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Archive for March, 2013

Bad Poker Hand Led To NHS Reorganisation

RoyalFlush

Half the National Health Service will be closing down this Easter.

On March 31st, 151 Primary Care Trusts and 10 Strategic Health Authorities are due to close their doors.

The functions of all these organisations will be expensively replaced the following day.

Low key

Officials are hoping that, as it will be April Fool’s Day, the public will assume it’s a spoof and will ignore the whole thing.

This is no joke though. The existing organisations really will be going.

And, as the work they do is essential, they do have to be replaced.

Expensive mistake

The replacement is estimated to cost £3 Billion.

As exact replacements weren’t available, Department staff have thrown together a complex mashup of organisations to replace them. And they have pulled trained doctors away from normal duties to run the system as best they can.

Until now this was believed to be the result of a plan by former Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, to enable the unfettered privatisation of Britain’s 65 year old health service.

Now we can reveal the true reason, divulged to us exclusively by two Department of Health Whistleblowers.

Lansley lost them all in a disastrous Poker game.

Whistleblowers

Details of exactly how the Health Secretary lost almost one half of the entire NHS are still sketchy, even now. We are also obliged to maintain the anonymity of our informants, pending possible procedings.

“It was a real bender of a session” admitted one red-faced official, close to Lansley.

“It was the night after Andrew was appointed Health Secretary” added a Special Advisor (SpAD), who has decided to sell his story now the boss has fallen from grace.

Private club

What our investigators have been able to piece together so far is that Lansley, senior civil servants and some of his closest advisors decided to go out on the town after David Cameron had confirmed his appointment as Secretary of State for Health.

“Andrew said he knew this ‘special’ club”, explained the embarrassed civil servant, avoiding our gaze and shuffling his feet. “He said he knew the owner and could sign us in”.

“It wasn’t just us”, added the SpAD. “There were lots of us”.

Was David Nicholson in the party, we wondered? Nicholson was Chief Executive of the NHS.

“I can’t recall”, said the senior official. “My guess is that he’d probably not be able to recall either”, the civil servant continued. “You know how he is with names, dates, facts … er … that sort of thing. You know?”

Exclusive

So, what sort of club was this, we wondered?

“Oh very exclusive”, volunteered the former SpAD. “Billionaires only”, he added. “Only very, very discreet …. if you get my drift. Lots of foreign accents. Russian. Arabs. Y’know the sort”.

So how did Andrew get to be a member? We know he’s a millionaire, but is that enough?

“Not normally, you’re right”, agreed the SpAD. “But Andrew said he had big connections. People who’d made loads of wonga from the private health business. A couple of them sponsored him”.

Fatal move

So what about this Poker game?

“Total fucking disaster”, breathed the civil servant, shaking his head and sighing.

“Andrew can’t even play Poker … we learned the next morning. But he was full of himself that night. He’d just been handed the keys to a national institution which gets over £100 BILLION of public money A YEAR for God’s sake. And even we’re not sure how much all the buildings and kit are worth.”

“He was just a bit over confident”, added the SpAD, helpfully.

“They have this exclusive table in another room”, continued the civil servant. “One hundred million starting stakes and the sky’s the limit”

“Andrew said he was feeling lucky. He’d just got a plum job. It was his night, he reckoned”

“He didn’t have much cash on him, of course, but the owner said he could play against the value of any property he owned. Well…”

“Andrew figured that he could present the winnings back to Cameron the next day as ‘savings’. Said that would impress the condom-faced bastard”.

Losing streak

“Well, you can guess what happened”.

“Andrew lost the first game. And then he needed to stake more in the hope of winning it back”

“By the time we dragged him away from the table he had already lost the Primary Care Trusts and the Strategic Health Authorities”

“And if we hadn’t got him out when we did he would have gambled away all the provider trusts too”, added the SpAD, helpfully.

Hushed-up

The next afternoon, once the group had slept off their hangovers, it seems Lansley hatched a plan.

We are told that he believed they could bluff their way out of the disaster if they all stuck to the cover story.

The winners of the game had given Lansley time to hand over the organisations he had used as collateral.

The plan was to come out with a surprise White Paper. The White Paper would propose closing all the organisations they had gambled away.

However, as the officials thought someone would notice they had gone, there also had to be a plan to put something back in place.

Originally Lansley had thought he could get away without the replacement. However, officials had been convinced that even David Nicholson would notice that.

Not alone

Shocking as this story may seem, there are indications that Lansley may not be the only Tory to have lost public assets at the same club.

It appears the club is popular with other senior members of the Cabinet too.

