Posts Tagged ‘obesity epidemic’

Blogpost 19 : 26/2/18

April 6, 2018

Letters to Daily Mirror


30/1/18   Single Market
Jeremy Corbyn wants to pay to stay in the Single Market, to protect jobs.
This would avoid vulnerable businesses facing the EU’s punitive taxes on imports but it would also encourage lazy management of less vulnerable businesses.
It would be cheaper and, in the long run, more productive, to leave The Single Market and have Companies apply for subsidies to pay the EU surcharges, whilst they looked for markets outside The EU.
Hopefully, these subsidies would eventually end, as other Markets opened.

13/2/18  NHS alternatives
Now that Jeremy Hunt is entering the final stages of selling off the NHS, we’re being asked to have an “adult” conversation about financing it.
I’ve come across two alternatives to our Aneurin Bevan model.
The first is a revival of Thatcher’s voucher system, or Personal Health Plan.
Under this we’d each be allocated a fixed lifetime, or yearly, sum, which we could spend on treatment.
Once you’d had your allocation, you’d have to fund further cover yourself.
Tough, if you have no such resources.
The more favoured option is a two tier system, such as they have in the USA and some EU countries, such as France.
Although much of our NHS is being bought by American Health Care companies, it is being touted that we would probably emulate France.
The US system is despised, because those, who can’t afford the cheapest tier of health insurance, can only receive the barest of emergency aid, before being kicked out.
Even those on a reasonable level of health insurance can find themselves being bankrupted, because hospital costs are ridiculously high.
Prices are encouraged to rise, precisely because they are covered by insurance.
The likes of the French system are held up as the preferred model, whereby the State funds 2/3 the costs and voters pay 1/3.
Those who are deemed too poor to pay any contribution have all the cost paid.
I don’t know if there is a cap on this but, more worrying, is who decides the level at which The State picks up the tab.
The present disgraceful benefit assessments by ATOS don’t inspire confidence.
I’m hoping that Labour regains office and is allowed to rescue our NHS but in case it doesn’t, it’d be a help if The Mirror journalists amassed the facts and figures necessary to fight this “adult” conversation.

20/2/18   Brexit?
It is understandable as to why those, who want to remain in the EU, are mounting their campaign to overturn Brexit, as Theresa May’s deadlne closes in.
It is understandable why Soros, Branson and Blair are splashing out money on polls and opinion pieces in Newspapers to protect their Interests.
What is not understandable is why May seems to be calling advance and then taking two steps back at every point of Brexit negotiations.
Despite being told, before the Referendum, that it meant leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union, it seems apparent that we’ll be staying.
The only difference will be that we’ll have no say on how our contributions are wasted.

20/2/18  Oxfam
The debate over the Oxfam abuses has been very strongly fought by both sides.
I can understand the strength of feeling over the abuse, in our name, of the people needing help but I was surprised by the strength of the campaign for Oxfam to continue to be funded out of taxes.
Why do we have to hand over funds to foreign dignitaries and other such third party organisations?
We have armed forces, starved of funds, who could provide aid, first hand.
My preference is for us to use these trained and fully equipped personnel, who know how to behave?

22/2/18  Gun Law
The Americans have always gone for firepower over strategy, which is why so many innocent people have died in the Middle East and why they haven’t won any major armed conflicts since WWII (Haiti, Panama,Grenada and Dominican Republic invasions were very one-sided ).
They cling to this use of weaponry to implement policy, instead of trying to negotiate solutions.
None more so than the simplistic President Trump.
His go-to solution for gun deaths is more guns.
Arming eight teachers isn’t even an attempt at a viable solution.
American schools are much better equipped than ours with much bigger campuses. By the time one of these armed teachers had responded and located an attacker, there could be scores dead.
These guardians would presumably be wielding handguns against semi-automatics, which doesn’t inspire confidence. In the worst scenario, there are about 100,000 public schools in the USA, meaning that there’d be nearly a million armed teachers. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that one of them could “lose” it and make a mockery of this approach.
If Hollywood has taught us anything, it is that if you disarm the gunmen, less people die.

23/2/18        TV Licence
The reason given for an increase in the TV licence is that people are switching to streaming services.
These users are likely to be the upcoming generations, so it is also likely that BBC funding will continue to fall, as my generation dies off and the licence charge rises further.
The Government needs to consider direct funding, if politicians wish to keep close control of its News broadcasting.
As a side thought, it’d be interesting to see austerity applied to BBC salaries.

