Heartwarming Tales: me being allowed to say anything I like for, like, my whole life

One may also sing whatever one likes in this Land Of Hope And Glory

This blog, and in fact my whole life, has until this point shown a thoroughgoing lack of gratitude for the freedom of speech that I enjoy and have always enjoyed. The aim of this post is to rectify the situation.

It would be remiss of me not to thank the following people for my freedom of speech: David Cameron, George Osborne, the Queen, the Queen Mother, Gary Lineker, Stephen Hawking, Commander Hogan-Howe, George Orwell, Jedward, and John Stuart Mill.

All of these people have, in some undefined but inestimable way, contributed to my freedom of speech. This freedom, in which we glory, is allowed to us not only for our own good but for the good of the nation. How, as Mill said, can rulers know how to rule if they cannot hear the squeaks of their subjects?

While the contribution of Jedward to my being allowed to say anything I like is not immediately obvious then think about it this way: the ability of Jedward to say whatever they like, without fear of arrest, without fear of torture or persecution, helps to create the space for my own words. I, like Jedward, am not tortured, and for this I thank them.

I would also like to thank Commander (or is it Commissioner? – I always forget) Hogan-Howe of the metropolitan police, for never knowingly entering me into a database of dissenters. Why would he know? And definitely Gary Lineker, that brave and owl-like soul, has never done such a thing. So thank you.

Finally I would like to extend special thanks once more to all the ministers in this current government, who in their generosity allow me and everyone I know to say whatever we wish without it bothering them one little bit. Thank you. Democracy is a fine and noble thing.

Let us all now stand and sing the national anthem.

Heartwarming Tales: The story of a Fundamentally Decent Nation

Or: A foreign imposter in Malaya

It is not often I quote Richard Littlejohn, but today it will help kick off the story of how Britain became a Fundamentally Decent Nation. That sensitive and gentle man wrote this in a column in response to the earthquake in Japan:

Anyone who has visited or worked in Japan will tell you it is like landing on another planet. Beyond the baseball caps and Western clothes, the Japanese people have a distinct culture of their own, which is entirely alien to our own values. They are militantly racist and in the past have been capable of great cruelty.

This makes a couple of important points about our Fundamental Decentness as Brits. Firstly, it very often involves going to other countries and treating the inhabitants of those lands as an alien species. It’s a habit we acquired some time ago and, like crack cocaine and electing Old Etonians, we’ve found it to be moreish and difficult to kick.

The second important point I think we can glean from this Littlejohn gem is that Britain has never been militant, racist or capable of cruelty. These are the habits of foreigners. This is enlightening and will help clear up some of the problems that historians have had to face when reconciling the Fundamental Decentness of the British Character with facts.

Since it was not us who invented concentration camps in the Boer War, it must have been the result of infiltration by foreign types. No doubt all those involved in planning and executing the use of concentration camps were merely masquerading as Brits. I believe the slaughter thousands of men at Omdurman using far superior weaponry must also have been due to foreign infiltration. No doubt the bombing of the French navy at the beginning of WWII was not ordered by Churchill at all but by some foreign imposter looking like him. Likewise I’m sure it wasn’t really him who couldn’t be bothered to spare a few planes to destroy Nazi gas chambers.

The British people have remained Fundamentally Decent through all these trials, even as for decades and through multiple changes of government the British state expended its full resources to fight and defeat the powerless inhabitants of a small island. This just goes to show how deeply embedded the foreign menace is in the British establishment. And yet we, the British people, heroically shrug it off. That is not us. We beat the Nazis. That’s us.

But I am sorry to say that the foreign infiltrators are still among us, working away in our ranks, doing things that no Fundamentally Decent people like us could possibly contemplate. The British government, suffering from this pernicious foreign influence, recently arbitrarily capped the number of refugees the country would take. This means that foreign agents in our midst are right now sending people back to countries – such as Iraq – where it is known that the people forcibly returned will be tortured. Will this vile foreign sabotage never end? But at least it is not Brits putting the refugees onto the planes. It is impossible to imagine people so Fundamentally Decent doing such a thing.

On the topic of Iraq, that war was a classic example of a foreign plot to force us into a war with a country that posed us no threat. Certainly Britain and British people would never dream of engaging in wars of aggression. Our Fundamental Decentness would prevent it. And the razing of Fallujah that killed 6000 people can definitely be pinned on the Americans, whose army – this is well known though we are usually too polite to tell them – has always been Less Decent than ours. The fact that Britain played a supporting role in the massacre – sorry, the re-taking of Fallujah – can almost certainly be attributed to the creeping effects of foreigners in our midst.

We, Britain, became the Fundamentally Decent Nation we are today by not doing bad things. Definitely not. It wasn’t us. We would never behave like those Japanese types, or like Germans, or like Serbs. We just don’t have it in us. And it is so sad to see what a bunch of foreign infiltrators can do to make such a Fundamentally Decent Nation look so cruel.

Heartwarming tales of triumph over adversity: The freeing of the NHS budget

Struggling financiers in full battle regalia at CBI annual dinner

This week readers, I bring you a tale of great heroism, a tale to inspire and refresh the tired heart. The story begins in sadness and suffering among the small percentage of private individuals and organisations who control most of society’s resources. The block of money controlled by the government, that is, the tax take, had always caused them great pain. It is true that the money people take back control of many parts of it – much of the military budget for example, increasingly even the welfare budget. But something was still causing them an enormous amount of distress: the NHS budget.

Because the NHS budget was big. Very big. It was a big pot of gold they had no access to, save for the 10% of it going to pharmaceutical companies. 90% of a big pot of gold out of their reach was an unbelievable, horrendous ordeal for them, a nightmare scenario of a wealth redistribution mechanism that did not favour them.

People, we can barely imagine what they suffered. It’s true that a higher and higher percentage of government budgets was going to the money people through PFI, through outsourcing, through consultancy, and through corrupt and incompetent procurement procedures. This was some small comfort to them, but there was still that big pot of gold, still tempting them, still untouchable. The pain! The agony! How they must have tossed and turned at night! Pray that you never experience such suffering.

But this is a tale of heroism, and I can tell you that those money people did not give up. The odds were stacked against them, but they had a few things on their side: hundreds of millions of pounds with which to buy governments, hundred-thousand-pound-a-year sinecures to offer politicians on retirement, and the global triumph of an ideology that explicitly favoured profit-making over public service. With nothing but these meagre tools the money people fought and fought for their rightful share of the pie – that is to say, all of it. It was hard work, it was slow work, and the public mood was initially against dismantling the NHS, but they did not get downhearted, their lobbyists worked ceaselessly and their PR people fought the NHS through insurgent media organisations who backed them.

One day, after great struggles waged in society’s darkest places – high-end restaurants, politicians bank accounts, the national media, the social network of similarly-minded people who hold most of the wealth and power – the money people finally got what they had longed for through all their long years of suffering: a government whose sole political mission was redistributing money from ordinary people to them. The money that had for so long been distributed through the NHS could now return to the hands of its rightful owners: those who already held most of it.

Against all the odds, the money people and their agents the private health companies had achieved their dream. Their agony was ended. Within months the government began re-organising the NHS as a channel to move taxpayers money into profit-making organisations. So complete was the triumph of the underdogs that no party in the country saw fit to oppose them.

Those who fought this bitter battle, its grimmest days thankfully in the past, have reached some level of contentment now. Their dogged determination in the face of a national consensus on the value of the NHS stands as an inspiration to us all. To anyone else who suffers like they did, they offer humble words of advice: be rich already, know the right people, buy the right people, and one day – however dark things seem right now – everything will go your way.