NatCen, the social research organisation, tells us we trust the Government and the media more on official figures than we used too! Well, that is good, if of course they are both honest, and I believe they are.
In 2018, 31% of people believed Government figures were honest, an increase on the 26% of 2016. Additionally, 23% thought the media were honest with figures in 2018, up from 18% in 2016.
Interesting that should happen during the Brexit debate, but we must remember it also means that somewhere between 65% and 80% of people distrust the figures!
In fact, this takes me back to something I’ve said for decades. People believe what they hear in the supermarket, in the pub and on the bus, but not what they hear through legitimate channels. Social media didn’t exist when I began saying that, but maybe the theory was proved with social media’s role in the 2017 election. Now I can understand why, but have you ever stopped and listened to what people actually say in the supermarket, the pub and on the bus? It’s usually less than accurate and I’m reminded of what my old Dad, dead 30 years, used to ask people talking nonsense, “do you get a vote?”
Why is this in good I hear you ask? Well, it’s better than it was so let’s cheer that and move forward!
Now, I’ve put this in the good bracket because I thought it was great to see a young lady hold a door open for John McDonnell in the Commons. Did the fact that she was a Tory influence his response, “Cheers, daring”!? I thought under Comrades Corbyn and McDonnell we were all equal and Political Correctness banned such phrases. Now, he may have meant it as an endearment, but are we still allowed? I wasn’t there but the recipient clearly didn’t think it was an endearment. As they say, if looks could kill! Mr McDonnell would have been turned to ashes and his dream of masterminding the total destruction of all that we hold dear in this country would have been a pile of ashes. I feel sorry for the millions of decent Labour supporting people, and number many of them as friends, for what has been done to their party. Britain is a strong nation because we mostly move gently back and forth from right to left of centre politically… or we did anyway.
But it’s a ‘good’ for the millennial young lady, maybe sanity will return!
The very, very, very bad! Yes, you guessed it Brexit. I voted Remain, but I accept the Referendum result. I could speak for hours on the flaws of the whole saga, but in a democracy, we have to accept the will of ballot box. It’s no good saying people didn’t understand what it meant when you lose… that can be said about something, possibly very significant, at every election.
Parliament asked what we wanted and we told them. I can understand the arguments about what form Brexit should take, but people are brazenly using those arguments in an attempt to stop it altogether. BOTH major parties in their last election manifestos said they would support the principle of leaving. Most of the Labour Party, the DUP, the SNP and some Tories failed to honour that commitment. When Speaker Bercow ruled against the third offering of the May proposal I laughed and said, “you’ve been set up and fallen right into the trap!” People laughed at me. It meant the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration were split. But still the future of Britain was used as a political tool by the Labour Party, or should I say by Corbyn? Maybe that makes it a draw, as the whole idea of the referendum was used as a political tool by the Tories, or should I say by Cameron?
Overall, it’s a bad, bad day for democracy. There will be short-term economic damage on the UK as a result of Brexit. It isn’t from the act of leaving the EU, but from the way it has been handled by all involved. Britain will become a strong independent country one day, but it will now take a lot longer. Within 20 years the EU will have imploded anyway. I wanted us to be there to help shape ‘mark two’, but on our handling of negotiating a better deal before the referendum, the setting up of the referendum itself, and the management of the withdrawal, maybe we wouldn’t bring the sense to the setting up of mark two that I thought we would!
I learnt a lot about the issue of mental health in January. I didn’t just look into Blue Monday on my weekly Faversham Natters programme on Radio Faversham, but dedicated half an hour to exploring the issues around it every week for the month. Indeed, I was invited as a guest on many other larger programmes as a result. At the heart of any solution is the need to talk about the problem. Obviously, there will be a need for tablets, pills and drugs. Do you remember my piece a few months ago about words assuming new meanings? There’s two right there… tablets and drugs. In the last decade the number of prescriptions for anti-depressants has doubled to almost 71 million prescriptions, that’s 195,000 a day at a cost of £200m!
Now, I’m sure those with angles and points to prove from all sides will have explanations, or more accurately somewhere to point the finger of blame. But like so much, it’s not the mythical ‘they’ or even the politicians that are to blame. It is us… all of us. When I write a letter of condolence one of things I say is if you need to talk or maybe even scream, especially about the feeling of injustice if someone young has died, I am here to listen.
Tracy is hard training for her Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle ride in May and June to raise money to fight Sepsis. Sunday was Mother’s Day and Tracy and her sister took out their mother. I’d spent two days at the end of the week looking after two of the grandchildren, so I was at home in Weymouth on my own. On Saturday, I met my neighbour in the hall, he’d just become a grandfather again and was off to his sons to help tidy the garden. We’ll have a beer later we both said and just after 8pm he banged on my door. I had three pints and he had three wines (naughty us!) and as they say, we put the world to rights. But we both know that if we wanted to talk about a problem, the other one is there to listen… what’s that old saying? A problem shared is a problem halved.
I’m listening to Irish folk music as I write, and the lyrics are poignant; When I was a lad, neighbours were neighbours; when I was lad, doing you favours; when I was lad, people giving a hand no matter how small; when I was lad, the greatest days of all.
Now, life wasn’t that great and I’m not on a nostalgia trip. There was much we could have been depressed about, but neighbours were neighbours and would pass the time of day, even if only briefly. We spoke to each other, face to face, not on social media. When we got a phone in the mid to late fifties, a party line shared with someone else, I thought it was great. Indeed, it was and still is, but did it start a revolution that is now destroying us as human BEINGS? For that’s what we are, human BEINGS. The word human is the adjective, but we shorten the phrase to just human. We forget that we are beings, and that is the important bit!
In Sweden, the publicly funded Public Art Agency is spending £500,000 to hire a person to do nothing… yes, officially do nothing! As long as they clock in and out every day they can do what they like forever while they are there. No duties, no responsibilities and they get about £2,000 a month, increasing at 3.2% for the next 120 years! I suppose if you don’t work you might live to be 140/150 years old! I don’t know who will be eligible, but applications won’t be accepted until at least 2025. Maybe they need time to write the job description in a politically correct way. Madness, maybe I’ll apply. After all, my family left Sweden 400 years ago to go to France before coming here, but we were then called Selve so maybe my lineage won’t be immediately obvious, but if I got the job I’d have plenty of time to prove it!
Is this mad, bad or both?
Well, what is both mad and bad is that some irresponsible idiot sprinkled peanuts on the desk of a teacher with a known nut allergy at Rochester Grammar School. The school has a ‘no-nuts’ policy, but why should it need one? What does that tell us?
Two girls were believed to be responsible and sent home. Accused, tried and convicted on the evidence of being seen giggling outside the room where it happened. Now, Poirot wasn’t called in but one of the girls’ fathers bought a £600 lie detector kit and took it to the school to test the girls. It said there was 97% chance his daughter wasn’t lying. Not sure if the second girl was actually tested… maybe his daughter was an accessory before or after the fact, who knows? But the school refused to overturn the 20-day exclusion.
It all sounds barking mad to me. Folk in their mid-teens, at least when I was in that age bracket a long time ago, should have understood the danger. Another example of trying to solve a problem, and one that shouldn’t be there, with a policy. It will never work. John Major was slated for his ‘Back to Basics’ policy, but he was right. If people are that irresponsible, then having a policy won’t work. It’s no different to Neville Chamberlain’s piece of paper.