I was not brought-up on this mantra.
I remember as a boy, lost amongst the shiny metal shelves of What Every Woman Wants off of Argyle Street .
There, as with the modern-day thrift stores that have taken-over our post-Tory post-Covid city centres, the bargains were waiting.
Sure, they were not worth the 5p you’d spend, but there was something satisfying with the realisation you could buy an over-sized Duran-Duran T-Shirt for £1.
All of that is a long time ago.
Long ago and someplace else.
We are in pandemic UK.
The economics are those of health and social care.
The cost is that of how long you must wait for an ambulance to take you to A&E.
The other day I admitted an old woman; the records document her heart rate as somewhere between 160 and 200 beats per minute. (For non-medical readers, that is considered fast). She was rushed to the hospital. It took 16 hours before the first doctor assessed her.
Today, if your hip is bad, worn and arthritic, if you are lucky, you might get a replacement joint in two years, probably longer by the time you see your GP and you jump through various hoops of assessment and review.
If you have the money, you can fast-track private.
Most of us are not so fortunate.
When things are bad, when the wait for the doctor or the nurse or social worker is several times longer than ideal, I want to tell people, ‘You get what you vote for,’ this meaning, after so many years of Tory government, with public service asset stripping the modus operandi of those running the country (and don’t start me on the lies and deceptions), what do you expect?
You spend peanuts, you get monkeys, I can remember an old Maltese fellow I used to know saying.
Where else can we go?
You stretch the elastic; you pull it and pull and pull and eventually it snaps.
I know that Alan Paton was talking about something else when he wrote ‘Cry the beloved country’ yet, I can’t help feeling we are amid an equivalent nightmare. Note, I don’t say, ‘Walking towards,’ no, we are in it.
No, not the climate, not the uncollected bins, the zero hours, no, not the Shitty White Men travelling on purpose-built spaceships that fly over the filth and poverty of a world falling apart, all of it together.
The gum or Gestalt of autophagia, we eat ourselves, without realising that each mouthful leads to our destruction. The temporary nourishment a deception. A nonsense.
Our hospitals hold crisis meetings. They aspire to manipulate pathways and systems to increase efficiency, all of which has the opposite effect of slowing us down, increasing our error rate, trebling dissatisfaction and wearing thin the fabric of the spirit that maintains us.
And the absurdity, the madness, like Douglas Adams’ Brontitall. We have riches.
A person can spend 20 weeks on intensive care receiving the most space-age therapy and support imaginable, yet they return home and the carers who rush to provide their evening meal have little sense of person-centredness. What Matters to Me is squeezed, it is transmogrified into time slots and rota allocation.
And this, a pean to what?
No, I am not ready to stop.
Yes, I am tired.
Everyone working in health or social care today is tired.
They are running on the fumes of the fumes.
The odometer says zero.
And, a trip to WEWW’s without a penny in your pocket doesn’t buy you a thing.