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Eddie Mair | 06:29 UK time, Friday, 26 January 2007

A comfy place for serious talk on serious subjects - YOU choose...

Comments

  1. At 07:28 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Jason Good wrote:

    I'd just like to kick off with a suggestion for a topic.

    Given the current state of things in this country, should we be hosting the Olympics in 2012? Shouldn't we, instead, be using the effort and resources to address problems elsewhere in society?

    As we can no longer send prisoners to Australia, should we not send the Olympics there as they have already gone to the expense of creating trhe infrastructure?

    Were we ever asked if we wanted the Olympics? Are they any more than a chance for international big wigs to get together and live it up?

  2. At 08:57 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Chrissie the Trekkie wrote:

    I dread the Olympics - I have to commute into London from the east... The roadworks in Kent are bad enough now, wait until they start the building.
    (If trains were an option I'd use them. They aren't. I bus it instead.)

    I didn't want the games, we as a capital city obviously can't afford them on our own. Hence the National Lottery money. You the government wanted an excuse to regenerate part of the city? Why not just do it instead of spending all that money on overseas presentations and publicity and security etc etc etc.

  3. At 09:06 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    You survived Burns night more or less intact then M'Lud?

    Or not actually made it home yet....

    Si.

  4. At 09:11 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    My suggestion for a topic is as follows:

    Having listened to (part of) the Today programme this morning, hosted by Sequin and Smonty, I've been ruminating on the relative merits of all-female teams.

    The GP Surgery I attend was, until fairly recently, an all-female affair, and is still dominated by women, with one token male GP. It is a very harmonious, extremely user-friendly place, and its users all speak very highly of the service they get there. The surgery's users, by gender, have not been affected by this unusual set up, and men are apparently as happy with the setup as are women. Yet this set up, like Today's broadcast this morning, is still very unusual.

    What do others think?

  5. At 09:13 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Jason (1): I agree with you on your points fundamentally but I do have to wonder whether you could say the same about every country and society when they host the Olympics - there is nothing special about the problems that we are facing particularly.
    As for being asked about hosting the Olympics...well, we are not asked about anything else that the government does, so why should they even consider asking about this? If they can spend billions of pounds on a war that no-one wanted to go into, then they certainly will not ask our opinion on if the country wants to host a sporting version of the Eurovision Song Contest. They completely ignored the majority viewpoint of "Oh god, no!" which rang across London when the olympic bid results were announced,

  6. At 09:15 AM on 26 Jan 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Jason do not get me started on the Olympics.No we shouldn't be hosting them and no we weren't ever asked. And if we had been we should have said no. And if we'd been forced to have them we should have had some say in where they were held and it shouldn't have been London.

    I really do not see the point of being an Olympic host nation/city. The buildings cost a fortune and will be expensive white elephants afterwards, they will cost squillions of pounds more than the budget and for at least 18 months beforehand we will be subjected to countless media stories about how it's not all going to be ready in time. It will be a security nightmare and possibly a washout.
    I really wish my income tax payments could be marked - none of this to be wasted on the Olympics'.

  7. At 09:18 AM on 26 Jan 2007, admin annie wrote:

    That Peter Mandelson, what a guy - eh? Anyone else hear him on the Today Program? He was asked a perfectly legitimate question about the Dohar trade round and immediately turned it into a personal attack on him and started whining about how the interviewer should be fair to him and not make it a personal attack.

    Que?

    He is one of the few people who makes me want to swear. HOnestly I fully expected him to start telling hte interview that he was going to cry and tell his Mummy about how nasty the interviewer had been to him.

    Grow up man, funnily enough it's not all about you - something the rest of us learned when we were two.

  8. At 09:35 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Member of the Public wrote:

    Nearly 18 months after the Government promised that the whole country would reap the rewards of London being awarded the 2012 Olympics, there now appears to be a hollow ring to this pledge.

    It is already clear that the English regions, such as those north of Watford, are being short-changed on transport funding in order to pay for major new schemes in the capital, like the Crossrail link. Recently, to compound matters further, a respected economic think-tank has warned that the impact of the Games on the English regions will, in fact, be negligible.

    Indeed, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) went further and warned about the dangers of "excessively high hopes" being built up about the economic value of the regional dividend. They said, there was an over emphasise on in that other regions of Britain would actually see any benefits.

    I don't think the Government cannot ignore such criticisms. For, as the opening ceremony draws nearer and nearer, and the cost of staging the sporting spectacular soars still higher and higher, there is every prospect of even more public money being channelled into London at the expense of the rest of the country. This I think must be resisted, especially given how the London bid team wowed the International Olympic Committee with the concept of a "British Olympics".

    If they are going to be true to their word, they must now set out, in precise terms, how they intend every region to benefit from the 2012 Games – and how every community and, more importantly, every school will be able to live the much quoted Olympic dream.

    It is not too much to ask is it? If the Government and the London team are committed to involving the whole country in the Olympic venture. Their response will be a test of the sincerity of their intentions.

  9. At 10:13 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Belinda wrote:

    Further to my own message above, a couple of amendments:

    Where I said: "If they can spend billions of pounds on a war that no-one wanted to go into", I meant "If they can spend billions of pounds on a war that many people did not want to go into"


    and where I said: "They completely ignored the majority viewpoint of "Oh god, no!" which rang across London when the olympic bid results were announced" I meant "They completely ignored the not-insubstantial viewpoint of..."

    I don't want Aperitif to yell at me for making erroneous blanket statements to support my own opinion. Apologies Appy.

  10. At 10:50 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Jason (1), Belinda before your amendments, MotP etc,

    Me too. As far as I'm concerned, I'm paying a fortune in additional council tax to have built on the other side of London a load of stadia on a flood plain (and liable to be completely flooded once sea level rises really kick in). Only benefit to me: possibility of loads of back-packers camping in Richmond Park, terrible traffic* around London Heathrow... and I don't like watching sport. If it really is "sport" these days, perhaps more of a pharmacutical challenge cup.

    Maybe the regeneration of E London needed a kick start like this, as it clearly was not happening otherwise. But I simply don't believe that the economic benefits will come out in the end. How many host cities have *really* made a profit. If London does, by some miracle, make a profit out of the games, will we have council tax refunds (retorical question)?.

    Already the costs are spirialing (and they forgot to add VAT!!! - but hang on, VAT does not apply to new build, but does apply to renovation.....someone square that, please), progress appears to be zilch. I mean, Wembley Stadium is a prime model of getting the building finished in time - almost two years late now. Twickenham rugby ground is alleged to be running behind on it's rebuilding - I'm sure they've put back the opening date of the hotel that's built into it.

    A German woman I was with as we passed some jamboree (before the announcement), wondered why so many, but I in particular, was so anti the whole thing. I pointed out we'd already failed to host one event we had won (some atheletics event at Pickett's Lock), it would cost a fortune more than the bid presenters would claim, etc. etc. If the Germans had bid, (and won), you bet they were ready to start digging the foundations the next morning, not starting drawing up plans to submit for planning permission (which one stadium failed!)

    I might have had a slightly different view if the one or some of the stadia were at least already under construction (e.g. as the new home of West Ham FC, who I believe will move in afterwards).

    I have no idea why our so-called leaders seem mad keen to host every conceivable sporting "world cup" or "olympics" in general, and hosting the 2012 Paris Olympics in particular, and spend millions on bid preparations. When I heard that London had won, I can tell you my language was far stronger than Belinda's, although with the same message.

    Rant over for the moment, I've got work to continue with...

    *reliative to the terrible traffic around London Heathrow on a normal day.

  11. At 10:55 AM on 26 Jan 2007, whisky-joe wrote:

    Is the room still spinning?

  12. At 10:59 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Belinda (9),

    Well dodged! ;-)

    I agree on the cost/benefit analysis of the Games, but it's just another illustration of the impotence of those not near the centre of this over-centralised entity.

    I remind all present that I'll award a prize to anyone who can show me a centralised system in Nature.
    xx
    ed

  13. At 11:06 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Mrs Trellis wrote:

    I have just found this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6297573.stm
    on the BBC news website and am struggling to believe/comprehend it.
    Basically, babies are being taken from their parents so that councils can meet adoption targets! The idea seems to be that if they take "cute" babies between the ages of one and four, they will be easier to place with adoptive families thereby boosting their figures and achieving the targets set by government.

    Words cannot express my disgust.

  14. At 11:10 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Jason Good wrote:

    Lord Coe would be absolutely livid if it were cancelled, though...

    I see the head of the Youth Justice Board has resigned because so many young people are now being brought before the youth courts and into detention centres. What an unsurprising side effect of ASBOs - that little piece of legislation to be very lightly used in cases of most need only...

