Monday, February 28, 2005

Hospitals and all that
An interesting short stay in the new John Radcliffe Hospital on Oxford for my test. Impressive place with extensive additional buildings going up which will make a difference to the 'bed available' statistics when it is finished.

Still I hold to my basic view of hospitals. Nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to be sick there. The narrow beds for starters and the shared lights and sounds at night.

Its one of the pluses of deafness though that nightime noises can just be shut out. How do people manage when they don't have a hearing aid to switch off? It must be a real burden.

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Saturday, February 19, 2005

President Bush II is in Europe this week - not to Britain one notes, which is probably a relief for Blair and his election team. Apart from anything else could they have justified the cost to the public purse? According to AFOE this is the public burden on Frankfurt..

And no ordinary German will get a chance to ask any questions as the proposed 'Town Hall' meetings are cancelled.

"... according to Spiegel Online (abbreviated English version), many of the city’s businesses have scheduled a day off because it will prove almost impossible for clients and employees to get into the city. Four highways will be closed around Frankfurt International Airport and Mainz, river and private air traffic suspended; fighter jets will patrol the area. People living in a closer perimeter around the meeting area in an inner city castle will apparently only be allowed into their apartments after identity controls performed by American officials. Some inhabitants have allegedly been asked to keep their blinds shut during the visit, others had their flower pots removed from their balconies. Clearly, most people, including some American soldiers stationed in the affected area (according to ‘Stars & Stripes Europe’), are less than pleased."

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Friday, February 18, 2005

Teeth into Campaigning
Our local dental surgery in Walnut Tree is ending NHS treatment entirely. That means more or leas that NO dental practice in Milton Keynes is taking on any NHS patients. Expansion of the New City will bring in tens of thousands of new residents over the next few years , into an NHS-Free zone as far as teeth are concerned. That is triply unacceptable. We need facilities available for new people as they come in. At least the next FOCUS headlines write themselves.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

How Economists Kill People
Thanks to Daniel Davies at the Crooked Timber for a heads-up on the work of Peter Griffiths specifically his book 'An Economist's Tale'. These are new things for me that are no surprise.

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Glad to see the Solicitor-General plans to take a stand on Human Trafficking even though the UK failed to ratify an EU directive on this very subject. Apparently she will be addressing a meeting of EUROJUST on this theme. Meanwhile the Council of Europe has a new convention on trafficking opening for ratification.

This is a deadly traffic. I recall acting as a go-between several years ago for Lithuanian wutnesses of trafficking (to western Europe via Lithuania) to make contact with Danish Television, who were researching this subject. The witnesses were in real fear of their safety, possibly their lives. The Council of Europe says :
"The Committee on action against trafficking in human beings aims at drawing up a European Convention on action against trafficking in human beings. This instrument is expected to be a practical tool of international co-operation, which will be geared towards the protection of victims' rights and the respect for human rights. It will aim at a proper balance between matters concerning human rights and prosecution. "

I note that Statewatch has concerns about the approach taken by EUROJUST (particularly Europe-wide arrest warrents) and given the UK Labour Government's appaling and cavalier attitude to fundamental civil rights Liberals across Europe need to keep the Solicitor-General's initiatives under careful scrutiny. But something constructive and necessary may come of this.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Pope is in hospital, apparently seriously ill. For his health and welfare, I hold him in the light. May his remarkable life proceed with dignity.

One day we will have an election for his successor, and there may be political ramifications. The Religious Right in the USA may inspire attempts at setting up similar movements here in the EU. Buttiglione (the Italian who failed to get endorsed as an EU commissioner ) would be the obvious choice to be the EuroReactionary Kilroy Silk. And a papal Election an interesting time to launch a Catholic based effort to emulate the Bible Belt. I do know that at the time of the US presidential election some east Europeans lobbied in their US Ethnic communities saying that a Bush presidency is the best hope of supporting people like Buttiglione in Europe. All this with Opus Dei in the news... fortunately there is a lot more to Catholicism than this and their could be interesting discussions. A new Pope in the next year or so could be key to many things.

By the way the Papal Conclave no longer needs to have a two-thirds majority settling on a new Pope. If there is deadlock after 12 days a simple majority will suffice.

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Watching Kilroy-Silk switch from the Droops (United Kingdom Impotence Party) to a new and exiting mass Groupuscule to be called Vanitas (sorry a misreading, Veritas) reminds me of many happy hours in the Liberator Glee club on Friday nights after Liberal Assembly/ LibDem Conference. In particular the anthem to doomed Trots..

"Now we are few who once were lots and lots
Such is the fate of all small bands of Trots
But never mind we'll beat up Roger Protze
Said Gerry Healey, said Gerry Healey".

Lets see if purity on the right gets popular Respect.

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