Monday, 28 February 2011

More on scams

On the 19th February I wrote about scams and how we should deal with them. I didn't like the idea of emails flying here there and everywhere to prevent scams from spreading, but I can't complain too much about a scam making the news as it did yesterday. It seems that some people in Lancashire have been asked for £100 in order to process their council tax rebate of up to £7000. Now replace Lancashire with any other county. Replace council tax rebate with any other bill that goes out of a household and I have just saved you reading about many more news articles about scams. Basically if anyone is asking for your bank details and then asking for money then alarm bells should ring without the need to be told.

Now take things forward a step or two. A criminal has asked for your bank details and you have given them. Why can't someone, say a police officer, find the criminal and bring them to justice? It should not be difficult to find the person and find the money. If it is dificult then we need to change the banking system that allows criminals to get away with crime. It may even put some of them off from starting a scam.

Change the world

P.S. You may like to compare this blog entry with that of the 18th January.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Don't be put off

I was delivering leaflets on Friday and people are taking them off me and recognising them. The recognition is usually good as I get a lot of comments that they are appreciated. Even on Friday I was getting similar reactions except for one. A man rushed out of his house to tell me that this was the third piece of junk mail that he had received that day. I explained that it wasn't junk mail but a means to let him know what was going on and more importantly, a means for him to get in touch with us and take part in the democratic process.

We did continue with political "banter" and at the end he said "all right I'll let you off!. However it did make me think that he was trying to put off people from politics, in particular he was trying to put me off. Still, it takes all sorts and if that's the worst thing that happens...

Change the world

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Transparency is often the answer

On the third of February I wrote about record keeping at Lancaster Infirmary and yesterday it became an article on the television news. Basically, confidential documents were scattered across the floor of an office (they are just as confidential on the floor) and patients have missed appointments and been given the wrong medication.

The point that I made was that the picture that got things moving had been leaked to the media to highlight the shocking state of record keeping there and it was only by this leak that progress was made. This was confirmed by the director of Operations and Performance when he said that they weren’t quick enough to deal with a growing problem.

If anyone doubts that we should have leaks then think of this story, but there are many other. The answer is really easy – transparency. Why shouldn’t I go and collect my own documents and then take them back and be able to see where they go? If this is really difficult logistically then why not allow the local newspaper to run articles about different sections of the hospital. Most of all, with all the groups who have rights to check on NHS departments, why wasn’t it corrected earlier?

Change the world

Friday, 25 February 2011

I told you I was ill and changing the world

I paid a visit to Manchester's People's Museum on Sunday. One exhibit asked me to lift the headstone to find out whose inscription I was reading. I did know some of the answers like spike Milligan's "I told you I was ill" but I had forgotten it was in Gaelic. Another inscription belonged to Karl Marx: "workers of all lands unite. The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it".

By coincidence I watched Angels and Demons on the previous day. The Vatican has just been saved by the heroics of Ewan McGregor but Tom Hanks tells the female scientist, Ayelet Zurer to “go back to work – change the world”. Whatever we do we can all play our part. I am pretty sure that Tom Hanks hasn't seen this blog but don't let that stop you doing your bit to...

Change the world

Thursday, 24 February 2011

More on Jack Straw

On the 13th January I wrote about Jack Straw's racist remarks which happened to coincide with a byelection in Oldham. On Tuesday Jack spoke about his comments. He regrets using the words "easy meat" when he said that some Pakistani men saw white girls in that light. In fact he was sorry for "the offence people feel I have caused". It sounds like he regrets the fact that others are foolish. I didn't write anything about his sexist comments but if he is highlighting that some people have sexist views then I am not sure why he has any regrets.

My point in January was that Jack was overtly racist. he won't apologise for this, so Jack can point out specific racial problems, say his comments are not racist, not apologise but regret how people misinterpret his remarks. It sound like he is the only person who has done nothing wrong. I will admit to not seeing that Jack said "most sexual offenders were white men", so I'll comment on it now. What is the point of telling us this information? It didn't make a headline and is hardly going to be repeated as a racial slur. His other comments, on the other hand, did have an effect but not for the better. The problem is not that other people may have unjustifiably taken offence at an imagined slight, but that Jack's words constituted a very real setback to race relations. He really needs to see that.

