Posts Tagged ‘Sleepless Nights’
Long before I became too old to do anything likely to trouble my conscience I was no stranger to sleepless nights. On one occasion my exasperated GP suggested that I pull back my curtains to observe the countless other bedrooms showing a light. All of them, like you, he said, are mulling over things not worth thinking about. He added that if the worries of all his patients were piled one on top of the other they would constitute a danger to aircraft heading for Manchester airport!
Alas my problem these days is to stay awake but I do wonder how some low-life and high-life characters manage to live with things they have done, none of which meet my late doctor’s description of trivial. The low-life example is easy since only yesterday one of my pals in the allotment shed was distraught at news of his grandaughter who was on her first ever visit abroad. Despite being in a school party she had been robbed of her precious pocket-money, the pouch containing which had been torn from her. Clearly we do not have sole ownership of low-life scum whose self understanding is zero!
Such people probably have no problem sleeping despite having ensured that others can’t, but what about the high-life of our society? Tony Blair is now traipsing the world earning a fortune at lectures and goodness knows what else. But the marathon-long Chilcott inquiry continues to shed light on the lies and deception that surrounded the decision to invade Iraq. Yesterday it was the turn of Lady Eliza Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5, to appear. And apart from having a name ideally suited to a spy, she gave very revealing testimony.
Whenever Blair and his many associates in government are attacked about the invented stories of weapons of mass destruction they invariably reply that the invasion was in any case worthwhile since it meant a reduction in the threat of terrorism to the UK. However, Lady Manningham-Buller said that the conflict increased ‘substantially’ the threat from international terrorism to Britain. She was not surprised, she said, that UK citizens were behind the 7/7 attacks in London nor that “increasing numbers of Britons were attracted to the ideology of Osama Bin Laden and saw the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan as threatening their co-religionists and the Muslim world”. She went on to insist that our involvement in Iraq “radicalised a generation who saw our action as an attack on Islam”.
She went on to reveal that in March 2002, a year before the invasion, MI5 advised the government that the security threat from Iraq was low. She added that “we did not believe that Saddam Hussein had the capability to do anything aginst the UK. That proved to be the right judgement”. She had warned that an invasion would increase the threat to Britain and at the time she asked of her superiors “why now?”. She added that very few would argue that the intelligence was sustantial enough to make the decision to go to war and reminded the inquiry that there was no credible intelligence to suggest any connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida.
The damning punch-line came when the former head of our intelligence services said that arguably we gave Osama bin Laden his Iraqi jihad. In other words not only is there reason to condemn what Blair and his ministers did on the grounds that there were no weapons of mass destruction, but also because by following in the footsteps of George Bush they have rendered this country ten times more vulnerable to terrorism than was previously the case. A lot of people have died as a result of deception and incompetence. Of course Blair was the instigator but we shouldn’t forget that only the Lib Dems voted against invasion.
The other candidates for sleepless nights are surely David Cameron and George Osbourne. There are encouraging signs that the economy is recovering in line with Grumpy Gordon’s prediction but they are pressing ahead with the most drastic service cuts imaginable. Economists warn that these may tip us back in to recession but of even greater concern is the effect that what is already happening is going to have on the elderly and vulnerable. Social workers and mental health staffs are being slashed despite their already being under intolerable pressures. The point will quickly be reached where it is impossible to maintain anything resembling a safe service. Is it the hope that the many elderly victims will simply die alone and untended?
I am sure that Cameron and Osbourne have no wish for that but they are both from privileged backgrounds and undoubtedly confuse the cries for help as ones of obstruction. There is at the very least a chance that they will destroy the economy and our elderly all at the same time without understanding what they are doing. The brake on them was supposed to be provided by Nick Clegg. He has effectively ceased to exist and already has enough to lie awake on having destroyed his Party’s reputation for compassion.
Of course there is an altogether different way to view insomnia. One doctor that I talked to all those years ago confessed that he suffered in that way and rejoiced in it. He said that he had relived every ball of every Test Match he had ever watched. If he were alive today he could have studfied Murali’s 800 wickets. Sounds good to me!
AND ANOTHER THING!… News that Teeside Crown Court yesterday agreed not to send to jail a man convicted of being part of a group that carried out a violent assault in Darlington town centre. Judge Peter Bowers responded favourably to a plea for clemency by solicitor Peter Sabiston who argued that the offender’s lack of height would make him vulnerable to bullying.
This is quite a precedent, not least in our ferret-breeders club. Tommy is so short that when he takes his ferret out on a lead it appears, by scale, to be the size of an alsation. And Tommy does have a tendency toward light-fingerism. Now he vows to step up his Malteser-nicking!
Picture, if you will, a meeting that took place some months ago to review progress with the preparations for the World Cup in South Africa. Sid Flatter is quizzing the overall Director, Bert Van Slipup. With lunch beckoning Sid is happy to tick the boxes to Bert’s dictation. Stadia building on target, security lined up, media coverage negotiated, referees appointed. Bert droned on and Sid suggested an adjournment lest the six-course meal grow cold. As they stroll away, aglow with success, Sid asks about the trivia. Last of all comes the balls. ‘No idea’ says Bert, ‘I’ll get the bloke with the paper shop down the road to sort something’.
Back to real life! But it has to be said to be incredible that after spending millions of both pounds and sleepless nights planning this momentous event no one thought to check out with the various competitors the actual object of all that they will be aiming to do. And aiming is a good word to use since, according to virtually everyone, the ball chosen does not head in the direction at which it is aimed.
