Posted by: madkentdragon | September 27, 2015

Discrimination or Political Correctness?

A man is injured at work and is rushed into the local casualty department wearing a boiler suit, a nurse takes one look at him and asks him to come with her to a more secluded area in casualty in case his boiler suit offends the unemployed/non-boiler suit wearing persons in the department.

Am I talking a load of rubbish? Well, No!

Substitute that boiler suit for the work uniform of the RAF and that is exactly what happened – how attitudes change!

The man who had been injured at work and was taken to the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate; previously there had been problems with an “altercation” between a soldier and a member of the public there, but no one has told us whether they knew each other or what it was about. In fact, as the nearest barracks to Margate is in Canterbury, I would presume that this “altercation” was more about the man than the uniform.

However, in the work uniform that he had worn in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, this airman with burns to his eyes had to be moved! Political Correctness, Discrimination or plain ignorance? You decide.

But I will point out that it was not long ago that multitudes lined the streets in Royal Wootton Bassett, or in Oxfordshire to pay tribute to those who had lost their lives in that very same uniform.

In the year that we are remembering the Battle of Britain, have we learned nothing from Kipling’s days?

‘I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint of beer, /The publican ‘e ups and sez, “We serve no red-coats here.” /The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fir to die, /I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I: /O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, ‘a’ “Tommy, go away”; /But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play – /The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play. /O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play. ‘I went into a theatre as sober as could be, /They gave a drunk civilian room but ‘adn’t none for me; /They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls, /But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! They’ll shove me in the stalls! /For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”; /But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide – /The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide, /O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide…’You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all, /We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational. /Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face /The Widow’s uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace. /For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!” /But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot; /An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please; /An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!’


Posted by: madkentdragon | August 1, 2015

Finally, The Government Recognizes Operation Stack!

Wow! This Government has finally opened its eyes and recognized that we have a problem on the M20 in Kent.

I’ll be honest here, as it’s been going on since 1988, it’s all governments who failed to recognize we have a problem!

In the beginning Kent was the Garden of England, but then successive governments changed it into the through road of England, quickly followed by the fast train track of England!

I know that we have so many people and lorries and cars all wanting to get out and about and for most of the year our motorways and A-roads cope. But what happens when they don’t?

It only takes a strike over in Calais and there are no ferries – and the French strike frequently! Farmers blockade the port, ferry workers, port workers – even French lorry drivers have gone on strike and blockaded the port of Calais.

All British Governments have ignored this problem – local MPs have shouted themselves hoarse, but it was all in vain! In the first 20 years of Operation Stack was implemented 74 times!

OK, some of these were for bad weather, but most were because of industrial action, but no government has ever helped; Kent County Council have had to fund the police action and other costs from the council tax.

The modern phenomenon of the refugees/immigrants has made this problem so much worse and, combined with the My Ferry Link redundancies causing more problems, operation stack has been implemented so often that it is known locally as Operation Stuck – and there’s still no answer!

Highways England have refused to implement a contra-flow on the London bound carriage way – it has been used successfully before – but as yet they have not come up with another solution. Remember, the Motorways are not the responsibility of the County Council, even though they have to fund the fall out policing etc. If operation stack was on the M25 would they be so slow to sort it out?

What about the lorry drivers’ rest time? How can they, when they are sat waiting on this stretch of road which could move forward a few yards every 20 minutes or so? Come on Highways England – you are compounding tachograph crime!

One last point, whether the people in Calais are illegal immigrants or refugees, what happens to the under 18 unaccompanied minors? They are not taken into care in France or Italy – or if they are, not many of them – there are over 500 taken into care this year alone – all in Kent, all in the care of Kent Services – and these and the 100 or so each year since this problem started are all looked after and funded again by KCC with no government help!

This is not a local problem, there are national and international consequences with transport and other concerns, now you’ve woken up Government, help the people of Kent who are doing your job for you – and paying for it, now – not sometime in the future!