24/2/18     rich on means testing
Brian Reade calls for better-off pensioners to forego free prescriptions.
Apart from endorsing Austerity measures, it’s likely to see off OAP’s who just fail the cut-off line, as in Trumps USA.
I have never liked means-testing, re-calling how nastily it was applied in my Mum’s recollections of her early days.
However; there is a form of means testing, which won’t harm anyone.
Put extra taxes on Restaurants.
This would only affect those with so much extra cash that they can afford to pay for the over-priced, poorly-cooked food , of which he complains

24/2/18   TV  pap

I was interested in Fiona’s piece on the seventies, in regards to TV programmes.
I frequently watch Talking TV pictures, as an escape from the pap shown on the rest of the Freeview channels.
As a Baby Boomer I’m not as easily offended by such things as actors blacking up but I was a little surprised, however, to notice a quick cameo of Al Jolson in Cliff Richards film “A Wonderful life”.
I then mused on the First Talking Picture, where “Jolson Speaks/Sings”.
Undoubtedly racist but there was no intentional racism.
Back then it was akin to boys taking girls parts on the stage of the Globe theatre.

26/2/18   obesity epidemic
The warnings of an obesity epidemic centre on trying to get us to change our lifestyles, by for instance turning Vegan.
Yet we have the announcement of a new veggie burger from the USA.
It’ll still have a bun and lashings of dressing but it won’t stop you getting fat.
Obesity will continue to be a problem as stress creates a Nation of people turning to food for comfort.
Dr. Miriam Stoppard points out the dangers of fat cells in our body.
They produce chemicals such as Oestrogen, growth hormone, Insulin and others which affect how the body works.
The general medical advice is eat less and exercise more.
The problem is that by the time this advice is given, people are too fat and possibly too old to exercise effectively.
There are other hormones, that fat cells produce, not mentioned by Dr. Stoppard, which make us hungrier, if we try to eat less.
We have a catch 22 situation:
We need to exercise and eat less, to avoid diabetes, cancer, strokes , heart attacks i.e. dying, or we need to cut away the fat with tummy tucks and/or liposuction, as described by Lisa Riley.
The catch is which comes first.
Our body works against us, if we try to change our lifestyle and we get yo-yo dieting with even more stress on the body.
If we go for the surgery first, it’s expensive and offends our puritan ethic. It also rewards the feckless, who may ignore the need for life-style changes and find the fat piling on elsewhere on the body.
As politicians will never address reducing the need for comfort food, or those, such as McDonalds, who provide it, politicians and the BMA might consider investing in liposuction for the masses; or equipping crematoria to cope with larger coffins.

we live in a world of meddler’s, complicating our lives to justify their parasitic existence.

January 2, 2016

Letter to the Daily Express (2/1/16)  in response to report that LGA has too much time on its hands.

I’m not sure if the Editor gets facetious, s,o if it is published, my intent will, likely, be subverted.

The Local Government Association has a lot on its plate at the moment with Local Councils all over the country desperately looking to implement budgetary cuts, demanded by the Chancellor’s austerity measures.
Local flooding must have also added to such problems.

It’s wonderful, therefore, that they have also found the time to concern themselves with the latest social issue of what has been called an obesity epidemic.
Their answer is for more food labelling. They want the calorific content of alcoholic drinks to be displayed.
I wonder, though, why only alcoholic drinks.
I would humbly suggest that it be extended to all drinks. I know that a fruit smoothie is more saintly than a pint of wine but how do the calories compare?
Of course, the real problem must lie with those who spend their week-ends on the lash.
Might I further suggest that they exploit their role as custodians of drink licensing laws and insist that pubs and clubs place relevant information on all till receipts, alongside itemised drinks?
This would be a great help for hen parties, ensuring that they don’t end their evening with more extra inches than they intended.
There seems greater scope here, than the L.G.A. has realised, for extending its writ. It may be necessary for its board to appoint an obesity epidemic control officer.
I look forward to hearing of more inspired suggestions from this body of high-minded men and women, as they seek to more closely shape the quality of our lives.

digging our way out of recession needs job creation not taxes.