  15. At 11:13 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Thomas-Terry wrote:

    Oh I see the Furrowed Brow is open. I shall, without hesitation, traverse to it for a quiet potation, some fine company, piquant food and a few libations of the old ale not forgetting the Oban varieties of course. Splendidly propitious in every respect.

    To one and all, enjoy the day and celebrate life.

  16. At 11:24 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Little Miss Poppy wrote:

    Hi Eddie and team,

    1st time blogger, but a long time listener of yours, have been with you since Radio 5 days but think PM is your best by far !!!

    I listen everynight, either in the car or in the kitchen or whilst walking Finnley (my springer spaniel).

    Have heard you talk about the blog many times, but today I managed to read thru most of the ones for this week - loved the ones about the dogs ! Great postings about haggis too.

    Hope all is well with your world and all the best to you and your brilliant team !

    Love LMP

  17. At 11:37 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Chris, London. wrote:

    Hi Eddie and froggers - some new words for you all. Go on it's Friday.

    TESTICULATING. Waving your arms around and talking B*ll*cks.

    BLAMESTORMING. Sitting around in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible.

    SEAGULL MANAGER. A manager, who flies in, makes a lot of noise, cr*ps on everything, and then leaves.

    ARSEMOSIS. The process by which people seem to absorb success and advancement by sucking up to the boss rather than working hard.

    SALMON DAY. The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die.

    CUBE FARM. An office filled with cubicles.

    PRAIRIE DOGGING. When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see that's going on. (This also applies to applause for a promotion because there may be cake.)

    SITCOM's. Single Income, Two Children and Oppressive Mortgage. What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids or start a "home business".

    SINBAD. Single working girls. Single income, no boyfriend and desperate.

    STRESS PUPPY. A person who seems to thrive on being stressed out and whiny.

    PERCUSSIVE MAINTENANCE. The fine art of whacking the life out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

    ADMINISPHERE. The rarefied organisational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the "adminisphere" are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve. This is often affiliated with the dreaded "administrivia" - needless paperwork and processes.

    404. Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found," meaning that the requested document could not be located.

    OHNOSECOND. That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just made a BIG mistake (e.g. you've hit 'reply all')

    GOING FOR A McPoo. Entering a fast food restaurant with no intention of buying any food, you're just going to the bog. If challenged by a pimply staff member, your declaration to them that you'll buy their food afterwards is known as a McPoo with Lies.

    BEER COAT. The invisible but warm coat worn when walking home after a booze cruise at 3am.

    BEER COMPASS. The invisible device that ensures your safe arrival home after booze cruise, even though you're too drunk to remember where you live, how you got here, and where you've come from.

    BREAKING THE SEAL. Your first pee in the pub, usually after 2 hours of drinking. After breaking the seal of your bladder, repeat visits to the toilet will be required every 10 or 15 minutes for the rest of the night.

    JOHNNY-NO-STARS. A young man of substandard intelligence, the typical adolescent who works in a burger restaurant. The 'no-stars' comes from the badges displaying stars that staff at fast-food restaurants often wear to show their level of training.

    MILLENNIUM DOMES. The contents of a Wonderbra, i.e. extremely impressive when viewed from the outside, but there's actually naught in there worth seeing.

    MONKEY BATH. A bath so hot, that when lowering yourself in, you go: "Oo!Oo!Oo! Aa!Aa!Aa!".

    MYSTERY BUS. The bus that arrives at the pub on Friday night while you're in the toilet after your 10th pint, and whisks away all the unattractive people so the pub is suddenly packed with stunners when you come back in.

    MYSTERY TAXI. The taxi that arrives at your place on Saturday morning before you wake up, whisks away the stunner you slept with, and leaves a 10-Pinter in your bed instead.

    Have a splendiferous Friday!!

  18. At 11:39 AM on 26 Jan 2007, Jason Good wrote:

    Ed (10): ant or bee colonies? I know that is going to turn out a stupid suggestion but it naively seems under the centralised control of the queen.

  19. At 12:03 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Nice one Belinda (9) -- I didn't mean to discourage anyone from arguing their point of view, just from presuming that it is also the view of the "sensible majority".

    Jason (1) Re: Given the current state of things in this country
    A bit sweeping, no? What exactly do you mean? As Belinda says at 5 -- our society's problem are not unique. As the fifth-richest economy in the world we are a generally affluent society (and, yes, I know it's not all about money). Where would you rather be? Where is in a better state -- one good enough to host the olympics? Methinks someone may have been reading the Daily Mail...

  20. At 12:04 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    OLYMPICS?

    Hold them in GREECE every time. That's where they started, and that is where they should stay.

    Mount Olympus is quite near to hand...

  21. At 12:21 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Ros Power wrote:

    I don't know what the Catholic Church is complaining about.

    How on earth can you tell whether a child is a homosexual or a heterosexual? I can't see how this legislation affects its service provision in the slightest.

  22. At 12:27 PM on 26 Jan 2007, RJD wrote:

    Little Miss Poppy (15) - Welcome to the blog. Why not visit the Beach as well There is a very good area to exercise dogs and I am often found there with my springer, Robbie. Just be aware of the camels. Robbie doesn't like them.


    whisky-joe (10) – No, the room is perfectly still. I think it must be you that is still spinning.

  23. At 12:35 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Little Miss Poppy:

    Do feel free to add further to the doggie discussions! I'm keeping track of them with a view to posting to our 'outside link' (see the Beach for further info).

    Just to help me keep what little sanity I still possess, however, perhaps you could try to post them to threads which don't go back too far (preferably today, or the current Beach - if you don't understand about the Beach, check the categories, click on that, then go the the most recent one. It will make sense once you get there, honestly!)

  24. At 12:47 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    London Chris: Didn't you read the rubric for this thread?

    SERIOUS talk!

    LOL though .... :o)

    PS Can I add one more to your list?

    CHRISISM Looking at life on the light side.

  25. At 01:10 PM on 26 Jan 2007, RJD wrote:

    Mrs Trellis (12)

    I've just read that article and I wouldn't worry. Some of the statements attributed to the MP are just ridiculous. He has taken a couple of “facts” and invented a causal relationship. He also seems to think that Social Workers act independently of court procedures.

    And as for more transparency in Family Court Proceedings – I’ll listen to any argument he has for that when he explains how he can have such increased transparency at the same time as maintaining the confidentiality required by all parties.

  26. At 01:46 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Jason Good wrote:

    Aperitif (19): Methinks someone may have been reading the Daily Mail...

    Aaaaaaargh! Nooooo!

    Ahem. No. I leave that to my mum.

    Yes, it was a sweeping statement, intended to provoke discussion.

    My personal preference would be for the money to be spent on other things. For example, helping those who belong to failed pensions funds.

    I don't have an exhaustive list but it seems that almost every problem we face as a society, the government are unable to act "comprehensively" because of budgetry constraints. Yet there seems to a bottomless pit when it comes to hosting an Olympics.

    It was initially going to cost £2.4bn. Then £3.3bn (excluding revised security costs and regeneration). The final figure will undoubtedly be considerably more.

    It just seems to be one of those drum thumping, flag waving showpieces to make the world see that we are a "major player". Which Daily Mail readers would probably enjoy.

    (My personal newspaper taste is for The Guardian, but I buy it very infrequently because on-line news feeds are much more up to date.)

  27. At 01:57 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Jason (14),

    That would be an outcome I'd pay to watch!

    Jason (18),

    Certainly in the case of honey bees, it's a kind of group conciousness. If the hive thinks that the current queen is not up to it, they'll feed up newly hatched grubs in a special way to allow them to grow into new queens; then the old one leaves (or is booted out).

    The Queen is the only one that should lay eggs (other workers in certain circumstances can, a little known fact), and while she's fit, it's only her offspring that become workers and drones.

    If the hive is attacked and the bees decide to flee, it's an activity that involves the entire hive. The Queen certainly would not be the first to know, or decide to leave.

    I assume something similar applies for Ants.

  28. At 02:13 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Felix. wrote:

    Have the Yanks got...

    * The Worst Pressydint in history;

    * The Dumbest Pressydint in history;

    * Most 'certifiable" Pressydint in history;

    * Worst approval rating of any Pressydint in history;

    * Lyingest Pressydint in history.

    An' I could go on, but yew git the drift. Yessir.

  29. At 02:24 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Zebedee wrote:

    Brilliant Chris! (17)

    On a more serious note, why isn't more of a fuss made about politicians who won't appear on news programs such as PM and Today? Supposedly they are accountable to us, but it seems they can carry on perpetrating their perpetual pigs ears, with not a word of explanation or apology to their suffering electorate. Lets have some pressure put on them!

