Five surgeons quit ‘appalling’ hospital where shortage of kit, nurses and beds has become ‘the norm’
Five surgeons have quit a top London hospital amid claims of ‘appalling’ care and a dangerous lack of facilities. Patients have been left with ‘life-changing injuries’ as they wait up to six days for surgery with open wounds and broken bones, it has been claimed.
In a damning resignation email, David Goodier – a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Barts and the London NHS Trust – said that a lack of plastic surgeons, anaesthetists, beds and equipment meant that non-urgent operations were routinely cancelled.
When they were finally operated on, bones had healed badly or infection had set in, leading to long-term complications.
Mr Goodier, 49, who resigned from the Royal London Hospital in East London after three decades with the trust, wrote: ‘We are regularly out of kit, out of nurses, out of ODPs [operating department practitioners, who plan care] and always out of beds. We have become so used to the situation, it is no longer seen as a crisis, it is the norm.’
In the email reported last night, Mr Goodier said: ‘I have been complicit in a poor standard of trauma care and am guilty of negligence by association. I can no longer stand idly by when patients are at best having their human rights breached, and at worst physically harmed by the care they receive.’
He is the fifth surgeon to resign from the hospital in 12 months – meaning nearly half of its 12 orthopaedic surgeons have quit.
Professor Norman Williams, the president of the Royal College of Surgeons who works part-time at the hospital, has written to its medical council over the ‘appalling deterioration’ of care.
A trust spokesman said that the hospital had a good safety record and low mortality rate, and changes had been made to address concerns about the shortage of surgical instruments.
NHS doctors secretly sentencing the ill elderly to death
NHS doctors are failing to inform up to half of families that their loved ones have been put on a scheme to help end their lives, the Royal College of Physicians has found. Tens of thousands of patients with terminal illnesses are being placed on a “death pathway”, almost double the number just two years ago, a study published today shows.
Health service guidance states that doctors should discuss with relations whether or not their loved one is placed on the scheme which allows medical staff to withdraw fluid and drugs in a patient’s final days. In many cases this is not happening, an audit has found. As many as 2,500 families were not told that their loved ones had been put on the so-called Liverpool Care Pathway, the study disclosed.
In one hospital trust, doctors had conversations with fewer than half of families about the care of their loved one. In a quarter of hospital trusts, discussions were not held with one in three families.
Overall, doctors discussed plans with relations in 94 per cent of cases, which is an improvement since the last audit but still means thousands of families were not informed. Under the guidance, patients who are close to death can be placed on the Liverpool Care Pathway, so called because it was developed at the Royal Liverpool Hospital in the 1990s. It aims to ensure they die without being subjected to unnecessary interference by staff.
In addition to the withdrawal of fluid and medication, patients can be placed on sedation until they pass away. This can mean they are not fed and provided with water and has led to accusations that it hastens death.
The study looked at a snapshot of data from 7,000 patients who were on the Liverpool Care Pathway in 127 hospital trusts between April and the end of June. The audit was last conducted in 2008-09, when 4,000 patients were found to be on it.
The audit was led by the Marie Curie Palliative Care Institute Liverpool in collaboration with the Royal College of Physicians. It showed palliative care services are improving. When the audit was last carried out in 2008-09, one in four families were not told when their loved one was placed on the care pathway.
But it said that a discussion should “always” be held with relations and carers and that the condition of the patient should be reviewed every four hours.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, spokesman for the campaign group Not Dead Yet, said: “It is very worrying that in any situation less than 100 per cent of families are being consulted before patients are being put on the Liverpool Care Pathway. It is a shock for families to find that out.
“In some situations doctors are prepared to do it without consulting families because they think they know what is best and questions arise as to why they think it is OK to do that. Families have the right to know why a loved one is being put on the LCP.”
Sarah Wootton, chief executive of the campaign group Dignity in Dying, said: “The NHS is clearly moving in the right direction. However, the report highlights there is a need for further training and education on end-of-life communication. As a society we need to appreciate that dying is not a failure of medical care and treatment, but dying badly is.”
Simon Chapman, director of policy and parliamentary affairs at the National Council for Palliative Care, said: “If some hospitals can improve, all can, and performance is still too patchy. There is absolutely no reason for dying and end-of-life issues not being discussed more openly.”
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “Patients and their families should always be involved in any decision about end-of-life care.
“The audit rightly highlights the continuing importance of training for staff, and the critical role they have in involving patients and families closely when the Liverpool Care Pathway is used.”
