I deviate. As you are about to sit down and enjoy your paper, the doorbell goes. It is the little scamp of a paperboy who has delivered the paper to you this morning (but not before 7am, see below), he is now explaining that the £1.20, £2.00, £2.50 or whatever you've paid is just for the delivery. As you have now chosen to read said paper, you have to pay again.
What would you do? Well, one of the first things you'd probably do would be to change your newspaper supplier.
But what if you couldn't change? What if you HAD to buy your newspaper from this shop? What would you do then? Oh, you'd be free to purchase another paper from another outlet, but that wouldn't absolve you of your obligation to buy your newspaper from this shop.
It would be an intolerable situation.
Yet. . .
My attention has been drawn to this old chestnut which is being wheeled out for the umpteenth time today:
Drunk people should pay for the treatment they receive at accident and emergency units, a patients' group has said.
But they already HAVE paid for the treatment. There is no such thing as free healthcare, these people are obliged to pay for the service. You want to charge them again?
'Ah, but Wolfers, these people are drunk', I hear you say.
Right then, define drunk.
What the patients' group wants to conjure up in your mind is an image of young men, Ben Sherman shirts, black slip on shoes, shaven headed or heavily gelled hair, brawling in the gutter. Let's just suppose you've been out for the evening with your friends to a nice restaurant. You're on foot, miss your step and break your ankle. You've had too much to drink to drive legally, but you're not drunk as you would see it. Are you drunk then? Whose definition of 'drunk' is important? What is the test? Incoherence? Evidential breath test? Blood test? Opinion of the triage nurse?
The Scotland Patients Association said nurses and doctors were often abused by those who had overindulged in alcohol, particularly at weekends.
So, prosecute them for common assault then. If they break that little bit of law, which has served us well for, oooh, about a thousand years, then prosecute them. Give the magistrate the power to hand out a proper sentence, it doesn't have to be custodial, but it does have to teach that abusing those who are trying to help you is the act of a clot, and this is what happens to clots.
They said the time had now come for such people to pay for services.
Ms Watt said: "Anyone who has been abusing alcohol and can't stand on their feet and is admitted to hospital at the weekend should pay towards their treatment.
Ms Watt said drunk people should be charged for using ambulances and for the time of staff who treated them.
Oh for crying out loud, HELLO? HELLO? THEY ALREADY HAVE PAID.
Hang on. . .
can't stand on their feet and is admitted to hospital at the weekend
At the weekend? Of course, the hardened drinker will out necking it every night, do they not end up in the hospital during the week, or are they members of some loyalty card club?
If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth, it doesn't matter if it is based in fact or not. The fact seems to have been forgotten that we all pay for the NHS, it is not, and never has been free.
By perpetuating the myth that it is run on fairy dust and sunny mornings it makes it easy to demonise people, and drinkers and smokers and the fat are easy prey. What next? A pursed mouth saying 'Well, you chose to grow old'? An NHS that will offer treatment as long as you promise to never be ill?
Because people are told that the NHS is free they feel as if their health becomes the property of the state, or other 'well meaning' people (read: 'bloody nosy interfering busybodies'). It results in rubbish like this:
The move was introduced for players at the Blue Square Bet Premier club a few weeks ago but now the policy has been extended to the whole stadium.
What? Eh? Why? How? *Boggle*
The Gloucestershire club is owned by Dale Vince who is a vegan who runs green electricity company Ecotricity.
Oh, right. There's an old joke in catering about how do you know when a vegan enters your restaurant? Don't worry, he'll let everyone know, very loudly, every five minutes. It's a joke I like because it plays on the level of having a little crack at the self importance of the Righteous, whilst also working on the level of a fart gag.
Free-range poultry and fish from sustainable stocks will continue to be served.
Great, the Devizies Tree Hugging Display Team will also be giving a half time demonstration.
"We appreciate some will miss their burgers and sausages, but our catering staff are working hard on a range of tasty and interesting products to replace those that are no longer available.
Oh, joy. Thank you very much, Dale.
"We're a country now where apparently chicken tikka masala is the most popular national dish. I think the old sausage bap won't be much lamented."
I think you're about to learn a valuable lesson about market demand. Oh, there are those who will follow the club whoever is running it, this is how football survives, but you WILL lose supporters over this, and you will certainly lose revenue in the tea bar, revenue which no doubt helps bankroll the playing staff.
"Anybody that really needs it can bring a ham sandwich or something if they wish - that's no problem."
Can they? That's bloody good of you, old chap. No pat downs at the turnstiles for meat and dairy produce then? Does this mean you won't be coming around to inspect the contents of my fridge with a disapproving look on your puss?
Forest Green Rovers, enjoy the mocking from opposition fans. You deserve it.
Jeez, what is wrong with these people that they think they have the right to decide what your money is spent on, what access you are permitted to have to services the money you provided paid for and what you should and shouldn't be eating?