  30. At 02:27 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    Jason (25),

    I erased a whole entry before posting of why I agreed with your original statement, and you've now provided another reason (pensions) which I had not put on my list, despite keeping it just to the current topics.

  31. At 02:27 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Freaky fast cat wrote:

    I think I've just heard on BBC Radio Five 'Live'...that Deputy Prime Minister and ladies man John Prescott is to have a fight with Sycophantic Home Secretary John Reid at half past three this afternoon.

  32. At 05:45 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Ed, [12], how about the central nervous system in humans?

    (yes, I know it isn't much like an Olympic Stadium, but you can't have *everything*)

  33. At 06:38 PM on 26 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Jason (18), & Fish (32),

    Deepjohn has pretty well said it for social insects. They are organised more on boundaries than centrally. The queen is central to the process, but doesn't control.

    The human nervous system is somewhat centralised, but ironically also considerably distributed, and a human person reacts to 'the environment' at its boundaries. Even within the concentrated region (brain), there is much distribution, even of consciousness.

    Where is the centre, and why do we consider it so important?

    xx
    ed

  34. At 08:44 PM on 26 Jan 2007, confused wrote:

    Sorry RJD (25), but I'm with Mrs Trellis here. Whilst there may have been a few inaccuracies in the MP's statement - at least as quoted - there were also inaccuracies from the other parties. It is not necessary to prove in the Family Court that a child has been abused; it is only required that the court believes in the probability of that abuse. In the five years I was involved in the filthy goings on behind those closed doors I never once came across a decision taken completely against the wishes of the social workers. I know it does happen, but it's a rarity. Sadly, social workers who know exactly how to word their accusations (think Blair and co for examples of cleverness with words) get away with it all too often.

    Let's not forget too that "abuse" is not only physical abuse in the form of striking or sexual abuse but also what is considered a lack of care, and this can be almost anything. The child's bad behaviour, for instance, can be blamed with no proof on poor parenting skills. ADHD, now proven by brain scans, was for many years ignored by social services and educational psychologists, with new teachers being told at training colleges that it was only ever down to poor parenting.

    I appreciate the need to protect children - but I also appreciate that this is sometimes against superior-than-thou council employees, and complaining to that same authority is a complete waste of time.

  35. At 01:10 AM on 27 Jan 2007, HelenSparkles wrote:

    Anti olympians are being curmugeons, what with half of East London now getting something they like, oh & I do mean some essential transport links. Everyone I know who lives there wants them so there! So grown up!

    Oh flip Confused, I expect you think those social workers aren't the same ones who have spent a year with a family trying to pursuade them that it really would be a good idea to feed their child or that defacating in a bucket ain't such a good idea. ADHD is far from proven & poor parenting isn't a value judgement, it is set out in the law, guidance & case law you should be so familiar with. If you read this you will find some who share your thinking though, in the daily snail.

    While we could probably find fault with any profession, the welfare of the child is paramount, & transparency would not be in their best interests.

  36. At 01:17 AM on 27 Jan 2007, HelenSparkles wrote:

    Chrissywissy, I hope that lovely lady I saw you being papped with isn't offended that she was the one you woke up with?! I don't know when they filmed Kate Middleton v The Paparazzi but you looked a lot more sanguine than she did.

    For anyone that's interesting, apparently Kate's smile hides any number of emotions, & she is not only not coping the way she might appear to be, but that isn't psychologically helpful at all. That was from the guy who did the 1st BB series & left because it was unethical, so I trust him! I am interested in the psychology rather than the personality I think, but if I were her, I'd be running very fast away from any hint of being married into that particular happy family.

    Happy families, ah what a game, do folk still play? Could we have a game on the beach please?

  37. At 05:12 PM on 27 Jan 2007, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Half of East London may be getting what it wants when the Olympics happen there, but it's a funny thing: none of the people I know who actually live in Newham and around Stratford seem to be delighted.

    Certainly none of the ones whose new jobs have vanished because the place they'd been set up was purchased without the option and shut down seem to be tickled pink about it.

    Maybe the half of East London that is delighted about the Olympics is the half living where they won't be being held?

  38. At 05:49 PM on 27 Jan 2007, confused wrote:

    Thanks for letting me know what you expect of me, Helen (35), but you're way off course. I got my experience working for a national charity where clients were sent to us from a variety of sources: hospital doctors, police officers, churches & other charities and where our funding came from equally varied sources including a couple of high court judges. I also worked occasionally in the family court as a solicitor's clerk when he was double booked.

    I got my knowledge of ADD/ADHD from two consultants (at different major hospitals in the UK) who had been carrying out research into this for around ten years. I know that it does exist and I know of several different causes. I also know it is used as a catch-all term when it shouldn't be, as an excuse for bad-parenting, and that some people continue to deny its very existence.

    We can all find examples where social workers have behaved impeccably, and I would say that in 90%+ of cases this is so. Sadly, paedophiles did infiltrate the children-in-care or residential school system many years ago and cases are still coming to light. Sadly, doctors have sometimes covered up misdiagnoses by blaming parents of Munchausen's syndrome by proxy or, in the case of brittle bone diseases, with child abuse. Sadly, one paediatrician in Wales a few years ago was trying to build himself a reputation as the country's new "guru in Munchausen's cases" (his words not mine). He was not only willing to "lose" or ignore colleagues' diagnoses which clashed with his but lie through his teeth in court. I am proud to have been closely connected to his downfall. Sadly, frequently only British middle-class childrearing "skills" are seen acceptable, so many immigrant families are seen as abusive, particularly from countries which have a patriarchal rather than matriarchal family norm.

    I repeat, I agree that 90%+ of cases going through the family courts are probably fine, decent, honourable, and everything else you want to call them. But I also repeat that some are not, and that the closed doors of this court ensure that these terrible injustices do not normally come to light. You may find that acceptable. I do not.

  39. At 09:52 AM on 28 Jan 2007, Fifi wrote:

    I guess that makes me a curmudgeon then Helen (35).

    A huge amount of money is being spent on this, at a time when -- quite apart from the squadillions of more chronically urgent things needing money spent on them -- we have a security situation that will make London even more of a prime target than it is now.

    For terrorist bombs (and they do seem to be distributed in bulk these days) to attack London during the 2012 Olympics would be as effective as 9/11.

    Or let's say someone finds out there's been a plot to do some bombing, just before the actual Games. "It's OK folks, we've caught them."

    Would you feel very much like travelling halfway round the world, to a place that was only just keeping on top of its insurgent bombers, to watch sport? I wouldn't travel under such circs even for my ideal fantasy music concert!!

    I just don't see how improved sports facilities in London will benefit people who cannot even get across London to use them, let alone to the city from elsewhere in the country. Rail fares are extortionate, driving is hopeless, and of course we can't all fly (and shouldn't anyway, right Ed?).

    The Millennium Dome, may it rot, was a forerunner of exactly the same flawed thinking. It was vanity on the part of the Govt who instigated it, and worse vanity on the part of the Govt who didn't bin it when it took power. Like the Eurotunnel, it has gobbled up public money like there was no tomorrow ... unlike Eurotunnel, it hasn't improved anyone's quality of life or added anything to the UK's economic performance (and of course that's the only measure that counts these days).

    I'm sorry to be such a grump about this, and Helen sweetie, I hope you're not fuming at me now!

    But I do get cross with the way 'London' swallows up resources, attention and glory when there is so much else worth celebrating and regenerating in the UK.

    Oh, and not just in the 'English regions' either -- to take another swipe elsewhere!

    I shall now retire gracelessly to Curmudgeons' Corner with my copy of Moaners' Monthly. No point speaking to me, I'm such a miseryguts........

    Fifi

  40. At 10:31 AM on 28 Jan 2007, Bill'n'Ben wrote:


    Fifi said..
    No point speaking to me, I'm such a miseryguts........

  41. At 10:34 AM on 28 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Fifi (39),
    Right! Hot chocolate?
    xx
    ed

  42. At 12:15 PM on 28 Jan 2007, Bill'n'Ben wrote:


    Why have I been moded again???

    Fifi what I said was,

    No point speaking to me, I'm such a miseryguts........

    no you're not.

    Let's have another try.

    Brian

  43. At 01:31 PM on 28 Jan 2007, Helen the volunteer wrote:

    As someone who lives in the East end, in fact about 10 mins walk from the stadium-to-be, I am delighted about the Olympics. This part of London is economically depressed, bereft of facilities, woefully served by transport links and lacking in green spaces/sports facilities etc etc. I went to the Olympics in 1984 to see Daley Thompson win his 2nd decathlon gold so also have an sports interest, plus I was able to see LA at its best - a rather friendly city with blue skies (many locals left town so there was a dramatic reduction in air pollution for the duration).