Posted by: madkentdragon | June 20, 2015

Don’t Put Her Down

I’m not talking about carrying someone here, but the art of some people to belittle or put someone down.

I help Silver Surfers get the confidence to get on line, surf the net, send emails etc. As I’m not a qualified teacher, I do this voluntarily – it’s as good for me to be useful as it is for them to learn.

Many elderly ladies come along, sometimes with hubby in tow, and manage to learn quite easily – often hubby joins in as well and we laugh at the mistakes together, and sometimes I find I learn something new as well.

I had one lady come to see me and I quietly thought of her as an air-head – how wrong I turned out to be. She was totally lacking in confidence and would poke at the computer as if it was a wild animal that was going to bite her.

It took several weeks to get her confident enough to start writing emails, but as “homework” I had challenged her to send me one during the week. Well she did and I congratulated her on her achievement.

She gave me a beautiful smile and what she said next actually made me want to scream! She sat at her husband’s computer, I had set her up her own account on it, and her husband and son with grandchildren who were visiting all stood round her laughing at her, saying she would never do it.

I would have loved to see their faces when I replied saying well done! This made me even more determined to teach her, and now she was over the first hurdle, she progressed slowly but surely.

Her husband then decided that she couldn’t use his machine, so she asked all who would normally give her presents to give her cash instead and put it towards a laptop of her own, which she brought down to me to set up.

There was no keeping this woman down and at her last lesson, she came to me with a grin on her face, I had shown her the local Streetlife web site and the previous evening, she had complained that the local drycleaners was closing down to be replaced by yet another takeaway.

Her family were so amazed that she was now telling them things that they didn’t know that they actually admitted to her that they never thought she would do it.

As I said to her “My work is done” – so don’t put her down, encourage them, you never know when you may need them to help you.


Posted by: madkentdragon | May 28, 2015

When Life Throws You Lemons

Now let’s get this into perspective, I’m 67, overweight with COPD & Diabetes. Oh, yes, last September (2014) I gave up smoking and was over the moon when I could walk up a steep incline to my local shop without stopping – in fact I was so thrilled that I rang my kids to tell them!

So when I started puffing & panting, I thought I wasn’t clearing my lungs completely and that my heart was echoing through the junk in my lungs.

I went for my regular appointments with both my nurses, Helen who deals with my lungs and Cherry who deals with my diabetes; the girl who made the appointments sort of messed it up & I had to leave Helen to see Cherry after I’d only seen Helen for a couple of minutes – no time for anything to be discussed as both appointments had been booked for the same time!

Anyway, I arrived in Cherry’s room and the first thing she did was slap the blood pressure cuff on – first it didn’t work – so we made the usual zombie or ghost cracks, but then it all went pie shaped – my pulse rate was 127 beats per minute!

With both Helen & Cherry & then a GP dancing attendance on me, an ECG was performed which seemed to indicate that I have atrial fibrillation but I had to have more tests.

I left complete with Warfarin and some other tablets in a taxi – my head was spinning, the anguished cry from Cherry about it not being fair after I’d managed to give up smoking echoing in my ears and I sat at my table and cried – at that moment, I could have definitely done with a cigarette!

I had originally started this as a whinge fest, but that’s not me; I’m no one special, but I’m a fighter; so I went to all the appointments for tests and eventually came out the other end sitting in front of a cardiologist who told me that I have atrial fibrillation and gave me a prescription for yet more pills and told me he would write to the surgery.

The wonky beat of my heart is not life threatening but is a bit life limiting; walking up hills will have to be taken one step at a time – ha ha! But with the use of a friendly taxi service, I’m getting there. I know taxis are quite expensive, but as I can’t use the ancient one’s bus pass before 9.30 am, and most appointments are early – a taxi door to door for £3 each way is justifiable when the bus fare plus a walk both ends is £2 each way.