The Liverpool Care Pathway was intended for use in hospices but was given approval by the Department of Health in 2006 leading to widespread use in hospitals. Concerns about the pathway were raised first in The Daily Telegraph in 2009 when experts warned that in some cases patients have been put on the pathway only to recover when their families intervened, leading to questions over how people are judged to be in their “last hours and days”.
Outpouring of hate from a British “progressive” school
It is shameful but Leftists are hate-driven so it is no surprise. When accused of bullying, they proved the accusation true by being bullies. Amazing. Leftists just can’t help themselves. The bile just pours out of them
What is it that makes people want to send vitriolic abuse, including death threats, to a total stranger? I can’t begin to imagine. But this year, thanks to Twitter and Facebook, I do know what it is like to be on the receiving end of such embittered hatefulness.
Why? Because I’d dared to write a piece in this newspaper about my teenage years spent at Bedales, the progressive public school that was embroiled in a scandal earlier this year concerning shoplifting and under-age sex.
As a pupil at the school in the 1970s, I had experienced a level of bullying and abuse that I still find disturbing to think about to this day and which inspired my second novel, written 20 years ago, A Private Place.
Yet when I set down my painful memories of my formative years on paper, I never imagined I’d be setting myself up as a sitting target for a new breed of modern-day bullies, who choose not the school playground, but the internet to target their victims.
‘Cyberbullying’ isn’t confined to children — it is a contemporary menace in which people can be targeted anywhere, at any time. When my email inbox began to fill up with awful messages, my first reaction was one of exasperation, quickly followed by cold contempt.
I was totally unprepared for the slew of virulent messages that, for the next month, pinged into my inbox via both my Twitter account and my public Facebook page. Many of these messages are unpublishable in a national newspaper, but they included threats to my personal safety, disgusting sexual abuse, venomous comments about my looks and personality, a flurry of one-star Amazon reviews of my novels — and several attempts to hack into my Wikipedia entry.
Astonishingly, those behind them were girls and boys of between 15 and 21 years old, many of whom declared themselves to be current or former pupils of Bedales. They defended the school by calling me bitter, greedy, bitchy and, what’s more, claimed that I ‘deserved to be bullied’. Then they said that the school was wonderful, and that bullying didn’t exist there, and that ‘every single one of (the abusive comments that had been posted about me) was understandable and acceptable’.
The poisonous mob mentality these messages displayed actually did far more to show any current or prospective parent the ugly side of a ‘liberal’ education than what I had written. I was told that ‘we know where you live, so watch out’, ‘your [sic] dead, bitch’, ‘die, you ugly c***’ and so on.
‘You are insulting an establishment you show no understanding of, in a way in which you can only expect a [sic] outraged reaction. You have not only insulted our way of life, our home but us as individuals. I feel personally attacked,’ wrote one boy.
A couple of current pupils were moved to express sympathy and to assure me that things had changed, but these, like the nicer kind of Bedalian student of my own time, seemed far and few between.
One posted a more moderate, thoughtful comment about my article — and his peers turned on him: ‘Stop s***ing her d**k Toby, and stick up for the f*****g school. Your [sic] the minority here!’ wrote one who called himself George Zealington Vaughan-Barratt.
The abuse was so remarkable that two national newspapers picked it up, and one even wrote a leader page column. Yet when the Head of Bedales, Keith Budge, was approached for comment, his response, as quoted in the Daily Telegraph, was to say his pupils were simply defending their school.
The Old Bedalian magazine, edited by a former member of staff, decided to publish a sneering piece, which included a photograph of me printed upside-down and — a lovely touch — an encomium of the school’s creativity by Kirstie Allsopp.
Nobody in authority has attempted to contact me to apologise, and no pupil, as far as I know, has been reprimanded. Now, I don’t take the ravings of over-excited teenagers seriously. But neither do I think anyone should be allowed to get away with this kind of behaviour — least of all the privileged pupils of a £30,000-a-year school.
For such mindless venom to come from privileged children living in conditions which the majority can only dream of, and attending an institution that prides itself on its liberal outlook would be especially offensive.
Every contemporary school is aware of the life-long emotional and psychological damage that bullying can cause, and the responsible ones, both in the state and private sectors, have strong protocols about dealing with such issues, especially online.
Cyberbullying is worse and more cowardly than playground bullying. Even as an adult, I found the abuse deeply offensive. It was extraordinary that I was being addressed as if I were still the vulnerable, innocent 12-year-old I had been all those years ago. What I had described was so painful that I thought nobody in their right mind could feel anything but shame and compassion — and, more importantly, concern about whether the ills I described were still happening.