Change the world

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Train the entrepreneurs

I liked one of the answers on Any Questions last week about how we deal with a lack of jobs in a jobs market dominated by science and technology. It seemed obvious to Susan Greenfield, a scientist,that we need a workforce that is trained in science and technology and she told us that only 17% of students are taking one or more science A levels. Her answer was that we need to encourage our students in this direction.

However she also said that we have 70 graduates for every job. It strikes me that we have enough trained scientists already. Unfortunately it doesn't take much working out to discover that if you take 17% of those 70 graduates you still find that there are 11.9 really well qualified graduates going for each job. Maybe we need a few entrepreneurs before we think about the technologies.

Change the world

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The benefits of walking

As a physiotherapist I used to give advice on keeping active. "Low-impact aerobic exercise" was a phrase that I used to use. What this means is do enough to get the breathing going and then it is a cardiovascular exercise, but not with the impact that you get on the joints by jogging. In general I think those people who wish to take part in high=impact exercise are healthier than those who don't, but what we should definitely be doing is walking, briskly if possible.

In practice what this means is to park the car at a distance and walk the last mile. This is particularly beneficial if you want to go into the city centre. I parked ten minutes away from Manchester city centre on Sunday. Parking was free. I heard yesterday that the high cost of parking in Manchester is second only to London. Which magazine tells us that it costs £13.20 for four hours in the most expensive car parks.

A few years ago I parked on the street (at no charge) as I walked to the theatre. It took me two or three minutes at the most but opposite the theatre was a car park with a sign that told me it would only cost £12 to park there for the evening.

You can save on parking fees, improve your health and save the environment by driving less. I know there will be some who disagree with this blog. Some prefer to park outside the door and save those few minutes. I hope they think about this saving when they are sat in front of the television falling asleep.

Change the world

Monday, 21 February 2011

Is it worth a rant?

I was watching Top Gear yesterday and Jeremy Clarkson was having a rant about our ability to clear snow from airport runways. He was driving a vehicle that looked like it could move any amount of snow - and then his rant stopped when the vehicle did the same. However they did manage to clear the runway and the rant continued.

Yes Jeremy you can do anything with political will. The big question is not whether you can do something but whether you want to with the costs involved. I received a reply to a blog yesterday about turning Lancaster Castle into a tourist attraction. There would be a problem with parking. Well yes there would be more of a problem if you had more cars coming into the centre of the city. Do we want Lancaster to have a fabulous tourist attraction or not? Is it worth developing Lancaster? I did reply that I wrote a blog about solving the parking problem a while ago. It can be done and it doesn't have to cost a lot.

As for keeping the runways clear, the question is just the same as keeping our roads clear. We gave up this idea a long time ago. It's just not worth the rant Jeremy.

Change the world

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Support for Morecambe's Winter Gardens

David Hasselhoff supports the reopening of the Winter Gardens. That's great! The more support for the reopening the better. However I have to wonder whether the Hoff would still support the reopening if he knew that the Winter Gardens was a theatre and not a set of gardens. It may well be that David has been fed more information, but that’s all it is, a feed.

You would expect that with such a ringing endorsement that David must have some connection with Morecambe, so I did a bit of searching on the internet and came across this article on the Sky News site: "ERIC MORECAMBE AND DAVID HASSELHOFF IN DEPTH" Wow! What in depth connection could there be between the Hoff and the Tall One With Glasses? I'll save you the trouble of following the link. It says "No Content for this connection".

That's it. The whole article. Okay, it is about Eric and not about the town, but after more searching I really don’t think there is a connection between David and Morecambe the town. It’s great that David Hasselhoff thinks that the gardens are "an important part of the UK's heritage", it would be greater still if I thought he knew about the place and was not just repeating someone else’s words. Wouldn’t it be nice if he said the same thing after paying a visit to the Winter Gardens.