    Yes there are all kinds of problems associated with the Olympics in general and this project in particular, and yes the costs will continue to escalate - did you ever know a building project on any scale where this didn't happen? But if the Olympics were ever going to take place in the UK they were only going to happen if they were held in London, and the lower Lea valley was apparently the last possible site that had not been developed. Many of the stadia are already in existence - Wimbledon, Wembley (well nearly), the rowing lake at Eton and so forth.

    I do believe that there will be long term economic and other benefits for this area. I lived overseas for nearly 10 years - in Australia, New Zealand and the US (primarily northern California) and was shocked when I came back at the negativity that tends to pervade life here - everything is impossible, nothing is going to work out well, let's not even try to enjoy being a little bit expansive and celebratory, let's just sit in a corner and complain about anything and everything.

    Of course the money could be better spent on pensions, the care of the mentally ill, drug treatment centres etc. but the fact is it won't. Just as the money that is pumped into armaments, roadbuilding, nuclear power stations, subsidising intensive agriculture that destroys the environment, dubious wars and unelected consultants to HMG (I'm sure we could all go on) won't either.

    The Olympics might just be a catalyst for some improvement in the state of east London, and they might just be FUN. Is that so terrible?

  44. At 03:24 PM on 28 Jan 2007, Molly wrote:

    As a teacher it has always occured to me that the main reasons why lots of children have 'difficulties concentrating' in school is due ,mainly, because they are likely to have had too much additive-laden food and not sufficient sleep.
    Obviously the reasons for this 'poor parenting' have to be considered, but this awful label given to chidren, from all backgrounds, seems to excuse many parents from taking more responsibility for two very basic needs-good food and good sleep.


    ADHD -hmmmmmm!

    .
    Mollyxx

  45. At 05:02 PM on 28 Jan 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    Will a comment appear on this thread I wonder.....? Have posted four times on the beach today and only 1 has appeared. everyone is getting fed up and going home....BnB has gone back to his padded cell, I've got no-one to salsa with...................cue violin music............ :-)

  46. At 06:43 PM on 28 Jan 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    gossipmistress (41) if I provide a large supply of senna pods do you think that will do the trick?

  47. At 07:00 PM on 28 Jan 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    I've been building my own padded cell.

    Awful quiet or blogged up today. I've been away out of doors - cold and breezy but nice nailing weather. It's hard to stay depressed out in the woods, but I try.

    Time for a pint indoors by the fire.

    See y'all.
    ed

  48. At 09:03 PM on 28 Jan 2007, Deepthought (John W) wrote:

    OK, I'm not the only one to notice Bloggage getting worse.

    Eddie, Marc, *what is going on*. Even Lissa is affected!!!

  49. At 11:08 PM on 28 Jan 2007, Valery P wrote:

    GM - how did you get this one through then? I'm giving up now. Good grief, and they've had the cheek to give me the maliciously fast message now!
    Let's hope that tomorrow is a better day, that reminds me, vaguely, of a line from Gone With the Wind - what's the right line?
    OK, so I'm still too fast. Well in that case let me take the opportunity of congratulating Whisht on today's strapline, I have meant to do that on every other post that's gone walkabout today.

  50. At 11:48 PM on 28 Jan 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    If this gets through*, I think, Valery, you may be thinking of the final line from the film, which is, "After all, tomorrow is another day".

    *I'm not holding much hope -- my earlier one didn't.

    Congrats from me too Whisht, btw.

  51. At 12:05 AM on 29 Jan 2007, admin annie wrote:

    Talking of films I've just watched i of my top 5 as featured onthe beach - the Kenneth Branagh Henry V and I still maintain that, Branagh excepted, Christopher Ravenscroft acts everyone else off the film. ANd what a horrid old ham paul Schofiled is.

    Fifi I am coming to join you in Curmudgeons Corner where we can mutter away to our hearts content about all the money gettign concentrated in the south east corner of England adn wasted on vainglorious projects like, the Dome, the new Wembley Stadium, the Olympics etc

    And happy Monday everyone. And goodnight.

  52. At 08:09 AM on 29 Jan 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    Looks like the bloggage might have cleared by 11ish then....I'd given up & gone to bed by then. Admin Annie - good luck (if this gets through - ha! fingers crossed....) GMx

  53. At 09:19 AM on 29 Jan 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Fif & Admin.,

    May I join you? I wasn't going anywhere this week anyway.

  54. At 09:22 AM on 29 Jan 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    So, is anything getting through this morning?

    No point in posting at all if we can't actually talk to each other.

  55. At 09:36 AM on 29 Jan 2007, Belinda wrote:

    admin annie (44): For me, you still cannot beat Larry Olivier's version of Henry V - for me, it ranks alongside the Burton/Gielgud Hamlet of 1964.

  56. At 09:43 AM on 29 Jan 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    It's called intermittent reinforcement conditioning -

    just enough gets through the bloggage to make us keep trying......

    and then you hit the malicious posting message

    1.. 2.. 3..counts to ten...

  57. At 10:10 AM on 29 Jan 2007, Valery P wrote:

    Ah, so you think it's deliberate do you Anne P?
    Who do you think that is on the Beach, masquerading as Another Doctor's Opinion? Another regular frogger giving up? I do hope not.

  58. At 10:22 AM on 29 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    ValP/AnneP:

    The blog has certainly got very frustrating lately. It feels as though it's going to be strangled, the way things are going over the last several days. Was it Lissa who kept it working properly? Certainly, she was very responsive when there were difficulties. Perhaps the Frog Prince is finding it all rather tedious?

    Personally, I think that if the powers that be can't be bothered to make it work, it would be better to draw it to a close. The frustration factor now is so great that it is clearly making a number of us feel very annoyed - which, I'd respectfully suggest, isn't what was intended at the outset.

    Please please please please can the PM Team decide what they want, work out what might be the problems, and Save Our Blog?

    This could be a Burberry moment .....

  59. At 10:54 AM on 29 Jan 2007, Death Knell wrote:

    Valery P - Never mind the Doctor. The Undertaker is on his way!

  60. At 12:20 PM on 29 Jan 2007, Gillian wrote:

    Well this is a good place to hold the Wake.....did anyone bring violins?

  61. At 01:34 PM on 29 Jan 2007, Vyle Hernia wrote:

    Here's a possible explanation for the malicious posting message. As you know, it claims to be there to prevent you posting several messages in a short time. Jonnie proved that not to be so when trying to get through the (15000?) barrier.
    So, it's probably nothing to do with YOU posting, but simply reacts to the total number of posts people are trying to make on all BBC blogs at any one time. Perhaps the word "Malicious" is loosely connected to Denial-of Service attacks.

  62. At 03:51 PM on 29 Jan 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    Fif, AA, I'll join you in curmodgens' corner, if I may. I actually live in the Sout East(well, I think it's SE, but the Beeb have re-classified it as BBS South). I think the problem is more localised that you think. I know I've frogged about this a number of times, but there needs to be serious investment in public transport connecting town to town. I would love to use a bus or tram to travel the 8ish miles door to door from home to work. But, even though I live on the outskirts of a reasonably large town, and the Park I work on is one of the largest in the South of England, there's no direct bus service. It would add almost 4 hours to my day if I caught the bus. That's no incentive to get me out of my car. Without extensive new public transport developments, there's no way that the majority of people will stop using their cars.

    Grrrrr

  63. At 06:03 PM on 29 Jan 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Ed, nice nailing weather Excuse me?

    Helen the Volunteer everything is impossible, nothing is going to work out well, let's not even try to enjoy being a little bit expansive and celebratory, let's just sit in a corner and complain about anything and everything Quite agree. (With your opposition to this rather than this sentiment in itself...)

  64. At 06:04 PM on 29 Jan 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Ed, nice nailing weather Excuse me?

    Helen the Volunteer everything is impossible, nothing is going to work out well, let's not even try to enjoy being a little bit expansive and celebratory, let's just sit in a corner and complain about anything and everything Quite agree. (With your opposition to this rather than this sentiment in itself...)

  65. At 10:38 PM on 29 Jan 2007, HelenSparkles wrote:

    This is the rant I left earlier elsewhere on this PM NEWS blog!

    I am wondering why the police was so surprised at the calm response of the ex-soldier who killed his family. It is an eternal debate, that, if we train people to be brutal, & they witness brutality, how do we expect them ever to become less like the psychopath who is now being charged?

