“It wasn’t me, gov”

In 2010 the UK general election resulted in a minority party leading a coalition government.  Four years on we still hear, day and daily, that every ill that besets every facet of our national life is the fault of the previous government.  Don’t Cameron, Osborne and Co, realise how empty and fatuous it sounds to preface EVERY statement to the press and public with “We inherited (such a mess)…..” – in other words it’s not their fault.  Maybe they think that if they repeat it often enough it will stick in our collective mind as incontestible truth, just as the continual coupling of Sinn Fein and IRA by the Unionist politicians in Northern Ireland did.  Do they really think we are that stupid?  When do they propose to draw a line and say “that was then, and this is now: we did this (and it did or did not work)”.  They’ve had four years to own up; it’s only a year or so to the next general election so it seems like they could reasonably start now.

As a P.S. – I saw Osborne on the Andrew Marr Show today (Sunday 1st December) and AM asked him about the management’s new plan to roll back some ‘green’ levys on energy bills.  “Well, we inherited this system……..blah blah blah. Merchant Bankers, the lot of them.

Sure fire TV hit format

I was watching another repeat episode of Antique Downton DIY Celebrity Gardening Bake-Off the other night and thought, wouldn’t it be great if TV executives would stop taking the easy way out and treat us all as sentient beings instead of ratings fodder.

British Gas In **se from Elbow shock

We moved to a rented house in August and, despite many ‘phone calls and e-mails up to now (6 November), have failed to establish a customer / supplier relationship with British Gas for energy.  I have just handed over to our landlord a sheaf of letters addressed to her, and two to previous tenants, all but one in error in one way or another.

Apparently the property is known to British Gas – power comes out of the sockets and the lights work as do the cooker and central heating.  The problem, or the main problem, is that until we have an account for each untility (it’s a dual fuel account) we cannot switch to another supplier, at a better rate, nor can we  take advantage of discounts for paperless billing and payment by direct debit and our landlord is still technically liable for all energy used.

I have spoken with so-called customer services agents in various parts of the UK and, believe it or not, South Africa: all to no avail.  I have been told that the problem at their end is a “systems issue”, but no-one can say what that means or how long it will take to fix.

I thought that privatisation was supposed to bring efficiencies to the utilities, but all it seems to have done is fragment industires, create duplication, minimise real customer care and maximise profits.


Eventually this was resolved (we hope!), but it was VERY hard work.  It is no wonder that there is inertia in the public who are exhorted to ‘switch’ in all sorts of industires (telecoms, energy, banking, insurance, mortgages etc.,): I think they are legitimately fearful of the chaos that might follow – I know I am.

Lyme – Just when you think it’s all over…..

I stopped taking massive doses of oral antibiotics, after 9 straight months, in mid-August.  For a while, despite the physical and emotional stress of moving house, and country, everything was going well.  Then, towards the end of September, I picked up a virus – that awful coughing thing that lasts for weeks, which developed into a chest infection.  Having a stash of ’emergency’ antibiotics, for Lyme Disease, I put myself on a 7 day course of Amoxycillin, and that seemed to knock it out nicely.  I began to have the odd Lyme-like symptom but ignored them: as those who have Lyme will recognise, it is all too easy to see Lyme at the root of every ache and pain.  Then it was time to register with a new GP and have a through check-up.  I need to lose weight and my blood pressure (exacerbated by ‘white coat syndrome’) was a bit high but otherwise OK.  Come back in 6 months.  Then I had a few more symptoms, nothing heavy, but more things, followed by the flu-prevention injection in mid-October.  I thought it was time to check this possible resurgence of Lyme and put myself on the full-blown triple antibiotic therapy for 9 days.  It was only 9 days because I stopped with an unfortunate reaction (odd, given I had never had a stomach problem at all in the 9 months of treatment).  At about the same time a number of the symptoms got noticeably worse: muscle twitches and cramps are back (mild but there), my legs seem weak, poor sleep again,joint pain, more noticeable tinitus.  I’m off to the osteopath today because my back is playing up (I think this is unrelated).  So the $64,000 questions are:

1) after 9 months of treatment, did the Lyme come back?

2) or did the virus just knock me back (my immune system still being ‘flat’)?

3) or did the 7 days of Amoxycillin I took for the chest infection have some other effect (like attack some remaining Lyme)

4) or did the flu jab, which is supposed to be an inert vaccine, provoke something?

5) or did the 9 day ‘triple’ antibiotics actually provoke a Herxheimer reaction because there was some residual Lyme Disease?

I confess I don’t have a clue, although I definitely don’t feel as well as I did 2 months ago,  Any ideas?