September 25, 2011

It seems public conversation has turned to escaping from the recession by the need to create wealth rather than just to print more money. I.e. the political class seem to be re-inventing the solutions adopted as a means of escaping the Great depression of the 1920’s.
Here in Britain we had schemes such as building the Mersey Tunnel; a labour intensive scheme that employed large numbers of unemployed and created a long-term benefit to the local economy. Such schemes give people self-respect, skills and money to buy things, which can, in turn, create further employment.

In Germany, the building of the autobahn’s using intensive paid manual labour and the promotion of the Volkswagen were used as part of their emergence from the depression
We need similar schemes in this country, Today.
Obviously, nowadays, road-building and tunneling are large machinery tasks and there would be no point channeling public money into such schemes, which would only benefit the multi-nationals that gained the contracts.
Our politicians would need to come up with some scheme that our present day, unskilled work force could achieve that would benefit the Nation and help repay the necessary expenditure.
My personal favourite would be to provide exercise bikes fitted with electrical generators. Instead of sitting still, going nowhere, in order to lose weight, I could also be reducing my electricity bill. A double benefit to myself and to the nation.
Possibly an efficiency of scale could be achieved with a sort of bicycle operated power station, with variable gearing to maintain a 50 Hertz mains A.C.
The individual’s energy production would be measurable and saleable. The need for matching supply with demand would be more easily managed than it is with wind power, by a variable hourly rate, with workers, only working when this rate met their needs.
The last could actually be a bonus selling point in that the lowest energy demands are in the Summer, when people would rather be on the beach.
At present Green policy is to persecute car owners, whereas their gripe actually lies with the petrol engine and its production of Carbon-Dioxide.
So why not push for a “people’s electric car”.
There are proto-type electric engines about, which, because of the recession, are starved of capital: Ironic, in view of our Chancellor believing that Capitalists will save us and risk their capital to kick start the economy.
If our Government were to back the manufacture of these engines, with a fixed standard chassis, to which designer bodies could be attached, then we would save on imported materials, cut back on fossil fuels and possibly create an export market.
As with cut-out paper dolls that can be fitted with a girl’s own design dresses, the car bodies could be the basis of a cottage industry producing plastic/papier mache/fibre glass own design models, possibly using re-cycled / recyclable materials.
I realise that pedal power would not contribute much to the National Grid and that the rich would still want their Beamers and their Mercedes but these offerings are not meant to be a route to big profits.
They are meant to be way of beginning to dig our way out of a financial mess. Analogous to the spoon used by The Count of Monte Cristo, rather than the fallacious spade of high taxation.
It would be nice if those paid the big salaries could come up with something better than this and certainly better than their present philosophy of “sit tight, cross your fingers and hope it all goes away”

rationing and under-nourishment

January 28, 2010

I was listening to Radio Mersyside, last night. It was one of those “ do you remember when?” forums.

This one was predicated on the latest bit of political nonsense about there being an obesity epidemic (what a horrible abuse of the word “epidemic”! ) and how we were all healthier under wartime rationing.

Total, arrant nonsense.

One pundit, even refuted the observed truth that we were undernourished by trying to claim that children , brought up during the War, were taller than Today.

My generation, of “Baby Boomers” , were taller than my Dad’s generation, who fought the War: They having being brought up during The Depression. My son’s generation and those born since the early 70’s have more six-footers than this country has seen since the GI’s came over in WWII (the Yanks had eaten well, even during The Depression). We weren’t just skinnier, during the War, we were too skinny, with organ damage,  caused by lack of protein. This would have been compounded by stress and vitamin deficiency issues.

Remember we didn’t end rationing until 1954 (6 years after the Germans ended rationing, thanks to our Special Relationship with America) . Until then we had been eating such wonderful commodities as Margarine. This does not contain Vitamin D, as does butter, and Rickets was a problem. Margarine didn’t have Vitamin D added, until after Windrush, when it was found that Caribbean kids weren’t getting enough sunlight to produce their own Vitamin D. Margarine also became yellow like butter, with the addition of carotene to provide Vitamin A, whilst white bread now has Calcium added ( in the form of bags of cement, I read somewhere).

A final note: The best evidence of the relationship between height and nutrition can be found by a combination of  looking at articles on how the minimum height for recruits was dropped from 5’4” to 5’0” , during the Boer War, with a visit to the H.M.S. Victory , or the nearby sailors’ cottages, in Portsmouth.                                  (

Even back in the early days of TV, the Upper classes often spoke of “getting a little man in”, when referring to working class tradesmen, who were, of course, under-nourished, as children.