Sunday, 18 December 2016

Hard Brexit, Soft Brexit, Fake News, Populism...Here Comes all the Latest Jargon

Divisive. This is the latest trendy word, and the latest trendy thing to deplore. The worst thing anyone can say about you is that your ideas are "divisive". It always gets approval to stand up and say that you are not going to be "divisive". Jeremy Corbyn has publicly said that he wants Labour to eschew dangerous extremist ideas such as passport check plans in the NHS that could be "divisive". Oddly enough, Labour never thought Marxism was divisive, teaching people that there is a class war and the interests of the workers and bosses are completely opposed, so that capitalism has to be overturned by violence. They never thought it was divisive for feminists to break up the family and tell women they are oppressed by men. They never thought it was divisive to give Scotland and Wales their own assemblies, encouraging nationalist identities in the regions. Being divisive is always what other people do.

Extremism. Any views that are not totally loony.

Fake News: Any news apart from the official line promulgated by the BBC and other major TV stations. Not to be confused with mere falsehood, inaccuracy or lies which is what you find on Wikipedia, Huffington Post, the Guardian and stuff like that. If what you are saying does not fit in with the PC ideology of the former,  then it is probably "fake news". Fake news is a jolly good reason to have censorship because we cannot allow people to think for themselves.

Hard Brexit just means leaving the EU. "Soft Brexit" means some sort of compromise or fudge. Throughout the campaign everybody assumed that leaving the EU meant leaving the Single Market. That was the basis of the Remainers' argument insofar as they had one, apart from vague general feelings of "European-ness". But now the same people are saying that we should remain in the Single Market, wholly or partly, by applying to become members of EFTA, the European Free Trade Association, whose members have one foot inside the EU and another out. There are variations of status within EFTA but basically if stuck in it we would still have to pay massive contributions to the EU and forfeit our right to make any trade deals outside of it.  We would still be subject to most of the dictatorship of the EU with its regulation, legislation, hyper-extravagance and ubiquitous corruption.
Meanwhile Turkey, Ukraine and a dozen other countries all trade with the Single Market nations without paying into the EU coffers. So what could be the point? Those who advocate "soft Brexit" are really hoping that we will not leave, but just walk through a revolving door out into EFTA for a few years, then straight back into the EU as soon as they can hold another (rigged) referendum. "Soft Brexit" is a phoney Brexit. No thanks!

Millenials. According to Urban Dictionary "Otherwise known as Generation Y, or the internet generation (iGen), Millenials are people born between the years of 1980 and 1995. Millenials are often "echo boomers" (their parents were part of the baby boom), and they are often extremely tech-savvy." The important thing to remember is that Millenials are poor. Many of them had to wait until they were six to get their first play-station and ten to get their first mobile phone. They have to make one laptop last for years. Their earliest memory is of waiting in airport queues because their skint parents didn't check in online or pay for speedy boarding when taking them to Tenerife. Some of them are having to start work before they're twenty-five, with only one degree, and even having to do non-graduate jobs. They think food grows in cardboard boxes ready for the microwave and are depressed to find that they can't afford to buy a three-bedroom centrally-heated fully-carpeted double-glazed house with a modern fitted kitchen and luxury bathroom on their first wage (their grandparents started married life in a post-war Nissen hut with a paraffin heater and no TV or washing machine). It is a fact that all Millenials want to remain in the EU, although only 25% of them bothered to vote and half of those voted Leave.

Populism.  This means democracy when people don't vote the way the Establishment wants. Democracy and populism both involve people being given votes and putting pieces of paper into boxes. The difference is subtle. It is "democracy" when people do as they are told and vote how the media, the elite and the existing political class tell them to. It is "populism" if they resist the propaganda and vote some other way. Populism is caused by people being stupid, ignorant and inferior to their rulers. So why in that case give them votes at all? It appears to be a severe risk.

Post-truth. A naive term defined as "a world without facts". Used by those who are hopelessly unaware of the selective and unsound basis of what they accept as facts from day to day. Journalists use this term to indicate their bewilderment and anger at finding that people are listening to a wider range of news sources and don't necessarily believe the slush and tosh provided by mainstream media (MSM).

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Propaganda for the Global Warming Theory

TV announces it in advance when there is a Party Political Broadcast for the Labour or Conservative parties. Funnily enough it does not announce Party Political Broadcasts for the Green Party  - they are just called "news".  And the internet is saturated with them.  They are very effective at persuading people. This cartoon being circulated on Facebook is typical.

