Okay, I give up! It’s proven impossible to be seen by practitioners totally fixated on covid avoidance. It’s exactly as the doctors report in the press – I couldn’t get past a phone call to see my own GP, and was separately offered DIY physio by a local hospital for my torn knee, who told me they wouldn’t be offering appointments any time soon. When I remarked this has gone on for almost a year, they had no answer. Let’s nip over to the covid clinic for a minute. I was told by my own doctor this week that I don’t qualify for a covid vaccine, as I’m way down the list of qualifiers. I reiterated that – as I’m guaranteed to die from cancer – it’s far more important I stay ‘on treatment’ and mentally park the fact I have to dodge covid. He mentioned that the Oxford vaccine is currently withdrawn due to being based on an insufficiently small testing sample, but said I should ask my oncologist for the vaccine. Hey ho, I don’t hold much hope of that happening, given these days I either see her registrar or a nurse, both of whom act as gatekeepers. So, I give up. No more pleading or begging. If you have covid, the doctors will see you NOW, but if you should perchance have a life threatening condition, you can wait in line. It has truly become a Notional Health Service. And we are paying customers….. albeit in a business with a no entry sign pinned to the doors. We pay a heavy price for ‘Protect the NHS’ decisions at Whitehall, an example found in the following shocking story!! Sherwin Hall (27), a young man from Leeds, took himself to hospital in March suffering from leg pain, but was sent home with a misdiagnosis of prostatitis and given antibiotics. By May – some 13 visits later – a scan showed a 14cm tumour in his pelvis along with 30 lesions in his lungs. In July Mr Hall featured in a BBC Panorama programme called Britain’s Cancer Crisis, where he was adamant he had to beg for the clinically diagnostic scan, but was told services were reduced because of covid. Unbelievably this young man has now died, whilst the Leeds Hospital NHS Trust said it had maintained scanning for all ‘urgent interventions.’ That sounds a tad far-fetched and I think Mr Hall’s widow would agree. Macmillan Cancer Charity has already guesstimated 50,000 patients are still outstanding cancer treatment from the first lockdown, with perhaps 100,000 affected by the second lockdown. How many of us will be left to fend for ourselves with this week’s wave of restrictions? I may be back on chemo, but I do not feel confident that it will save me from my advancing disease.