Call me cynical because the pronouncement seems to have generated as much publicity for Morecambe MP David Morris as it has for the building. I'd be more impressed if Mr Morris could actually persuade his friend to see the Winter Gardens at first hand. I would find this impressive, it would generate yet more publicity for an edifice that's in dire need of regeneration and it would be a great boost for the town! A triple whammy! But can the MP do it?

Just in case David Morris doesn’t read my blog I will copy this entry and send it to him. I’ll let you know how he gets on.

Change the world

Saturday, 19 February 2011

How not to deal with scams

"You're only in it for yourself" is not a comment limited to rogue MPs. It can be directed towards absolutely anyone. Bankers come to mind but anyone who buys or sells does so in order to get the best deal and that means some people get worse deals. At one extreme this is called theft and in that direction you will find con artists.

The reason that I am writing on this subject is because I received an email yesterday warning me of a scam. This time it wasn't about an email but a telephone scam. I searched for what others were saying about this particular con and everything I saw was praising the sender for informing them.

So I know now that I am in a minority of one when I say that I don't want emails about scams. I am sure that there are hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe millions of possible scams out there and I just don't want to receive this number of emails to warn me about them. Can you imagine if you had just three friends who wanted to inform you. Multiply the first figure of scams you thought of by three.

I'm not saying we shouldn't deal with scams, I'm just saying that friends and relatives sending emails to each other is not the best way to deal with it.

Change the world

Friday, 18 February 2011

When to blow a whistle.

When would you blow the whistle? I once met David Shayler but never asked him when he was moved him to pass secret documents to the Mail on Sunday. I had it in the back of my mind that the prime mover may have been finance which does take some of the gloss off an honourable quest for truth. However money is important if you don't want to live in squalor.

I was talking about whistleblowing today with a couple of people. One thought that whistles should be blown at the first opportunity, but when I explained that whistleblowing involved telling someone outside the organisation she told me she felt that if something was going wrong then something (within the organisation) should be done immediately. Having looked it up there is a definition of internal whistleblowing which covers this scenario but to me this is just following normal procedure.

There is a local report about how medical records are kept (see the blog from 3rd Feb) and it looks like something is being done only because of a whistleblower. Take MPs expenses. We need whistleblowers. I happen to think David Shayler was right. Whistles need to be blown but wouldn't it be nice if this were not the case.

Change the world

Thursday, 17 February 2011

More on AV

On Tuesday I wrote how we would be hearing so much more about AV. Little did I know at the time that Newsnight would be debating the subject on last night's programme. We had Michael Crick telling us the basic details of how AV works. It isn't difficult to understand but this was a concern for one member of the audience later in the show. We had a lively interview with Paddy Ashdown and John Prescott and there was a debate between two teams of three politicians. I forecast on Tuesday that we would hear much more about AV and, call me reckless but I will stick my neck out again to say that we will be hearing more on the same subject.

The main point for me was made by a French commentator who compared British and French political systems. You just don't find debates that are black and white. You don't argue for or against single proposals but welcome the fact that there are many sides to a debate. I know that AV isn't proportional but with AV you can't ignore the feelings of those who would vote for other parties. It is centrist. Put another way it limits extremism which is bound to be a good thing if you don't like extremes.

On the other hand prior to the last election AV would not have changed the result of the previous six elections. It is not going to turn the world upside down. In fact the only recent change would have been that Labour could have formed a government with the Liberal Democrats.

First-past-the-post gave us a coalition but wouldn't it be nice to see all elections in which no seats were safe, in which you couldn't see a (metaphorical) pig with a rosette winning, and to have MPs who did not have a job for life but had to work hard for their constituents. You may be lucky and have a hard-working MP but it shouldn't be down to luck.