The fallacy here is that there is something called "science" which is always right and there are stupid people  - who also happen to be ugly and look ridiculous  - who just cannot accept that science is ALWAYS right. But an educated person realizes that over the centuries what has passed for "science" has frequently been wrong. 
The text could easily be replaced with this:- 

15th Century. Diseases are spread by bad smells. There are always bad smells wherever there is disease. So you can protect yourself by placing sweet-smelling posies in your house. It's science!
16th Century. You can turn any metal into gold if you know how. It's science!
17th Century. All illnesses can be cured by bleeding people. You put leeches on their skin to suck the blood out. It's science!
18th Century. Electricity is the life-force. So if you get a dead body and pass an electric current through it, it will come back to life. It's science!
19th Century. Women and black people have inferior brains. It's science! Also if women ride bicycles or go to university, they will become sterile. It's science!
20th Century. The planet is getting warmer and it's our fault. Evidence to the contrary is "weather" not climate. Explanations based on anything other than human causes are "denial". Historical evidence that climate has always changed and does so even on other planets is "global warming denial".

What is really "science"? Only future generations will be able to decide that. And only if they are allowed freedom of opinion and expression to pursue enquiry without being insulted, stigmatized and subjected to hysteria. 
Of course if you are, like Barack Obama or Bernie Sanders, looking for some way of shifting the blame for terrorist attacks away from the perpetrators, "global warming" provides a convenient scapegoat. Both of them have publicly claimed that global warming is to blame for violent jihadist attacks. No kidding. They truly have said that. It's science!!!

What is the Alt-Right and Does it Really Exist?

A label being flung around a lot these days is "Alt-Right" which sounds like a command you type on your computer keyboard, but is a political category.  It stands for "alternative Right" and this is the word used by our mainstream media to explain baffling phenomena such as the Brexit vote and the victory of Donald Trump in America. The Alt-Right is so dangerous that they have to be censored and denounced. The UK Anti-Extremism unit actually intervened to prevent Milo Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart journalist, from giving a talk at his old school in Canterbury. Not a public rally at the Albert Hall but a talk to a couple of hundred schoolboys. That is how scared the Establishment is of the Alt-Right.
     All over the EU steps are being taken to censor and suppress the "Alt-Right". What annoys people is that they don't easily fit into the stereotype of "right-wing". When Raheem Kassam stood briefly for the UKIP leadership journalists were incredulous and downright angry that a young man of Asian descent should desert the mainstream political parties, which have bent over backwards to be non-racist and multi-cultural, and join UKIP instead. They tried to smear his employer, the Breitbart news agency, as "anti-Semitic" only to find that it was founded by a Jew and still employs plenty of others. (One of them is Milo Yiannopoulos.)
   In fact the whole classification of leftwing and rightwing is basically dodgy, but leaving that aside, one thing that has changed is simply that it is no longer fashionable to be leftwing. Socialism is associated with old people  - Jeremy Corbyn, Fidel Castro, Jean-Claude Juncker and Hillary Clinton with her Botox, her dark glasses, her fainting-fits and her "basket of deplorables". If young people such as Milo and Raheem want to be shocking  - and they do - they assert that they care more about freedom than about equality.
And you can see their point, since around the globe there are remarkably few socialist utopias. China and Russia have opted to be deplorable and embraced capitalism. Venezuela's Hugo Chavez  was the last Communist poster-boy, and he left that country in a pitiful mess. Robert Mugabe was once a Communist poster-boy and then morphed into one of the most obnoxious dictators of the world. The leftwing needs black communists to be a success. But they disappoint.
Hillary's "basket of deplorables" summed up something that intelligent young people are very bored with, and that is Political Correctness, and conformity. Hillary's list of terms "racists - sexists - xenophobes  - islamophobes - homophobes..." uses the cosily dumbed-down terminology of leftwingers who thought they had decided everything and fixed a consensus about what everyone is allowed to say, teach or even think. The only think she missed off the list was "global warming denier". What all of these terms have in common is that they shut down debate, and forbid enquiry, insisting that there is only one possible view and that anyone who questions it is beyond the pale.  Hillary's basket is a summary of the PC conformist attitudes that have been taught to children in schools for the past twenty years, and have damaged their minds because they are being trained not to think. Don't ask "who was carrying out a crime?", ask "who was black, and who was white?" other wise you are "racist". Don't ask "Which candidate has the best policies?" ask "Isn't it time we had a woman for President?" Don't ask, "Why is that person being flogged or stoned?" because if you do, that makes you "Islamophobic". Don't ask, "But why do we need to pay billions to get Free Trade?" because that makes you "xenophobic". Mindless conformity is regarded as a virtue.