Instead, it seemed to provoke the opposite reaction. It was extraordinary — and ludicrous. But that’s the thing about the internet. While it has transformed the way people can communicate, it has also allowed some to say the most unkind things to someone they don’t know, have never met, and wouldn’t dare to confront face-to-face.
These so-called ‘trolls’, inspired by envy, rage and spite, appear to live in a parallel universe in which they believe they can threaten, stalk, intimidate and libel anyone with impunity.
You don’t have to do something as provocative as write about your unhappy schooldays to set them off. Just being pretty, happy, or good at what you do is enough. Whole families can be affected by the fall-out, if my experience is anything to go by.
‘Why do people keep saying horrible things about you on Facebook just because you were bullied at school?’ my 15-year-old son asked me, bemused. ‘Because they’re total losers,’ replied my 18-year-old daughter. Having been forewarned by their schools about how to handle online abuse, they were far better placed to deal with it than me.
My husband was the most shocked — and angered — at the hate-filled messages I showed him. He was the one who then had sleepless nights — and who became the most worried about our physical safety.
I am not easily intimidated, but I was admittedly depressed by this evidence of how little had changed about the mentality of bullies. On the flipside, however, the attempts to undermine me caused something rather wonderful to happen.
A number of distinguished authors, journalists and lawyers — many of whom had, ironically, become friends of mine through Facebook — saw what was being posted on my page and sprang into action, unasked, to defend me with both eloquence and wit.
To see the likes of Philip Hensher, Nicholas Lezard, Louisa Young, Chris Priestly and Katy Guest all pouring scorn on these abusive bloggers was rather like the scene at the end of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia novel, The Silver Chair, when the bullies who have been terrorising the children at the progressive Experiment House are punished.
Alarmed by this unexpected challenge, the trolls began, one by one, to delete their messages. Today, they are all gone — though I, and several others, took copies of them, in case they feel tempted to strike again.
People who do not have Twitter and Facebook accounts may be rather mystified by all of this. Meanwhile, those who do may wonder why I have dared to risk further online abuse by describing my experience here.
The answer is two-fold. One is that I believe bullying will never stop unless there is a concerted effort from the top to confront it, and that while any school continues to appear to condone its own smug cult that will not happen. Second, if you haven’t experienced bullying, you have no idea what a scar it leaves on the soul. Just because I learnt how to use my rage in creative, positive ways, writing novels, doesn’t mean that it’s not there.
Connecting with readers and writers through the web can be one of the greatest delights of 21st-century life, as Twitter and Facebook host a vast virtual conversation, in which people share views and exchange ideas about everything, from trivial thoughts to breaking news. But more and more bloggers and writers are complaining about the intimidating attacks made on them.
Caroline Farrow, a vicar’s wife and mother-of-three who blogs for the Catholic Voices website, recently revealed she receives at least five sexually threatening emails a day.
One of the least offensive read: ‘You’re gonna scream when you get yours. F*****g slag. Butter wouldn’t f*****g melt, and you’ll cry rape when you get what you’ve asked for. Bitch.’ That anybody can get away with writing in such a horrific manner to another human being beggars belief — but, thankfully, the law is slowly catching up.
The Police Central e-Crime Unit is responsible for investigating malicious communications. For example, a man of 60 has been charged with sending threatening Twitter messages to MP Louise Mensch.
Perhaps the threat of arrest, a criminal record and punishment will help the bullies think twice. For the victim, an abusive Twitter message or email is no different from receiving verbal abuse, or getting a poison-pen letter.
For the bully, though, there is one key difference: although they think the internet affords them anonymity, every message can be traced back to a location and a specific computer. Cyberbullies would do well to remember that before they click the send button.
Why my school will stay open during the strike
Striking British teachers are part of a culture that is quick to whine and slow to find solutions
Striking teachers will today subject children and parents across Britain to serious inconvenience. I think they’re wrong to do so. For the past 10 years, I have been head teacher at Woodberry Down primary school in Hackney, and I am executive head of four schools in total. Woodberry Down will stay open today. The other three schools in the group will not, because of union action. That is a shame. Striking should be the last resort for teachers, and we should think carefully before returning to the days of downing tools at the slightest pretext.
This strike demonstrates a lack of realism among teaching unions. Someone has to pay for public sector pensions – we’re all living longer, the economy is stagnating, and teachers ought to understand these facts.
