Following the emphatic 65.3% “yes” vote to direct law making powers, Welsh leaders were immediately heralding a new era of devolution. The anti-Westminster fervour is now tangible. It is not difficult to understand why:
- The review of Parliamentary constituencies will reduce Wales by 10 (down 25% to 30 MPs) compared to Northern Ireland (down 2 to 16) and Scotland (reduced by 7 to 52).
- The latest data on the services sector (which accounts for 75% of Welsh GDP) reveals a slowdown to below 2010 averages. Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, said the decline “is an indication that the underlying state of the economy is pretty brittle.”
- Unemployment has increased for the fifth successive month.
- Funding for S4C (the Welsh TV channel) is being cut by 24.4% over four years in real terms.
The latest opinion polls are predicting an overall Labour victory in the May Assembly elections.
The Conservatives held their Spring Conference in Cardiff this last weekend. Dave, no doubt, will have used the occasion for photo-opportunities and making sure that all his sycophantic ministers mention, whatever the question, that it is all Labour’s fault.
The Welsh people may have suggested that Dave’s departure eastwards along the M4 towards England might be his swan song in the Principality.
Mr. Angry has high blood pressure…and it’s rising
Following a two hour’s wait (due to meetings about NHS budget allocations) Mr. Angry finally saw his GP. He was told that he has high blood pressure. “You have an above average chance of heart disease and strokes. Take these pills and don’t worry.”
Mr. Angry went to the chemist and purchased a home testing BP machine. For seven days his readings were normal. He returned to the surgery. “Ah. Your reading is normal” diagnosed the clinician. “Stop the pills and come back in a month.”
Mr. Angry was experiencing ‘white coat hypertension’. This is a surging pulse rate caused by the apprehension of visiting your doctor’s surgery.
Research by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) suggests that perhaps up to one in four patients, labelled with high BP, are being misdiagnosed.
Mr. Angry thinks Dave should (re)introduce tax relief on private health insurance premiums. This would mean the four million people working in Britain’s enterprising businesses, who cannot get appointments with their GPs (because the surgeries are full of people wrongly diagnosed with high BP), can receive help more quickly, without affecting the running of their businesses.
Regrettably Mr. Angry’s BP has risen. He has just read that from 1 April 2011 prescription charges are rising by 20p to £7.40 for each item.
Except in Scotland (from 1 April), Wales and Northern Ireland where they are free.
No wonder Mr. Angry is so angry.