Young people, who are naturally rebellious, are tired of this mental incarceration and the more intelligent ones don't want to be dumbed-down or numbed-down. So you get the Alt-Right. 

 Another thing that is far less fashionable than it used to be is feminism. The brash, noisy feminists of the 1970s are now wrinkled old women; the equal pay and opportunities they demanded became law long ago. In fact today we have a big problem of men committing suicide (which is exactly what some extremist feminists called for in the first place). This past year all our media banged on about how America needed to have its first woman President. Why? because this would be a milestone , such a milestone that they were all prepared to see a totally unscrupulous crook such as Hillary Clinton, after her career of fatal blunders, put in charge of the USA, which she was determined to drag into war with Russia. Throughout her campaign she never stopped telling people to vote for her so they could "make history". Luckily the voters decided that her policies mattered more than the media's pre-determined agenda.

In fact, what has happened across the board is that people are tired of the whole "victim-culture" that is leftwing. They are tired of people cashing in on their "oppressed" status to get sympathy and attention. tired of  that narrative of grievance and entitlement that the leftwing encourages, a narrative that nurtures phoniness and supine dependency. They are tired of people exploiting supposed disadvantages or "discrimination" to get attention, money, power and political clout. And they are right to be tired of it, because it has nothing to do with rewarding merit. It's too easy to go around droning on about "white privilege" and "male privilege" and it is the rhetoric of people who live in academic enclaves generating self-righteous jargon about "inclusivity" and " cultural enrichment".

It is curious that the Western world seems to be ruled by very rich Socialists, many of them far richer than the traditional enemies the "bourgeoisie" and the "middle class". Hillary Clinton's campaign was backed by sinister billionaire George Soros, and an array of fantastically rich Hollywood celebs. In France the Left have billionaires such as Pierre Bergé, the owner of Le Monde, on their side. Here in England we have the ostentatiously rich Blairs, Kinnocks and Mandelsons, and many more, claiming to represent the Left, and hopelessly out of touch. Da
vid Miliband is paid £500,000 per year to run a "charity" and people like that tell us it is "far-right" to want to  raise the tax threshold to ten or twelve thousand pounds to help the very lowest earners (a policy that the Conservatives took straight off the UKIP manifesto). We have Guardianistas like Polly Toynbee of Tuscany Towers, and vastly overpaid TV luvvies telling us that we need to be compassionate  - but funnily enough they don't open up their own burglar-alarm-protected mansions to house the homeless or refugees. The credibility of these people is nil.

Faced with this shift in public opinion, the  mainstream media have failed totally to cope. They are stuck in a time-warp, still repeating the ideology fashionable in the 1960s and 1970s, when the threats of today are ISIS and Kim Jong-Un. They try to label the rebellious Alt-rightists as "white supremacist" the ultimate demon-label, along with "sexist" and "homophobic". The one thing they are really good at is generating fancy new labels for things. When elections don't go the way they want, they re-name democracy "populism" and warn us that it is Bad Thing. When a blasĂ© public does not believe all the propaganda aimed at it, it is accused of the crime of "post-truth". 
The Establishment is now determined to crush the dissidents by every means possible. Expect websites to be closed down, bank accounts to be seized and the full might of the Anti-Extremism Police to enforce a crackdown. After all, anything else is Deplorable!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

STP = Stop Treating Patients? - Future of the NHS

The savage cuts to the Horton Hospital at Banbury were quickly followed by announcement of similar shutdowns at the Wantage Hospital and others nationwide. It is all part of something that our government calls Sustainability and Transformation Plans. Behind that bland reassuring Orwellian language is the reality of drastic cuts to NHS provision and the end of an era when people without private means could take for granted that they were going to get treatment for accident or illness. 