Change the world

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

More on the Morecambe Sculpture

I was part of an interesting conversation a couple of days ago which helped modify my views on the piece of sculpture in Morecambe that is currently being debated. I started from a position that some people like it and some people don't. I am quite sympathetic to a lot of works of art and visit galleries frequently. However I also feel there is a lot of rubbish around. Others will explain in the strongest terms how an unmade bed has pushed the boandaries of art. I haven't got past the unmade bed stage.

I thought that it was not the role of councillors to be our artistic arbiter. Just because councillors like a particular work of art should not decide whether we get it. If this were the case then I suspect most modern art galleries would close. The difference here is that the "Venus and Cupid" statue is to be paid for by the council. Someone has to decide. It means that works of art will not be avant garde - no boundaries will be pushed back. Councillors do have to judge, but wouldn't it be nice if they consulted widely, say with Focus leaflets.

Change the world

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Tactical Voting

I am part of a team who put out leaflets and I recently received a very nice reply from a 92-year-old who took the trouble to tell me how her father had told her that a vote for the Liberals was a wasted vote. Well a vote for Liberal Democrats is not a wasted vote now. There is a Liberal Democrat councillor in my part of Morecambe. The leader of the City council is a Liberal Democrat, and I have also heard something about coalition in government!

This story leads nicely into the referendum on AV. If the vote is to go ahead in May next year then we will hear a lot more about the pros and cons of changing the voting system, but the present first-past-the-post system allows for 2% of the population to decide who will govern the country. The vast majority of votes don't count either because they are not cast for the winning candidate or the winning party and there is a total distortion of voting caused by tactics. You just don't get tactical voting if your vote counts.

Change the world

Monday, 14 February 2011

Lord Carey and This Week

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury was in the news following last week's BBC's This Week programme as he suggested that local footballers should bale out Liverpool Council. I think we can agree that Premiership footballers are paid well, too well for my liking but at least they have one thing in their favour, they are in the public eye. There are so many others who are anonymous, like the bankers whom he also critised, who are earning obscene amounts of money. Of course no individual should be compelled to hand over their "hard-earned" money to any charity or to any council for that matter. Why should one footballer donate a large proportion of his wealth and another do nothing? Lord Carey may gain more support if he argues for a redistribution of wealth rather than pick on famous individuals.

I will now come to Lord Carey's support. Michael Portillo criticised his report by saying that he unfairly criticised Margaret Thatcher. When she said there was no such thing as society, she was actually saying the same thing as David Cameron because she added that there were families and communities. No she didn't Michael. It may be worth re-reading the full quote. Margaret did not mention communities. If she had done so then she would have been rightly criticised for talking nonsense as communities are a synonym for society. Margaret did use the word neighbour but that is a long way from any organised society. She was criticising those who looked to others (not family) to support them. She didn't want a big society.

I could write so many blogs on Lord Carey's report but I'll restrict myself to one more point. He believes that Liverpool City Council's refusal to join in with the big society has a certain logic about it. He could equally have said the City Council's refusal to join in with the big society has a certain petulance about it. It is a pity that Lord Carey had to mix his generally correct commentary with specific political partisan support.

Change the world

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A time without lawyers?

On Friday evening I was fortunate enough to be part of a sell-out crowd watching Fairport Convention at The Platform in Morecambe. Simon Nicol introduced the song Matty Groves by mentioning the story. He never told us the title but I am sure the majority of the audience knew which song would be sung when Simon spoke about a time before lawyers when a husband killed his wife and her lover.

In fact he enthused about such a time when there were no lawyers. Of course lawyers have been around for some time and they have been around much longer than this 16th century song. There are quite a few lawyers in the Bible and I seem to remember a major trial in the New Testament. However I do take Simon's point. When traffic lights stop working I tend to find traffic flows more easily. I wonder what would happen without lawyers.

Change the world

Saturday, 12 February 2011

A speedy conversation

I went for a drink a couple of days ago - nothing unusual there. In one pub I was in a conversation about cars and two drinkers reckoned there was nothing wrong with speeding. One person even said that if they were chased by the police for twenty minutes then it was worth a fine!

