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Douglas Bader Reception

Went with my other half he had physio today, I waited in reception, before he went in, an elderly lady stood up and turned to me and said I've been waiting 4 hours for a Ambulance to take me home.  I said can I get you a drink of water, so as I walked past the reception I said that lady has been waiting 4 hrs to get home. So I walked across to get her the water, but didn't have a chance as this aggressive receptionist started hurling abuse at me, what's it got to do with you screaming and I mean screaming, waving her arms about.  I still hadn't got the water. So luckily i turned round and 3 men todo with the hospital were standing there, So I said the lady had been waiting ages, I've only come to get her some water.  In the end my other half told her perhaps your in the wrong job. Anyway this went on and on.  My other half was then called in for his appointment. I sat quietly, then the receptionist was having a tea break and made a point of walking past this elderly lady and started talking to her aggressive and pointing her finger at her saying don't start on the Ambulance when he comes, or telling them what to . So after she went out the door I went and sat with the elderly lady to keep her company and to stop the receptionist having another go at her.  The poor lady was sitting really quiet, she was still there when it was time for us to go, making that 5hrs.  The receptionist needs a right talking to.  She wasn't busy or loads of people waiting there was only about 3 people in the waiting room.  She really shouldn't be in the job. This was 2 this afternoon. Queen Mary's Roehampton.

Barbara Stevens ● 29d21 Comments ● 10d

Sadiq Khan's promises

Let's hope he delivers them.I am putting them in my 'Bring forward for review' folder !Note however some are rather vague and unmeasurable and further note the provisos, especially that of there being a Labour Government.I presume Starmer has also agreed to commit to them ? 1.Work to make universal free school meals permanent for all state primary school children2.Freeze TfL fares until at least 2025 and continue to freeze fares for as long as economic conditions allow3.Build 40,000 new council homes by the end of the decade4.Work with a Labour government to put an extra 1,300 neighbourhood police officers and PCSOs on the streets5.Invest more in youth clubs – creating 250,000 positive opportunities for young Londoners to help steer them away from gangs and crime6.Redouble efforts to reduce violence against women and girls, including investment to stop reoffending and free legal advice for victims of sexual abuse7.End rough sleeping for good by 2030 in partnership with a Labour government8.More support for renters – delivering new affordable ‘rent control homes’ and empowering Londoners to take on landlords through a New Deal for Renters9.Continue world-leading action to tackle air pollution and the climate crisis – from making all buses zero-emission to providing air pollution filters to primary schools10.Deliver a new London Growth Plan, with a target of creating more than 150,000 good jobs by 2028 and increasing living standards for Londoners

John Hawkes ● 13d12 Comments ● 12d

Double standards - one rule for them and another for us

The Campaign Against AntiSemitism has just released a statement. This is part of it:There was a planned Walk Together between midday and 2.00 pm in London tomorrow in which there has been enormous interest. There are Jewish communities whose rabbis have given dispensation to their congregants to walk for hours on Shabbat in order to come to central London. Such is the depth of feeling among British Jews about the weekly marches, the record-breaking levels of antisemitism, and the repeated police failures.Tomorrow’s march by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign meanders for two-and-a-half miles, from Parliament Square to Reformer’s Tree in Hyde Park. WHEN WE ORGANISED OUR PEACEFUL MARCH AGAINST ANTISEMITISM A FEW MONTHS AGO WE WERE TOLD THAT THERE WAS NO WAY THAT THE ROYAL PARKS COULD BE USED.  YET AGAIN, IT SEEMS THERE IS A DOUBLE STANDARD... Police have told us that they intend to handle the march no differently from the passive way that they have become accustomed to over the course of more than six months. During that time, WE HAVE BECOME ALL TOO USED TO SEEING ANTISEMITIC CHANTS AND PLACARDS at these marches, glorification of terrorism ... Yesterday we met with the Home Secretary and the Minister for Policing to propose concrete measures which can force the police to change their approach. This situation cannot endure much longer and firm action is needed urgently, which we made clear at the meeting.Our Director of Investigations and Enforcement,..., also met with the Metropolitan Police Service yesterday, which told him of its desire to protect Jews walking in the area, but we have a responsibility to be sure that they can. Due to the thousands of people now intending to join and then walk where they please – something that we used to take for granted in London as Jewish people without having to discuss with police ahead of time – we still do not have confidence that people would be safe.ADDITIONALLY WE HAVE RECEIVED NUMEROUS THREATS AND OUR MONITORING HAS IDENTIFIED HOSTILE(S) WHO SEEM TO HAVE INTENDED TO COME TO ANY MEETING LOCATIONS THAT WE ANNOUNCED. THE RISK TO THE SAFETY OF THOSE WHO WISHED TO WALK OPENLY AS JEWS IN LONDON TOMORROW AS PART OF THIS INITIATIVE HAS THEREFORE BECOME TOO GREAT.We are no less angry about these marches than our Jewish community and its allies. WE WANT TO WALK. We want to force the Met to police these marches, not merely manage them. BUT WE CANNOT ENCOURAGE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE TO WALK WHEN THERE ARE SUCH RISKS TO THEIR SAFETY, AND THERE ARE. We have reluctantly decided not to go ahead tomorrow... Tomorrow, we will watch to see whether anything is different about the way that the Met handles the march, and in the coming week we will progress our discussions with the Government. WE CANNOT ALLOW THE CURRENT SITUATION TO BECOME THE NEW NORMAL.NEEDLESS TO SAY I FOR ONE AM FURIOUS THAT AS A JEWISH WOMAN IT IS DEEMED TOO UNSAFE FOR ME TO WALK AMONG MY FELLOW JEWS TO PROTEST AGAINST ANTISEMITISM IN THIS COUNTRY. My father, who marched with antifascists at Cable Street, is turning in his grave.