We know there is a severe crisis when NHS England senior director Julia Simon resigns from her post, saying the STP process is “shameful”, “mad”, and “ridiculous” and the plans as 'full of lies'. NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson points out that just one in six NHS finance directors believe they can deliver on STP plans, and that there is "just not enough money in the pot".
Sustainability and Transformation is euphemistic jargon for new cuts. As the plans are unveiled, most of them include downgrading or closing Accident and Emergency units. reducing the number of hospital beds and concentrating services in a few big hospitals. What with the cutbacks in ambulance provision and also in rural buses, do remember to drive to the hospital BEFORE you have your accident, or you may find you have a long and difficult journey!
GPs will be expected to carry out more minor operations and treatments at their own surgeries rather than send patients to hospital. The trouble is that they are already terribly overloaded with appointments and patients.
This is a crisis, but it is not just a crisis in funding. It is a crisis in training nursing staff and a crisis in defining what the NHS is supposed to do. When it was set up in 1948 it provided only a very limited range of treatments, compared to what it is expected to do today. Medical advances, social changes and pharmaceutical research have created a situation where we could spend unlimited billions on "health care" and somebody has to decide what the priorities, and limits, are. So much has gone wrong, with the regrettable PFI system, over the past twenty years, where do we begin to steer ourselves back onto the right road?
Not everything that the present government has done is wrong. It has taken some steps to prevent pharmaceutical companies over charging the NHS for the drugs they supply. I would like to save our NHS for future generations and I would make the following modest suggestions:-

i) The government should refuse to pay the £420 million bill that the EU has just today presented us with for setting up an EU army, complete with lavish HQ that will doubtless resemble a palace as all their residences invariably do. And doubtless they will expect us to pay the same sum annually. REFUSE. Use that money to keep our Accident and Emergency units open.

ii) Stop sending £350 million per week to Brussels. The people have voted out of the EU. We must leave now, and spend that money on funding the community hospitals that are being so scandalously axed. Other funding priorities must be training new doctors and nurses. Scrap tuition fees for school leavers who train as doctors or nurses, on condition that they work here afterwards. Bring back the system of training nurses in hospitals, on the job.

iii) All patients should be required to prove eligibility for treatment, by showing an NHS number or passport. That is reasonable and fair. The system can only work if it is limited to those who paid, or the children of those who are still paying into the funds. End health tourism now - it is costing us billions, and may cost the NHS itself. We could also stop spending huge sums on translation for people who cannot be bothered to learn English. It was estimated two years ago that the cost to the public sector was £140 million per year and it is rising all the time. The NHS, police, courts, and local government are all funding this. It should stop. Anyone who lives here must learn English - or pay for the services of a translator themselves. The money could be used to save lives. The UK spends £30 million per year on legal aid for migrants trying to claim "asylum " status - not perhaps a large sum relative to the billions in the NHS budget, but enough to train and pay a lot more nurses. 

iv) The NHS must make the right decisions about what to fund. We need to rationalise what is on offer. A senior doctor who retired recently after working for 30 years in Oxford University Hospitals told me that in his considered opinion, the NHS, while a wonderful idea, "has been abused". We need to listen to people like him. No money must be wasted on stomach stapling for the obese - a diet sheet and an exercise programme is what they need. 

 The same goes for diabetics  - patient who ignore guidelines on diet and self-care must be presented with a bill for their treatment. Most diabetes is Type 2 and is self-inflicted. Recreational drugs should if possible be taxed to pay for the cost of treating patients. That is fair - after all, tobacco and alcohol are heavily taxed to cover the health costs they entail. In my opinion the NHS should not fund any form of circumcision. It has been known for baby boys to die as a result of this procedure. And the NHS must refuse to fund Prep drugs like Truvada for the appallingly selfish minority of homosexuals who are demanding it and even going to court to get it. They already cost us a fortune for their endless HIV testing and astronomical amounts for anti-retro-viral drugs if they are found to be HIV-positive. One patient can cost millions to treat. That should be funded with systems of private insurance. It is not fair for us to pay. Likewise treatments for so-called transsexuals should not be provided on the NHS. GPs should refer patients for psychiatric treatment instead. The hormones and operations are harmful and are not a form of medical treatment. 
It is estimated that there are 137,000 victims of FGM in this country. If so, their own families, who carried out the harm, must be made to pay the costs of any medical treatment. It is unfair to make the tax-payer bear the burden of barbaric and illegal behaviour. At present we callously demand that old people should sell their homes to pay for nursing care. I would make the perpetrators of FGM sell theirs, and revoke their citizenship as well.
The NHS has many demands on its funding. Our priorities for spending should be new drugs for cystic fibrosis, cancer, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, which are not self-inflicted conditions. 

If these sensible, practical changes are carried out, there could be some hope of saving the NHS. Future generations will reproach us if we refuse to face reality and act now.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

The New Era of Diversity in the White House

The election of President Donald Trump in the USA heralds a new era of multi-faith tolerance and cultural and racial diversity in America. This will be the first time that America has a First Lady who was not born either American or British, and the first time that the Presidential family will include members who are Jewish. 

