An interesting conversation in the pub last night. Apart from the obvious, that the feeling towards all MPs of all parties is now bordering on murderous rage. Even legitimate claims are being raged at, because those who run their own businesses have to find the money to employ staff, buy in stationery and stock, pay for premises etc. from their own efforts. It's not the same, of course, but the fury has gone beyond reasonable consideration. Everyone realises that the 'within the rules' excuse means nothing when MPs make the rules themselves. The 'I vos only obeyink orders' parody is widespread. Hearing those MPs bleat that people are saying spiteful things to them, that their subjects no longer tug forelocks or avert eyes, that they should shut up and know their place, is making it worse. Much, much worse.
These are the people who have to go outside to smoke, even if everyone in the pub - including the staff - are smokers. These are the people who have been ordered to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, even in the North of Scotland where fruit trees are only now putting out tentative blooms and it's a foolhardy gardener who dares to plant out his seedlings yet. Yesterday, we had a downpour of hail. It's not summer yet. We'll know when it is because the rain will be warm. Fresh fruit and veg isn't in plentiful supply here. It has to be transported in. It ain't cheap. Yet we are told to buy five lots a day by people who can afford to do that because they have a £400-a-month food allowance on top of their salaries. The rest of us don't. (Chocolate raisins count as fruit and a whole bag must cover the five-a-day requirement. So I'm okay for today).
These people have to bear ever-increasing taxes on booze, and on all aspects of driving, set by people who then use those taxes to subsidise their own bars and personal transport. These people have to account for every detail of expediture to a tax office which then gives that money to MPs with barely any checks or controls. Does it seem a little one-sided? 646 people think not, plus of course their drone-like sycophants. Around sixty million people think it is very one-sided indeed. And yes, despite the MPs insistence on talking to us as if we are all drooling serfs, people do realise it. More are realising it every day.
The mood out here is nasty and getting nastier. A general election will cool things down a little but it won't make the mood go away - especially not if the Gorgon shifts the money into an unaccountable quango, safe from the prying eyes of the FOI act. That, Gorgon, will shorten the fuse out here by a considerable margin.
There are those here who say 'ah, that's the English parliament. The Scottish parliament isn't so bad', but there is no English parliament. There is only the British parliament and what they do affects us here in Scotland just as in England. We are not immune. I don't really know what the Scottish parliament is for, other than to put a load of pompous, self-important idiots in one place so the rest of us can avoid them. I'm sure there must be a cheaper way to do that.
But back to that off-topic conversation. We don't just talk about MPs in the Throat and Razor, you know. Sometimes we talk about cheery things, when there are some. Some of the regulars have been in hospital and survived to tell of it. This was one such.
One of the other drinkers had been in for an operation on his hand. General anaesthetic stuff. The dreaded 'Nil by mouth' sign hung over his bed before breakfast. He watched the rest of the ward at morning and midday feeding times, he waited and waited and eventually evening feed came round. In between clutching his empty belly, he asked a nurse when his operation would be. She went to check.
It had been cancelled. The doctors knew, the surgeons knew, and of course admin knew. Nobody thought to tell the patient.
The thing is, he wasn't angry at the nurses. Not even the doctors. He was angry at the treatment meted out by those who are supposed to be administrating the place. As he put it, the patients are not customers in there. They are livestock. Once you're in, you get a number and that's who you are from then on. Not a person, just an item on a list. Just as the farmer wouldn't inform his cattle when they are due to go to market, the hospital did not see fit to inform anyone below the rank of 'doctor' of their plans for the day.
The mass of administration in the NHS is composed of people who have no interest in medicine. Their only motivation is profit. They are there to get rich, not to help doctors in the process of healing. They are not merely pointless, they are actually damaging because they are trying to run the NHS as a business but with no regard to actual business practice. They spend what they like and cut the frontline services to compensate. They don't know what this 'business' of theirs is supposed to be achieving. They don't care as long as they get their pay rises and pensions. Is that correct? Someone might tell me, with smug superiority, that it's wrong and maybe it is. It is, however, what people are thinking and the more smug, the more superior the denials, the more entrenched that view will become. The Righteous never have understood, and never will, that they are not among the brightest, that it shows, and that acting superior is the most irritating thing a suited cretin can possibly do. Like the MPs who are demanding we don't look in their trough, there will be those who say 'the NHS is run perfectly well because we say it is' and genuinely expect us all to accept that.
It's not just MPs who are the targets now. Simmering resentment for all manner of official lunacy has been brought to a head by the expenses revelations. There are many things that people have put up with for a long time because it's not British to make a fuss, but once the fuss is under way then all of the other irritants come to the surface too.
The expenses sparked this rage, but it won't stop there. Not now. I don't know what will happen next but I do know that it's going to take some serious systemic reform to cool the anger out here.
None of the three main parties will do this. None of them have the nerve for such sweeping changes. Unless they do, the people might just decide to make those changes themselves.
The rule of the Righteous, throughout history, has always ended badly. I don't think this time will be different.