Return of the Jedi. Gosh, wasn’t that such a good Star Wars movie, even if now dated (1983). Return of the Tier System doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but you’d better prepare yourself for endless re-runs of what they’re serving up now. The Government has gone in short order from Hero [roll out the vaccine] to Zero [Tier 3] given we’ve only just crept optimistically out of lockdown, and now 34 million people – 61% of the population – will be catapulted into Tier 3 restrictions. There was also a significant rise in infection rates in 3 prisons in the Isle of Sheppey, with infections spreading to the south east, and now creeping insidiously into London proper. Care home managers realised far too late in lockdown that the only way to keep a lid on infection was to have the carers isolate alongside the elderly. Likewise, the prison staff should have isolated, rather than risk taking infection home to family and friends. The infection rate in this part of Kent was a staggering 640 per 100,00 compared to a rate of 240 in London, so it would be naive not to see a connection between Sheppey and our rapid descent into Tier 3. Matt Hancock has warned us that a new mutant strain of coronavirus is likely behind the exponential rise in cases, of which 1000 have been the new variant. Scientists think it is no more virulent, but as these cases were amongst 60 {southern} local authorities, this indicates it may be more infectious and is spreading faster. Let’s hope the vaccine will prove a catch-all, as there have already been several mutations, including S-type, L-type (most prevalent), D614G and Cluster 5 (mink). Locking up London is not for the benefit of protecting the NHS; We know the NHS is currently working under-capacity, because ICU beds are not full, they’ve not had to open up the Nightingales, and I see first hand virtually empty hospitals. The phlebotomy and oncology staff speak honestly to me about their concerns and have shared agonising stories of patients dying from lack of treatment. So, Tier 3 is not about the NHS, it’s a knee jerk reaction to an evolving situation. I frequently read commentaries from politicians and other journalists whose opinions echo my own. With these Tier 3 restrictions, the hospitality and entertainment sectors are to be again brought to their knees, even though they have suffered so dreadfully over the past 9 months. Little Charlotte has only just shouted Boo at the bad guys at the Palladium, and now the theatres will shut again. I don’t think it’s fair that venues have put so much effort and investment into covid-proofing, only for audiences to now be ripped out of their hands. They’re already playing to near-empty houses. As is the case with the hospitality sector, shutting shop is quintessentially a death sentence which may never be commuted, with 150,000 jobs now at very serious risk. On the other hand there are some comedies which will be seared into our consciences; waiting lists for Crown Court Trials for example, are tipped to reach 50,000 by the end of this month, with the number likely to quadruple by 2024. A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service said, ‘the backlog continues to fall [!?] and we continue to boost capacity with an investment of £110 million, and an extra £337 million planned to deliver swift justice.’ Really? I’d like HMCTS to tell me that with a straight face, when I hear that a criminal trial was delayed for 10 months because Crown Court staff failed to order enough plexiglass screens to ensure the building was Covid compliant. And for the record it was a very serious case, involving two defendants charged with 42 abuse offences. I have noticed a tsunami of plexiglass in every single facility I’ve visited in the last 3-6 months; bank, clinic, hospital, schools and shops. Mind you, I think the dodgy gemologist from the Boodles heist might do rather well if plexiglass grants her a window of reprieve. In a completely different type of case Woolwich Crown Court has just ordered housing company Bellway Homes to pay £600,000 plus £30,000 additional costs, for bulldozing a car showroom in 2018 without getting advance planning permission. They had also failed to get permission from Natural England to disturb the roost of a soprano pipistrelle (bat), permission which would have required them to remove the roost in advance. I’m sure this judgement has reverberated loudly, especially as it overshadowed the previous record of £18,820 for disturbing a bat roost last year. Now for a ‘funny’ story. Footballer Mesut Ozil was caught for speeding at 97mph in his £160,000 Mercedes G-Class. Magistrates at Bromley Court hit him with 6 points and £1000 fine, when he argued that he had confused mph for kph. Hahahaha. Really!?? Never mind he qualified for an instant ban, what about the fact fines are levied against one’s salary! If you were a mere mortal £1000 would hit you hard, but on a salary of £350,000 a week – – – – I fail to see how Ozil’s fine can be either appropriate or meaningful, but he must have paid his lawyer handsomely. Following the bat story above, we can see calculations for penalties are contrary, especially as Ozil was driving like a Bat out of Hell.



Over the years I’ve had my share of bullying, from primary school taunting (I wore glasses; these came in 2 styles, and 3 colours. Basically they were awful, but one had to be able to see), to blatant jealousy in Higher Ed (most especially if you were an achiever), right up to serious misdemeanours in recent years by middle-aged adults who should know better. But – this Brexit Farce is just another example of the bullies in the playground. The EU are ganging up to see how they can undermine the country who no longer want to be part of the gang. How Boris Johnson ever expected the Europeans to play fair I have no idea, because they’re not going to. At least not until they get absolutely everything that they want on their Brexit wishlist, whilst locking us into financial non-negotiables and simultaneously tying us up in euro regulation for decades. We were always true blue members, but certainly not in the starry sense of being a Germany and France, and never in the same political theatre as Italy, Romania and Greece. Europe truly hated our fiscal independence, except when we were making contributions. The only level playing field we likely played on before was cricket, and the Europeans don’t understand what ‘playing cricket’ is. Threatening to sever our international travel rights, insistence on continued access to fishing rights (our pound of fish), blockading our hauliers at the ports, behaving disdainfully and disgracefully to both Prime Ministers May and Johnson.  Quite frankly they have shown us that our friends [in the gang] were never that. It was always a facade. We were always a sovereign nation, and are intent on returning to that status in our pending divorce. The Machiavellian tactic I suspect Europe is playing now is to take Boris right to the wire, leaving him with no time to work on No-Deal arrangements. I have confidence that our savvy BoJo will be prepping a plan B behind the scenes, because a hard Brexit could soon be the outcome. Sometimes it’s harder, but better, to walk away from trouble, than to offer appeasement, which is too often perceived as weakness. It did nothing for Chamberlain and I suspect will do less for Johnson. We are indeed a royal blue nation, but let’s stick with the return of the British blue passport, rather than the reviled European blue flag. Boris – ask what they will do for us, rather than what we must do for them! In the meantime, No More Tiers…..



Jacqueline x