There has never yet been a Jewish President, but we are getting closer because Ivanka Trump, elder daughter of the President-elect, has converted to the Jewish faith and subsequently married an Orthodox Jew, Jared Kushner. Her three children are being brought up Jewish and attending a faith school in New York. The sizeable Jewish population of the USA can feel that they are one step closer to the hub of things and totally accepted as part of the national identity. 
Donald Trump has accepted an award from Jewish community leaders, the Liberty Award which was presented to him at The Algemeiner's "Jewish 100" Gala in New York City last year. In his acceptance speech, he said he was "glad" his daughter had converted, and he is proud of all his family.  Ivanka said of her father, "“He is fundamentally somebody who believes that it’s his civic duty to speak his mind and often say what’s not popular and what others are afraid to,” she added. “He has used his voice often and loudly in support of Israel and in support of developments within Israel, in support of security for Israel and in support of the idea of Israeli democracy.”

Both before and after his election victory, Donald Trump confirmed that he will renew America's commitment to the safety and survival of Israel, and not allow himself to be deflected by other agendas. This is one of many respects in which his election will contribute to safeguarding the peace and security of the world.

Trump's wife, Melania, was born in Slovenia, which was then part of Communist Yugoslavia. She is the first First Lady for whom English was not her native tongue. But she is an accomplished linguist, who is fluent in German, French and English as well as Serbian and Slovenian, which will make her a tremendous asset as a hostess in the White House. Her presence is a reassurance that those who move to America will receive a warm welcome so long as they respect its culture, keep its laws and fit in with its prevalent values and traditions. Her choice of a cause to embrace as First Lady  - that of protecting children from harmful grooming and influence on the internet  - is one that I would whole-heartedly endorse and I wish her well.

Trump likes Britain and has already informally offered to open negotiation for future and better trade deals that will be mutually beneficial. I welcome that hopeful sign.
I also welcome the fact that the Trump victory broke a glass ceiling for women. His campaign manager, KellyAnne Conway, was the first woman ever to run a successful presidential campaign. Trump showed his respect for women and high opinion of our abilities by giving her this crucial responsibility  - and she lived up to his expectations. Since then he has offered her a post at the White House.
As for the vandals and hooligans who are making mayhem in some cities of the USA and trying to use violence to obstruct the legal democratic process, because their shockingly illegal, fraudulent and gangster tactics did not succeed in stealing the election from the American people, they are criminals and I hope they are dealt with by the law-enforcement system as they deserve. 

Trump getting an award for services to the black community in USA. Standing next to Cassius Clay and Rosa Parks.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Courting Disaster - what Does Sovereignty of Parliament Mean?

The decision of the High Court that MPs must have another vote before our Prime Minister is allowed to trigger Article 50 is an insult to democracy and an insult to the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU.

MPs have already voted on this issue, when they voted last year to hold a Referendum. To hold a Referendum is synonymous with carrying out its result. The public statements of the Prime Minister and all our MPs confirmed over an over again that the Referendum would be binding. Why else did David Cameron resign on the morning after the Referendum? He was defeated and saw no point in carrying on. 
We have had another major Referendum in the Britain in recent years, the Scottish Referendum on independence, and the elected leaders of the Scottish Assembly who may have wanted an Out votes respected the result to remain in the Union. Anything else would be a betrayal of democracy.  It would be indecent.
Some gloating Remainers are now saying that to let the High Court interfere with our democracy is respecting the "sovereignty of Parliament". Not at all. The sovereignty of Parliament - which was not, by the way, mentioned on the Referendum voting form - means that our Parliament cannot be overruled and told what to do by any foreign power.  It means that Westminster cannot be compelled to introduce votes for prisoners, or a new type of arrest warrant, or preposterous definitions of "human rights" that trample on the rights of the British people. It means that agreements such as TTIP or CETA should never have been hatched behind closed doors and then launched on us willy-nilly without a vote in our Parliament. 
        The sovereignty of Parliament does not mean that MPs can ignore the decision of the people as expressed in a Referendum that they agreed to call, and that they all discussed, and regarded as binding throughout the campaign and ever since. The leaflet sent out by the Government, at a cost of £9 million, stated plainly that the result of the Referendum would be implemented.
We know that the majority of MPs campaigned to remain in the EU, but I hope that there are only a few like David Lammy, with the indecent arrogance to proclaim that the Referendum result must be ignored or overruled by an elite. I believe that a vote in Parliament now would probably produce a LEAVE result, but I do not think it needs to be held.  The leading judge, Mr Thomas, who sat on this case was the  founder of a lobbying group for European integration! 

