By Sarah Vine For The Mail On Sunday
On Saturday I shall be defrosting my windscreen and heading up the M1 for an eight-hour round trip to collect my daughter and her boyfriend from Manchester, where they would otherwise be stranded.
Already she’s messaged twice to ask me if I can squeeze in two more. Thanks to Mick ‘the Grinch’ Lynch and his co-ordinated strike action, there isn’t a single seat on any bus, train or plane heading south. The second the strikes were announced, they all sold out.
Well, not quite. Some places are still available, but not if you’re on a student budget.
I don’t mind spending my day off being Mum taxi – it’s what I do – but as ever with these things, it’s not the wealthy elite, so despised by the Left and their union paymasters (£15 million so far contributed to Keir Starmer since he became leader, lest we forget who really runs the Labour Party) who will suffer.
These strikes won’t affect them: they have private health insurance and rarely use public transport or fly commercial anyway. If they fall ill or need to get somewhere, they can just throw money at the problem
These strikes won’t affect them: they have private health insurance and rarely use public transport or fly commercial anyway. If they fall ill or need to get somewhere, they can just throw money at the problem. It might be irritating, but it won’t be crippling.
No, the people these strikes are really going to hurt are ordinary working families, those in society who already have the fewest options in life and who now, at the one time of year when even they can usually afford themselves a little fun and levity, find themselves well and truly stuffed.
Take my cleaning lady. I hesitate to call her that because she is so much more than a cleaning lady.
I consider her a friend (and I hope she feels the same), someone I’ve known for years and who has seen me through the good times and the bad. She’s kind, intelligent, generous to a fault. She’s had my back when so many haven’t.
Often we just drink coffee and eat pastel de nata (she’s Portuguese) and put the world to rights.
She relies on trains to get her to her various jobs around London. She normally does two houses a day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon, plus a few in between and visits a couple of old ladies who need her for shopping and cooking.
This is a busy time of year for her, and she often works extra hours.
But this week she will simply have no way of getting to work. And if she can’t work, she won’t get paid (I will obviously pay her come what may, but not everyone can).
At precisely the time of year when she needs her wages the most, she’s going to be seriously out of pocket.
There are countless others like her. Private sector workers, who pay just as much tax as anyone else, except they’re on zero hours contracts and don’t have anything like the job security or perks of those in the public sector, let alone a bruiser like Lynch to hold their employer, aka the British taxpayer, to ransom.
But this week she will simply have no way of getting to work. And if she can’t work, she won’t get paid (I will obviously pay her come what may, but not everyone can)
This is the one time of year when many in this sector – bar workers, catering staff, those in hospitality, hairdressers, nail bar workers, you name it – have the chance to make a bit of extra cash
They too are having their wages eroded by inflation, they too are facing higher fuel and food bills. But now they also have to deal with Lynch and his members obstructing their ability to work. It’s just not fair.
This is the one time of year when many in this sector – bar workers, catering staff, those in hospitality, hairdressers, nail bar workers, you name it – have the chance to make a bit of extra cash.
Instead, businesses are cancelling Christmas parties left, right and centre, shoppers are staying away and those who can are planning to just work from home.
The irony of Lynch and his cronies demanding eye-watering pay rises for his members while engineering an economic shutdown that will only deepen the current crisis will not be lost on readers.
And even if you, like me, have some sympathy for some of the striking sectors, such as nurses and paramedics, it is hard to forgive them for choosing to ruin the first chance of a proper Christmas that many people will have had since Covid.
Because make no mistake: what they’re effectively engineering here is a fourth lockdown.
And not just any lockdown: a Christmas lockdown.
Peace and goodwill to all men? Not if Starmer and Lynch get their way.
Mastoiditis is a serious bacterial infection that affects a bone behind the ear. It is more common in children.
Symptoms include redness and tenderness, alongside a temperature and occasionally discharge from the ear.
It can usually be treated with antibiotics but serious cases may require surgery.
Complications can include blood clots, meningitis or a brain abscess.