    It is a fundamental dichotomy at the heart of soldiering, & one which has caused great sadness for many, even when the result has not been a death. I am a pacifist really, which is perhaps why I can empathise with the nature of the huge adjustments soldiers must have to make when they return to their families. It is not only domestic violence which families fall victim to, but deep emotional distress which devastates lives. Where are the support services, are there any?

    I asked Eddie to find out, then I asked him to find out about the mother who will have been charged this morning with the murder of her children in Hackney. I want to know if she has come to anyone's attention before, not because I want to lynch a social worker I hasten to add, but because post-Climbé particularly, there is no reason for a child to die unless completely unexpectedly, unless Hackney social workers still have an unmanageable case load.

    While I was on rant, I did go back to the Catholics as did PM; anti-discrimination laws protect Christians too & sexuality isn't the biggest sin in the book, if it is one at all.

    The outcomes for 'looked after children' are appalling & there aren’t enough people to adopt the sometimes challenging children who inhabit the care system. Catholics should show some compassion & recognise that there will be a way to signpost gay couples (should they ever walk through their door!) to other agencies. I am ashamed of those who call themselves Christians & express bigotry paraded as faith.

    Thanks for listening!

  66. At 11:06 AM on 30 Jan 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Curmudgeons Corner is filling up nicely. Welcome!

    I've made some lovely frothy cocoa for everyone, and there are cream buns on the side if you get peckish.

    Now, about this damn supercasino. Obviously it's going to the Dome. (If I could do italics you know they'd be around 'obviously'!) My SO and I disagree about why it's a bad thing.

    He thinks it's yet another example of everything going to London. As if a gurt big casino is something you'd actually want anywhere.

    Me, I think it might do slightly less harm in Greenwich than in Blackpool. Why? Well, have you ever tried to travel across London? And that's after you've hocked your house for the third time just to get TO London!

    Blackpool Council sees gambling as the next great thing they can use to attract visitors to the town and trigger regeneration.

    The only thing I see this madness triggering is an epidemic of gambling addiction and all the knock-on social problems that will cause.

    It's the most Orwellian thing this govt has done yet.

    But I am convinced Prezzer's pal will get it into the Dome.

    Rashn... frashn... grashn... wick... wastardly...

    Fifi

  67. At 01:21 PM on 30 Jan 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Ah Fifi (66);
    Are you related to Murray Walker, the former motor-racing commentator?

    Murray was well known as having the kiss of death on a driver. If Murray made a statement during a race that 'all *he* has to do is hold his position to win the race' then the cursed driver usually had an engine/gearbox/suspension blow up on the same lap. Or a tyre blow. Or a crash.

    They should have asked Murray for his prediction before the race. The driver he named as the likely winner could have stayed in his trailer or flown home and saved himself the trouble.

    So you reckoned the Dome had it won. And the Fifi kiss of death sent it to SportsCity in Oldham!

    Manchester thanks you. The cheque's in the mail...

    Si.

  68. At 01:51 PM on 30 Jan 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    So, Microsoft have introduced a new operating system which conveniently won't work any but the newest computers. So even more computers than normal will be discarded, and ?recycled? Or straight into landfill? Why can't Microsoft do some sort of recycling incentive when they know that they are making stuff obsolete?

    (And I apologise for my use of the word 'stuff' here....my brain is empty!)

  69. At 02:14 PM on 30 Jan 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Fifi (66) actually the Prescott business may well have told against the Dome, since otherwise everyone would have been pointing fingers.

    But I think it's a sad day when we allow more American big business in to 'regenerate' a poor area when we know that those most susceptible to gambling, especially to excess, are those least able to afford it.

  70. At 06:02 PM on 30 Jan 2007, Fifi wrote:

    Si (67) : Uncle Murz, you spotted the family resemblance!

    So, fellow Furrowed Browers, upon which otherwise-foregone conclusion would you like me to make my Cassandra-like pronouncements next? I offer a selection:

    - Labour will definitely win the next General Election

    - [insert your own name here] will never win the Lottery

    - Eddie Mair will snog Charlotte Green for Comic Relief

    Further suggestions welcome, here in Curmudgeons' Corner. (Don't forget to bring an apostrophe...)

    Fifi

  71. At 09:20 PM on 30 Jan 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Fifi, How about "Eddie will never declare his undying love for Aperitif"?!

  72. At 10:33 PM on 30 Jan 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    FFred (62) precisely, same where I live. Likewise cycling - I'd like to cycle to work but it's just too dangerous and there are no suitable cycle paths.

  73. At 09:00 AM on 31 Jan 2007, Fearless Fred wrote:

    GM (71) Snap. The only route that I can take involves a B road that's renowned* as a rat run, then across a very busy roundabout on the A34. I've seen too many cyclists get knocked off or blown into the path of cars because of lorries not allowing enough space when they pass. What's galling is that where I work isn't a small, out of the way place. It's on the one of the largest multi-use parks in Europe! There are four local towns, with a lot of people working in the park, but only one of the towns has a reasonable bus service here. If I leave the office after 5pm, the "most direct" route is to take a bus 2 miles East (the opposite direction to where I want to go). Then, I catch a train North to Oxford (15 Miles), then get another bus from there to home (another 15/16 miles). Total distance travelled, 33 miles. It's estimated at 1h30, but on the occasions I've had to do that trip, it can take over 2 hours, easily... All this to travel the 8 miles from my office to home. It's no wonder that I still use my car, even though I would rather not. The only way that people will be tempted to driver less is if there is a credible, reasonably priced alternative. When I lived in Oxford, I used the bus or cycled. When I go to London, I get the train. What's needed is more thought about more local needs, particularly town to town schemes. There's a gaping hole in the transport system that needs to be addressed...

  74. At 09:18 AM on 31 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    GM and FF: Hear! Hear! If people are to be tempted out of their cars for local travel, it will only happen if and when there are safe cycle routes linking and within towns and villages and/or there is a thoroughly comprehensive, regular and frequent, network of local buses or similar, such as many European countries have had for decades. Given the nature of private enterprise, that network should be under government, or local government, contol to ensure it is inviolable.

    (I just have to tell you that, while I've been typing this, a robin has been staring intently at me through the window. Perhaps he has views on the matter?)

  75. At 09:32 AM on 31 Jan 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Gossipmistress(71) and FFred (62) I bought a bike when I retired, the first I had had in many years. I used it once. It was all just too scary. There are fragmented cycle ways in parts of Derby City but getting to them from our village and between them involves tangling with the traffic. Sadly, I gave up. I feel a wimp and am less fit than I'd intended, but at least I'm still in one piece.

  76. At 10:43 AM on 31 Jan 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Transport.

    I live in Stockport. I work in Guildford Monday - Friday.

    I leave home at 04:30 on a Monday morning because I can be in the office around 08:00 without breaking the land speed record. I also avoid the worst that the rush hour can throw onto the roads.

    On Fridays I retrace my path. It takes at least 4.5 hours, on one particularly bad occasion over 7 hours. All due to insane levels of traffic on the M25, M40, M42, M6.

    I stay in a guesthouse on Brighton seafront, owned by an old friend. I could stay around Guildford but the accomodation costs are higher and I don't know anyone around here. Most of my family and friends are in the Brighton area (I went to college there).

    I could fly, but the greenhouse gas emissions would upset Ed Iglehart (where has he been lately?). It wouldn't cost any more than the driving and might even cost a *little* less. But i wouldn't have the flexibility to get to Brighton and see my family and friends. And I don't like flying.

    I can't easily get a job that fits my specialist skills close to home, they don't come up too regularly. So I need to take the work where I can find it. I don't like being away from home, but there you have it.

    The train and buses don't take me from my starting point to my finishing point when I need to be there, nor return me home again when I want to travel. Trains are prohibitively expensive anyhow. Public transport is not an option for me.

    Like so many of us today I like the sheer convenience of my car. It takes me from place to place at times of my choosing at a speed and cost I deem acceptable. Until there is an alternative which offers the same advantages, with less drawbacks, I will continue to use it. And so will everybody else.

    That is the Gordian Knot of transport, which nobody knows how to cut. The government can't tax us out of our cars. No matter that we have some of the most expensive motor fuel in the world, we keep right on using them. Green transport lobbyists have no influence with the public, because the alternatives which *might* get us out of our cars simply aren't there. So they are reduced to haranguing us for our idiocy, which makes us all turn off and listen to something else. And their message is lost in the ether.

    Car-sharing almost never works, because we don't really know our workmates, we don't live near any of them, we don't want to share our own personal (car) space with them outside of working hours, or they don't work the same times as us.

