The Good, Bad and Mad will be back the week commencing 2nd September, and maybe it should simply be three mad sections that week… there’s sure to be enough mad things happening between now and then!
There has been a bit of a theme to the good recently which is good in itself. Health, and in particular, cancer. I’ve known a number of folk die of it, including my mum 30 years ago and an old girlfriend who died of ovarian cancer five years ago. Ovarian cancer is particularly deadly, partly because it has few specific symptoms and often isn’t picked up until it is too late. But a new wonder drug, “Olaparib”, has achieved phenomenal results for one sufferer who was rushed to hospital a year ago and told she wouldn’t see Christmas this year. However, she started on the drug just five months ago and says it has changed her life. Olaparib doesn’t yet offer a cure, although it is thought it can for some women, but it stops the condition worsening. So, as with all illness and particularly cancer, the earlier it is detected the better.
And some former Facebook and Google employees have teamed with a group of biochemists to create a machine called Chromium. It is used worldwide in research and can test every cell in the body. Working together, scientists at Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have discovered a previously unknown airway to the lung, and information about the biology of cystic fibrosis. The technical data is mind-blowing, with ten million reaction tests conducted in the body in under half an hour.
With all the other advancements in cancer treatment recently, including those that use the common cold virus, these are both positive steps to beating the killer disease, possibly within decades.
I’ve written before that I remember the London Smogs of the early to mid 1950s and almost everybody knew of somebody who had died from it. One of Michael Gove’s last acts as Environment Secretary was to announce that World Health Organisation recommendations on pollution will be brought into law. There will be an obligation for local authorities to protect children and the elderly, though I’m not sure how you do that in isolation without protecting the rest of us! Ah, hang on a minute, maybe I’m included in that definition anyway!
Let us hope that his successor, Theresa Villiers, keeps up the momentum and sees the project through.
I just don’t get this. People being helped by the emergency services who then turn on them and attack and abuse them. A while back, the maximum sentence for attacking an emergency worker was doubled to 12 months. Why is there a maximum? Between November 2018 and May 2019, 6,663 people were arrested for attacking emergency workers, mainly paramedics. One suspects they were out of their minds on drugs, which definitely raises another issue, or were smashed out of their minds on booze, which raises a separate issue. Indeed, together they possibly raise yet another issue. When people lose all sense of inhibition, they revert to their true underlying character. The attacks show that these people are naturally aggressive and full of anger, possibly full of a sense of injustice. I wonder how many of them have ever accepted any responsibility for themselves? Are we reaping one of the downsides of the welfare state, which I’m the first to say is fundamentally good?
Some of the stories of what these folk have faced are horrendous, including knife attacks. I expect the majority of spitting offences don’t even get reported. The behaviour is bad, and the law is bad. Why should there be a maximum sentence, let the judge decide.
Now, this is bad. Manufacturing in a weak economy and paying the going rate there, then selling in a strong economy, is good business practice. But when I hear that people are being paid just £4 an hour in Manchester, our fifth largest city with a population approaching 600,000 people, to make clothes, it annoys me. Years back, the UK textile industry was thought to be dying, but it is now growing rapidly with production up 25% on a few years ago. But at what human cost? I’m not part of the sob brigade but abhor taking advantage, unfair advantage, of anyone - especially the vulnerable.
Thankfully, in a true British spirit of being fair and reasonable, several big names including M&S, John Lewis, New Look, Next and River Island have agreed to work together to get rid of modern-day slavery. Some of those exploited are “paying off the costs of coming to the UK”, which is why they are paid so little. They will no doubt be amongst the 500,000 people the new Prime Minister wants to grant amnesty to and bring officially into the UK economy.
What do you do if you’re bored at work and find a dead mouse? You give it decent cremation and set fire to it! Two guys did just that. Ashley Finley, 25, and Dysney Sibbons, 23, burnt the mouse at their job in a cycle shop in Suffolk. The trouble is that the shop caught fire, causing £1.6m of damage in what has been described as “mind-boggling stupidity”. They’ve admitted arson but not been sentenced yet.
Now, I know that once a fire starts it can escalate quickly, but if the flames around a burning mouse start to spread, I’d have thought you could stamp them out. Where did they burn the mouse anyway? Maybe it was on a plastic counter? Maybe they went off and left it? Maybe they just panicked? Whatever they did, it was total (and expensive) madness!
I think it’s pretty obvious that the term manhole was derived from being exactly that, a hole in the ground that a man goes down. Of course, when it would have been invented, women didn’t do the sort of work; going down a dirty hole in the ground to fix something. Well, the good legislators in Berkeley, California have legislated for change. It is no longer a manhole, it is a maintenance hole. Craftsman is to be craftspeople or artisan. Incidentally, Mr Microsoft put a red line under craftspeople!
‘He’ and ‘She’ are to be dropped in favour of ‘They’. But isn’t ‘they’ plural? What will the French do if this political correctness gone bonkers took hold in France where they have Le and La? They will all become ‘Les’ presumably!
You really would think that city administrators would have better things to do. When an attractive liner docks in California, you now say “they a fine-looking vessel!” Mr Microsoft has got his green line out now! Oh, but wait a minute, I remember when some buses in London were green not red, because they left the city for leafy suburbs… that was called the green line!
Madness, all of it!