Friday, 21 June 2013

Eye on the Hill

Great wee place...
NORN Iron is on the up, from a feel good factor experienced by the thousands of police officers from across the UK enjoying our fine weather through to an anticipated 300,000 people descending on Derry~Londonderry for Fleadh in August.

This great wee place hosted a G8 Summit that was notable not for its lack of a solution to the Syrian crisis, but rather for the absence of petrol bomb wielding protestors.

Add into that the global exposure of a huffing Putin, an eloquent Obama and Cameron plunging into the waters of Lough Erne...

Following on from prime minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Titanic Belfast, there was also the announcement that Japanese company Terumo BCT was to create  416 new jobs at its medical device factory in Larne. Parts of the east Antrim town, like 80’s New Wave punk band The Vapours, may have to think about ‘Turning Japanese’…

The Orange Order is even playing its part in Derry’s city of culture programme by holding a major part of its Twelfth of July celebrations in the city with senior figures in the ‘Order’ from across the UK attending.

With Gillian Anderson (she of X-Files fame) starring in our very own home grown crime drama, The Fall, Game of Thrones set to a return for Season Four, and a new Dracula movie to be filmed here, all seems well.

Such is the positive mood that assistant chief constable Alastair Finlay was moved to say there wasn’t “any reason why we will have a difficult marching season".

Which is all fair comment.

But then the numpties, head cases, bampots and their associates from all sides of the so-called divide are often determined to make a fuss; some of that fuss usually ends up in upset and sporadic civil disorder (that’s rioting to you and me).

This means it imperative for our political leaders to be circumspect and considered when opening their traps claiming this, that and the other.

And, our media should impose a broadcast and print ban on politicians and their ilk during the ‘marching season’. Drastic? Well we might at least get some relief from the blame game, ACC Finlay might get his wish for avoiding a ‘difficult’ marching season and we will all remember that this really is ‘a great wee place’.

Is this privatisation by the back door?
EDWIN Poots, minister of health and other stuff, has been accused by his chief tormentor, the SDLP’s Conall McDevitt, of trying to privatise our ‘beloved’ health service.

In the latest round of bashing and counter-bashing, it emerged that Mr Poots went against the recommendations of his officials and issued a ministerial order that two new health centres (one in his own Lagan Valley constituency) were to be built using private cash.

This is not the first time that the minister has been accused of ‘privatisation through the back door’.

However, it all raises the issue on how to pay for our population’s health needs. The health ‘service’ has been a victim of its own success. People have developed the exceedingly bad habit of living longer – aided and abetted by the medical profession.

More diseases are manageable, cancer treatments extend life, and pensioners are living in their own homes.

This cannot continue. Otherwise the public purse will be stretched beyond what the NI executive can convince Westminster to fund.
here are two possible solutions.

One – cut a NI executive department or three to release funds. Yes, we know that this will mean some senior civil servants retiring early but they all need to brush up on their golf.

Two – stop hospital bed blocking through more community based healthcare as proposed  by health board chief John Compton.

Savings here will at least mean we’ll be able to afford the repayments on our two shiny new health centres. 

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