As many know, I have been helping silver surfers get on the net and have the confidence to email and basically surf the wonderful world of the computerised window shopping; this hasn’t stopped – it can’t when you have finally got someone who poked at a computer with one finger – a bit like poking a wild animal – now emails and has just identified where she wants to go on holiday next; but she has to get hubby’s agreement over that!

Now we’re opening an internet café – nothing fancy, it’s in the local youth club and will only be open a couple of mornings a week to start with – and I’ve more and more students wanting to come along – yippee.

Yes, I’ll take it easy, but I’m not going to sit and wait for another part of my body to break – that way madness lies – but life goes on and if you want to live it, you go on with it.

Thanks for reading this and remember when life throws you lemons, grab them and make a lemon meringue pie. x


Posted by: madkentdragon | May 9, 2015

2015 Results

Well, the polls certainly got that wrong didn’t they? Have often wondered who or what or where they question people and if those people actually say what they think you want them to say. 

To me it wasn’t really surprising, the Lib-Dem result was the only real shock – I knew that they would lose seats, but that was more than expected – why? 

OK, let’s go back to 2010 – this was the first election that I really had time to take time to study it all as I had just retired. Firstly was this new “kid on the block” – Nick Clegg, a great orator (perhaps he could now go on the public speakers’ circuit), there he stood on his little molehill promising free tuition and it worked, suddenly there were a lot more Lib-Dem MPs in the house. 

However, when the opportunity to help prop up the Tories in government, Nick grabbed it with both hands! Bye-bye free tuition fees, it’s so different being a party of protest in the House to being in power. 

The shoes are so much bigger and it’s not your hand they want to hold, it’s your shoulders they want to climb on to get their policies through. Yes, you did raise tax thresholds and other good deeds, but it wasn’t in your name, was it? 

And the bright yellow colour you were proud to sport has slowly faded and has turned to a “lighter shade of pale”, so now you’ve got to go and regroup, why would they trust you again, the stain from those student fees will take a long time to eradicate. 

Then there’s Labour, sorry Ed, you are probably a great and intelligent man – but your publicists let you down, badly! Too many photo opportunities went wrong, sometimes it seemed as if you were badly briefed and there were two spectres leaning over your shoulder.

One was the bank melt down and Liam Byrne’s stupid note – he’s certainly kept a low profile since then – and the second was the SNP. 

Nicola Sturgeon vowing to back you and get Cameron out certainly did you no favours, Ed. It was every Englishman’s worst nightmare that this lady, who would not have even been sitting in the House, would have been standing on Ed’s shoulders directing more money over the border whilst our belts were tightened yet another notch. No free prescriptions and university fees south of the border, so why should we vote for Labour and let the SNP take more money to keep this going north of the border? Would we revisit verse 6 of the National Anthem? 

So you see, it wasn’t that we didn’t like you, Ed; we were just more frightened of the SNP, austerity as it is, is bad enough; but we couldn’t and wouldn’t discriminate against the rest of the UK to favour one part. 

I’m no political pundit and I’m a bit of a floating voter, but my thoughts were we’ve chosen the best of a bad bunch of options in the hope that “things can only get better”




Posted by: madkentdragon | April 14, 2015

The Old Bat’s Manifesto

I am showing no political bias here, just some common sense/insanity garnered over my last LXVII years combined with irritation over the negative campaigning and empty promises that I have heard over the decades.


All government departments to submit to an independent audit at close of government prior to the re/election of the new government. This will stop any silly notes being left and will establish the exact state of the country’s purse.


  • A new house to be built for any house sold off – no excuses
  • Any house sold cannot be resold for at least 30 years, to prevent profiteering.
  • If a house is no longer needed after it has been sold, it should be taken on by the council under the Private Sector Leasing Scheme until the proscribed 30 years have expired. No profiteering and a useful outcome.
  • All private housing built must also include contributions towards facilities for schools and doctors’ offices
  • When housing is built, roads, utilities and traffic must be assessed to see if it needs to be updated by 2 independent companies.


