general election; they will provide nothing of value.

Friday, 1 March 2013

How Government Grows

“I have today appointed Greg Deck as mayor of the mountain resort of Jumbo,” government minister Bill Bennett told a press conference in British Columbia. “I have also appointed Nancy Huginin and Steve Ostrander to assist him as councilors. True, Jumbo has no inhabitants, buildings or roads. But we do have a mayor, and that’s a good start.”

Environmentalists are not amused. “This new ski resort may have no net benefit. We think that the people of BC will start asking some serious questions when they realise they are paying the salaries of a mayor and councillors to govern an area inhabited solely by grizzlies and goats.”

H/T Artemis Funds Weekly