Gill tells me that, again, people in her country are going on strike. From doctors to Tube workers — everyone is unhappy with working conditions.
Even the staff at Kensington Palace (home to Kate and William) and Windsor Castle is in open revolt. I do think it doesn’t look good for the Queen to be short-changimg her staff. I realize she has a reputation for being cheap (excuse me, ‘frugal’) and that’s fine. She can and should turn out as many lights as possible without risking falling down the grand staircase, but it seems to me cheeky to cut staff salaries by $5000 at Kensington when living in London is hard even for the rich. I might suggest, if she can’t afford the castle, she might consider donating it to the refugees. She could stand to downsize by a castle or two and barely feel the pinch.
The most scary strike is that of the young doctors. They are being expected to work 7 days a week, longer shifts, for little pay– certainly not nearly enough to live in London. I understand all the issues with the medical costs rising exponentially, but really? Even if Gill weren’t being faced with upcoming tests at the hospital for her active Crohn’s — not to mention possible surgery down the line — I would think it wise to pay doctors well and make sure they get enough sleep! I dare David Cameron to go under the knife with a doctor who has been on his feet for days! It doesn’t inspire confidence. Of course, he and The Queen likely have their own special physicians and so don’t worry.
I find it instructive that the same thing, the debate about the privileged and the underprivileged, is happening in the U.S. election and in Britain. We in Canada have so many other worries (such as what gown Sophie Trudeau wore to the White House dinner) to keep us busy that we haven’t gotten around to these things yet. But I’m sure, in the fullness of time, we will too.
I understand from Gill that there is another Tube strike in the offing (when isn’t there?) as well. As long as it doesn’t happen when I’m there visiting her, I won’t comment. At least they HAVE an efficient (sometimes) transportation system. Here in my small city, our roads have been torn up for months and will continue to be for possibly more than a year to come. This is to complete a new Light Rail Transit system that basically will go from nowhere to nowhere. But it will look pretty. And it will supposedly bring in new businesses and hoards of people to the Uptown area to shop, gather, and dine. It had better, because during the construction several businesses have been forced to pull up stakes after dwindling sales. Oh, they’re still open, but we are a lazy people. Despite detour signs that pop up overnight to lead us to challenging routes through pothole-ridden side streets, we can’t, as Gill would say, be arsed. We’d rather drive our cars to the big box stores in the burbs, thus polluting the neighborhood in the process. Given this propensity to do what is easiest and most convenient, I’d venture a guess that the new, sparkly LRT has failure written all over it. Not unlike our new train from Pearson airport to downtown Toronto. White elephant doesn’t even begin to describe it. Yes, I am somewhat envious of a city that actually HAS good public transport. Just as long as The Tube is up and running when I’m there, it’s fine…
Maybe Bernie Sanders should make a short trip to London to rev up the strikers. I’m sure he could make the government and strikers ‘feel the bern’ and get things settled. Even if not, it would be fun to watch!