In which our bearded protagonist fears he is getting old.

I have a confession to make -- no not the one about that dismembered nun and a small collection of shallow graves -- I'm turning into a grumpy old man. This is, obviously, isn't fair. I am in my prime after all. *ahem* But every time I wake up in the morning I hear something on the news, or in the newspaper review that has me staring at the ceiling in outraged, forehead-slapping astonishment. Usually accompanied by various swearings.

I never used to do this. I used to sleep right through the alarm and then panic my way through getting dressed -- which explains some of the funny looks I used to get from co-workers at INoGITCH -- breakfasted and out of the house. The world at large tromped happily in one ear and out the other, not even pausing to wipe their feet on the way. A conga line of uncared for facts and idiocy.

Not any more. These days it's like the rotten little buggers are wearing superglue smeared crampons.

Take this morning's incredible feat of cock-weasel / whatthefuckery Patricia Hewitt (she's the Health Minister In Charge Of Making Stupid Fucking Pronouncements for those of you still living in blissful ignorance, or overseas) announced that fewer NHS hospital beds was a good thing. Yup: a GOOD thing. Not a BAD thing. A GOOD thing.

Apparently, the reason fewer beds and fewer nurses (Hewitt's own local hospital has just sacked 200 members of staff and got rid of 200 beds) are good for you, is because you can be seen closer to your own home. By whom? One of the surgeons, or nurses she's just sacked? Maybe they'll roam the countryside: itinerant healthcare professionals, lancing boils and solving crime and saving Little Timmy when he falls down a well.

What happens if they go feral? You'll be taking a nice relaxing afternoon walk and suddenly BOOM! Doctors and nurses jump out of an abandoned hedgerow and wheech out your appendix. Who was that masked surgeon?

That's brilliant! Points out of ten to that ministerial tosspot!

So, if you suffer a stroke, or an aneurism, or even just break a leg, don't worry, because some magical medical pixies will whisk you away to see a specialist! You may die on the way, because Christ knows how far away it'll be from where you actually collapsed, but not to worry, eh? Who wants to be treated in a stuffy old local hospital anyway?

Remember: "Fewer beds are a sign of success, not of failure."

I'm sure that'll bring everyone a great deal of comfort next time they're lying on a hospital trolley in a corridor somewhere. Or sprawled in a ditch, wondering where their appendix has gone.

Is it any wonder a third of GPs have private medical insurance?

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