I worry, too, about the example being set to children. I remember the teachers’ strikes in the Eighties. It was fun to be out of school for a day, but we had no respect for those who went on strike. We felt that the proper teachers were the ones who were still there, teaching. We were annoyed, actually. I remember that distinctly. I recall thinking: if it’s that easy to remove yourself, by going on strike, do they actually need all the people in the building? I wouldn’t want to make myself disposable in that way.
Other aspects of the strike disturb me. I’ve heard some staff saying they’re not marching, but are going out “for a jolly” today. I hope that’s not the case. We get 13 weeks off a year and, while lots of us work long hours, taking a free day to go Christmas shopping is an insult to parents. What happens if a mother, forced to take a day off work, bumps into a teacher out lunching today? What message does that send?
The unions have their own agendas. For example, I appeared on breakfast television with Christine Blower, the leader of the NUT, and she criticised synthetic phonics, a proven system for improving literacy. It was only afterwards that she said she had never seen synthetic phonics being taught in a school. Here was the head of the country’s largest teaching union passing judgment on something she had not seen. This suggested that the ideology was more important than the reality. You have to use the teaching methods that work. Synthetic phonics is one, but Christine Blower hadn’t bothered to see how it worked.
It’s the same with Sats. They’re not perfect, but if you don’t have tests, you cannot tell which schools need help. And yet, when I sat in on Lord Bew’s review of Key Stage 2 tests, I heard union after union demanding an end to Sats without offering any credible alternative. They seemed prepared to jeopardise the educational wellbeing of children – since external assessment such as Sats is essential if you are to have a system of accountability that lifts standards in schools.
This is the paradox about the unions: on the one hand, they’re very Left-wing and want money poured into deprived areas, but, on the other, they reject the measures that do some good for children in poor communities. Sadly, some unionised teachers have lost sight of why they came into teaching. Trying to improve failing schools, I have faced obstruction from militant teachers who have become so bound up in ideology that they have forgotten the children. Very often, the unions won’t tolerate anything that threatens their beloved “work-life balance”.
What makes the schools I run successful is that we have teachers who realise that, especially with pupils who start from a low base, you need to go the extra mile. That’s where vocation comes in. The drive and energy that you need to inspire children will never fit into the NUT’s rigid work-life policy. To make education work you need dynamism, not people who sigh, shrug their shoulders and moan.
Compare teaching with the medical profession and you’ll see that there’s a different ethic there. There’s an ethos of service. We have lost that in teaching, and that is a shame. Either what we do matters, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t matter, and the children can genuinely afford not to be at school for two or three days a year, then why don’t we just increase the holidays?
It all comes down to this: a school exists for one thing, to educate children. Whatever fight you have with the system, engage in the fight in a way that doesn’t undermine you and let down the pupils.
Today’s strike is a symptom of a culture in parts of the educational establishment that is quick to complain and slow to find solutions. I can understand why people are concerned about pensions. Clearly what issues there are need to be resolved. But I think a lot of that concern has been whipped up by unions determined to criticise whatever the Government does. And these unions are determined to live in a world where reality, including financial reality, does not exist.
I didn’t come into the profession for the money. I trained as a teacher because I wanted to improve people’s lives. This is what we try to do in our federation of schools. I love teaching. In fact, I’m looking forward to going into work today. By coming to school I will have helped to make a positive impact on children’s lives, and on their chances of finding fulfilment and reaching their potential – something I would not be able to do standing on Victoria Embankment waving banners.
British Met Office Climate Forecasts: Always Wrong But Never In Doubt
When it comes to testing a climate model, the future is more important than the past. You can take your model and adjust its various parameters to fit observations already made, but the crucial test is how well that model matches the future. This involves making a prediction, but, as they say, prediction is difficult, especially about the future.
The important thing about a prediction is that once made you don’t modify it or start making excuses. It is prediction though that sets a model apart from mere curve fitting and tells you if your model is in touch with reality and is not just matching wriggles on graphs. The problem with computer models of the climate is that ideally several decades are needed to see if they are any good. This is tricky to fit into an academic life and frustrating for all concerned, but there are other ways.
Shorter-term predictions will contain more noise but if the model captures accurately the putatively increasing man-made warming signal in the data it should be possible to say something statistically about its presence. In the past few years the Met Office has been doing exactly that. What they have also been displaying is a public lack of self-evaluation, and hoping we have short memories.
In 2007 it became obvious that annual global temperatures were not increasing in the past few year, and a few people said so in public what scientists were talking about in private hoping it wouldn’t get out.