I have always accepted that fast cars with top speeds well in excess of our speed limits were acceptable because they can accelerate quickly, can be used to their full potential on Autobahns and they may be nice cars. This wasn't good enough for these two. It seems that a driver of a sports car would look foolish (those weren't the exact words that were used) if they kept to the speed limits.

I did not think that I held a minority view that we should keep to the speed limit. I don't think we can pick and choose which laws we wish to break but it looks like there we need to win over a few more hearts and minds.

Change the world

Friday, 11 February 2011

Support for PFIs?

The headline in today's Lancaster Guardian is about the possible move of Lancaster's market to the City Museum. The reason why there is a search for a new site is because a previous administration allowed a private firm to build the market and lease it back to the council on a 99-year lease. What this means is that the council pays the owners £564 000 per year. There are other expenses associated with the market amounting to a further £347 000. The good news (if there is any good news) is that the market raises £332 000. You don't have to be a mathematician to work out that £579 000 is lost each year.

You may have heard of the private finance initiative because it is a means for private money to fund public projects. How could we possibly afford new schools or hospitals or even markets without such funding? PFIs were initiated by a Conservative government and extended under a Labour one. The trouble is that we find examples like Lancaster Market. Businesses are not charities. They don't provide money for schools without a hope of financial gain. That's not how businesses work. Compare this view with that of many top politicians. I remember the passion and emotion of Tony Blair telling us how we were caring for our society. Well society couldn't afford it and can't afford it now. How do you compete with this emotion. The answer is easy. Ask who is paying more than half a million pounds for one small market.

Change the world

Thursday, 10 February 2011

What's a banker worth?

Bank leaders are "livid" because they are receiving an increased levy of £800m. Compare that with more than £6bn about to leave the banks' coffers as bonuses. This means that there is about eight times more going to top bankers than the amount which is making them so angry. I think it is time for them to calm down.

When I started out in politics as a teenager I felt that I knew the right thing to do (hence these blogs) but I did not know as much as other politicians. I went on to get a degree with the Open University, mainly in the social sciences, but I didn't feel that it made a great deal of difference as I was still the same person. I still thought I had the best ideas but a piece of paper said I could think politically. It didn't say I had the right ideas but I still feel that's the case.

It doesn't really matter if we are talking politics or business, the sciences or the arts, there are some people who rise above the rest, but in banking those slightly above the ordinary people find themselves in an extraordinary financial position when it comes to bonuses. The argument to keep them so well paid goes along the lines that we have to attract the best minds for such important positions. They may be the best minds but they are just people who have risen above the rest. We really have to question their worth.

Change the world

Wednesday, 9 February 2011


There's an interesting article on patriotism at

It begins with several definitions of Patriotism, all of which make it sound like a good and natural thing. For instance, "true patriotism is the impulse to defend one's land, country or way of life against unjust governmental oppression". It continues with numerous quotes from famous people such as Ben Jonson and Leo Tolstoy, all of which seem to paint patriotism one of the worst things imaginable. For instance there is Jonson's "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."

If Patriotism is so good, how can so may famous people say it is so bad? How can the impulse to defend one's way of life against unjust oppression be the last refuge of a scoundrel?

The article hints at an answer, referring to a "pseudo-patriotism", and suggesting that all the famous critics of patriotism are actually against this pseudo-patriotism and not against true patriotism at all. But what is this "pseudo-patriotism? The article doesn't give it a name, but it does have one: jingoism. Jingoism is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as "extreme patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy". It equates love of one's own country with hatred of others. When "It is not enough that the others are other; we have to see them as a threat - at the very least to 'our way of life', perhaps to our jobs, even to our daughters", that is Jingoism.

Does patriotism have to devolve into jingoism? That has happened so often it may seem to be inevitable, but I like to be positive. I believe that it is possible to love the culture and way of life which shaped you, without having to hate or blame any other ways of life or cultures.