Armed with the knowledge we already have our crack team of investigative journalists are already re-examining what happened to the Ark Royal, the Navy’s only Aircraft Carrier. Several dozen Harrier jets are also thought to have been lost on a lower stakes table.

The Education Department is also being scrutinised too.

It appears that the only thing the Tories haven’t lost so far is their arrogance.

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North Pennines Sold To Netherlands

Netherland Pennines

As Britain’s economic difficulties persist, and the structural deficit proves stubbornly difficult to reduce, HM Treasury mandarins are resorting to ever more desperate means to reduce the debt.

When individuals can’t make ends meet and run out of ideas to cut spending, it is not unusual to look around and see what possessions they can sell.

Britain’s aristocracy resorted to this approach when the costs of maintaining their stately homes became unsustainable in the last century. Many sold their homes to the National Trust.

Now, it has been revealed, the Treasury plans a similar approach with parts of Britain’s landscape.

Dales for Sale

First to go in the Great British Garage Sale will be the northern half of the Pennine Chain, which has been snapped up by the Netherlands for an undisclosed fee.

Sources say that the Dutch had been eyeing up the Pennines for some time. Officials from the Hague have been discretely visiting Britain for some months, carefully measuring each section of Britain’s rocky backbone, before deciding which part to place an offer for.

As a small country, the Netherlands has to be sure any new furnishings it buys will fit.

Win Win

Holland is completely flat and mostly below sea level, so acquiring a part of the Pennine hills was thought immediately attractive.

Having a range of hills will provide the entire Dutch nation with a vital refuge as sea levels rise and the risk of major flooding increases.

Many residents of the low lying country also admit they find the flatness of it all rather monotonous. Some even come to live in British cities close to the Pennines, like Manchester, Sheffield, Bradford and Leeds, just for the pleasure of looking out of a window at hills and barren moorland.

Strategically, too, politicians see advantages of installing a barrier like this.

“It will help keep the Danish and the Swedes out” said a source close to the Dutch interior ministry.

“And the Germans. Definitely the Germans”, she added.

For Britain the cash proceeds from the sell-off are expected to reduce the country’s borrowings at a stroke.

Officials are so confident of their ability to market natural assets like this that several commercial Estate Agents have been contracted to value and sell off similar sites … although some, such as the North and South Downs, come with the complication of sitting tenants.

Part of the attraction of the North Pennines is that so few people live there. Negotiators were happy to throw a handful of sheep in with the deal. Expect a glut of Dutch Lamb in the shops soon.

Broken Up

Treasury sources admit that it wasn’t possible to find a single buyer for the whole Pennine Chain, as they had initially hoped. The Dutch plan only to buy a section of the Northern Pennines from Skipton up to Hexham, including a large part of the Yorkshire Dales. The latter will be renamed “The Dutch Dales”.

Transporting even this small section is said to represent one of the most challenging civil engineering projects of modern time.

The whole area will be cut into one metre cubes and individually numbered prior to transport. As all the top layers need to be removed before the base can be transported and installed, the top-most pieces will initially be stored at a site yet to be named in Northumberland.

The bottom layer will then be shipped in specially designed barges from Newcastle upon Tyne to the city of Delfzijl, the fifth largest sea port in the Netherlands. From here it will be only a short road trip to lay the Pennine cubes in their new location.

Additional Considerations

The process of building a range of Limestone mountains on Netherlands soil is expected to reap secondary benefits for the low lying nation.

The enormous weight of so much limestone and Millstone Grit in the North East is expected to cause the whole country to tilt upwards along the South Western coastline. This will have the advantage of reducing the risk of flooding without the expense of raising sea defences the conventional way.

Britain’s farming will benefit too.

Once the largely decorative mountain range has been removed, the flat space remaining will be landscaped with fresh topsoil and used to create new arable farmland.

A continuous fifteen foot high fence will be erected on a line from Hexham to Skipton, replacing the all-important barrier thought necessary to preserve the fragile peace between Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Rapid Completion

No exact date has been set for completion of the sale and commencement of the move. Both sides are urging their solicitors to hasten the formalities.

It is still possible that either Lancashire or Yorkshire could contest the Treasury’s title to the land, in which case the process might become bogged down for years. Officials are confident that any problems can be overcome though. A team is already replying to the standard ‘Enquiries before contract’ questionnaire.

Once a completion date is set, however, the new owners are eager to start shipping their new mountains as quickly as possible. Dutch officials are already spending weekends at garden centres dreaming of how they will customise their new acquisition and make it distinctively ‘Dutch’

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