Decision Day

Remain or LeaveThere’s been much debate about whether we should leave the EU or remain. On Thursday 23 June 2016 we shall vote to decide.

As usual our political class has assumed the right to dictate that decision. Interestingly they are divided, but their reasons for that dichotomy are not always linked to the question asked. They may be shocked. Our representative form of government means that major parties can often share control. One person, one vote! That’s very dangerous. There’s good evidence that suggests if enough people are allowed to make decisions that will make the correct choice. Now that is real democracy.

For me, there are several matters that have not been revealed, let alone discussed.

This country is now controlled by a corporate oligarchy. Not yet quite as apparent as in the USA but as we have so many companies with US roots the signs are there. Look at the tax paid by international companies. Big brother waits, poised, with an army of suave promoters ready to persuade our politicians to follow the glorious pathways set by commerce.

That’s a real worry, and neither side of the debate offers any alternative. The Remain side are clearly controlled by corporate interests but it’s not clear that the Leave side wish to fight off this plague.

That may not be the central question on Thursday, but we must remain vigilant. Too many of the assets of this country are now out of our control. David Cameron blathers on about UK industry: we no longer have very much. Our industries and especially those state-owned companies that once provided staple services: gas, electricity, telecommunications, rail transport, ports are now largely foreign-owned, and the efforts and industry of generations of our citizens have been handed over to those who are only concerned with private profit.

The market cannot provide unless it is controlled by the state. That’s increasingly not the case, as the market demands that the state bows to its commands.

We live in a multi-tiered society. Essentially those in control, and those who are PAYE employees, unemployed or retired. This latter group have very little say in the world. That’s what makes a referendum so scary. The people have no experience of making decisions. The politicians and big business are now very concerned that the rabble will vote against their interests and want to Leave.

What’s so special about the EU? It makes laws, imposing those laws on 28 countries. The UK has tried 73 times to vote against changes the EU wanted. It has lost 73 times. Banging  your head against such a brick wall it’s difficult to understand how we change the system. Vote to Remain means putting up with what you are given.

‘Please Sir, can I have some more?’ That’s not the British way. That is already clear. We have rebelled several times: our rebate is unique; we are not part of the Euro; we are not in the Schengen area.

Immigration has been used as an issue during the campaign. More people, paid less, will be more controllable, and because there are more people corporations will sell more. There’s another large factor that has been ignored. Industry no longer needs workers, nor does agriculture. We have machines and robots that will pick up the threads of industrialisation and, eventually do away with the need for human intervention. We must realise this will happen, and begin to make plans.

Pedantry has taken over. Leave says £350 million a day, Remain say that’s not true we get money back, and don’t pay the rebate. ‘We’ is an important word. ‘Who gets that money? Not the UK taxpayer, it goes to farmers, who do very well out of the EU, universities and a few projects – how much, and to whom it is paid is  a EU decision. I’ve been involved in obtaining EU grants – it’s a nightmare.

I watched a YouTube interview with Lord Bertrand Russel today. He was part of a British oligarchy but he impressed me with his honest approach. I want my country back.

Eye Hospital

eye clamped openI’ve been lucky, in that I’ve not had much contact with the NHS. When contact has been required, its always been efficient and kindly. Recently that changed, I needed help from the NHS. My optician discovered I was blind in one eye. It’s not that I didn’t realise something was wrong, but my overriding fear in life has been something going wrong with my sight. So, I’d ignored the obvious symptoms. I did, as an alternative to seeing my GP (what an optimist I was – thinking I could see my GP!) I arranged to have my eyes tested.

Quite quickly that happened. I was ushered into the opthamologist’s inner sanctum. Optician was great, he quietly said I had a problem, probably I’d had a stroke. and got me an appointment with my GP that day. Not exactly my GP but a locum. Genial chap, recently retired. We spent a few minutes bemoaning the changes in the NHS. He took my blood pressure, then said he could give me some medication but would not do so because he was a locum, so would not be able to monitor the treatment. I thought that rather strange, because I was the one who was to receive, and monitor, the treatment.