  • All companies that employ over 250 employees must pay the Living Wage for all employees whether full or part time workers.
  • All companies with over 250 employees must not operate a zero hour’s contract policy. Any employee on such a contract must have their hours examined and a contract issued for the average number of hours worked over the last 3 months. Sickness must be considered as average hours worked.
  • Any company with between 50 and 250 employees must present a good case for not applying the Living Wage and also the zero hour’s contract policy.


  • All PFI interest payments to be reduced and tied to the Bank of England Interest Rate, this will reduce payments significantly and the funds released can be used to help employ more medical staff.
  • All GPs should be required to work at least one Saturday and one evening a month, this will reduce the need to hire staff in at highly expensive rates and allow patients to see doctors who know their problems.
  • All GP Surgeries should operate a “Walk-in-and-wait” clinic every morning, with appointments made for afternoon and evenings. This will enable more patients to see a GP when they really need to and not to have to wait for an appointment. This system does work, my GP uses it.
  • All hospital office roles to be examined and audited to see if they are really needed.
  • All carparks to be taken back in house, the money raised to be used to ensure all wards are properly staffed.


  • All welfare claims to be assessed within 7 days, if this has not been done through no fault of the applicant then an interim payment of £50 should be paid to cover emergencies. This fine is non-returnable and is not to be deducted from any future payments; neither can it be reclaimed if the application fails. Waiting to hear about a claim restricts people’s ability to move on. For each week the claim is not decided, the fine payable to the claimant will be doubled.


  • All PCCs to be abolished and a voluntary committee of retired police officers to be established for oversight of all necessary duties. The money saved to be used to pay for more police officers.
  • 50% of all fines paid to go into a fund to pay for further police officers.

Armed Forces

  • An examination of the state of our Armed Forces to take place, this to include all circumstances for deployment and to establish a properly equipped and fully funded force of the appropriate size, considering all the global instability.
  • A nuclear capability must be maintained, but this must be with the correct information available to us and with the appropriate equipment.


Well, I’ve probably missed some things out and upset some people, but – we can’t all agree all the time!

So the debates are going ahead whether the Prime Minister takes part or not, fine – but I won’t be watching.


Well, I sat and watched all the debates last year and quite honestly, they were all a waste of time and effort.

How many of the statements of intent have come true?

I’ll give you an example “I agree with Nick” – but what did Nick do?

He backed down on all just to become a part of the government.

I will state here that I was brought up as a Liberal and when they became the Liberal Democrats, I was over the moon; it looked like we had strong party leaders who could influence government. Do I vote Lib-Dem now? That’s between me and the ballot box – if I told you what I voted and you followed suit and it was a disaster, I’m not taking the blame.

To be honest, I hate politics! I care what happens to this country and I’m not sure politicians do – OK, there are some good ones who represent their electorate and don’t always dance to the party tune, but to many it’s just a career with a wonderful expense account.

The tribal, playground bullying as demonstrated by both sides at Prime Minister’s Question Time is a prime example of why I and many like me hate politics.

Many MPs have never worked in “the real world” and cannot see past the frosted glass windows of the ivory tower – I think all politicians should have to do at least three year’s work outside of the political circle. See my blog, “My Wish List for 2015”

Whoever takes power, whether a straight forward election or another coalition, please, please STOP CUTTING SO DEEP!

We need our Police Force, stop cutting it – why are you doing this – or do you want companies like Serco to take over —

“Welcome to Serco, if it is an emergency and you need the police, press 1.

If it is an emergency and you need an ambulance, press 2. …..”

Do we really want this? Robert Peel must be turning in his grave!

By the way, you wouldn’t have to cut so deep if the Living Wage was enforced instead of the National Minimum Wage, but then fat cats and shareholders may have to tighten the belt on their Burberry or Alexander Wang attire!

Do you realise that we are all subsidizing these Fat Cats? Well we are!

The National Minimum Wage is £6.50 an hour, and all those earning it have to claim Tax Credits to get by – but at least they are working.

