Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Life Blood

What a beautiful autumn we are having, at least so far and in this part of West London. The air was bright and crisp and fresh as I walked briskly (yes, you read that adverb correctly) to the GP's surgery for a blood test shortly after 8am. The other people I saw about at that time were either heads down for the station or exercising dogs of varying sizes. The walk to the surgery takes me across a sizeable common called Moor Mead and over the River Crane, tamed into a culvert in the 1930s. Mature trees, on which the leaves are lingering in the absence of battering rains, shade the pavement. This is the site of an annual fair, for which the weather is generally glorious and occasionally foul, as it was this last July, when we gave it a miss.

Blood tests are available at the surgery on a "drop-in" basis and so I took my place with a number of others, allowing myself to speculate on what concerns had brought them there on this particular morning: an innocuous nosiness on my part, surely?

It was all over very quickly after the inevitable "sharp scratch". This is the expression which nurses and phlebotomists nationwide use to announce the insertion of the needle; it must be the NHS-approved wording. The nurse recommended that I collect a printout of the result myself in a couple of days, just in case the local laboratory fails to send the result to UCLH, where I am current being treated.

After a slightly less jaunty walk home I had most of the morning still ahead of me. I occupied much of it straining my eyes to read a report on the nation's economic prospects that I had seen recommended in an online comment on another, briefer piece on the activities of the banks. The reason I had to strain my eyes is that I am without my laptop for (what I hope will be) a few days and am dependent on my phone for jaunts into cyberspace.

The article is here:

It makes sobering reading, its basic thesis being that the growth forecasts of the Government are unrealistically high and that unless there is major relaxation of the restraints on small and medium-sized enterprises there is no hope that we will avoid major economic crisis. In many ways we are worse off than Greece, Portugal and Ireland, say the authors and macro-economic measures to stimulate the economy, notably quantitative easing, have conspicuously failed. Time to liberate the supply side, the report concludes

While I think they are not hard enough on the role of the banks and other financial institutions in creating the present mess, they do make the telling point that asking Britain to downscale the role of financial services in its economy would be like asking the Gulf States to give up oil. Life blood, indeed.

So much for reality. I am now going to dive into fantasy for a little while and watch "Spooks" (on my phone, of course).

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