Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Just call me Baron

It was a long and sleepless night for me last night. I was wracked with worry and fear. I simply couldn’t nod off despite the large liquid morphine nightcap that nurse brought round along with the bromide just before lights out. Unfortunately, being in traction, I am denied the pleasure of being able to toss and turn in my sleep so I simply had to lie on my back and make periodic pathetic moaning noises… but that’s another matter.

And what was the reason for this lack of sleep? Simple… there are a lot of workers in this hospital from all over the world and I was wondering how on earth I was going to be able to check all their passports to see if they are legally entitled to work here. I don’t even have a photocopier in my room to make copies of those vital visas and work permits. Am I committing an offence when that worker comes into my room to sweep the floor or mop my fevered brow? My overseas readers may not know that the Attorney General of this poor benighted isle has been caught red-handed employing someone not entitled to work in the UK. It’s an easy mistake to make… unless you happen to be the person who drafted the legislation in the first place. Ignorance simply won’t wash in this case

Of course, if I were a Government minister this wouldn’t ordinarily be a problem since the normal rules do not apply to our lords and masters. The Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, does however seem to be the first cabinet minster to actually have had their collar felt has for breaking the law and received an eye-watering fixed-penalty fine of £5000 for not copying her Tongan housekeeper’s passport. I wonder what Clem Atlee or Hugh Gaitskill would make of the idea of a Labour cabinet minister employing their own Tongan housekeeper and, one assumes, other assorted servants, lackeys and houseboys.

While we’re on the subject of titles, I’ve been sitting here for some time thinking that I would quite like a title myself; preferably I’d like to be a Baron. There’s something really raffish about the title of Baron. It conjures up pictures of First World War German aces with impossibly long moustaches, having dog fights in triplanes and shooting down Sopwith Camels. There’s a certain cachet about it… well, there was until Baron Mandleson of of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and of Hartlepool in the County of Durham (why choose one location when you can have two?) spoiled it all by being made a Baron. However, I understand he may unbaron himself should he seek higher office if Gordon Brown ‘goes Gonzo’.

The advantages of being a Baron? Well, can you imagine ringing The Ivy and asking for a table?

“Good evening. I wonder if you might have a table for two for tomorrow night.”

“I’m sorry sir, the restaurant is fully booked for the next six months.”

“Perhaps you could possibly look again at your bookings? It’s Baron Traction of Blogtown in the County of Blogshire here, by the way.”

“Ah yes, my Lord. It would appear that we do have a last-minute cancellation that had escaped my notice.”

When I get out of here getting into the Lords is going to be my next project. If I’m unable to work then I’m going to do my best to bury my snout deep in the Westminster trough since it’s obviously a lot easier than trying to get Disability Living Allowance out of the Department of Work and Pensions.

And the subsidised food is great!


  1. Sir, It is my understanding that one has to be knighted before becoming eligible for the title of Baron.
    You should perhaps try slaying a few dragons ;0)
    Anyway, I'm all for it (dragon slaying!) ;0)
    I'm sure a few top brass NHS dragons are quaking in their boots already HaHa!
    Perhaps a bit of lobbying would be in order?
    "Get well soon"
    Hugs Jax X

  2. Dragon slaying requires fire retardant armour and courage.

  3. The irony of your Attorney General being caught employing someone without proper documentation (a law he crafted) is not lost on me here in Southern California, the land of illegal employment. I have always felt there are plenty of resources for everyone on the planet and have a long standing wish for our borders to be more mutable and that our approach to immigrant labour would be more tolerant. Le sigh.

  4. Have you asked a hospital social worker for help in getting DLA? Or, is there a specialist nurse for your sort of illness - many of them are trained in helping newbies apply for DLA. Getting a leter in support of your application from the consultant/specialist nurse is very useful, as is a care diary eg. Woken at 6.30 a.m. for meds, breakfast. Assisted with eating (force fed in your case ?!) 8.30 a.m. Bed-bathed by 2 nurses, bedding changed etc etc. OK, cut out the humour, but it demonstrates the daily grind and how incapacitated you are, and how much you need help from others. What about carers allowance? It goes hand-in-hand with DLA usually, and lis income-related, so best for someone else to claim if not employed/few hours. Have you asked for a member of staff at DWP to assist you in completing the forms? They are often very helpful and know exactly the sort of phrase you need to write in each box. Good luck!!!!!

  5. I have letters from all my consultants and GP but the DWP seem to be making everyone go to appeal. It's all about budgets, I guess.

  6. @Henry North London:

    "Dragon slaying requires fire retardant armour and courage."

    Seems to me TM has plenty of the latter (carrying on scribbling valiantly despite doubtless being hunted by a desperate government); as to the former, I'm damn sure pretty much anything he's photographed, applied liberally, would work!

  7. Me again - Anon and DLA... tried writing to your MP? I used to work in the Uncivil Service and a letter from an MP raising serious concerns etc etc always got mega priority. Failing that, insist that the appeal takes place in your room - you cannot possibly go to them!!

    Good luck - you will need it as they are all dropping who is accepted, i think - there has been a series on the tv recently, where they virtually force sick people (some, very genuine) off incapacity and into crap jobs, just so that they can tick a box/save money. The staff in the non-job centres were given targets to work to.