    And as for cycling on British roads? I think not! The dangerous reasons why have been covered above.

    Isn't it odd? We were told that the communications revolution would mean us all becoming home workers, with more leisure time and a paperless office.

    But our bosses don't trust us to work from home. They want us in the office where they can see us. We have less leisure time than ever before. Mums are *having* to work to help pay all the bills, whether they would like to or not. More kids are going to after-school clubs, or becoming latchkey kids, because both parents are working. And the sheer quantity of waste paper generated in an office is staggering.

    Where are the social & work revolutions we were promised?

    Si.

  77. At 10:44 AM on 31 Jan 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    Transport.

    I live in Stockport. I work in Guildford Monday - Friday.

    I leave home at 04:30 on a Monday morning because I can be in the office around 08:00 without breaking the land speed record. I also avoid the worst that the rush hour can throw onto the roads.

    On Fridays I retrace my path. It takes at least 4.5 hours, on one particularly bad occasion over 7 hours. All due to insane levels of traffic on the M25, M40, M42, M6.

    I stay in a guesthouse on Brighton seafront, owned by an old friend. I could stay around Guildford but the accomodation costs are higher and I don't know anyone around here. Most of my family and friends are in the Brighton area (I went to college there).

    I could fly, but the greenhouse gas emissions would upset Ed Iglehart (where has he been lately?). It wouldn't cost any more than the driving and might even cost a *little* less. But i wouldn't have the flexibility to get to Brighton and see my family and friends. And I don't like flying.

    I can't easily get a job that fits my specialist skills close to home, they don't come up too regularly. So I need to take the work where I can find it. I don't like being away from home, but there you have it.

    The train and buses don't take me from my starting point to my finishing point when I need to be there, nor return me home again when I want to travel. Trains are prohibitively expensive anyhow. Public transport is not an option for me.

    Like so many of us today I like the sheer convenience of my car. It takes me from place to place at times of my choosing at a speed and cost I deem acceptable. Until there is an alternative which offers the same advantages, with less drawbacks, I will continue to use it. And so will everybody else.

    That is the Gordian Knot of transport, which nobody knows how to cut. The government can't tax us out of our cars. No matter that we have some of the most expensive motor fuel in the world, we keep right on using them. Green transport lobbyists have no influence with the public, because the alternatives which *might* get us out of our cars simply aren't there. So they are reduced to haranguing us for our idiocy, which makes us all turn off and listen to something else. And their message is lost in the ether.

    Car-sharing almost never works, because we don't really know our workmates, we don't live near any of them, we don't want to share our own personal (car) space with them outside of working hours, or they don't work the same times as us.

    And as for cycling on British roads? I think not! The dangerous reasons why have been covered above.

    Isn't it odd? We were told that the communications revolution would mean us all becoming home workers, with more leisure time and a paperless office.

    But our bosses don't trust us to work from home. They want us in the office where they can see us. We have less leisure time than ever before. Mums are *having* to work to help pay all the bills, whether they would like to or not. More kids are going to after-school clubs, or becoming latchkey kids, because both parents are working. And the sheer quantity of waste paper generated in an office is staggering.

    Where are the social & work revolutions we were promised?

    Si.

  78. At 10:50 AM on 31 Jan 2007, Eddie Mair wrote:

    This message is from gossipmistress who has tried and failed to post it several times. Happy to help...

    "FFred, Big Sis, Anne P. I am just about to get into my car to go shopping to
    get some Euros and something slinky(!) to take to Paris with me this weekend
    (sorry!! couldn't help dropping that in! sorry!). Because I need to go via 3 places,
    and it involves dual carriageway with scary fast cars & lorries, and there is no bus
    between 2 of the places other than one which will take 90mins instead of 15,
    I shall have to take the car.

    Fron London, I'll take the Eurostar and then public transport until I reach
    home again. Says it all really!!!"

  79. At 11:05 AM on 31 Jan 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    A new topic, if you will. I don't mean to depress, but I was very upset by a recent experience and want to raise the topic of dying and how we as a society handle it so badly.

    Once almost everyone died at home, not perhaps physically cared for as well as possible, but at least in familiar surroundings and with people they knew.

    On Saturday we visited an old family friend, in his 90s and now in hospital having been moved from his care home suffering from pneumonia. Illness and the sudden move had left him a little confused and paranoid, though he is definitely not demented.

    He felt he had been kidnapped, which in a sense is exactly what had happened - removed from familiar surroundings against his will, subjected to invasive procedures, offered (to him) inedible food, surrounded by sometimes noisy strangers and beeping machinery, with no-one even to notice that the sun shining in his eyes was distressing him.

    I am not criticising the hospital which was clean and seemed well managed, if not over-staffed.

    If he had cancer he would have had the option of hospice care - a planned move to comfortable surroundings where staff and helpers are used to death and what people need at such a time to make what is left of life easier.

    The elderly are often moved from home into sheltered accommodation, then into care and finally into hospital, at each stage often at short notice and with no choice of location or treatment. Worse they may not be able to choose to refuse treatment at a stage of life when nature is surely going to take its course and the only question is how soon.

    Sometimes, as with my father, the immediate medical need is resolved in hospital and they then begin a yo-yo process shuttled to 'rehabilitation' hospital then back into major hospital and out again to a different rehabilitation unit numerous times.

    Why is it that when planning care for the elderly who can no longer manage alone or with family help, we cannot provide it in units which will also provide medical care when needed, and kind and caring management of their death?

  80. At 11:14 AM on 31 Jan 2007, Fifi wrote:

    D'you know what folks? I am so angry I'm tempted to stomp off out of Curmudgeons' Corner (taking my apostrophe with me) and not come back.

    Why?

    Because I have tried to post FIVE TIMES on today's thread, and each time received this all-new shiny slap on the wrist:


    Comment Submission Error
    Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:
    You are not allowed to post comments.
    Return to the original entry


    Now what is THAT about????

    For my next trick, doubtless this comment won't post either.

    Fifi >:o(((

    * awaits latest Comment Submission Error message *

  81. At 11:19 AM on 31 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    I tried posting this just now and got the message:

    'You're not allowed to make comments'

    Are you having a larf, Eddie?


    Si: Your posting is rather bleak, but sadly spot on for a very large proportion of the workforce. Equally the comments about transport.

    What madness worklife imposes upon reallife! And Lord Tebbitt thought it as simple as getting on a bike ....

    No doubt there will be those who think you should move nearer to your work, Si, but as somebody who knows the property markets of both Guildford and Brighton (living midway between the two) and the difficulty we've had when we tried, over a number of years, to find somewhere else to live that offered what we needed ...... 'nuff said.

    Perhaps, some day, bosses will be more enlightened about homeworking. I did that for a few years, but it became increasingly difficult when there was a change in boss who simply couldn't believe that I was more productive working from home than working at an office 17 miles from home. I disagreed, and handed in my notice. Now I'm freelance (such as I am!).

    Btw, Si, you know how to get in touch if you ever wanted to meet for a jar on the way home.

  82. At 12:59 PM on 31 Jan 2007, Fiona wrote:

    Si (76) - very well put!! On the transport front I now work only 5 miles from home yet to take public transport would take around 1.5 hours as I would have to change! Its absolutely true - until there is a public transport infrastructure in place that is fast, reliable and convenient we will never be tempted out of our cars - despite our good intentions - because no matter how much I want to help the environment I cannot justify that amount of time a day travelling - my days are too busy as they are. As for the working from home option I took voluntary redundancy from my last job for basically that reason. As a full time working mum I had then a 22 mile journey which regularly took me an hour and a half each way (travelling into West London - need I say more!). I couldn't cope with the hours and managing to look after my children, especially when my son started school - so I wanted to go part time and work from home occasionally - this request was refused on the grounds that the team I worked in would be put under too much pressure to "cover for me"!! Because of course every day at least 500 people turned up at my desk to ask me something only I could answer.......NOT!!! So I had no choice but to leave, despite the fact that I liked the company I worked for! I now do contract work locally - but am still full time. (sorry going off on a tangent here I know - started on transport and am now moving on to his point about working mums). But my point is Simon's right - mums have to work (not all I know but a lot). I thought about getting a little part time job near home, and found what I thought was an ad for the perfect job - very local only 4 hours a day, within school hours so only have childcare for one child to pay for - until I worked out that after paying for childcare for one(not accounting for school holidays when I would then have to pay for two) - I would be taking home about £80 a month! So what on earth is the nonsense that I now hear that they are planning to cut single parent's benefits if they refuse to work?!!! Do they not realise - some simply cannot afford to work!!!! When both my children were in full time nursery we were paying £1500 a month in childcare - its outrageous! We have no family locally to help out so they literally had us over a barrel - and you have to pay 12 months a year, which considering my SO is self-employed and not working means not earning ( which is the same for me now in contract work) - that made going on holiday VERY expensive!!