With A Vengeance
In August of 2007 the UK Met Office released a study that predicted that global warming will set in with a vengeance after 2009, after they implicitly acknowledged the temporary warming standstill, with at least half of the five following years expected to be hotter than 1998, which was then, and is still the warmest year on record.
The Guardian said:
British scientists are predicting a succession of record-breaking high temperatures in the most detailed forecast of global warming’s impact on weather around the world.
Powerful computer simulations used to create the world’s first global warming forecast suggests temperature rises will stall in the next two years, before rising sharply at the end of the decade.
From 2010, they warn, every year has at least a 50% chance of exceeding the record year of 1998 when average global temperatures reached 14.54C.
Reporters were told that in order to make such a prediction, researchers at the Met Office had made a computer model that takes into account such natural phenomena as the El Nino pattern in the Pacific Ocean, and other fluctuations in ocean circulation and heat content.
The Telegraph said:
This is the prediction of the first computer model of the global climate designed to make forecasts over a timescale of around a decade, developed by scientists at the Met Office.
“This is a very valuable step forward,” Science magazine was told by meteorologist Rowan Sutton of the University of Reading. “It’s precisely on the decadal time scale and on regional scales that natural variability and anthropogenic (man made) effects have comparable magnitudes.”
The climate model was described in Science. It states, “…at least half of the years after 2009 predicted to exceed the warmest year currently on record.”
How well did this computer model do by its own test?
We are now two years into their five year prediction, and as yet none of them has been anywhere near the temperature of 1998. This means that, if the prediction is correct, then all three of the subsequent years, including 2014, must be hotter than 1998. Looking at the data I don’t think this is likely to happen.
In the event of the prediction’s failure it would be disingenuous to say: oh well, there were more La Nina cooling events than we thought, but that the model is sound. Such events were incorporated into the model. Strictly speaking if it fails its self-appointed test then the model is unsound, it has failed its crucial test at the least with its specific input parameters.
The problem is however that the Met Office keeps moving the goalposts.
After the 2007 prediction, and with the addition of only one annual more temperature datapoint (that for 2008 which was statistically identical to the previous years since 2001), in 2009 Prof Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia wrote in an email:
Tim, Chris, I hope you’re not right about the lack of warming lasting till about 2020. I’d rather hoped to see the earlier Met Office press release with Doug’s paper that said something like – half the years to 2014 would exceed the warmest year currently on record, 1998!
Then at the end of 2009 the Met Office admitted that 2009 was not a record breaker and was in fact near the “lower end of expectations.”
The problem was, of course, the cooling effect of a La Nina, which even though incorporated into the models, had compensated for the underlying warming. As Phil Jones put it, the presence of La Nina during the last year partially masked this underlying rate.
Phenomena such as El Nino and La Nina have a significant influence on global surface temperature, said Dr. Chris Folland of the Met Office Hadley Centre. Further warming to record levels is likely once a moderate El Nino develops. The transition from a La Nina effect to an El Nino one is expected late next year.
Of course, even in the presence of no warming seen in the past decade a strong El Nino might boost temperatures to a record level, even though that would say more about the El Nino’s starting point and not the underlying decadal temperature increase. Such crucial scientific specifics were however lost, at least in public. So the hopes were high that 2010 would be a record year.
Climate could warm to record levels in 2010, the Met Office said:
The latest forecast from our climate scientists, shows the global temperature is forecast to be almost 0.6 °C above the 1961-90 long-term average. This means that it is more likely than not that 2010 will be the warmest year in the instrumental record, beating the previous record year which was 1998.
It wasn’t. The forecast was a spectacular failure.
Despite a strong El Nino it had a temperature anomaly of 0.470 (with respect to 1961 – 90 average) making it the third warmest year though when the errors are looked at it is in undistinguished member of the post-2001 standstill.
In another rewriting of history Prof Phil Jones said that due to natural variability we do not expect to see each year warmer than the last, but the long-term trend is clear.
The problem is that no year has been warmer than the last!
So, forever hopeful, onto 2011. If the model is correct it must surely be the warmest, after all if the model is right a new warmest year ever must be along any year soon.
The Met Office said that for 2011 they were expecting another very warm year, with a global anomaly forecast of +0.44C above the 1961-1990 average. That would make 2011 the equal 6th warmest year on record.
It isn’t. Whilst we wait for the November and December data 2011 has a temperature anomaly of 0.356 and is the 11th warmest year. Again the Met Office forecast was way off.
