We live in a time of vexed questions. Indeed, it would not be too fanciful to say that questions of varying degrees of vexedness are currently queuing up with a view to being addressed by the finest political minds of our generation. Questions such as “Is there hope for the environment?”, “Will we ever seek to rejoin the EU?” and “Even if we did, isn’t the EU very likely to tell us to naff off?”
Another question, perhaps the knottiest yet, arose this week from the general discourse, and it’s this: “Is Nadhim Zahawi OK?”
Concern for the marble-count of the current Conservative party chairman and minister without portfolio (I know, I had to check, it’s getting rather hard to keep track) was triggered by an interview he gave to Sky News’ Sophie Ridge last Sunday in which he said that NHS nurses should accept a real-terms pay cut and cancel their planned strike action “to send a clear message to Mr Putin”.
While on the face of it this statement appears to make no sense whatsoever, upon closer and careful examination it turns out that it does indeed make no sense whatsoever. What with the ongoing humiliation of his supposedly invincible armed forces in Ukraine, and increasingly credible and well-substantiated reports of his own failing health, it is a pretty spectacular stretch to imagine that Vladimir Putin is losing too much sleep over whether or not Britain’s nurses are striking over Christmas.
Leaving aside the issue of whether Zahawi, who, let us remember, once billed the taxpayer thousands of pounds to heat his horses’ stables, is the best person to be sent out to present the argument that our already overworked and underpaid nurses should uncomplainingly suffer yet more privation, whichever poor soul the government next dispatches to try to make this case is obviously going to need a new angle. After all, the “message to Putin” idea merely served to make Mr Zahawi look, well, in need of close nursing assistance himself.
With this in mind, here are… some more reasons the government could give for why nurses mustn’t go on strike:
PEOPLE DIE IN HOSPITAL ALL THE TIME
Think about it; how many people you’ve known and lost died in a hospital? It’s a lot, isn’t it? In fact, I’d wager it’s MOST of them. National Health Service? National DEATH Service, more like. And now they want MORE money? Why, so they can watch even more of us kick the bucket? Not bloody likely.
STRIKING IS JUST SO SEVENTIES
I mean, really, who goes on STRIKE in this day and age? It is all a bit corduroy flares and Ford Cortinas, isn’t it? There’s nothing wrong with a bit of retro when it’s just about music and clothes but just because it’s December and there’s Slade and Wizzard on the radio that’s no excuse to go completely Life On Mars now is it, ladies?
NURSES SHOULDN’T NEED PAYING ANYWAY
In the good old days, nursing was what they used to call a vocation. A calling, indeed.
You didn’t become a nurse in the vulgar expectation of actually getting paid for it, you joined the profession because of the spiritual fulfilment it brought, knowing that you were lessening the suffering of your fellow human beings.
And that’s how it ought to be again; you can have all the spiritual fulfilment you want. Always plenty of spiritual fulfilment to go round. Spiritual fulfilment, yes; money, not so much.
IF THEY’RE SO POOR, CAN’T THEY JUST MARRY SOMEONE RICH?
If it’s good enough for the prime minister, it’s good enough for them. Besides, everyone fancies nurses. Remember Jenny Agutter in American Werewolf, eh? Blimey.
THERE ARE OTHER WAYS THEY COULD MAKE MONEY
OK, here’s a thought; people tip waitresses, don’t they? Like if they feel they have received really good service… Well, maybe we could introduce something similar for nurses.
Any time a patient feels they’ve really been given some excellent care and attention they could slip the nurse a fiver. That should make up the shortfall.
Maybe particularly satisfied patients could tuck a tenner down their nurse’s apron, like you do with strippers’ G-strings (or so I’m told). In fact, that’s a thought; how about (NO. NO. STOP THIS THOUGHT PROCESS IMMEDIATELY – ED)
POEM OF THE WEEK
It’s not looking like Christmas yet
Although December’s here
The festive mood seems to elude
Us all in this strange year.
It’s not looking like Christmas yet
Although some trees are up
Things are made confusing by
The ongoing World Cup.
And though the lights are twinkling
Along the shopping street
Nobody’s looking at them
They’re staring at their feet.
As we contemplate the future
We bear a heavy load
Right now it wouldn’t feel like Christmas
Even if it snowed