Betrayal could come at a very high cost

It stands to reason that at some point Chancellor Rishi Sunak was going to have to start clawing that record breaking amount of money we borrowed to support the economy during the pandemic and I think most of us accept the reality of that.

But a 1 per cent pay rise for nurses after everything they have done for us? That’s outrageous.

Financial institutions will do very well indeed from the coronavirus once interest payments are made. Meanwhile the people who put their lives at risk every day caring for COVID patients and who have seen death on a scale they couldn’t possibly have been prepared for mentally, what do they get?

A round of applause and enough pocket change to buy a couple of fishcakes if they’re lucky.

Governments have to make tough decisions sometimes, but this one just plays into the perception of Tories as uncaring.

Although it’s no secret that I have zero regard for Matt Hancock, Priti Patel and Gavin Williamson, I have gone on record in defence of a lot of what Sunak and Boris have done this past year because anyone facing these challenges would have struggled and made mistakes. Maybe not the same mistakes, but we’ve been in uncharted territory so mistakes were inevitable.

But this is indefensible. It’s a betrayal, no matter how much I was expecting it. How will this impact on nurses leaving the profession and the chances of recruiting, because even angels have their limit.

Of course, the country’s finances are under unprecedented strain, but surely none of us would have begrudged these NHS heroes a fair pay rise.

What does a gender neutral potato even look like?

Who would have thought that we would reach a point in our lifetimes where first world deaths would take on third world proportions? Where a virus would separate us from loved ones for more than a year and decimate economies?

Yet still we get into an argument about the gender of a plastic potato toy then overly concern ourselves with two entitled spoiled brats who claim to want privacy yet get involved in comedic hi jinks on an open top bus with James Corden and agree to a “no holds barred” interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Priorities people, priorities.

Yours sincerely wasting away

As I turn 64 and struggle to come to terms with the fact that even someone who exercised moderation in all his indulgences can find himself with serious health issues creeping up on the blind side, my mind has been preoccupied even more than usual with how life has panned out and what may lie ahead.

Until my parents’ sudden decline four years ago I had never been concerned about ageing. The thinning of hair on my crown and slowing of my metabolism to a virtual standstill were annoying at most, but nothing more. I wouldn’t dream of trying to hide the grey rapidly overtaking my head and beard, although the runaway growth of my eyebrows is disturbing and the libido issue even more so.

But now, with Type 2 diabetes (unfair as at my heaviest I wasn’t classed as anything near obese) and blood pressure that’s so high I have to take readings twice a day and report them to my surgery I have become all too aware, not necessarily of my own mortality, but more that I may not die if something major does happen.

We’re here for as long as we’re here then something or nothing happens and I’m fine with that. The only fear I had was moving on and maybe finding out that I’m not a musician anymore, which really terrifies me.

But now added to that is the thought of one day having to rely on someone else for my care, which I just can’t allow.

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Stupid TV quiz answer of the week:

Need I say where this came from?

Q: The European principality of Andorra lies in which European mountain rage?

A: The Himalayas?

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Edward Case

Columnist