Remember the 2007 prediction (half of the post 2009 years would be warmer than 1998). Curiously, at the beginning of 2011 the Met Office revised their prediction and said they expect that ‘half the years between 2010 and 2015 to be hotter than the hottest year on record’.
The goalposts have moved! 2009 – 2014 has become 2010 – 2015. The cardinal rule in making predictions is not to fudge them, and be honest about the results before making a new prediction with a revised timescale.
If the Met Office climate model is correct then there should be more than 50% of the years 2010 – 2015 exceeding the 1998 record. In the Times of 29 Nov 2011 Peter Stott of the Met Office changed the goalposts again, saying that they stood by their previous prediction that half the years in this decade would be warmer globally than 1998, the warmest year to date.
None of the Met Office forecasts have been correct. The global annual average temperature has to increase soon or else the goalposts will have to be moved again. At what stage does one admit the predictions were wrong?
The latest news is that a second cooling La Nina is brewing in the later part of 2011 and may extend into 2012. Given that, I wonder what the predictions for 2012 will be?
The British private sector can no longer afford to indulge state workers who, for too long, have got away with murder
Few more unpalatable tasks face a minister than having to tell the electorate there is no Santa Claus. It is almost indispensable to the political art that Governments should be able to offer voters the prospect that even if they are briefly feeling the pinch, good times are round the corner.
Yesterday, however, George Osborne promised the British people pain today, tomorrow and the day after. In his autumn statement — which sounded more like a crisis budget — the Chancellor acknowledged that we face historic economic difficulties from which there can be no early escape.
More ‘quantitative easing’ (the printing of more money) means that the money already in circulation will become worth less; savers and pensioners face years of wretched returns on their investments; pay increases, if any, will make Scrooge look kindly.
If we are to become once more a solvent society, we shall need to become a less ‘compassionate’ one, and to hell with the victimhood lobby.
Osborne yesterday displayed grim determination, saying: ‘We are going to see Britain through the debt storm.’ He asserted that he will do whatever it takes to demonstrate that ‘this country has the will to live within its means’.
But he is a prisoner of forces, most of which are beyond his control. For example, no responsible politician or pundit can predict where the euro horror story will end.
The truth is that most of the world has been living beyond its means for decades.
If the eurozone collapses, almost every economy will reel before the shock. Even if it survives its current crisis, prolonged austerity will still be essential to stabilise its members’ finances. Serious social unrest, and thus more economic disruption, is highly likely.
Even beyond these immediate problems, we face a further fundamental one — our lagging competitiveness in the face of Asia. The Chancellor recognised this, saying: ‘The entire European continent is pricing itself out of the world economy.’
We have created a social model for ourselves that is no longer affordable, when workers on the far side of the world produce goods for a fraction of the Western price. The only remedies are to improve our own workers’ education and skills, promote innovation and cut costs.
Osborne recognises all these challenges. He aimed a well-judged thrust at the green fanatics (some of them Coalition ministers), whose excesses are drastically increasing manufacturers’ energy costs. ‘We aren’t going to save the planet by shutting down our steel mills,’ he said.
But solutions to our troubles will take years to implement — even if Osborne and David Cameron can reconcile the public to the necessary sacrifices.
The unions’ state of denial is illustrated by today’s strikes, which their leaders claim as the start of a long campaign to protect their privileges. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, supposedly sensible and educated men and women, will be on the streets clamouring for preservation of inflated earnings and insupportable pension rights.
They seem oblivious of what is happening in the outside world, where economies are tottering. They aspire to become merely the last survivors standing in the rubble, an idiotic as well as shockingly selfish ambition.
Osborne and Cameron need to raise their game in the battle of words, the struggle to promote public understanding. They must keep reciting critical facts.
Even if the Office for Budget Responsibility is correct in predicting 710,000 public sector jobs will disappear in the years ahead, this is only the same number of posts invented by Gordon Brown during his spending rampage.
Of course, Britain should value its nurses, teachers, policemen and infrastructure workers, but a host of unnecessary jobs must go.
The Government faces a long struggle to persuade the British people to accept that, in future, most of us will have somewhat less than we have had in the past. The Age of Abundance is over.
How can we expect our lifestyles to be unaffected when the world price of oil has risen 40 per cent in the past year, and when international prices of commodities and especially foodstuffs are soaring?
Newly prosperous Chinese want to eat more meat, so British supermarkets must compete with Chinese ones for lamb, beef and pork.
Natural resources are becoming scarcer — water prominent among them — and thus more expensive. No British government can cushion its citizens from such realities.