Compare that with the National Living Wage of £7.85 – OK some of those earning this may claim tax credits – but they will be claiming less as they are earning £1.35 more per hour, so we will be subsidising those wage earners less.

But what we are really doing isn’t subsidising the workforce, we are subsidising the company paying the lesser wage, because many of these large multinational companies are still making profits and paying bonuses and shareholders – and how many of these people are tax evaders, the story goes on, doesn’t it??

Back to our emergency services – the difference between the two wages quoted is as shown above, £1.35 per hour which is £47.25 for a 35 hour week – multiply that by the number of employees in this country who are being paid this paltry wage – I Googled this and got various numbers of between 1 – 5 million; so let’s say 1.5 million – this comes to a whopping £70,875,000 per week! Now that’s an enormous number of emergency workers’ wages!

When that figure is multiplied by the number of weeks in a year – £3,685,500,000 – that’s how much we subsidise big business instead of employing emergency services – time to put this right isn’t it?

Posted by: madkentdragon | January 2, 2015

My Wish List for 2015

My wishes for 2015;  OK these are a bit of wishful thinking on my part – but how many of you would agree with me?

I’m doing them as a list as they cover my wishes about everything that I can think of – some fanciful, but most straight forward. Here goes!

  1. To qualify as a candidate for consideration as an MP the person must have worked in the “Real World” as a factory hand/health care worker/ junior office clerk/shop worker
  2. Any MP who wishes to be attached to the MOD must have served for at least 3 years in the armed forces – and not behind a desk.
  3. All interest payments on Private Funding Initiative for hospitals to be tied to the base rate of the Bank of England.
  4. Any MP wanting to be attached to education must have worked for at least one year as a class room assistant
  5. All bonus payments to be abolished, in their place should be an enhanced monthly salary for those who deserve it.
  6. GP surgeries to be open at weekends and in the evenings, as should dentists and other medical practitioners
  7. All citizens who have committed fraud should face justice and that includes MPs and their ilk.
  8. Police numbers to be increased, but only if they are frontline staff. The paperwork should be reduced by removing all unnecessary forms.
  9. Late night ambulance staff to be issued with stab vests
  10. All employees should receive the basic living wage as a base line. If a company needs help, then let the government help them.
  11. ATOS to be abolished and replaced by a panel of GPs, all applicants to this panel should not have benefits withdrawn and must be treated as human beings.
  12. All benefit offices must be able to employ enough staff so that claims are dealt with properly and with no delay. A six week wait for working tax credits is not acceptable.
  13. No football ground should charge supporters more than an average day’s pay for the working man.
  14. All Premiership teams must employ 75% home players, to ensure that the Home Countries have enough well trained talented players to represent their country.
  15. The evil of Jihadism to be wiped from the face of the earth
  16. A cure for all as yet incurable illnesses


If I’ve upset anyone with my list, why don’t you do your own – now I’ll get my head back out of the clouds and get on with the real 2015.

Posted by: madkentdragon | December 7, 2014

The Truth in the Archbishop’s Words

Listening to the comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury, I find myself agreeing with him – not only is he following the Biblical instructions of feeding the hungry, but he has highlighted one big problem in this country.

Many years ago, there was National Assistance to buy the basics for those who could not claim sick benefit or unemployment benefit, for the rest of us there was our wages and you struggled by on what you earned plus family allowance – but not for the first child – plus free school meals.

Therefore, to many the introduction of family income supplement was wonderful, it wasn’t very much – but to those who had too much week left at the end of their money it meant surviving without borrowing.

The welfare state has improved since then – we all know there are some who will take advantage of the system – they were about in the 1950s & ’60s as well – but it’s not as bad as some of the papers and half the government would have you believe.

I have seen all sides of the situation, I won’t go into it now, but let’s just say that sometimes I’ve wondered where the next penny would be coming from and at other times I’ve filled a supermarket trolley so high that I couldn’t see over the top of it.