If your child has symptoms of mastoiditis, you should take them to a GP as soon as possible.
Grieving mother Catherine Williams’s account of how her nine-year-old daughter Scarlotte succumbed to a strep A infection – after two doctors failed to spot how sick she was – absolutely broke my heart.
‘If only I’d listened to my mother’s instinct,’ she told the Daily Mail.
She should not blame herself. We all, as mothers, think we are over-reacting when our little ones are ill, and all too often medical professionals give that impression too.
Of course we trust their judgment, why wouldn’t we?
When my son was very small he became ill with a rare condition called mastoiditis. I had no idea what was the matter – simply that something was very, very wrong.
I kept taking him to see the practice nurse, and felt so stupid and annoying when each time she said he was fine, just a bit off colour, probably a little bug, it would pass.
By the time they worked out what was going on he had an abscess on his brain and needed a hole drilled in the side of his head to drain the poison.
I count myself so lucky – blessed, really – that he is with me today, all 6ft 3in of him.
There but for the grace of God…
I can’t help wondering whether part of the reason Harry and Meghan are being so bitter and twisted about the Royal Family is that they actually secretly want King Charles to strip them of their titles.
That way, they could add to their victim/racism narrative, and persuade even more gullible woke Americans to buy into their gaslighting nonsense.
For that very reason, the Palace should avoid making any drastic moves. Play the long game, and then decide.
Chris Rea’s Driving Home For Christmas tops a poll of festive favourites, with The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York a close second.
This illustrates the two opposing schools of thought in my house: my son loves the schmaltzy sentimentality of Rea, I’m more of a cynic. He’s young. He’ll learn.
Funny how quiet the old Just Stop Oil loons have been lately. Perhaps glueing yourself to roads isn’t quite so much fun when it’s minus four.
Predictably, Harry and Meghan have ‘dropped’ another teaser for this week’s second volume of their Netflix series, which I’m told will be even more toxic than the first.
This time it’s heartwarming pictures of their wedding. Aaah. So nice of them to share details of the event WE helped pay for.
The worst moment of the dreadful Harry & Meghan Netflix show is unquestionably the bit where she mocks the late Queen by performing an extravagant faux curtsey.
Even Harry looks horrified. Either you think bowing and scraping to monarchs is a bit silly and old-fashioned (and fine if you do), or you desperately want to be a princess – in which case, don’t take the mickey out of the institution that gave you the £30 million wedding, jewels, frocks, houses and titles, not to mention transformed you from an obscure second-rate actress into someone people will pay millions to indulge.
In my latest podcast I speak to director Alek Keshishian, who made Madonna: Truth Or Dare all those years ago, and whose latest project follows another, albeit very different, pop journey.
Selena Gomez: My Mind And Me begins in 2016, just as the then 23-year-old star, left, is embarking on a world tour which she never completed.
Selena Gomez: My Mind And Me begins in 2016, just as the then 23-year-old star, left, is embarking on a world tour which she never completed
Instead she ended up having a major breakdown, culminating in a prolonged absence from the public stage and eventually a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
As Keshishian points out, she’d been working non-stop since the age of ten, joining the Disney Channel at 15.
Last week another Disney alumni, Britney Spears, resurfaced on social media following a short absence that had fans in a frenzy, with a seriously disturbing post in which she poses seductively in a red bodysuit before slamming her face into a cake.
Two hugely talented young women, both derailed by the pressures of fame and by an industry that puts profit before people.
A PR friend of mine was entertaining a client in Harrods the other day, and guess who she spotted hurrying through the lobby?
Angela Rayner pictured in the Commons on Thursday, wearing a ‘Gingers are for life not just for Christmas’ jumper (file image)
Why, none other than Angela ‘Tory scum’ Rayner. Some kind of Leftie field trip to see the evil rich in their natural habitat? Or just another socialist hypocrite?
Going SNOW-WHERE! -15C Arctic freeze grinds UK to a halt with thousands forced to sleep in cars and airports overnight as flights, trains and buses are cancelled and schools are shut… with more snow due today
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