We used to ask “And how do you know there is an elephant in the room ?” to which the answer was “Because you can smell the peanuts on his breath.”
(Are elephants ever allergic to peanuts ?)
Leaving aside the issue of peanuts, there are several elephants taking up psychic space at the moment.
84 British bishops signed a letter to the government suggesting that the number of refugees offered a place in Britain should be increased from 20 to 50 thousand.
And yes, I am just a viewer watching what will be necessarily abbreviated news coverage but not once did I hear a word of sympathy for the number of people
(and it’s about the same number) who are going to lose everything, whether directly or by extension, when Redcar and Scunthorpe respectively close or reduce their steelmaking.
You can’t make a market where there isn’t one, I know that. For years, cheaper imports have undermined the British steel industry, even in its reduced state, and this is the crunch. So we may well see a whole chunk of the north east displaced by political apathy. Millions of pounds of public money won’t answer. When did forethought go out of fashion ? What are MPs paid for if not to think ?
The north east was a wild place under Henry VIII and several hundred years later, it is still dominated by its own intransigence and introspection, rarely visited by major political figures, occasionally producing remarkable athletes or musicians or film makers – the ones that got away and so were entitled to a ticket to bring them home for a visit. But as the musician Alan Price told me years ago “If you stay, they say you didn’t really make it and if you leave, they say you betrayed them.”
They are not easy people to help but they deserve at least public consideration alongside of every other needy person. Suffering know no boundaries, weights or measures – it just is – it isn’t less because it is on the doorstep.
There are lots of real elephants in jumbo corner who are being shot and poisoned at some ungodly rate a day because of the buying power of the shooter and probably because of the increasing hold the Chinese have on Africa – China being the greatest consumer of animal parts for traditional medicine and ivory for carving – but as they are our trading partners, this has joined the list of what is not to be mentioned – human rights, animal rights, environmental pollution to name but three.
We once expanded our empire and now it’s their turn and as we once did, so they are now doing, wading through the bodies of the beautiful great mammals, leaving behind wreckage, trauma (to the young) and horribly frequent death.
Once Africa could recover from this. Can it again ?
More peanut breath re the National Health Service. However naïve I am, I can’t see the BMA “stirring up its members” against the new contract proposed to junior doctors. The junior doctors got all fired up without any help. Would you buy a used car from Health Minister Jeremy Hunt ? And nobody – left right or centre – has been prepared to deal with the incredible cost of agency nursing on which it appears the safety of many wards depends.
While sugar coated peanuts have the German Chancellor – hitherto Europe’s reliable sensible clergyman’s daughter – shaking hands with the Turkish President, offering to enable a pass into the European Community, just as stability in his country begins to slip – beating up on the Kurds again while they have offered rare coherent military opposition to the Daesh (Isis is the name of a British river – I’d like to reclaim it.)
Oh peanuts peanuts peanuts.