Passing a week in a hospital gives a different perspective on life. I saw no news or even newspapers for five days while doctors and nurses carried out tests to work out which part of the environment was managing to unsettle my health. I should be writing about the politics of health in this post, but other than mentioning that environmental medicine is not acknowledged by the NHS, it does seem obvious that the modern environment of chemicals, insecticides, toxic metals, processed foods, stressful work and families is an underlying cause of many peoples’ illnesses.
There are only a handful of hospitals specialising in environmental health anywhere in the world. It could be 50 years before the NHS catches up with where the majority of modern illness is coming from. Spending more and more money on the wrong diagnosis of why people become ill, as the NHS and its private offshoots does, is not a profitable exercise.
In the next door bed to me was a German. She was convinced that the inflation rate in Germany since the Euro has been far higher than the one we are told. She thinks that the value of money has halved.
As I emerged from the world of hospitals, the first news story that struck me was the council byelection result from Selthorpe in the East Midlands,
showing BNP ahead of COnservative with 29% to Conservative 23%. This reflects the story of growth in support for the BNP across many areas. UKIP is frequently mentioned by the media and in Conservative blogging, but it is increasingly an irrelevance. People don’t take UKIP seriously after Kilroy Silk. The BNP is fast becoming the new powerhouse of British politics. With not one word of support from the media.
The world becomes ever more dangerous with Japan electing a government determined to rebuild Japanese military capability. Abe is also building links with Beijing and Seoul as North Korea locks itself into its nuclear bunker. Pakistan according to the BBC is setting up and operating a cellular terrorist structure to attack the UK. Iraq is being seen at last as unrescuable, since Dannatt’s speaking out in Britain triggered the same collapse in belief in Washington as it did in London. It can only be time before the coalition beats a retreat from there, and also from Afghanistan.
The USA does not hold the economic leverage it once did as Asia gradually becomes the new world economic engine. Britain is linked to the USA in the hope that the US is strong enough to hold the world in a peaceful democratic balance. Events are though moving beyond any one country’s control. As the power of the US slips away, Britain is sliding into a European defeatist huddle. I don’t think anything happened in the last week to change the picture much, but coming out of hospital I met a new sense that the booming confident Britain that fell for Tony Blair in 1997, is being replaced by one increasingly aware of a world full of dangerous lurking menace, and our impotence to do much about it. Even the climate seems to have a mind of its own, with the coldest March on record followed by the warmest October.
Cameron although backing climate and the environment as a big ‘issue’, is trying to be the next Blair just as the Blair era of froth and excess is finishing. Brown articulates the future in a purely financial way with no cultural or strategic vision, the perfect non-leader who wishes that he had been one. They are all fighting for media – even Blair is still doing it – but the electorate has moved on, and is scarcely listening any more.
Into the void is rushing a new political force, completely outside the reach of the media. Its support grows every year. It could well win Westminster seats and overturn the balance of British politics. The EU will attempt to hold it back by banning it, and rigging the electoral process, as happened in Birmingham in May when the BNP won a seat but were kept out by retrospective ‘adjustments’ to the ballot. But if BNP support rises much more, I don’t think ballot rigging or EU banning orders will be able to stop the tide.