  83. At 02:01 PM on 31 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    I did try to post this earlier, but bloggage appears to have intruded ....

    Si: Your posting is rather bleak, but sadly spot on for a very large proportion of the workforce. Equally the comments about transport.

    What madness worklife imposes upon reallife! And Lord Tebbitt thought it as simple as getting on a bike ....

    No doubt there will be those who think you should move nearer to your work, Si, but as somebody who knows the property markets of both Guildford and Brighton (living midway between the two) and the difficulty we've had when we tried, over a number of years, to find somewhere else to live that offered what we needed ...... 'nuff said.

    Perhaps, some day, bosses will be more enlightened about homeworking. I did that for a few years, but it became increasingly difficult when there was a change in boss who simply couldn't believe that I was more productive working from home than working at an office 17 miles from home. I disagreed, and handed in my notice. Now I'm freelance (such as I am!).

    Btw, Si, you know how to get in touch if you ever wanted to meet for a jar on the way home.

  84. At 02:53 PM on 31 Jan 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    BigSis (81 & again at 83), Fiona (82);
    It's quite simply put. Public transport is rubbish. It doesn't start from where you are. It drops you off a long way from where you want to be. Like anything else in the 'Public' sector (i.e. state school, state healthcare, state pension) it is a lowest common denominator designed to assist those on the lowest spoke of fortunes wheel.

    This is not a criticism, by the way. It's a good way to run broadly based structures. Simplify processes, routes, methods and try to serve the maximum possible numbers whilst keeping complexity and costs down to the minimum.

    Imagine trying to run a bespoke public bus service. Almost infinite complexity would be required to fulfill the standards of service which you provide for yourself by jumping in your car. Multiply that complexity by every single strand of what the state does and society would seize up.

    Ergo: the state sector is necessary. It's just that, as a lowest common denominator it's alright at the generalities, but poor at the specifics. Want to get from Plymouth to Manchester by bus? No problem. Want to get from your house in Plymouth to your relatives house in Manchester? Appalling. The bit in the middle is fine, it's the connections at each end which spoil the whole thing.

    BigSis; I don't think of my life as bleak. I reason that it's sheer necessity. I live in Stockport because that's where SO is. She has a decent living as a Physio/Acupucturist/Shiatsu practitioner in private practise. She's a local lass (Cheadle in Cheshire). She has family & friends around there. Why should she move to make life easy for me?

    I'm a contractor, typically on 6-month contracts. I may not be in the South-East in a few months time. I may be in another part of the country entirely. All the more reason for us to stay in Stockport. Absolutely no reason for me to buy the house next to you! Besides, if I did your lawn would probably die.....

    Incidentally my parents live in Lindfield and my kid brother is a publican in Ditchling, both of which must be near you somewhere?

    Fiona; The root of the insanity in the British working life is the cost of buying a house. That one simple fact demands that all-too-many mums are compelled to work, whether they like it or not. If our prices were at more Continental levels then it is certain that many of those mums would have the comparative luxury of working because they wanted to, not because they have to.

    I was forced off the housing ladder last year, for reasons which have been amply demonstrated in a previous thread. When I saw this week that house prices in the U.K. are rising by £1000 I could have despaired. I will, in all likelihood, never purchase a property in Britain again. I simply can't afford to. That rise in prices outstrips my disposable income each month, so even if I saved my last penny I'd still fall further and further behind.

    So my plan is to buy abroad and eventually retire there. France appeals to me. I speak colloquial French and love the more relaxed pace of life in the country there. Over there, and in many other countries I'm sure, I can get a house for half, or a third, of the price I would have to pay over here.

    I've had this idea for over 15 years. Now I may make a virtue out of a necessity. My only regret is that I can't do it now, principally because I don't have the capital and would find it hard to get a job over there. Otherwise I'd be gone today. And if my boat comes in on the lottery (yeah, I know!) then you won't see me for dust.

    Si.

  85. At 03:33 PM on 31 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Si: I know your life isn't bleak, for all the reasons you've given before. Just that the routine you find yourself in strikes me as bleak. I'm sure you'd rather not have to do all this commuting.

    No, I'm not near Lindfield or Ditching - they're further from me than Guildford. But I'm between Guildford and Brighton.

    And I'm sure you wouldn't kill my lawn. If you saw it, you'd know why! :o)

  86. At 03:38 PM on 31 Jan 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    Thank you to Eddie for posting my previous comment - it's so frustrating isn't it? I don't get the 'error' messages for the most part, I just spend house waiting for the little green boxes to move........ (ok, I'll get some therapy!!!)

    Anyway.....

    Si (84) one point you didn't mention is the standard of service. Our local trains are quite good, but really only go into the city centre from my house. The buses are a different matter - despite the smoking ban there are nearly always people smoking (sometimes even the driver) and with no conductors any more there are often kids running riot. Also, information on routes and fares is scanty and the drivers are often not much help.

    Also, when you wrote:

    Want to get from Plymouth to Manchester by bus? No problem. Want to get from your house in Plymouth to your relatives house in Manchester? Appalling. The bit in the middle is fine, it's the connections at each end which spoil the whole thing.

    Were you implying that the trains were good? The present pricing system on the trains means that any journey not planned several months in advance will cost a fortune. Pushing me back into my car - again!

  87. At 03:43 PM on 31 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Si: I know your life isn't bleak, but I'm sure you'd rather not have to do all this commuting.

    No, I'm not near Lindfield or Ditching - they're further from me than Guildford. But I'm between Guildford and Brighton.

    It's great you are so sure about your plan to move to France - I wouldn't advocate South East England in general (though it is lovely where I am fortunate enough to live). And I'm sure you wouldn't kill my lawn. If you saw it, you'd know why! :o)

  88. At 03:53 PM on 31 Jan 2007, Fiona wrote:

    Si (84) absolutely spot on! Its why we are looking to move - I don't want to be condemmed to working full time for ever just so I can afford to buy a reasonable size house and be on the endless treadmill of having to keep up with the Jones's* - especially where children are concerned! Incidentally am flying out to Toulouse this weekend to view a property - it has a 3rd of an acre land (so quite small by French standards lol) - its one big house made into two; one has 3 bedrooms, the other has 4 - so live in one and rent the other would be the plan - also has a swimming pool. And all for around £200k - what would by around our way (Surrey)? About a 2/3 bedroomed flat or small terraced or semi even - wow!!

    * am paranoid about getting my apostrophes wrong :0)

  89. At 03:57 PM on 31 Jan 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Si: I know your life isn't bleak, but I'm sure you'd rather not have to do all this commuting.

    No, I'm not near Lindfield or Ditching - they're further from me than Guildford. But I'm between Guildford and Brighton.

    It's great you are so sure about your plan to move to France - I wouldn't advocate South East England in general (though it is lovely where I am fortunate enough to live). And I'm sure you wouldn't kill my lawn. If you saw it, you'd know why! :o)

  90. At 06:24 PM on 31 Jan 2007, gossipmistress wrote:

    Si (84) I tried to post earlier but I was bloggered....


    Two other points - long distance rail travel is ridiculously expensive if you can't book in advance and our local buses (?true anywhere else?) are not pleasant places to be - smoking prohibited but happens on almost every bus I get on & often pretty bad behaviour, wouldn't want to get on one alone at night.

    Also my last post said Thank You to Eddie for posting my earlier message, in a rather artistic format..... (in his new role as an Artist, as opposed to an Artiste.....)

  91. At 11:59 PM on 31 Jan 2007, Aperitif wrote:

    Um, Si, Public transport isn't in the public sector anymore. I contend that this is why it is rubbish.

  92. At 10:10 AM on 01 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Appy (currently 91): I agree with your point here. Furthermore, I wouldn't advocate returning to the 'old' system of public sector operation of public transport because that, too, didn't stand up to the best European models, as we well remember. But with the right model, and with - yes - significant subsidy, I contend that we could have a public transport system which is considerably superior to what we now have because it could be designed to work together. With buses now being primarily run by private companies, not to mention the nonsense on the railways since privatisation, we have a 'system' (well, that's not true - we don't have a system) which is costly and which doesn't provide effective links between and within the different modes. No wonder people feel discouraged from using it.

  93. At 10:16 AM on 01 Feb 2007, Simon Worrall wrote:

    BigSis;
    The quote about the lawn was a direct lift from Lemmy of Motorhead. Asked just after he'd formed the band what kind of band they were going to be *that* was the reply he gave. And you can see why.

