28 November 2012 (Wednesday) - On the Radio
Here's a sign of the times. The average Briton is walking eighty miles less each year. With inactivity now being seen as bad for the health as smoking, this rise in idleness is being taken to be yet another contributing factor to cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Perhaps the average Briton should take up geocaching. That would make them walk a bit more. Or that is the way that I do it would make them walk a bit more. I have no time for this drive-by nonsense (he lied)... I digress....
As I drove home this evening there was an interesting discussion about the subject on the radio. The crux of the debate was that a lot of illness which is currently being dealt with by over-worked hospitals is arguably directly attributable to the lifestyle choices made my those with said illnesses. The question asked was should those who smoke, fail to exercise, and/or regularly drink to excess expect to get free treatment for their self-induced maladies from the NHS? Obviously they shouldn't. Obviously they get all they deserve (!)
So how do we spot those who shouldn't benefit from free health care? Can you really tell a smoker from a non-smoker if the smoker is making an effort to hide his predilection for fags? Some people (like me) put on weight by merely glancing at a cream cake; others can dine on lard and remain svelte. Is discriminating against people like me really fair? And how about the super-fit health fanatic who slips on a dog turd and breaks his leg whilst out jogging. Why should the non-jogging community foot the bill? And is someone who plays football regularly deliberately increasing his chances of injury (and subsequent cost to the hospital)?
Initially I was of the opinion that (as a bit of a porker myself) we've all paid our bit and so are entitled to health care. But now I've thought about it I'm not so sure. Is the actual concept of deserving and un-deserving patients simply wrong? Or is it a choice that a health system which is strapped for cash needs to make? And how is such a choice to be made?
I don't know the answer. But I do know that I worry far less about my own healthcare provision (which is currently free) than I do about that of my dog's (which costs)
Meanwhile here's a much sadder sign of the times. Sir Cyril Smith was another celebrity who abused his position to take advantage of small children. Apparently. In a novel break with current practice, it seems that this case might actually have a nugget of truth in it. This morning's news had a statement from his family regretting the incidents, but commenting on the unfortunate "trial by media" which is taking place. The family have a point.
Over the last few weeks I've touched on this and other such cases. I've wondered how many other celebrities are worried. Some are worried that their crimes will be uncovered. As well they might worry. But it is my concern that a far greater number of innocent people are living in fear of baseless allegations made against them by those making money from selling these stories.
I for one am now worried about such baseless allegations being made against me. Over the years when I was a scout leader, at camps and sleep-overs children would from time to time foul themselves. When camping this would happen (on average) at a rate of about one child every night. Sometimes more; rarely less. It was every single night for three weeks when we took them to Canada for the first time. I lost count of the amount of such boys that I (and other scout leaders) cleaned up. And, to be blunt, you can't clean up such a shitted child without being rather intimate.
Admittedly in retrospect I may well have put myself into a compromising position in doing so, but what alternative was there? Should we have left these boys (unable to clean themselves) caked in their own poo?
Many of these boys are now in their twenties. They all now have bills to pay. Some have their own houses and families to support. And they are seeing these stories about alleged child abuse in the news. They are seeing the lucrative deals newspapers will offer to victims of such alleged crimes. I wonder how long it will be before an ex-cub points the finger at me for financial gain? When they do, I expect I will be stuffed. I've done no wrong, but as I've mentioned before several times, from bitter experience I have absolutely no confidence in the British judicial system.
Meanwhile in more mundane news I am reliably informed that a rat which is the size of Fudge has taken up residence in my back garden . I wonder what I'm supposed to do about that. I can't put down poison or Fudge will eat it. Similarly he'll stick his nose into any rat traps I might put down. If the rat were smaller, Fudge might have seen it off. This rat might see him off. I shall have a think...