Friday, 14 August 2009

In brief

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

A heavenly friend is coming to stay two days earlier than expected, so for all my grandiose promises about tremendous blogging and hard-hitting political comment and you-can-only-get-it-here transatlantic observation, I am reduced to offering you a few paltry lines as I am in full hostess anxiety. Serves me right for taking my blog far too seriously. Must must must keep working on those perfectionist issues.

All I have time for now are a few quick notes. If you want to get yourself in a fine state of indignation, have a google about for Senator Charles Grassley, a supposedly moderate Republican who has been insisting that that the NHS would have killed Ted Kennedy with its bare hands. (He also recently told a meeting of constituents that he did not think it the role of government to 'pull the plug on grandma', thus endorsing the crazed idea that all President Obama really wants to do is kill people's grandmothers.) If you want to get even crosser, have a gander at elected representative Paul Broun saying, on the floor of the House, that Britain and Canada do not have the same respect for people's lives that Americans do. And if you want to lace your fury with disbelieving laughter, have a look at the egg all over the face of Investor's Business Daily, which claimed that Stephen Hawking 'would not have a chance' in Britain, because we would consider the life of 'this brilliant man worthless', before having half the world point out to it, including Professor Hawking himself, that he is in fact British and the NHS has been perfectly charming to him in every way.

And then, after all the ugliness, the loveliness. Britons, who are happy to have a tremendous old moan about the national health service among themselves, get grumpy when right wing Americans in bed with insurance companies and corporate interests start insisting that it likes killing the old and the infirm. The NHS may be many things, but it is generally not wilfully homicidal. Quite unexpectedly, the British arm of the Twitterverse rose up with one voice, making welovethenhs the number one trending topic on Twitter for two days in a row. At one point, the weight of stories of grandmothers saved, limbs sewn back on, sweet nurses and hard-working doctors was so great that Twitter actually crashed.

My final question: who is Daniel Hannan, why does he have such mad staring eyes, and who was it who gave him his insane air of certainty? If I could hunt them down, I would ask them, very politely, to take it back. He should be sent to a nice dark room to ponder the great British virtues of self-deprecation and irony. He is so shining with self-importance that he looks as if someone polishes him every morning, like an apple. Also, should he really be palling around with Glenn Beck, a very peculiar television personality who recently said that Barack Obama is a racist who hates white people? I'm just asking.

That's all the liberal outrage I have time for today. I must go and check the sheets and make out menu plans. I apologise for the scattergun approach. (Oh, oh, oh what happened to my great plans for serious analysis and cogent argument?) Just to calm us all down, most especially me, I am leaving you with an entirely irrelevant but utterly beautiful picture of one of my dogs. She cares not at all about the excesses of the healthcare debate, she is just dreaming of rabbits. I sometimes think I should follow her example.


  1. Dear Tania, I love how you have veered off course so spectacularly. We are just as happy with frittata, Twitter power and dog porn you know :-)Reading your blog is always a certain pleasure. Don't blush now. Have a great weekend with your visitors and give that scrimshy pooch a huggle. Too cute.

  2. I was incredibly proud of the British public on twitter (although I must mention that it doesn't take much for it to crash). Watching the comments come pouring in gave me a great sense of belonging. It may be imperfect - the NHS is completely and irrevocably ours.

  3. Max - how very kind you are. Am of course blushing like crazy. You will be pleased to hear that both pooches spent all weekend getting more love than they knew what to do with, mostly from my besotted goddaughter, who thinks them the best dogs in the world.

    Mystery - I so agree. I do love the great British public when they rise up in the cause of fair play.


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