Fabio Capello says that the trajectory of the new ball is impossible to predict. It is, he adds, the worst ball that he has ever seen in his life. For the players it is terrible. It is good when you play short passes but when you switch the ball with long passes it is difficult to understand the trajectory. As if to ram his point home Fabio goes on to declare that ‘sometimes this ball is impossible to control’. So now we know why even the megastars tend to hit the third tier rather than the crossbar!
Our once beloved Sven-Goran Eriksson isn’t too happy either. He has called for a summit of players and coaches to discuss the ball and has urged Fifa to listen to their concerns (he always was a dreamer). According to Sven the Jabulani is making life difficult for goalkeepers. And he has a lot of support. David James choose the adjective dreadful and Gianluigi Buffon and Mark Schwarzer were even more cutting. Sven feels that the goalkeepers lot will not be a happy one given that it is impossible to work out what the ball will do next. One imagines that Rob Green might well agree!
The chosen manufacturers are Adidas. They claim that the fault lies with the teams who did not take up the offer to use the new ball in practice. The England camp refute this and claim that their attempts to get hold of samples were ‘thwarted’. According to Adidas 20 to 30 balls were sent to Wembley in February. Since the team only received a supply some fifteen days before the big day one can only assume that there are a lot of very happy small boys down Wembley Way.
It really is an extraordinary, er, balls-up. And to rub salt in the collective wounds it transpires, according to Wayne Rooney, that the five Adidas-sponsored clubs in the German Bundesliga league used this very ball th roughout last year. They, it seems, have worked out the formula. Throw in the taunts aimed at the England squad by Franz Beckenbauer and you can imagine that the probable eventual clash between the two countries may be somewhat spicy!
But having focussed my diminishing grey matter on this fiasco I have decided that the whole affair will play to England’s advantage. Fact 1; Wayne Rooney was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth and almost certainly acquired his skills in street games using coats for goals and old beach balls. Fact 2; He reports that having practised diligently for 3 weeks he has established a plan based on concentration focussed on movement in the air. Fact 3; Rooney is without doubt the most lethal striker in world football.
So if my reasoning has any validity a Rooney-led England will go all the way leaving behind them a load of less hard-working superstars who spent the entire competition firng blanks. So come on Wayne, we ferret-breeders are behind you and you are one of us!
Mind you it would still have been better for the authorities to address the question of what is to be kicked before the whole shebang started!
Something unusual. A visit to the GP. A referral. Sleepless nights. An oncologist. Diagnosis. Dread. Dark night of the soul. Cancer. That is how it used to be back in the days when the name was almost taboo and life prospects limited.
Now things are very different. Recovery rates from cancer are rocketing and discussion of it part of everyday conversation. There is still no instant cure but science and technology are winning the battle. Talking to someone who has recovered is now commonplace and all tell of the caring experts who restored their peace of mind.
No householder needs convincing of the rapid rate at which one piece of technology replaces another. It seems but yesterday that VHS tapes revolutionised our leisure. Now they are obsolete. At the press of a button one can have instant recordings, and hand-held units can entertain you wherever you are. It seems but yesterday that the conventional telephone was the height of communication, now everyone talks as they walk. It seems but yesterday that we wrote letters, now an email makes redundant the postman’s knock. And so it is with medical technology, every month brings another refinement.
The inevitable result is that the cash-strapped NHS needs to, but cannot afford to, change its equipment constantly. Yet how can we live with the thought that a piece or kit being used to save a life is now inferior to a new version. Of course all such eventually reach the many UK Cancer Centres but time could be running out for someone whose condition will not wait. There is an answer!
The Rosemere Cancer Foundation, which covers a large slice of North West England, provides a perfect example. Through dynamic fundraising the Charity ensure that new technology announced today is in situ tomorrow, long before the system could afford to obtain it. Under the slogan ‘Ray of Hope’ the charity recently installed a piece of kit costing over £700,000 for use in Radiotherapy. It ensures that the intense ray focuses solely on the tumour thus avoiding damage to other organs. The equipment is already in service, probably years before it would be available as routine.
Now the Foundation has moved on to the next target. And it does so with the enthusiasm born of success at the most important contest of all. And it does so with a smile for the people are hearing the call. Yesterday I went along to Witton Park in Blackburn to watch a fun-run. Just a week earlier a ‘Walk in the Dark’ had attracted similar crowds as did an ‘Elvis Tribute’ evening. There are events to suit everyone and for those who prefer their armchair collecting boxes adorn many a home. One in three of us will at some point experience cancer in one of its forms and we are all in the fight together.
If we the people can continue to ensure that our clinicians have the benefit of every new piece of life-saving equipment the exciting rise in cure-rates will continue. So what can stop us? Only out-of-their-depth politicians!
During the election campaign only Nick Clegg showed signs of understanding the NHS structure. He promised to abolish Strategic Health Authorities and other layers of highly costly layers of unnecessary bureaucracy. He seems to have forgotton if the first list of cuts is announced is any guide.All we have heard so far is an assurance that funding will be ‘ring-fenced’. This is misleading and dangerous. The cost of cancer treatment will continue to climb as new techniques emerge. Simply funding what happens now risks missing the opportunity to turn hope into cure.
Not every part of the country has the benefit of a Charity such as Rosemere, one that converts income into immediate use in the Centres at which it is based. But even here the task must not be rendered mountainous for want of public money still being consumed by organisations that have no impact on patient treatment.
The battle against mankind’s greatest scourge is being won. Every one of us should do his or her bit in giving what we can and in pressurising politicians to help, not hinder.
Every step we take restores the shattered dreams of those fellow travellers whose lives are in our hands.
Every day…………………..NEWS, FACTS, DEBATE, TEARS AND LAUGHTER!