Change the World.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Any Answers

Is it ever morally right to do such and such is a question for philosophers rather than politicians or historians but it was a question on this week's Any Questions. If you take the stance that it is absolutely right to do such and such then you dig yourself into a hole. Social science questions just don't lend themselves to yes or no answers and even at GCSE level a balanced argument will give better results.

The question on Any Questions was about when is it morally justified to prop up a dictator to preserve the status quo. It was about Egypt but if you give an answer "never" then you haven't really understood the question. There are lots of reasons why you should support dictators and it may be the best practical answer. I prefer democracy and that would be part of my answer but it would never include the word never.

In the same programme there was a question about the big society. One answer included the imposition of CRB checks on anyone who works anywhere near a child. They described it as an indignity of "essentially being accused by the state of being a possible paedophile". I take the point but the state should do something. I would probably agree that CRB checks are excessive but what really irritated me was Peter Hain's interjection "but what about the school caretaker who murdered those two little girls?"

Peter Hain was referring to Ian Huntley and the Soham murders following which the Bichard inquiry's recommendation directly led to CRB checks. None of this would have stopped Ian Huntley as he was not connected by employment to the two ten-year-old girls. It's all very well getting emotional and interrupting other panellists but it would be nice to have something rational to say. Emotion does not sit easily beside rationality.

Change the world

Monday, 7 February 2011

Multiculturalism has failed?

David Cameron tells us that multiculturalism has failed. Well that's the headline and that's the bit everyone will remember. Mr Cameron mostly speaks about terrorism and is at pains to ensure that he says the right thing. He tries hard not to criticise any particular ethnic minority or any particular religion. Unfortunately he does. "Nevertheless, we should acknowledge that this threat (terrorism) comes in Europe overwhelmingly from young men who follow a completely perverse, warped interpretation of Islam".

So it's alright to criticise young Islamic men then. He tells us that part of the problem is that "these young men also find it hard to identify with Britain too, because we have allowed the weakening of our collective identity". David, put yourself in a position of a young Islamic man who has tried his hardest to integrate and feels he identifies totally with Britain. You have just dented his values.

David's answer is that the distortion of Islam has to be tackled by members of this faith. Furthermore we must not allow these extremists to live apart from the rest of the British society. If only life were so simple. I wrote a blog on the 10th January about Jack Straw's overt racism. David has fallen into the same trap. In practice what he has said is that this is a problem for Muslims to deal with. Does he think that all Muslims have collective responsibility and collective blame? In that case they are all collectively guilty. I don't think so. Secondly he names an easily identifiable group (just like Jack did) and blames a small section within this group.

The headline about the failings of multiculturalism is written because some people don't speak English and there is a need to educate them about "elements of a common culture". I can't help thinking of the British in Spain. How would they react if they were told that they had to speak Spanish and stop drinking Watney's Red Barrel? I would like to see others treated the way that I would like to be treated. I would like the ability to go abroad and keep my culture, so why shouldn't others. Terrorism doesn't come from lack of integration or enforcing cultural integration. It comes when you treat people badly.

Change the world

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Venus and Cupid 2

Before I leave Venus and Cupid I thought that I would show you a couple more photos. It is an ideal setting as there are so many angles that show you great backgrounds of Morecambe Bay.

What would I do if I were able to make the decision about keeping this statue? Well the debate is not about living within our means. We just don't do that. The debate is about priorities. If you think about Morecambe and its attractions you may think of Eric's statue, the Stone Jetty and the Midland Hotel. I have told people to come over to Morecambe to see this statue so it is in the list somewhere, and as for cost it must be the cheapest item on the list.

I would imagine that the amount being asked to keep the statue in its present location is the going rate and I reckon it represents pretty good value. Whether the council can afford it is another matter and the only way that I would know where my vote would go is by looking at the other priorities and by checking public opinion. Focus leaflets can come in handy.

Change the world

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Venus and Cupid

In March last year I showed some photos of this statue called Venus and Cupid which you can see on Morecambe prom. I have taken a few photos of it over the years and I have to say that I quite like it. I know there are some who aren't keen but that's art for you. It is in the news now because it doesn't belong to the council and money is needed to keep it in place.

