On curing the NHS
You cannot help but notice the dreadful state of the National Health Service these days.
I remember a time - not so long ago - you could roll into any town in the country, feign illness, and presto - free bed and board for the night, and the chance of extras with a rather fetching nurse, followed by a free ride home in the back of an ambulance.
No such luck in the modern NHS. The hospitals are packed to the gills with old people; and now that they no longer employ cleaners, you'll probably end up killed to death from some hideous old granny disease caused by wee-encrusted dentures or a septic Stannah stair-lift. And you'd probably get the ambulance guy trying to sell you his book.
It's almost enough to make a man stay in a Travelodge. Almost.
"I don't want to end up in a hospital or a home," your elderly relatives will tell you. "They smell of wee and boiled cabbage, and you end doing nothing but watch TV all day, waiting to die."
And, by-and-large, they'd be right.
The trouble with these places is that they are simply not productive. Old peoples' homes and hospital wards are full-to-bursting with a veritable skills bank accumulated from lifetimes of labour, just waiting to be exploited by the right kind of forward-looking NHS manager.
Make the workshy buggers earn their pensions, their beds and stingy portions of gruel, we say. We'll soon see how over-crowded our hospitals get then. And then I wion't get poisoned by Alzheimer's Lurgi and forget who I am next time I fancy a bit of free shut-eye in the Royal Berks.
Here, then, are a few ideas our new Health Secretary Alan "Geezer" Johnson can be getting on with to trim so-called bed blocking down to a bare minimum, and free up spaces for we honest, tax-paying malingerers:
* Hospital security: "I fought in two World Wars for the likes of you". We say: "Here's a uniform you old sod. Prove it."
* Drugs trials: They're in a hospital. They're scoring free drugs by the metric shitload. A few extra uppers, downers and side-to-siders will hardly make much of a difference. Especially if there's comedy side effects. Hermetically-sealed coffins and forged death certificates are the way forward if it really goes ape.
* Sweatshop: Why encourage slave labour in workshops full of kiddies in China and Indonesia when there's a willing pool of workers - many of whom have a lifetime's experience of sewing - to knock together next season's Arsenal away kit for Nike. If there's enough material left over, you might even let them have their own clothes. But that's optional.
* Building a bridge over a remote tropical river in South East Asia: If it was good enough for the likes of Alec Guinness, then it's certainly good enough for today's scrounging old farts. And Ben Kenobi was dead old. And now he's dead, which goes to prove the value in this scheme. Or something.
* Low class brothel: Because, to be perfectly frank, they'd be thankful for the company in those long, lonely years after their families have dumped them. Also, the more active can go out in their Shopmobility scooters and put postcards up in phoneboxes offering "Gummy Brenda plays the Pink Oboe" with the phone number for NHS Direct. And if you build it, they will come. Solving the national sperm donor shortage into the bargain. Win-win.
I can, with these red-hot ideas force the NHS to pay for itself in a free, open market. It's capitalism at its finest, where everybody wins. Especially if you fancy old ladies.
I am not mad. Hospital Airborne Alzheimer's Lurgi.
Also: Lord Likely = excellent. That is all.