Hunger and malnutrition are amongst the most serious killers in the world.
The philanthropist Bill Gates, like Jonathan Dalton featured in my mad below, is 63 and this week gave a lecture at Cambridge University. He predicted that by 2040 medical and scientific breakthroughs will have rid the world of this curse. The advancements could also help solve the largely western problems of obesity, asthma, allergies and autoimmune diseases. Mr Gates told us that it is in the first three years of life the correct nutrition is so essential, otherwise the human body does not properly develop. He was speaking at the Hawking Fellowship where he was giving the lecture named after Professor Stephen Hawking. It will all come about by the advancement and development of “probiotic” pills, good bacteria to you and me. They create a healthy gut which is essential as the problems of malnutrition today affect 155 million children worldwide. That’s equal to the entire population of Bangladesh.
Mr Gates has also spent years and vast sums of money fighting malaria, which again he believes will be virtually eliminated by 2040. What wonder breakthrough will follow next? But as they say in sport, you can only beat the opposition in front of you, and from my involvement with helping Rotary to raise money to fight polio, I know that he trebles all the funds they raise, and polio has been eliminated from all but two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan - although Nigeria has crept back onto the list…
We have heard a lot of opposition to the culling of badgers which was seen as an essential action to cut TB in cattle. According to the National Farmers Union, 33,000 cattle were slaughtered last year because they had TB, but this transpires to a fall of 66% on the previous level. Not just badgers, but 67,000 wild animals have been culled since 2013. However, some experts believe that the risk of transmitting TB is greater from cattle to cattle than from Badgers to cattle.
As a kid I saw the effect of TB first-hand and indeed as a young man my uncle had been a sufferer - he had the cross scar in his throat. I’m not one to take a sledgehammer to crack a nut, but if this action of culling badgers, and other wild animals, has reduced tuberculosis in cattle by 66%, then clearly it is a good thing.
15 to 20 years ago when living in rural Somerset, I was walking across the square to a pub when a car roared through the village way in excess of the 30 mile an hour limit and winged a badger. It was clearly in great distress and one of the village old boys, a retired farmer, put it out of his misery and laid it in the corner of the front courtyard of the pub. I didn't really think about it, but I suppose if I had, I’d just thought him likely to bury it or burn it. Not so. A few weeks later he treated us all to a speciality, badger ham. Because it is illegal to kill badgers it was indeed a rarity, the prospect of it having TB never entered my head, but it was very pleasant, if a little sweet, although I’m not sure I’d want it with egg and chips, but then I don't eat eggs!
I have written before about Extinction Rebellion and both the damage they are doing to the economy of London, which supports much of the rest of the country, and the double standards of wearing and using single-use plastic. As I have said before, they have made their case and it has even been taken up by Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England. Speaking in Tokyo while the protesters were grinding London to a halt, he said business had to adapt and that “Firms that align their business models to the transition to a net zero world will be rewarded handsomely. Those that fail to adapt will cease to exist.” Pretty powerful support I’d say, but instead of working to implement what they have brought to the attention of the legislators, they demand the impossible of halting all greenhouse gases by 2025, just five years away. It simply can’t happen and I’m not sure how they are helping their own by queuing in numbers at MacDonald’s for lunch!
And this latest piece of disruption comes when we learn that from July to September renewable energy sources produced more electricity in the UK than fossil fuels.
Wake up, take a bow for what you’ve achieved and work together to implement what is needed. That way we might achieve it ahead of the current 2050 zero net emissions target and stop disrupting people’s lives and businesses. You need their support. We all do.
I’m not having a pop at the police, honest guv!! Across the board I think they do an incredibly difficult job, unbelievably well. But of course, when things go wrong they are completely in the public eye. Sir Richard Henriques, a retired High Court Judge, wrote in the Daily Mail this week on the handling of what has become known as Nick’s case, about Carl Beech making false claims of a VIP sex abuse ring. It is hard to believe, but what on the face of it can only be called institutional ineptitude, was rampant in Operation Midland. Dominic Lawson in The Sunday Times also writes scathingly on the way the matter was handled.
I suspect we will never know the true cost of the original investigation or the investigation into the investigation, but what I find alarming is actually the same as when I'm waiting in a shop to be served. I’m in disbelief sometimes at the gross inefficiency of the way the staff, who genuinely believe they are doing their best but are malfunctioning. They have never been taught or trained otherwise, but in my view that starts not when they start work but when they start walking and talking. We now have compounding failure generation on generation. It appears everywhere in life that people simply operate rather than behave in logical, methodical, practical, efficient ways. I have long been critical of the gross inefficiency of the public sector and commented that the SMEs in this country, which collectively provide 60% of the jobs, would flounder if we had the productivity and negative efficiency of the public sector. That is not to criticise all those dedicated hard-working public servants who are doing their best, because they do not know otherwise. All of us in the private sector have learnt many lessons the hard way, but there is no one there to bail us out when we have problems. When people screw up in the private sector, despite the huge amount of employee protection law, they get sacked.
So much of the culture and attitude to life has changed in time on this planet. I can but only wonder how many villains slipped through the net, either not apprehended or for lack of a proper investigation in the presentation of the facts. It is time we woke up to the fundamentals of life where excellence in all things is our target and we no longer accept mediocrity in the name of political correctness.
Now, I’m more than aware of the seemingly unstoppable advance of knife crime, not that I accept it is unstoppable. But this is lunacy and madness - where was the common sense in this?
Community-minded Jonathan Dalton, 63, who lives in Abberton, Essex, found himself in handcuffs with the threat of being tasered having trimmed brambles on a footbridge to keep the village tidy! Initially, the taser was pointed at him by an officer who had summoned support which arrived in the form of two WPC in a patrol car. A member of the public had reported someone carrying a small sword and a knife, which was actually a pair of garden shears that had been owned by Mr Dalton’s father. The first officer approached him in a patrol car then leapt out shouting at Mr Dalton to put the weapon down and when he replied that it was just his garden shears, the taser was drawn and he was handcuffed.
Now, I wasn’t there, but I’ve seen the pictures. He said he was carrying a pair of shears which would have been pretty obvious. But it’s not just one copper’s misreading of the situation, all three were present when he was handcuffed and searched, by which time of course they could see the truth of the situation. Essex police, like all other forces, have been having to make difficult manning decisions but this wreaks of ineptitude. I’m a defender of the tough job they do, but where has the common sense gone? Mr Dalton has written a tongue in cheek letter of complaint to the Chief Constable, but no reply.
This is mad and made unfortunately humorous by the victim's name, Tina Springer, who was shot by a puppy! But it wasn't a springer, it was a Labrador puppy called Molly. She was in the back seat of her owner’s car when she was frightened by a passing train in Enid, Oklahoma, and jumped on a handgun, shooting Miss Springer in the leg. Why is Miss Springer in the car with a 79-year-old Brent Parks? She’s his carer. Well, I know the wind comes weeping through the plains in Oklahoma, but dogs shooting people?
This isn’t unique, however. It has happened before when another Labrador, aptly called Trigger, stepped on a 12-gauge shotgun and shot her owner in the foot in Indiana.