Thomas is one of the Founding Members of the European Law Institute, a non-profit organisation that conducts research, makes recommendations and provides practical guidance in the field of European legal development with a goal of enhancing the European legal integration.

So he is the least objective person they could possibly have found to make the decision. The bias is laughable.
Jacob Rees-Mogg says quite correctly that Parliament has already been consulted. It passed the 2015 Referendum Act in full knowledge and understanding that the outcome would be binding. David Cameron at the time said that Article 50 would be triggered immediately after a Leave vote. So MPs have already given their full, unconditional consent to Brexit.

    The over-assertive, bossy Nicola Sturgeon has seized the opportunity to display her arrogance once again. She wants to block the UK government's appeal against this ruling. Sturgeon is just the leader of a minority administration in the Assembly of a small minority of the UK. Scotland has fewer people than Yorkshire, and it is financially dependent on the rest of the UK, yet she struts around acting like Angela Merkel and trying to tell everyone else what to do.
   Mrs May must not underestimate the impact it would have to ignore the Referendum result. The anger and resentment it generated , in combination with another round of planned cuts in government spending, could have disastrous effect. She would be wise to go the other way, and avoid the painful cuts by another method: namely stop sending £350 million per week to the EU.
And she should refuse to pay the lavish pensions of 22,000 fat cat Eurocrats which are costing us billions even while we slash the NHS, and withdraw care for the elderly and support for the disabled. Leave means Leave. Brexit means Brexit.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Wish Pensioners a Happy Christmas With This Small Generous Gesture

The UK State Pension is only £119.30 per week. Certainly not enough to live on, even if you own your own home. Pensioners have to pay Council Tax, the full range of household expenses including maintenance, and then they have to pay in the vast majority of cases for any help or care that they get. They have to pay for NHS dental treatment, which used to be free and was promised to them when they paid all their National Insurance contributions over a lifetime.
All the concessions we used to extend to pensioners are being cut back, even the free bus pass, and the age for becoming eligible to claim the pension is rising steeply all the time.

Image result for UK 2nd class stamp

No, I haven't got a magic pot of money that could solve all these problems overnight, though I do think that "Sir" Philip Green and his likes should pay more tax, and should be forced to cough up for the company pensions of the thousands of BHS employees he cheated and swindled abominably. And I do think that our government should be prioritizing our OWN citizens for spending money, those who have worked here and paid tax all their lives. That is simply fair.
I would like to suggest a small, seasonal gesture. Give all pensioners a couple of books of free Christmas stamps, that they can use to send Christmas cards. Even a second-class stamp is now 55p and a first-class is 64p. If you want to put a letter and a few photographs in it, it will probably be classified as a "large" letter, and charged 75p. That is a figure to cause dismay. The better part of a pound to send Christmas greetings. Less than two stamps per £ sterling. To someone living on a pension, 55p is what they would budget for a meal. It will still buy you a couple of potatoes, a couple of eggs and a few baked beans. And they are expected to pay that for each stamp.

 Consider the total cost of Christmas cards and stamps. Assuming you buy cards in an economy box so that they work out at only 20p per card, (or bought them when reduced last January and saved them, as really frugally-minded people do), add that to the cost of the stamp and the minimum price of sending one small card with no enclosures is still 75p.
So sending a card to ten friends costs £7.50. And sending a card to forty friends and relatives, which most people would like to do, costs £30. When you are living on £119.30 per week that is a problem.
Now I can hear you say "But nowadays people can send Email greetings". That's not the same. An Email greeting is not fun to get through the front door, and fun to open. You don't have the fun or guessing who it is from the handwriting and the postmark. Real cards can be stood on the mantlepiece and make colourful decorations throughout the Christmas season. They can be strung up on ribbons in the hall or in the dining-room. They are personal in a way that the internet is not. And anyway, a lot of older people are not internet-savvy. They don't all have computers, or internet, don't all have Email and certainly would not know how to find, fill in and send an E-greeting card. They would have real difficulty opening one and even more sending one. I hope internet never wholly replaces real cards.
I think it would be nice if the government sent every pensioner 40 free stamps, timed one month before Christmas, a little sign of seasonal cheer from all of us. Each stamp would make two people happy, the sender and the recipient. And it would cost a tiny fraction of the amount we spend on mistaken generosity for fraudsters who are just not legally entitled to claim it.