I have written previously about the Morecambe Bay Independent Party who deny that they are a party when it comes to election leaflets. I know a little about the way they think as they "put Morecambe first" but I am not entirely sure what this means, as one of their members has written to reject the art work in favour of saving money for the whole of the local government district.

I am confused by their stance. I don't know if it is the view of one person (they call themselves independents) or whether it is their party policy to object to spending on works of art in their neck of the woods.

Change the world

Friday, 4 February 2011

Local satisfaction

A friend was telling me recently how we have to reduce our carbon footprint. He thought that we don't have our priorities right and he mentioned an advert about holidays which is on TV at the moment. The advert asks the question do you go on holiday to relax or get fit. He felt that you cannot go to get fit as this depends on a way of life. As for relaxing we are being tempted to take summer holidays in winter and vice versa. Why don't we wait for the appropriate season and save money? What is the point of travelling around the world in order to lie in the sun?

We can go down to the supermarket and get any seasonal fruit or vegetable at any time of the year. Why? The answer, of course is because of demand. Why shouldn't we be able to buy a strawberry in February? Why shouldn't we have summer holidays in winter? The answer to this is that we are wasting the earth's resources. We are being conned to think that we need to take a routine holiday in the wrong season by the tourist industry. I wrote a recent blog about happiness. Well our taste for things tropical is causing us to live a hectic life to pay for it. My conclusion to the happiness blog was to be happy whatever we do. The conclusion to this blog is to be satisfied with local resources.

Change the world

Thursday, 3 February 2011

NHS Records

'Your medical records are in here...somewhere' was the headline on the front page of the local newspaper yesterday. There was also a large photo of a chaotic filing system with lots of records piled up on the floor. Inside the paper it tells us that the photo was taken two weeks ago. This is nothing new. I watched a mandatory fire lecture five or six years ago and a similar photo was shown. The reason it was shown was to make us more aware of fire hazards but my first reaction was more to do with how they would find my records. I am pleased that this information has been made public as this is a common method for things to improve.

A few years ago I attended a course on legal matters in the NHS. It was mentioned that there was a study on the south coast in which all the patients of a local hospital held their own records. None were lost but this happens frequently within the NHS. It makes you wonder why they have studies.

Change the world

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Abject French Submission

I thought I would share my photography blog with you today - well it does have a photo of the Palace of Westminster in the background. You may like to take a look at

I mentioned in my politics blog yesterday that I am reading a comedy book by Al Murray. I am also reading Stephen Clarke's 1000 years of annoying the French and I have just read the section on the siege of Calais. The burghers are supposed to be French heroes who gave their lives for the inhabitants of Calais. As it turns out these same leaders had previously decided to sacrifice 500 of their less well-off citizens.

Rodin produced the sculpture over 500 years after the event but he knew the burghers weren't the heroes they were made out to be. These poses are not heroic. I didn't realise that there are twelve casts of this sculpture dotted around the world. I knew there was one in Calais and I saw this one recently near the Houses of Parliament. Stephen's conclusion is that 'any British parliamentarian who goes out for a breath of fresh air in the park will come face to face with an image of abject French submission'.

Change the world

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Advice from Al Murray

I have started to read Al Murray's book of British Common Sense. I am writing about it here as there is so much to agree with. It really doesn't matter where you get your ideas but I didn't expect to get motivation for a political blog from his book. I'll share a couple of his ideas with you.

The first one is his response to the notion that no one should win in running races at school as someone may get upset. For every winner there is a loser and in most cases there is a whole league of losers. The British attitude is that it is not winning it is the taking part. We can't be upset at losing but this shouldn't stop us wanting to win and it shouldn't stop us announcing the winner.

Al also writes about taking our children to school by car so that they don't get run over but if we didn't use our cars then we wouldn't get run over. I think we use our cars because we have them and then make up stories about busy lives and how we need them, but life really does go on if the car breaks down and if you have to walk to school.

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