So when Justin Welby chirped up, I found myself listening and fully agreeing with him. The welfare system when it works, is good, but what happens when it doesn’t?

For the average low-paid worker who relies on all the working tax credits – if they are still called that – they celebrate if they have a pound left at the end of the pay circle, but that’s with little Johnny and Sally going to school and enjoying their free school meal.

Mum’s happy to give them beans on toast for tea as they will have had that nutritious (we hope) meal at lunchtime, but what happens when they break up from school? Remember as all infant schools now have to supply free school meals to the students up to and including year two, this could affect more families; where mum quite happily supplied beans on toast, soup, sandwiches etc. for tea – she now has to supply a second meal as well – with no extra money!

So what does she or dad do? First thing she does is look for economy burgers, sausages etc. – why – because they are cheap. Secondly, her main meal now comprises toast or a plain jacket potato and, although the kids are filling up on the cheap junk food which does not contain the correct amount of nutrients and they are becoming obese.

Finally, in desperation, the family go to a food bank and everyone gets fed properly for a while until the cycle starts again.

How can we stop this – well there are several ways, large companies who are making huge profits (yes there are some out there) should be impelled to pay a living wage – less strain on the government and sigh of relief from the families. The expense of Christmas will still be there – but they can at least feed everybody properly.

Smaller companies who cannot pay the living wage could be made exempt from this – we don’t want them going out of business, so their employees would still claim working tax credits and free school meals – but could they not receive vouchers during school holidays to supplement their money? These could only be used for food – a bit like the old luncheon vouchers that some companies used to give to staff. I spent mine in Sainsburys – it bought enough to provide lunch sandwiches for at least two of us!

For as Mr Micawber stated “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”

And that is what successive governments have failed to realise, school holidays, even staying at home are too expensive for some – well done Archbishop – now let’s get it sorted.


Posted by: madkentdragon | September 18, 2014

Why Are Ambulances Queueing at A&E?

This morning on the news I heard about the sad death of a lady waiting in an ambulance queue outside a hospital in Wales and it got me thinking.

Several questions came to mind, and I’ve listed them here with my opinions – you may not agree with my conclusions – but at least I may have got you thinking about the problem.

When I was younger most hospitals had an Accident and Emergency Department, specialised maternity units and geriatric hospitals probably didn’t, but nearly every general hospital had one. They patched you up and then either discharged you, admitted you or sent you on to a bigger hospital with more facilities.

Whichever route you as a patient took, you were patched up; in other words for 90% of all cases you were treated so that your life was no longer in danger, some obviously were too ill or injured and would die no matter what. But – you were treated in a local hospital, and felt safe.

Now the first task is to find a hospital with A&E facilities, and then wait to be allowed in or sit in a chair for hours because the staff will be trying to cope with patients from an area that is many times bigger than the department was designed for.

The staff are overworked and because they are trying to deal with every emergency you can imagine, they can make mistakes – not their fault because they don’t always have the time to deal properly with each case before rushing on to the next.

The excuse the government have come up with for these centralised A&E departments is that they will be centres of excellence – but is that really the reason?

Many hospitals are in debt, see my post on the private finance initiative – – this means that many hospitals have had to cut back on their main reason for existing, caring for sick people because the interest payments are so high that if the lenders were payday lenders they may have been investigated!

This PFI has been in existence in the last few governments, so all parties are to blame for not putting a stop to it – meanwhile the fat cats get richer and the rest of us suffer!

To hide this debacle, some bright spark seems to have come up with closing a large number of A&E departments and calling the ones that remain open “centres of excellence”, thus saving money.

How can a centre of excellence be called that when it can’t cope with the numbers coming through its doors?

It’s not a centre of excellence it is a centralised mistake that needs to be put right now!

It’s time to reopen all A&E departments, employ enough staff to cope and to cut the extortionate interests rates paid from our NHS funds to the private financiers who are lining their pockets at the cost of our health.

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