    And the commuting is the bane of my life. I spend about 15 - 17 hours a week on the road. 10% of my life! And the cost is numbing, around £500 a month for petrol alone, plus more frequent servicing required, etc. And around that kind of figure for lodgings in the South-East. Over £1000 a month, simply as a cost for me to work.

    GM;
    The trains are great for general long-distance travel, but not for the nitty-gritty of point-to-point travel. And your point about costs is well-made. I think that your comments about smoking and kids only serves to reinforce my view about the lowest common denominator really.

    Fiona (88);
    I've just gone a pale shade of emerald with envy.

    Appy (91);
    Quite so. As any nation gets the Government it deserves, so people get the standard of services they are willing to put up with.

    Si.

  94. At 10:16 AM on 01 Feb 2007, Belinda wrote:

    I was just bloggered 10 times in a row but I'll try again.

    Si - just so you know that you are not alone:

    I am with you on being priced out of Britain at the moment. Both MrB and I have full-time jobs, good highly-qualified jobs, jobs which should guarantee our future and our dog's puppies future.
    However, we can't even think of buying a house with the costs involved, our rent of a small two-bedroomed flat in a small town takes out a huge lump each month, the rates and bills are crippling us and I'm not going to get into the travel because it is far too depressing. We end the month having absolutely no spare cash - nothing to go in savings, we are unable to buy anything which is not deemed essential to life, I have had to stop my pension plan because we cannot afford the monthly payments. I'm not that bothered really as we need very little to live on, but it just seems wrong to be in this situation at our age.

    However, we are actually pretty lucky because we have a possible escape route due to our 'mongrel' status (dual-nationalities with other countries) and it seems likely that we may move back to Canada in the next three years or so. It will be a huge lurch - I have lived in Britain for the last 20 years, but I'm finding that I just can't live here anymore. At least our coffee will be cheaper, I guess.

  95. At 10:34 AM on 01 Feb 2007, Big Sister wrote:

    Right, tried to post this 30 times already, but will try once more:

    Appy (currently 91): I agree with your point here. Furthermore, I wouldn't advocate returning to the 'old' system of public sector operation of public transport because that, too, didn't stand up to the best European models, as we well remember. But with the right model, and with - yes - significant subsidy, I contend that we could have a public transport system which is considerably superior to what we now have because it could be designed to work together. With buses now being primarily run by private companies, not to mention the nonsense on the railways since privatisation, we have a 'system' (well, that's not true - we don't have a system) which is costly and which doesn't provide effective links between and within the different modes. No wonder people feel discouraged from using it!

    Si: Hi there!

  96. At 11:32 AM on 01 Feb 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Fireside chat, Just the thing for the furrowed brow.
    xx
    ed

  97. At 12:47 PM on 01 Feb 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Anne P, et. al.,

    (re-posted from the new Treehouse via wireless - shouldn't have sent to the beach)
    Nice to be missed, but I've found room 502 a bit frustrating.

    I had this for you, Anne, but just couldn't get it posted.

    Fidelity, by Wendell Berry deals with the medical/death business in an intriguing way, and is one of my favourites among his 'tales of Port William'.
    Another link to commentary on the same story. I do commend the thin volume itself. Fidelity.

    I recognise much of what you said. Not so long ago most folk died at home. Little sister came in and said to mommy, "I took Granny her tea, but can't get her to wake up."

    Little sister was sent to get the midwife and Big sister helped mommy get started dressing the corpse. The midwife and the joiner arrived, and soon Granny was in her coffin on trestles in one of the front rooms, where each could go and sit with her awhile, sometimes through the night. Meanwhile all the normal daily chores needed doing. Neighbours helped where needed.

    In a couple of days the burial was followed by a gathering or wake where stories were told and community bonding reinforced. There was food and drink a-plenty, provided by neighbours and nearby kinfolk.

    And life carried on. Grieving was direct and relatively uncomplicated. Nowadays, death usually happens in medical facilities, well away from caring family, and is considered a medical failure. I know folk who still cannot forgive the doctors and hospital where their parent (aged 87 and frail) died more than ten years ago, and thus haven't achieved 'closure'...

    It's all part of the complex of modernity, where everything is professionalised. We send our kids to professional carers, educators, etc., our old folks to professional shelterers, carers, nursing homes, and eventually intensive care units, and when there is a corpse, the nice man with the sad face says, "Don't worry, we'll take care of everything." It's all handled, out of sight and sterile, by pros, and it's no wonder we have trouble grieving.

    The world is supposed to be safe, free of risk, and nobody's supposed to die. If something happens, it's time for litigation.

    If the members of a local community want their community to cohere, to flourish, and to last, these are some things they would do:

    1. Always ask of any proposed change or innovation: What will this do to our community? How will this affect our common wealth?

    2. Always include local nature-the land, the water, the air, the native creatures-within the membership of the community.

    3. Always ask how local needs might be supplied from local sources, including the mutual help of neighbors.

    4. Always supply local needs first (And only then think of exporting their products, first to nearby cities, and then to others.)

    5. Understand the unsoundness of the industrial doctrine of "labor saving" if that implies poor work, unemployment, or any kind of pollution or contamination .

    6. Develop properly scaled value-adding industries for local products to ensure that the community does not become merely a colony of the national or global economy.

    7. Develop small-scale industries and businesses to support the local farm and/or forest economy.

    8. Strive to produce as much of the community's own energy as possible.

    9. Strive to increase earnings (in whatever form) within the community and decrease expenditures outside the community.

    10. Make sure that money paid into the local economy circulates within the community for as long as possible before it is paid out.

    11. Make the community able to invest in itself by maintaining its properties, keeping itself clean (without dirtying some other place), caring for its old people, teaching its children.

    12. See that the old and the young take care of one another. The young must learn from the old, nor necessarily and not always in school. There must be no institutionalized "child care" and "homes for the aged." The community knows and remembers itself by the association of old and young. .

    13. Account for costs now conventionally hidden or "externalized." Whenever possible, these costs must be debited against monetary income.

    14. Look into the possible uses of local currency, community-funded loan programs, systems of barter, and the like.

    15. Always be aware of the economic value of neighborly acts. In our time the costs of living are greatly increased by the loss of neighborhood, leaving people to face their calamities alone.

    16. A rural community should always be acquainted with, and complexly connected with, community-minded people in nearby towns and cities.

    17. A sustainable rural economy will be dependent on urban consumers loyal to local products. Therefore, we are talking about an economy that will always be more cooperative than competitive.

    These rules are derived from Western political and religious traditions, from the promptings of ecologists and certain agriculturists, and from common sense. They may seem radical, but only because the modern national and global economies have been formed in almost perfect disregard of community and ecological interests. A community economy is not an economy in which well-placed persons can make a "killing." It is not a killer economy. It is an economy whose aim is generosity and a well-distributed and safeguarded abundance. If it seems unusual to hope and work for such an economy, then we must remember that a willingness to put the community ahead of profit is hardly unprecedented among community business people and local banks.
    Wendell Berry


    xx
    ed

  98. At 02:16 PM on 01 Feb 2007, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    For clarity, and to avoid plaigarism, my previous posting was meant to blockquote everything after 'litigation' and credit it to Wendell berry

    Hope this gets through.
    xx
    ed

  99. At 03:08 PM on 01 Feb 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Thanks Ed (97) I'll try to get hold of 'Fidelity' - as usual I think you and I are in basic agreement of where we'd like to be - but it's the how to get there I haven't worked out yet :-)

  100. At 03:22 PM on 01 Feb 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Thanks Ed (97) I'll try to get hold of 'Fidelity' - as usual I think you and I are in basic agreement of where we'd like to be - but it's the how to get there I haven't worked out yet :-)

    ** ah I see we're on go-slow still **

    * off for a cuppa while it thinks about it...*

    -- nope Error 502 after about 4 minutes waiting --

  101. At 03:39 PM on 01 Feb 2007, Anne P. wrote:

    Thanks Ed (97) I'll try to get hold of 'Fidelity' - as usual I think you and I are in basic agreement of where we'd like to be - but it's the how to get there I haven't worked out yet :-)


    ** ah I see we're on go-slow still **

    * off for a cuppa while it thinks about it...*

    -- nope Error 502 after about 4 minutes waiting --

    /// and then a completely blank screen - AGH ///

    ...the trouble with intermittent interval reinforcement conditioning is that you keep on trying - perhaps someone would like to tell that to those who have just ok'd the new casinos. Just as well I'm not given to gambling - Oh no that's just what this has become!

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