The Mom was inordinately gleeful when she told me that The Queen’s staff was threatening to go on strike. I hasten to add this would be the staff at Windsor Castle, not Buckingham Palace. This would be the first time in 900 years that such a thing would happen. It would appear that the staff had been doing extra duties – giving tours and the like – and had only wanted to be paid minimum wage. They had also been told that if they were very good and kept doing what they’d always been doing then they might be in for a bit of a treat in the near future.
At any rate, the whole thing’s been called off but it does beggar belief. I mean, the Royal Family is kept afloat by the UK taxpayer (of which I am one) and you know, while I don’t mind paying my taxes for decent things like hospitals, roads , schools and things, this is a bit much.
The Mom, who watches these things from afar, back home, where people don’t love a good strike quite so much as they do here, finds the whole thing strange. Generally she seems to side with the workers, but then as I’ve pointed out, these are people who tend to only go on strike when things are really grim.
The junior doctors have been striking and I believe will continue to do so, and I am in full support of them. The NHS has been increasingly forced to magic up the funds it needs to function and a toll is being taken. Not on care mind you. The NHS offers and provides excellent care. I have used the NHS from the top to the bottom of this country and I cannot say enough good things about it. When I lived in Scotland, and I registered at the local surgery I nearly rushed home to tell The Mom that the doctor, were I sufficiently ill or infirm, would make a house call. I do believe she nearly fainted from the shock.
I tend to not really get involved in strikes because I don’t like a crowd – it’s the same reason I steer clear of Oxford Circus – but the junior doctors had me. I was working from home on one of their first strike days but I made a point of putting pants on and going out to sign their petitions in person. I also got a nice badge that I wear saying I support them. I even Tweeted about it I was so livid when I heard what they have to put up with.
I think that if you’re going to be saving lives you should at least be able to afford to rent a flat – or in London, I suppose rent a room in a flat, but that flat should certainly have a lounge which is not a bedroom – and also to eat. On £26,000 a year, this is not really possible. Never mind any of that, I also think that when we’re facing a doctor shortage, and desperately getting doctors to come here from abroad, who are then, for reasons I don’t quite understand, hired by agencies and make triple what domestic doctors make, that none of what the government is doing makes sense. Though, I am learning that generally this is what happens in a Tory government.
The Mom is particularly concerned about potential Tube strikes as she’s going to come and visit in September. I foolishly showed her a Tube map and pointed out that we had to get fro Gatwick (not really on that map) to Paddington. She was not best pleased. I don’t know if she thought that in the event of a Tube strike we would somehow magically get to Paddington on foot, but she was incensed.
What I used to rather enjoy when I lived in London (amongst many, many many other things) was when there was a Tube strike and getting all uppity about things. I walked everywhere because the Tube is a bit gross and crowded and sweaty and I prefer walking anyhow, but I did like the opportunity to get mildly outraged.
Lord, I think I’ve been in the UK officially too long now.