Never mind, the optician, a marvellous young Irishman, had also contacted the Eye Department of the local hospital. They responded immediately, and I was soon being checked by a lovely Registrar, my eyes were photographed, and I was immediately told of the problem (a blood clot) and treatment. Appointments were made I was sent home to contemplate, in some trepidation.
I was to receive regular treatment over the next three months. Oh yes, that sounds good, then I was told that I would have a course of injections into, yes into, my eye. My worst fears were to be recognised. I spoke to a friend who has macular degeneration, which is the loss of vision in the central part of sight – horrible enough, but I was interested because she’d had injections into the eye. No problem at all, she’d insisted. It doesn’t hurt. I remained unconvinced. She was old, and probably had no idea what was happening, or her pain receptors were no longer working. I was different, I would suffer.

I went for the first appointment; a beautiful nurse, called Sarah, kept putting drops in my eyes. Each took time to operate, to dilate the pupils, to deaden the Pain (I really hoped they would work). Eventually Sarah led me into the torture chamber, where I sat in  a big chair. I was reminded of executions by lethal injection, as Ithe chair was tilted back. Sarah was calm and efficient. I was overwhelmed by my growing attraction to this elegant woman. Suddenly I understood why patients fall in love with their nurses. My Registrar spent time looking at my case notes, and even longer carefully explaining what was to happen. She was good, but my love would remain with Sarah.

The problem with eyes you can’t just close them and let them get on with it. You are aware, you can see what is happening. I concentrated on Sarah, now standing on my right side, holding her hand up, urging me to concentrate on the hand. I was aware the Registrar was on my left side, about to do something dire. Her hand came across my eye. Inwardly I braced. She had a small swab with iodine, that she used to clean around my eye. Good stuff iodine. I turned my mind to what I knew of iodine: it was found in seawater, and in Chile, and was good at killing bugs. That was as far as I got as Sarah then firmly told me to keep looking at her hand. My eyes moved towards her face, far more attractive. The Registrar’s voice broke into my revered, ‘Keep Still!’

I did., aware that two small needles were piercing my eyeball. Oh no, why did I allow this!

In seconds it was all over. The Registrar was being very informative, telling me what would happen next time. Sarah was smiling. She was a lovely woman. I’d be back, if only to see her.
I never got used to these injections. Finally I attended for the last set of injections. My Registrar was not there. In her stead was an Asian man, short and stocky. He said nothing to me but spoke instead to a small student. I couldn’t hear much of what was said, except he was moaning about the administration, ‘I am no more than a clerk,’ he said. The nurse, Sarah’s replacement, was calmly brusque. I was not relaxed.

Before the injection the eyelids are clamped back, away from the eye. I’d never noticed this before, as the Registrar performed this action smoothly and I had no idea what was happening – those eye-drops had clearly worked. In any case I’d always tried to catch Sarah’s eye. She was much more interesting.

This doctor was not so gentle. A nursing Sister later told me that she’d found a similar attitude amongst many of the medical staff from the Far East. She believed they had no understanding of such subtleties, coming from a far harsher world than our own. May be it’s a good idea she is now retired, she’d probably be castigated for racism these days.

Fear is frightening, naturally. I was suddenly seized by fear. I knew what was about to happen, but I was now in different hands. My eye was clamped open. Sarah’s comforting hand was not there, and I was told to look up – where? The doctor suddenly told me to open my right eye. I couldn’t do it, both eyes began to flutter, my eyes seemed to be out of control. The doctor’s requests to keep still, to open my right eye were joined by the those of the nurse. I could feel my body arch. I wanted to get away. There was no need for this, I could see adequately now, why did I need this final injection?

I felt the needle enter my eye, saw the bubbles of the injected solution pass into my eye. Felt the needle withdraw, and the clamp taken away.

It was over.

I was handed a small phial of eyedrops, told to take these four times a day, and released. I was very relieved.

In the corridor I was met by Sarah. Smiling, beautiful, Sarah. ‘How was that?’ she asked. ‘Horrible,’ I replied as I walked away.

Why didn’t I stop, talk to her, perhaps invite her for a drink or a meal? I didn’t, just walked away from this dream that could have made me happy.