Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bring on the snake oil salesmen

AN OFFICIAL-looking envelope drops through the letterbox at Beelzebub Mansions. It is from an American company offering me a “total health scan” covering various cardiac conditions, cancer detection, cholesterol tests etc “from just £139”. (Note that “from”.)

Furthermore, if they detect anything wrong with me they will alert my GP, who they name, and have him speed me towards the nearest consultant. All I need to do is phone up and make an appointment for their next session at the Market Hall next Friday.

For that money, it seems might it might be a sensible investment, but then we get to the small print. That £139 just covers the sort of spit-and-a-lick inspection your mother would give you on the doorstep before your first appearance in court. Anything more complex – like taking your temperature or asking you to cough – incurred further charges. By the time you were into blood tests and ECGs, you may as well have booked yourself into a BUPA hospital for a year.

It is the medical equivalent of the garage mechanic or emergency plumber who sucks his teeth and says, menacingly “Who did that for you then?” at which point you know that you’re trapped in a steepling spiral of expenditure, necessary or not. Once you’ve put a foot in the door, they’ve got you, literally, by the balls.

But that’s not the thing that annoys me the most. What annoys me most is that my doctor has obviously sold my name and address to these travelling snake oil salesmen. Who gave him the right to do that?

And anyway, if he thinks a gentleman of my age and substance requires these checks, why isn’t the NHS offering me the service? What have I paid for all these years? Apart from free nicotine patches for fat scrotes, that is?

THE FRENCH have bought up our nuclear power stations; the Spanish own most of our airports; Russians, oil-rich Sheikhs and opportunist Americans own our football clubs; and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Asian businessmen start buying up our local papers any time soon. So am I right to be worried?

It seems a bit obvious to me that as we approach an economic era where energy will equal power, we should do our best to hang onto control of our own means of supply. The Russians have already got us over an empty barrel when it comes to gas supplies (allowing them to bully any dissident neighbouring state they fancy) and now we entrust our electricity to a nation who, despite the modern entente cordial, remain our oldest enemies? It’s enough to make un chat laugh.

What happens when Europe starts suffering brownouts as supplies run low? Do you really think you’ll be able to watch Strictly Come Property Factor in comfort if a French peasant wants your wattage instead to bake some songbirds in his hovel? Of course not. There’ll be a flick of the switch and Britain will descend into darkness. And the same will happen to all those thousands of admin and office jobs currently in this country. The French unions, used to getting their own way even if it means burning a few sheep, will make sure that those jobs go back across the Channel tout de suite. It’ll be a clear case of “I’m all right Jacques”.

This is what it has come to – a broken, empty shell of a once great nation selling itself to the highest bidder like a street corner harlot. A quick buck instead of a quick … fumble. No wonder Ruth Kelly has jacked it in, especially after what this government did to her father, Dr David Kelly.

I’M NOT at all keen on that Foxy Bingo fellow on those incessant TV adverts. There’s something not right there, something sinister. He’s like a cross between Chucky and Basil Bush. A Pied Piper of the Lambrini-addled obese.

Still, the Hunt is out cubbing at the moment, so once the season proper gets underway there’ll be no hiding place for a six-foot fox in a purple velvet suit who goes round shouting “Clickety-click” at complete strangers.

LONGSTANDING READERS will know that I’m no great fan of the Paralympics – not because I don’t recognise the bravery and achievement of many of the competitors, but because I think the rules are so slack that most of the people you see running in the real thing could qualify if they had a bit of a sniffle. I mean, how can a “blind” athlete run around a 400 oval track without guidance? Yet most seemed to manage it. Footballers were sent home for being too good at football, a German wheelchair basketball player was found to be an amateur ballroom dancer and one of the sprinters was disqualified after testing positive for WD40.

And try it the other way around. One of our cyclists, Sarah Storey, who has a bit of a Beadle thing going on with her left hand, posted times that would have qualified her for the regular team. And, seeing as she uses a specially modified bike to compensate for having a left arm slightly shorter than her right, would in theory have an even bigger advantage on an anti-clockwise track.

LAST FRIDAY was apparently Talk Like A Pirate day – an internet invention - which meant that every geek in our IT department wandered round in eye patches and with stuffed parrots on their shoulders going “Arr, me hearty” and “Yo ho ho”. To enter into the spirit of things, I brought a sword to work and stabbed one of them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Forget the pirate day I rather like the pornolize site

2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arguing on the Internet is like winning a gold medal at the Special Olympics -- even if you win, you're still retarded!

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If people keep buying up this country our economy will be yeah it already is.

Pirate Day???? What about bash a Bastard Day then we can smack all those swarmy IT Sods in the nads for years of buggering us about

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Spot on, Bazza; couldn't believe it when I heard that a French company (and a state-owned one at that!) owns our electricity supply: is that actually in the EU rules?

11:04 AM  
Anonymous Ungentlemanly Conduct said...

Those bloody frogs will be monopolising the champagne industry before you know it. Whatever next?

It makes sense to leave important stuff to Johnny Foreigner, because as a nation we are so fucking useless at everything except scrounging handouts and going around pretending we have a clue about things. It used to be morons like "Pete and Dud" with flat caps talking bollocks in the pub, only now Gordon's blown the 1,000 year old concept of comfortable taverns for the masses, so we sit around on public benches drinking cheap cider and talking utter bollocks to passers by.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

,"I have suddenly realised that since upgradin' me PC, I haven't been aft t' check me Beelzebub email basket. I upgraded me PC in January, so anyone mailin' since then will not have had a reply. This be unforgiveable rudeness, so I shall spend t' weekend workin' me way through t' neglected inbox readin' your messages."

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Craig said...

I am an IT 'geek'. A nerd. A sniffling virgin with gout on my face. Actually I am a family man, earn fair money and intelligent enough to know that without IT infrastructure, everything you do in life would cost more, take more time and be less advanced with out it. E commerce has saved us ALL substantial money in the last few years. So let the white flag waving froggies have the power station. Just make sure the IT guy is English!

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Just make sure the IT guy is English" - don't be daft, if he isn't outsourced to India already, he will be within 5 year's time.....

11:56 PM  
Anonymous A luddite said...

It was the IT guys who brought us the Millenium Bug scam and made fortunes in the process.

Now second rate hacks have cottoned onto the alarmist trick and call themselves "Environmetal Journalists" thereby attaining instant kudos and selling their tat to any gibbering fool with more money than sense.

How did man survive for centuries without IT?

12:59 AM  
Anonymous arescee said...

How did man survive for centuries without IT?

It was a hardware problem!

Or so they tell me!

11:29 AM  
Blogger Grumpy Goat said...

Is Basil Bush Dubya's long-lost good twin brother?

10:44 PM  

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