Lucille Grant ● 22d61 Comments ● 13d

Macron warning

Emmanuel Macron’s urgent message for EuropeThe French president issues a dark and prophetic warningEconomist 3 May 2024In 1940, after France had been defeated by the Nazi blitzkrieg, the historian Marc Bloch condemned his country’s inter-war elites for having failed to face up to the threat that lay ahead. Today Emmanuel Macron cites Bloch as a warning that Europe’s elites are gripped by the same fatal complacency.France’s president set out his apocalyptic vision in an interview with The Economist in the Elysée Palace. It came days after his delivery of a big speech about the future of Europe—an unruly, two-hour, Castro-scale marathon, ranging from nuclear annihilation to an alliance of European libraries. Mr Macron’s critics called it a mix of electioneering, the usual French self-interest and the intellectual vanity of a Jupiterian president thinking about his legacy. We wish they were right. In fact, Mr Macron’s message is as compelling as it is alarming. In our interview, he warned that Europe faces imminent danger, declaring that “things can fall apart very quickly”. He also spoke of the mountain of work ahead to make Europe safe. But he is bedevilled by unpopularity at home and poor relations with Germany. Like other gloomy visionaries, he faces the risk that his message is ignored.The driving force behind Mr Macron’s warning is the invasion of Ukraine. War has changed Russia. Flouting international law, issuing nuclear threats, investing heavily in arms and hybrid tactics, it has embraced “aggression in all known domains of conflict”. Now Russia knows no limits, he argues. Moldova, Lithuania, Poland, Romania or any neighbouring country could all be its targets. If it wins in Ukraine, European security will lie in ruins.Europe must wake up to this new danger. Mr Macron refuses to back down from his declaration in February that Europe should not rule out putting troops in Ukraine. This elicited horror and fury from some of his allies, but he insists their wariness will only encourage Russia to press on: “We have undoubtedly been too hesitant by defining the limits of our action to someone who no longer has any and who is the aggressor.”Mr Macron is adamant that, whoever is in the White House in 2025, Europe must shake off its decades-long military dependence on America and with it the head-in-the-sand reluctance to take hard power seriously. “My responsibility,” he says, “is never to put [America] in a strategic dilemma that would mean choosing between Europeans and [its] own interests in the face of China.” He calls for an “existential” debate to take place within months. Bringing in non-eu countries like Britain and Norway, this would create a new framework for European defence that puts less of a burden on America. He is willing to discuss extending the protection afforded by France’s nuclear weapons, which would dramatically break from Gaullist orthodoxy and transform France’s relations with the rest of Europe.Mr Macron’s second theme is that an alarming industrial gap has opened up as Europe has fallen behind America and China. For Mr Macron, this is part of a broader dependence in energy and technology, especially in renewables and artificial intelligence. Europe must respond now, or it may never catch up. He says the Americans “have stopped trying to get the Chinese to conform to the rules of international trade”. Calling the Inflation Reduction Act “a conceptual revolution”, he accuses America of being like China by subsidising its critical industries. “You can’t carry on as if this isn’t happening,” he says.Mr Macron’s solution is more radical than simply asking for Europe to match American and Chinese subsidies and protection. He also wants a profound change to the way Europe works. He would double research spending, deregulate industry, free up capital markets and sharpen Europeans’ appetite for risk. He is scathing about the dishing-out of subsidies and contracts so that each country gets back more or less what it puts in. Europe needs specialisation and scale, even if some countries lose out, he says.Voters sense that European security and competitiveness are vulnerable. And that leads to Mr Macron’s third theme, which is the frailty of Europe’s politics. France’s president reserves special contempt for populist nationalists. Though he did not name her, one of those is Marine Le Pen, who has ambitions to replace him in 2027. In a cut-throat world their empty promises to strengthen their own countries will instead result in division, decline, insecurity and, ultimately, conflict.Mr Macron’s ideas have real power, and he has proved prescient in the past. But his solutions pose problems. One danger is that they might in fact undermine Europe’s security. His plans could distance America, but fail to fill the gap with a credible European alternative. That would leave Europe more vulnerable to Russia’s predations. It would also suit China, which has long sought to deal with Europe and America separately, not as an alliance.His plans could also fall victim to the unwieldy structure of the eu itself. They require 27 power-hungry governments to cede sovereign control of taxation and foreign policy and to give more influence to the European Commission, which seems unlikely. If Mr Macron’s industrial policy ends up bringing more subsidy and protection, but not deregulation, liberalisation and competition, it would weigh on the very dynamism he is trying to enhance.And the last problem is that Mr Macron may well fail in his politics—partly because he is unpopular at home. He preaches the need to think Europe-wide and leave behind petty nationalism, but France has for years blocked the construction of power connections with Spain. He warns of the looming threat of Ms Le Pen, but has so far failed to nurture a successor who can see her off. He cannot tackle an agenda that would have taxed the two great post-war leaders, Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer, without the help of Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz. Yet their relationship is dreadful.Mr Macron is clearer about the perils Europe is facing than the leader of any other large country. When leadership is in short supply, he has the courage to look history in the eye. The tragedy for Europe is that the words of France’s Cassandra may well fall on deaf ears. ■

Alexander MacLeod ● 15d0 Comments ● 15d